Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | July 7, 2013

Small House Mid-Summer Garden

It has been an unusually cool and wet year in Southwestern Michigan this year. As a result my garden is more lush than normal while the blooms are a bit behind schedule.

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long you know that we use no chemicals in our garden(s) and are totally organic in our gardening methods here. This is a no-till property.

We aim for mainly native plantings on our property as they do best in our rather difficult growing conditions. We also aim for sustainability here; i.e. healthy soil and plants and trees and water and soil management.  We steward this land for now and hope someday that next owners else will continue our work here.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story. This is an image heavy post!

THE FRONT VIEW OF THE SMALL HOUSE:

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This cedar trellis lead the way down the sidewalk to our west front door. This house has two front doors

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Looking up our driveway towards the front of the Small House.

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Another view of the trellis garden looking towards the roadway.

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A close up of my favorite herb Catmint in the pea gravel under the trellis.

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This years potted plant designs in the drive way. These pots are also designed to block the window air conditioner!

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I put in our twenty-four Heritage tomatoes in the inside of the brick planters as this is the spot where we get the most sun and the bricks warm up and act as a microclimate. The bark chips hold in the moisture and keep the weeds to a minimum.

As you can tell by looking at these photographs, I love an overgrown, loose, non-structured garden and this is what I’ve cultivated. I need to “visually block” the busy roadway in front of our home and the pink single-wide trailer that sit in the woods across the street from us. (The one that was block by the woods and the tall overgrowth until they took out 40 ft. of green-scape to make way for the ditch to carry the flood waters away from the houses.)

THE BACK VIEW OF THE HOUSE FROM OUR THREE-SEASONS PORCH:

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This flower bed at the back of the house was planted to provide a visual block to give us more privacy between the porch and the former White Oak Studio & Gallery across our property.

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Standing in the porch looking out at the bird feeding garden this is one of three sidewalks I designed and had poured.

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A close up of the flower bed behind the porch.

THE GRAVEL DRIVEWAY ENTRANCE & WALKWAY TO THE HOUSE:

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The turn-around flower bed and through the trellis is how friends and family come down the sidewalk and into our home.

I had the gravel drive way and turn-around constructed so that we had egress to our pole barn, here we park our cars, and our guests have a safe way to turn around without backing out onto the very heavy traffic of the road we live in.

This has been a very busy gardening year for me. After our spring flood the past four years we were unable to get out the weed and put down new bark chip mulch. And much of that mulch we did have, simply floated away in the current. We also lost thousands of dollars of plants, trees and shrubs and these are slowly being replaced. But first we had to wait until the flood extension ditched project was complete before we replanted.

BACK OF PROPERTY NEAR THE MEADOW:

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This is my raised herb bed made using repurposed railroad ties that we moved from another section of our property.

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The meadow edge perennials in the back of our property looking at my art studio.

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My painting studio at the edge of the meadow (a portion can be seen in the lower left hand corner.)

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Chives in bloom in the herb bed at the meadow.

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Daisy’s in the meadow. This meadow is out gift to the birds, butterflies, insects and other critters.

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My husband showing our grand-daughter Brenna the active Blue Bird nest in the meadow.

This is a HUGE catch up year for make-up weeding and bark chip placement at White Oak Acres. Lots of work to maintain 2 1/2 acres of gardens.

Thank you for your continuing interest in the Small House.

Small House / Big Sky Donna

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Responses

  1. Lovely! Lots of planning and lots of labor, but well worth it.

  2. Your land is just gorgeous! It must be such fun to live there. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your nice comment. I’ve encouraged my daughter to blog her midcentury modern remodel adventures, but apparently she hasn’t experienced the blogging “calling.” 🙂 I passed on your link to her and know she’ll be interested to see your beautiful home. Enjoy your weekend!

    • I think that is so funny…a mother who blogs but a daughter who does not. But maybe she works on computers all day and when she gets home at night it’s no computers for her. At any rate. thanks for visiting the Small House and for your kind compliments.

      Small House / Big Sky Donna

  3. What a beautiful garden! I love how you strive for sustainability and that you work with your climate to create such a wonderful landscape! Thank you for sharing your home with us!

    • Thank you for your compliment too. I have learned as I age that working with things (the land, the property, people even my own wavy hair – LOL!) is always much easier than working against it. This land and our stewardship of it is a true labor of love. I hope to leave it in better shape than I found it and that the next person or family will continue our work here.

  4. I am so jealous that you have an art studio! I would be spending many an hour there, very inviting and so is the surrounding land. Just beautiful.

    • Thank you for your kind compliments. I understand ho hard it is to want a space to create and to not have it. I waited many, many years and worked very hard to achieve this “luxury.” When my children were little everyone had a space to work except me. I created art in a dark basement, with one light bulb, standing and using the freezer and dryer as my work space. Obviously every time I had to do laundry, I had to move my project! Finally when my children were grown and educated, it was my turn. I sold many things and worked many hours to make this space a reality. And for 8 years I ran an art gallery in that space, working some 70-80 a week to make it pay. I am truly blessed to have such a lovely space to work and I never take it for granted.


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