my_secret_garden
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Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:09 pm
Location: Clinton IA, Zone 5a
Contact: Yahoo Messenger

New here, just wanted to say hi.

I just stumble upon this website and forum while I was searching for places to chat about gardening. I have been to a couple other websites but there were just too many different forums for me to find people to talk to. Everything was too spread out. I wanted to find something that seemed to get a fair amount of traffic so that I'd have people to talk to when I got tired of trying to work outside on rainy days! Yesterday was one of those, here in Eastern Iowa. Rainy yesterday and today is supposed to be the same. Won't have to worry about it today though because I am off to work soon and my day will be spent there. :(

Anyway, I thought maybe I would tell everyone a little bit about myself. My name is Manda and I am 24 and I live in Eastern Iowa. I have always been interested in gardening but never did much more than help my mom plant veggies and a couple of rose bushes.... but now I own my own home and I am faced with a large task.

My husband owned this home before we met and he didn't do much more to take care of the lawn and yard other than mow and occasionally trim the rose bush in front. I have finally coerced him into realizing that we need to take better care of our yard and that he needs to help me make things prettier! So, to say the least, my yard has been in utter disrepair for a long time but it is slowly getting better.

I am married to a car nut and a junkaholic... there are car and bike parts in every inch of this property it seems! I've spent the last couple of weeks cleaning up junk (car parts, bike parts, misc clutter) and getting dead leaves and other various yard waste off of our back desk and now I am into the "good stuff". I have been having a really hard time getting rid of weeds, clovers, and other not-yet-identified stuff out of my yard. I tried chemicals like Round-up to get rid of them but that didn't help. It was suggested to me to try a Weed Hound but I also need something to get weeds out of a rock covered flower bed where space is limited and the weeds are growing rampent between my tulips. I could really use some advice on getting rid of these things. I do have a dog that is out in the yard a lot so I don't want to expose him to anything harmful. But he does not go in the front yard where the tulips are.

I guess I am kind of overwhelmed by the amount of work that is in front of me. Aside from doing more clean-up and landscaping work with timbers, rocks, lights, bricks, etc, I also want to plant more flowers. I already planted some bed flowers in the front in some flower boxes and a couple of big planters and then in back I did a bit of work behind the house and planted some climbers along the privacy fence. Trying to grow some snapdragons to seperate later and plant as well but need some suggestions for nice hardy, pretty things that I can plant in my climate.

Any advice and maybe just a "you can do it" would be so helpful. Heh. Thanks for reading my story. Hope eveyrone is enjoying the beautiful weather! (More rain. Woohoo.) :)

grandpasrose
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Welcome to the forum Manda!! and YES YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! :D

We have all been in or are currently in your shoes, and I am sure that you will get lots of good advice from everyone here. We are pretty much an organic oriented forum, so you won't learn much about chemicals here, except not to use them! If you take a look at the Organic forum, or the Rose Care Forum under the Organic topic, you will find lots of good information about gardening without chemicals.
It is an overwhelming task if you look at the whole thing, so pick one thing that you really want done badly, and get it done. Then move onto the next. If you are like most of us, you only have the energy, time and money for one part at once anyway.
Renewing a landscape is a long term plan, it doesn't happen overnight, so be patient with yourself!! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

my_secret_garden
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Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:09 pm
Location: Clinton IA, Zone 5a
Contact: Yahoo Messenger

Thanks Val! :)

I am a lot more interested in doing things the organic way because I have read a lot about how damaging different weed killers and chemicals are to your lawn and garden and health. For me, they never seemed to work either!

I am going to go check out a weed hound on my day off this week but I think my next project is going to be finishing some of my cleaning and moving some landscaping rock from one area I want to plant in to the area surrounding the tree in my backyard. I got some discounted rock today at Wal-Mart and couldn't pass up the price even though I am not quite ready to work on that project yet. I will have to post some pictures of my progress... I only wish I had pictures of the BEFORE. No one would ever believe the state that my yard was in before I started working on it!

grandpasrose
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Take photos now! And we would love to watch your progress - send us updates! Most of all, have fun!!! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

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Grey
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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Oh, boy have we been in your shoes before (and still are!).

You're not alone, and you can do it! It will be lovely when you are finished. At my previous home I found old shoes, buried carpet, photos, toys, and garbage of other sorts all the time while working on the yard. It was a good neighborhood, too!

At my current home, I get to find all kinds of little car parts, bits of broken pipe, Legos, toy cars, a wrench set, and deep under our gravel driveway, we found a concrete driveway. Guess it cracked and they poured gravel over it. Anyway, they never bothered to edge the sides of the drive, so the drive kept getting wider and wider and we have some pretty rocky soil there at the edges now!

