How We Spend Our Weekends

We’ve been neglecting the inside of the house and this blog because we’re trying to enjoy the outdoors while we can.  Montana normally has only a few warm months, so we’re taking full advantage of the beautiful spring that followed a very mild La Niña winter.  This means that spare bedrooms sit empty and indoor projects are put on hold while we spruce up the outside of our home and garden.  Who wants to paint, paper shelves, or shop for furniture while you can enjoy sunshine and nature?

So I thought I’d show you what we’re up to.

 

Tulips cut from one of our flower beds. This café table in the back yard is where we eat dinner when it's nice outside.

Our next-door neighbors are a retired couple who have lived in their house since they built it in 1957.  They care a great deal for their lawn and garden.  Like us, they enjoy spending time outdoors.  They keep a lawn so beautiful it looks like it was transplanted from Pleasantville.  They also have a large vegetable patch and a beautiful array of flowers.  I would never dream of trying to rival their efforts, but they have been an inspiration to us.  Our property has flower beds on all four sides of the house and along the fence between our house and theirs.  We spent most of April weeding and deciding which plants to keep (almost all of them) and what else to add (a bunch!).

 

I'm not sure what these things are called, but they came in nice. Does anybody know their names?

There are beautiful flowers and ornamental plants growing all around the house.  I’ll be sure to post pictures when they bloom.  We have peonies and irises coming in right now.

 

Leafy rhubarb and strawberries line the fence.

One of the things that excited me most about the flora we inherited was the strawberry patch.  They’re my favorite!  They’re behind the rhubarb in the photo above.  We’re just starting to see little green berries on them now.  I’ll post photos when they come in a little more.  We’re going to have to build a net or wire enclosure for them soon so that the birds don’t get all the berries before we do.  I’ve never cooked with rhubarb, but my appreciation for it is growing.  Our neighbors keep giving me recipes that call for it.  So far I’ve made jam and had rhubarb upside-down cake.  I’ll also try making rhubarb bitters and simple syrup at the suggestion of some of my cocktail-loving friends.

 

Brussels sprouts and Jersey Wakefield cabbage

In the same bed, we dug up a large patch of bluebells that were threatening to take over everything.  In their place, we planted Brussels sprouts and Jersey Wakefield cabbage.  At the top of the photo you can just make out some of the garlic that has been growing there for years.  I hope the rain gutter from the garage doesn’t over-water my Brussels sprouts.  They seem to be doing well so far!

 

Herb Garden

Right outside the kitchen, we planted basil, rosemary, tarragon, sage, oregano and thyme.  That’s mojito mint hiding behind the purple salvia plant.  We gave it a wide berth, hoping it wouldn’t overtake the other herbs.

 

Five varieties of tomatoes.

On the other side of the steps, we planted Beefsteak, Roma, Cherry and two types of Heirloom tomatoes.  The flower pot on the concrete slab holds chives.  We didn’t want them to start growing wild everywhere, so we’re hoping they stay contained in their pot.

 

This bed houses some of our more ambitious attempts at gardening.

This bed along the driveway may or may not work out.  We made two big mounds for cantaloupes.  You can see one of them at the very bottom of the picture.  The three small mounds in front of the window well are more cabbage.  At the other end are six varieties of peppers: Red Bell, Yellow Bell, Gypsy, Poblano, Anaheim, and Jalapeño.  We’re hoping to add a berry bush at the far end in a couple weeks.  Huckleberries would be nice, but we haven’t found any at the four nurseries we’ve visited so far.  It may end up being boysenberries instead.

That’s everything for now!  When we start seeing some progress I’ll give an update.  We’ll also be adding some more outdoor decor to the garden and the house.  So far all we have is a cute sign by the front door.

 

Our idea of outdoor decor.

4 thoughts on “How We Spend Our Weekends

  1. Hey Melissa, the plants that you like but don’t know the names of are called Hostas. Sometimes they’ll put out a spike with a lily at the end. They typically like part shade but I’m sure since its cool they’re happy anywhere up there.

    • Thanks, Mara! They get probably about six hours of sun where they are, but they’re still looking pretty good!

  2. Hi guys!
    So impressed with your gardening! Marc would be proud. Today he is buildng a second raised bed for his tomatoes. Glad to see you are enjoying Montana. Think of you often. Family gatherings just aren’t the same ;( Keep in touch! Oh, I guess you don’t have deer?!
    Tara

    • Tara, we’ve yet to see any deer in Billings. There are plenty of them in the surrounding area, though! The only critters we ever seem to see here are ducks and prairie dogs.

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