Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Garden Progress: Mid-May

Posted on | May 17, 2010 | 11 Comments

I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors working in my garden. Every available inch is packed with plants. I can’t possibly buy anymore; I just need to be patient and let the garden grow.

I still need to get some mulch in. My sister swears by ‘sweet peat’. It’s really dark and smells dirty and earthy, love it. If you know a good source on the North Shore let me know.

Next up is a patio. For real this time! We have to do some major work on the back side of the house. We have a giant hole in the side of the house (our neighbor squirrel calls home) and a rotten sill that needs to get fixed this summer. The patio might have to be a semi-permanent fix. I would love to put in a brick or cobble driveway. Both options are expensive and not too realistic at the moment. So maybe pea gravel would work as a temporary fix? Greg hates the stuff. Thinks it’s messy and dusty. But I can’t live another summer having the driveway looking the way it does now. I want a patio I can use now. Pea gravel is inexpensive and it can be moved around. I’ll call around for some quotes.

Above and below my gardens in progress. Yes, the house will get painted. First the hole in the house, rotten sill, chimney repair, new roof, gutters, rotten clapboards, rotten window frames, and then paint!

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11 Responses to “Garden Progress: Mid-May”

  1. mary
    May 17th, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    It looks fantastic! We just put in our garden, too, and you’ve inspired me to share some pics.

    We’re also getting our patio down. We’ve got someone coming this week to dig out the space and put down a layer of stone dust, and my husband and his 2 friends are going to brick it.

    We’d also like to brick our driveway; the quote we got was over $6k. Ack! So, if the patio goes well, maybe the driveway will be next. We’ll see. In the meantime, we’ve had pea stone down for about 2 years and it’s been great — the only complaint I have is that shoveling it during winter is a total pain and the stones go everywhere. But it’s been a good temporary fix.

    For your mulch: Have you tried Corliss in Ipswich?


  2. Katy Elliott
    May 17th, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    Thanks Mary for the mulch tip. I have seen their trucks around town.


  3. Donna
    May 17th, 2010 @ 7:36 pm

    Could I suggest buckwheat hulls if you are not absolutely sold on your sister’s mulch? It really looks great, and is usually available just down the road at the Marblehead Garden Center.


  4. casey
    May 17th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    yes to pea gravel! it’s charming!


  5. Mopar
    May 17th, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

    This is just so adorable I could practically cry. Everything you do is just so pretty. What plants did you use here? I love it.

    I sent my husband to this really fancy garden store In Brooklyn, Sprout, because it was convenient and he came back with something called Hamptons Estate mulch. Wow, I never knew mulch could be so gorgeous. Dark, and peaty or earthy or something, yes. My boxwood immediately felt better.

    Also, a few weeks ago we realized birds were living in our attic, and sprung into action. Our exterminator recommended someone who came right over and closed up the cornice on two sides for $500. I was relieved it wasn’t more. Of course I have no idea what is involved with your hole. But a sill can’t be too much, can it? Isn’t that just a piece of wood?

    I was near Brimfield this weekend, but unfortunately had to miss it. I saw some antique stores in the Berkshires — Linda Rosen in Sheffield was all early American, just gorgeous, and I thought of you. Of course there were some expensive items, but also more affordable things, they were eager to bargain, and shipping (to NY) wasn’t too bad.

    BTW I love the little stones in the flower bed — is that a heart?


  6. Mopar
    May 17th, 2010 @ 9:40 pm

    Oh, the sill, you mean the whole sill running along the back of the house. Got it. I wish I could send our guy up there to you. He is so good with structural stuff and quite reasonable. He replaced a quarter of our main beam, three or four rotton joists, and fixed all the leaks in the back of the house for $2,000.


  7. Katy Elliott
    May 17th, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

    It’s a not a big hole. But a whole wall is rotten and needs to gutted and replaced. The rotten sill (a sill is between the house and foundation) is in the same place. It all has to be done so we can move on with other projects.

    It’s the bf job’s to call around to get estimates for the hole project.

    I’m working on the den, little room, guest room, and bedroom inside.


  8. Katy Elliott
    May 17th, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

    Oh it’s not a heart. I was just playing around the rocks to figure out a border line once I put in a patio.


  9. lisa
    May 18th, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    The garden is looking great! I’m having the same problem of waiting for the plants to grow.


    May 18th, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    Looking good, Katy! Good luck with the patio. That’s a project on the list at our house too although it’s highly unlikely we’ll be getting to it this year.


  11. Mopar
    May 18th, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

    I like your list. Good luck with everything.


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