Tag Archives: nature

Big Bamboo, part 2

A few years back I got the great idea of putting in some bamboo in the north bed of our backyard. You will understand why by the following picture. As lovely as our backyard is, we can never escape the feeling that we live in a fishbowl. Not that we imagine that our neighbors spend their days spying on us from their bedroom window, but just the same, we would prefer to have some more privacy. Previous owners put in a maple with the hopes that it would eventually provide some cover, but the tree got diseased and had to be cut back. (And who plants a maple tree in a raised bed anyway?)

Given my usual glacial pace for home projects, I finally got around to transplanting some forest bamboo a year and a half ago. Some friends of ours were having their backyard overtaken by the stuff, so my nephew and I arrived, pickaxes and shovels in hand. Since these were going in a raised bed above our lawn, held in my old railroad ties, I didn’t see the need for putting in a metal barrier to contain the rhizomes from spreading. Hopefully I wasn’t an idiot.

What I did do that was rather idiotic, was I didn’t make sure to keep some foliage on most of my transplants. These plants grow to 30+ feet, so I chopped them down to about four feet so that I could move them. On four of the plants I left no green on them (or maybe I could blame this on my nephew). It didn’t occur to me that the plant will need to perform some photosynthesis to stay alive. Here is a photo of a plant that didn’t survive.

Despite such brutality, one of the fully stripped transplants sent up a small chute the next year, and the other plants that still had foliage sent up a number of small chutes around the base of the main “stalk” (or whatever it’s called). I blogged about this first about a year ago https://thiskellycarpenter.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/big-bamboo/

But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that some brand new chutes came up. I had all but given up hope that this would happen. But look at them! This first one has grown two feet in about three days. The second one is a little scrawnier and slower growing. And don’t you just love those clematis!


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Working the Yard

Here are a few photos of our yard after spending some time working it. One of our projects this year was getting rid of a flower bed to the left of our driveway. It was a wonderful English garden when we moved in seven years ago, and we kept up with it for a few years. But due to lack of time, it eventually regressed into a weed pile. Over the past year, we cut everything down, covered it with black plastic, leveled it to match the driveway, layed weed cloth and had some 5/8 minus gravel brought in. We now had a big pile of stony subsoil like much of what is all over our property.

My grand scheme was to take this soil and use it to fill our new garden beds. However, the soil is mostly clay, so amendment was in order. I used an organic blend recommended for this area. I now have my first bed ready for planting.

I have been slow getting the veggie garden going because of a week-plus of rain resulting in weeds getting out of control in our flower beds. So, the veggie project had to be put on hold so I could weed the beds and apply some long overdue bark mulch. I need a lot in backyard too, so I had 5 cubic yards delivered. Here are some pics of our front yard, along with my gardening buddy.

I think we might be able to get to the back yard next week after I get the veggie garden planted. LOTS ‘o’ weeds. (Not that you can tell from this picture.)


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Spring Again in Our Front Yard

After another long cold winter here in the Pacific Northwest, and an especially rainy March, April has been spectacular in comparison. Here are some pictures from our front yard taken the last few days. Simply inspirational. I am very thankful for seasons. Spring is my favorite as it invokes a sense of renewal and regrowth. Enjoy the pictures!!


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The Garden Project – April 15 Update

If you recall from my last status report, I had made no progress on my garden the first month. Why? Well, I have a strong dislike for rain and March was one of the rainiest on record. One could insert here a question, “then why do you live in the Northwest?”, which would require a long answer about our families and community of friends and addiction to mossy and moldy substances, not to mention those magic mushrooms (oh, I just did!)(just kidding about the mushrooms), but enough of my jibber jabber and long run-on sentences! April has sported something quite unusual–some sunshine–so progress is made. Here are some pics:

At the start:

Last week, being the first full week of April, I moved all of the wood out and cleaned the area as best as I could. It wound up displacing this not-so-little fellow:

Then I went to Home Depot and found some 5′ cedar pickets and it turned out that four of them end-to-end fit exactly in the space. So the framing design became obvious:

So then I decided to put up 2×4 risers at the point across from where each board will meet. I used Liquid Nails to glue them to the foundation wall so I wouldn’t have to screw into the wall:

Then I placed 4×4 posts next to the sidewalk and connected them to the wall risers with 2x4s, along with the top boards of the cedar siding:

The sidewalk curves in at the east end, so I’m not sure if I’m going to leave this last piece angled (less work since it’s already in place) or keep it straight and staggered (appealing to my perfectionism/anal-retentiveness).

During the project I have been provided moral support from my mascot, Jake:


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What Is it?

Our house, along with the other houses in our development, features a “greenhouse” window off the dining room. We have had some issues with leaks in heavy rainstorms and we’re probably losing a lot of heat as well. The other day we were inspecting it and ran across some sort of growth attached to the wall next to the window. Does anyone know what this is? It’s sort of soft and about the size of my pinky fingernail.

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The other day, the weather had cleared up enough to take a walk outdoors, so I hit the nearby pipeline trail. It was so stunning out I had to take a picture. It reminds me of something my mom would paint.

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