Day Three. Cory spent the day shifting dirt around the upper level -- filling in low spots, shaving off crowns, leveling it off better. I spent the day on the phone shopping for stone. My son, Sam, went out to Marenakos to hand pick some of the stone, particularly the risers for the stairs. We will use Bandera weathered granite.
Last evening, Sam and Cory met up for an on-site review and stone/patio planning. Another of Sam's childhood friends, Andrew, stopped by and it sounds like he may come over on Saturday to help move rock around. It pays to feed young boys while they are growing up -- and it will be fun to feed them again. Yesterday, Cory brought his two young children (3 and 4) to fish down at our pond as he used to do as a child. They caught 5 and kept 2 trout.
Went to a new local native plant nursery that Sam found through a random Flower Show contact -- after a bit of small talk and wandering around, the owner and I found many common connections. We both attended the same high school in Seattle, he graduated with my younger sister, he has a summer place down river from the same sister in Twisp, his good friend is my husband's golf buddy, his nephew is a high school friend of Sam's... Needless to say, we hit it off and he will give me wholesale prices on my project. Yay!!
It is a small world. I went skiing a few days ago and when I got to the top of the mountain it was so foggy and snowy that I found myself in a complete whiteout. They closed the lifts to the top a few minutes later, but meanwhile I had to find my way down. There were some other skiers up there so we formed a little group and stuck together so no one got lost. When we got to the bottom and took off our goggles, masks, neck gaiters, etc and revealed out faces, we found out we were all a bunch of grey-haired women who like skiing alone and like the steeps. Then we went into the lodge for a drink.
Bonehead, the two of you have so many connections!
Portland - how fun! My husband and I took a midweek ski bus years ago up to Whistler, which was full of grey-haired retired folk. We were both still working at the time, but had a blast. It was such a pleasant trip up and back - no talk of work or past careers, and on the way home there was a free-for-all potluck sharing of food and drink. Great commaraderie. Maybe you will meet up with your newfound lady friends on another slope one day.
Wonderful rocks! Keep the photos coming! I love the progress reports. You have such a nice space to work with.
There is a ski bus from Portland as well, but I really do like the solitude of skiing alone, and I like the drive through Hood River. The rest of the grey-hairs I met also like skiing alone so we will meet for lunch or drinks again some time.
What an ambitious project. Those rocks are huge!! And the steps look great, solid and well anchored by boulders. Thanks for the view from above. It gives a sense of the whole plan. It is bound to be a spectacular gathering place, out in your garden with a view of the pond and forest below.
The flagstone was supposed to be delivered on Friday. I of course wait around all day for the truck, only to get a call about 3 pm that they can't do it today, how about Monday. Well, no, that doesn't work - Sam is only available on weekends. So, Gary (husband) decides our truck can handle a 2800# pallet of stone and runs up to pick it up. Meanwhile, Sam and Cory work more on the prep. Checking grade.
WOW!!! Gorgeous and an amazing project! You will love it so much, and get so much use out of it. Very impressive. Thanks for sharing the pics---taught us all how to do something like that. I love the stone choice. Great work!
Huge thanks to my son. He has been doing almost all the work single-handedly. My wrists can't lift those heavy rocks, and my husband tends to "rattle" in Sam's head too much. We found the best solution is for me to just hang out nearby pruning and such until Sam yells for some help. I think his creative juices flow better that way.
Sam is a landscape designer for Classic Nursery in Redmond. Prior to studying for his L.A. degree, he worked for various landscape companies as an installer. So he has good vision and can also put it all together. Lucky me!
Susy, funny you bring up the glass of wine -- I have thus far used that methodology for tweaks to the design. After a day's work, I retire to the deck with my trusty chardonnay overlooking the patio/outcrop area and cogitate/envision what comes next. Very relaxing. Looking forward to doing the same on the patio soon. Also can't wait for the actual planting out - that will truly be the frosting on the cake!
This dang weather is putting a crimp on the next steps -- bringing in soil to the outcropping, and re-grading the lawn area for seeding. It's currently just a quagmire, difficult to even walk on without landing on one's keester. Mud soup. Might make use of the weekend for plant shopping.
