..and mid way through
The vegetable garden has been put on hold for a bit as I have started to tackle a different part of the Ugly. The far south east part of the yard has been a favorite of my kids from the beginning. When we moved in, there was an overgrown Mock Orange bush and a small ditch. We trimmed up the bush to resemble a small tree and put in stepping stones to lead around the back of the deck. A perfect secret passage for play. A bit of digging in the ditch revealed a treasure trove of river rock that had been buried. After digging out and washing all that rock and lining the ditch with landscape fabric, we now had a cool dry river bed. I was very proud of it. Well, I had made a crucial mistake: I made the ditch too deep with no reinforcement of the banks. So before long, the beautiful rock was buried in dirt and leaf litter.
I then did what many discouraged gardeners do, I threw my hands up in disgust and let it go. Every year it would get messier and uglier while I would get more irritated every time I looked at it. My kids, however, still loved crossing the "river" and playing in the "tree". Now enter baby number 3, who desperately wants to keep up with her brother and sister, teetering precariously down the washed out embankment.
Enter Mom, who now needs to make this area a bit safer for the little one. So, last week, with Daniel's help, we started digging out the rocks and cleaning them up. I filled in the ditch, hopefully it is shallow enough to prevent dirt from washing down into it. I also relined with landscape fabric and extended the rocks up a bit further onto the "bank". The other nice addition comes courtesy of Freecycle.org. I posted a request on my local group site for some hen and chick succulent plants, hoping for maybe 5 to 10 plants. The very nice woman who responded provided me with 3 grocery bags full and a bird of paradise plant. Boy, was I grateful! You can see in the picture above, the succulents, but the bird of paradise is dormant right now. I'll post a picture of it when some new grow appears.
The area is shaping up nicely. And my little Eva can negotiate the steps a bit easier. I am about half done. Still a bunch of rocks to pull out, and some filling in to do. I'm hoping the shallower depth is the key to keeping this nice a bit longer than my last go around. The other excellent thing about this project is that so far it has only cost me time.