It will be worth it. I loved my old yard and still miss it, but this one will be so much better! I took up a part-time job at a garden center to help support my plant habit and help me learn even more about plants. Gobs of fun. :)

my_secret_garden
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Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:09 pm
Location: Clinton IA, Zone 5a
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Grey - Are you sure you weren't digging in MY yard? The wrenches, toy cars, car parts... sounds like my backyard! Thankfully my husband was "considerate" enough to throw his tools on the deck and the concrete patio next to it so not too much of this junk has been found in the yard. But I have a HUGE pile of accumulated junk in back that is going to be a different story!

I was and still kind of am feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything but when I think about how much I have already done, I feel I have accomplished a lot. Like I said, I only wish I had before pictures so that people could see the state that my back yard/deck/patio was in before I started. Kind of embarrassing. :( I really started to get upset with my husband all over again for letting the yard get that way but I guess I should have been keeping and eye on him with it from the beginning. When I first moved in here, it was much worse. He is just a slob of the worst kind. I am trying to just get him to keep his mess contained in the garage where I don't have to look at it. He surprises me sometimes though and cleans and organizes things without me knowing he is going to do it. He's cleaned up his garage a lot and has been really good lately about keeping things picked up now that he sees how hard I have been working on the yard and the house.

Last night I got home from work at 11:00PM and it had rained HARD all day. I went out in back and checked out my flowers and they were all kind of sad looking so I hope they will be okay! I went out in the front yard with a towel and a hand tool and a couple of garbage bags and started pulling up weeds. I had never done it that way before and it was kind of gross and satisfying at the same time to see the dandilions popped out at the little white roots. I kind of kin it to the sick and strange satisfaction you get when you peel sunburned skin or pop a zit. Disgusting but satisfying nonetheless. :shock:

Anyway, I got the whole bed on the side of my porch weeded but could not get myself to tackle the clover I have coming up through the rocks there. I don't know how to tackle it anyway! I want my beds to look neat so I don't want grass and clover in them but I don't know how to get rid of it so I just left that for now. I also weeded the whole one side of my sidewalk before my husband had me go over to my neighbor's with him. I was admiring her beautifully manicured lawn and her cute little garden and all the plants in her back yard. She told me she was pulling out her bed of irises this week and asked me if I might like them. Do these need a lot of sun? She had them growing on the side of her house and I could probably do that too if they don't need a lot of sun.

Sorry to ramble! I did take some pictures of my yard though so that you can see it progress. I will have to take some shots of the front and side yard, too, though!

grandpasrose
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Hi again Secret Garden! I'm going to go through your note one by one -

Clover in your garden: late last fall in another forum (I can't remember which one) we talked about using household vinegar as a spray on weed killer. You might try that. Otherwise, I think you are going to have to weed it just like the dandilions - but think of the reward!

Irises from your neighbour: Yes irises need full sun. They prefer well drained soil on the sandy side. Also, when you plant them, dig a small hole, then build a little hill in the middle of the hole. Sprinkle the hill with bone meal and place the iris on top of this hill so that the roots are spread out down the hill. Then fill the hole with soil, leaving the rhizome or tuber of the iris just peeking out of the soil. A saying my grandmother taught me, and I have always remembered is, Irises love the sun on their backs. So they grow near the top so the sun hits the top of the rhizome. Water them well when you plant them, and you're done! You will probably see very few blooms the first year, but the next will be beautiful.

You sound alot like me! I have cut the lawn by porchlight, and weeded the garden in the dark in my nightgown!! When the mood hits!! :lol:

When I moved to my property, there was my little tiny house, sitting in the middle of an acre of overgrown grass up to my waist that looked like a hayfield, cottonwood tree shoots, and old log burn piles. And yes, I found lego, little cars, wrenches, you name it. That was 14 years ago, and although we are still a long way from being finished, you would never know it was the same place!!

It won't happen overnight, but keep working at it, and all of a sudden, you'll notice how nice it looks!! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

my_secret_garden
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Posts: 88
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 3:09 pm
Location: Clinton IA, Zone 5a
Contact: Yahoo Messenger

I completely forgot that I was going to try the vinegar thing today! I got preoccupied by buying new gloves and a shovel and it slipped my mind. I'll have to remember to pick some up tomorrow after work. Has anyone else tried it with success? My mom came over tonight and said that what I had growing by my tree was not clover. I can't remember what she said she thought it was but I will post a picture later and maybe someone can identify it for me.

I crossed a couple more things off my list today so I am really excited about that. I did finish weeding the second side of the sidewalk last night, in the dark, lol. I knew I couldn't be the only one gardened by moonlight. :) My mom thought I was nuts when I told her that I had a headlamp on and was weeding in the dark.

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