I also took some time to go plant shopping at various local nurseries. My favorite is Christianson's in the Skagit Flats. No tulips opening yet (soon, though, many are ready to pop), lots of daffs, and of course the snow geese.
That is amazing! This project looks more extensive every time I open the thread. It is going to be incredible. I love the way you positioned the pavers arouind the fire ring and also the helpful son with his arm around your shoulder in the photo. There is something about an expanse of garden with thick black compost spread out awaiting plants that is like starting a new adventure. Curious here though...what did you get when you went plant shopping?
The only thing I bought was a little 4" potential for between the flagstone at the outer edges of the patio - erodium reichardii, an alpine geranium. Very cute little plant, with tiny pink blooms. Anyone have any experience with this? The tag says 'may be evergreen in temperate climates' -- I'm thinking probably not. I have several hardy geraniums and none are evergreen.
Other than that, mostly just made notes of who had what for how much. Something new and different for me will be to move forward with an actual planting plan - don't recall ever being that organized. I'm hoping to put a large order with a native nursery on Camano and then fill in with what he doesn't carry, or add some pop here and there.
Ornamental grasses around the outer perimeter, and Springcolor is potting me up some starts (thank you thank you).
I've mixed a sack of erosion control grass seed with one of those cannisters of wildflowers and a pound of crimsom clover to seed the upper hillside. Hopefully that will blend in with the existing pasture grass which we will let grow with only a couple mows (likely early spring and late fall). I'm hoping the wildflower will (a) actually grow and (b) reseed itself not only where it is planted but also into the rest of the hillside. We'll see.
Also planning a focal point in the outcropping with a Japanese maple, perhaps one of the red ones. My cousin in Mukilteo has a side biz / collection of about 900 J. maples and I'm sure I will find something of interest there. Here is his web site if anyone is interested: http://amazingmaples.com
That's the general plan, I'll know more when Sam has worked up a diagram. It will definitely be a departure from my other beds which have more of a cottagy feel to them. I will likely start another thread on ideas for the main planting area -- it is invaluable to get great input from other PNW gardeners. So appreciated.
It is all so exciting, and I appreciate so much that you are sharing with us. I'm crazy interested in how the meadow/hillside wildflower area will turn out. It sounds so spectacular and I wish I had that kind of acreage to think about a meadow planting. Please continue to share with us!!!
After a weekend off, Sam finished up the flagstone on Saturday. This is a view from our upstairs, which shows the placement of the stones. I love the ying-yang kind of look to it. The smaller boulders scattered here and there will be worked into the outcropping to hold the soil in place and add accents to the big boulders - perhaps this weekend's project? Oh yeah, I guess it IS Easter... But, time's awasting, I want to get to the PLANTING part !! (And we do have a wedding/family campout to host mid-June.) It will all fall together somehow.
Thank you. This project moves forward mostly on weekends so progress is a bit slow. Weather has also hampered us along the way. Sam comes up again tomorrow and will continue working with the rocks - he has a knack for placing them (and can also manhandle them around much better than I). I'm hoping the weather holds so we can get a lot done. One bright side, with all our recent rain, it was easy to see where the low spots are...
Bonehead, what a project. It is coming along nicely. Please let me know how the erosion control grass sead and wild flowers do. I have been considering the same thing for a very steep hill. I live in Kalama Wa. . . Hills, clay and rocky is my constant challenge.
Sam building the final fire ring - the metal ring was a temporary template to place the flagstone around (and will be used down in the lower pasture for another fire ring). I like the campsite look of this, smaller boulders of similar type as our big ones, good spots to set and prop up your feets.
Another hose down, apparently we need to do this frequently to get the sand to settle in. You can kind of see how the smaller boulders are holding the bank up in an informal way. Once we get some plants in, it will make more sense I think.
The remains of our maiden fire -- perfect evening for it (last Saturday) and we have now figured out that we likely will need some low-volt or solar lights along the steps. I don't want anything too obtrusive but it was a bit sketchy walking down in the dark.
LOL Bonehead, talk about a small world!! I know Corey, he and my daughter dated many years ago and my son has worked for Corey's dad for several years.Honestly, I am very glad my daughter broke up with him! LOL He is a good kid, just needs some maturity very badly.
TDF, how funny. Corey has been a neighbor since he was in preschool, so I can fully understand your relief. Love him to pieces, but he IS a handful. He is married now with two young kids (3 and 4 I think). Fatherhood sits well with him.
And some shrubs and groundcover from the native nursery. Next stop is my local nursery (Orchards in Stanwood) and a visit to our organic friends (Rent's Due Ranch). I plan to greet my two sons with shovels on Sunday...my perfect MD gift will be for them to dig all this stuff in.
I foresee a toast on the patio in the very near future!
Just back from a very bad nursery experience. Orchard's Nursery is a small family run biz in Stanwood. I patronized them often. Went there today and was pleasantly surprised to find signs indicating all landscape plants were 20% off. Bingo for me. I filled up two carts and went to check out, only to be told that was 'last week's ad.' Huh? I politely said the signs are all still up by the plants, fully expecting them to honor their advertising even though it was in error. They did not. I walked out with no plants and no plan to give them any further business. What a waste of about 90 minutes...not to mention I squeezed this in between the rains. Sigh. Off I go to another nursery. In the pouring rain.
Oh, BH, that is really a horrible experience! Two carts full of plants and they wouldn't honor the signs they hadn't gotten around to taking down. Good for you for walking out. The plants you've already bought are wonderful, though. Really nice selections.
This area we refer to as the restoration zone. A bitty J. maple and a couple more feather reeds, backed by a series of true natives - western azalea, ribes, mock orange, and redtwigs. All are pretty spindly, will look better in a year or two. Behind this planting is a mature deciduous huckleberry growing on a cedar stump, with Indian plum and quaking aspens behind. In the alder to the left, you can vaguely see the treehouse (more of a platform with a railing, another evolving project). We also left a spot to tuck in a bench in this area.
Yikes, this project is like a runaway train...I'm now looking at chairs and a bench, tons more plants for the outcropping, and then there's lighting and maybe a bit of yard art...no end in sight! Good thing we were planning no big summer trips this year, I can see my hands will be full (and pockets empty). I won't even mention the neglect my other beds are suffering - although in fairness the weather has not been altogether cooperative for weeding.
After many nursery trips, and lots of digging, here's a side view of the (somewhat) finished product. Now is the waiting time, for the plants to bulk up and fill in.
The shovel on end is saving a spot for another mountain hemlock, and I haven't yet cut in the front edge yet or planted that out. The chairs are all new, hope they hold out OK. We just put teak oil on them. Some assembly required.
Maury, that is exactly what Sam had envisioned -- I will let him know he succeeded. He spent a great deal of time placing the boulders, and even redug a couple that were bothering him. I could not be more pleased with the whole project.
In response to some gentle nudgings on other threads, I thought I would update some photos of the fill-ins. I'm still working on this -- I found myself in a 'pink year' last season which I don't really like against the bronze/orange of the boulders so I'm replacing some things and still cogitating on others. Here's a view coming from the ADA access.
One of the stairs. I particularly like how the red thyme has filled in, and will encourage it to spread out to either side as a ground cover. Meanwhile, Sam keeps tinkering. He added the flagstone landing at the top of the steps and we've planted Irish moss between the stones which blends nicely with the surrounding lawn.
Hey, there is a spin-off question for everyone: if you could have your garden in any magazine, which one would you pick? Sunset? Fine Gardening? Organic Gardening? Better Homes and Gardens? I think I'd most love to see mine in Country Gardens (a BH and G publication). Not as many people read it, but it's my favorite so it would be a great honor for me and my home most fits with that. BH--I could see yours easily in Sunset. They love stonework/rocks with the gardens and homes they often feature. Plus your firepit---they would love that!
Garden Gate is my current fav - no ads. An individual copy of Fine Gardening is my treat for road trips. I find Horticulture to be have a tad superiority complex. I enjoy Sunset's garden articles, but most of their recipes seem to call for some strange and exotic ingredient only found in Timbucktu every other Wednesday during the rainy season...
I love Garden Gate too. I started with the first issue and had them all up to three years ago and then I gave the whole collection to the Master Gardener to use for reference books. I agree about Horticulture also. Just too too. Sunset I can do without unless I find one in a doctor office.