In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering...

This blog exists to encourage all those who have ever wanted--and needed!--a tiny getaway close to home. A workshop, playhouse, garden shed, sanctuary, mini-greenhouse, studio, home office; whatever it is you need, it IS doable, with some sacrifice, imagination, and compromise.

It helps if you're handy, too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring is coming!


And we're thinking about our mini-nature sanctuary!  Our friend Keith used to have a garden center and nursery, so we asked him for advice about our very-shady lot where the shed is.  I want to maintain an illusion of wildness, since it HAS largely grown up in the years I've owned it--the shed feels a lot like it's in the country, right here in town.

I specified things that would look natural, offer privacy, and that the birds and butterflies would like...

Mostly I want a crabapple and a couple of red-twig dogwoods right now...we'll start slow, what we can afford and what won't take much maintenance--both of us have bad backs and I've got arthritis, so hoping to have really hardy, mostly maintenance-free plantings, shrubs and perennials mostly.

Here are some of Keith's suggestions, many of which I wasn't familiar with, so I'm browsing the 'net and checking out what these are.  (You can click on the image to see it larger.)  Blue Muffin Viburnum is COOL, and the birds agree.

Sooooo...we'll see how much we can afford, and go from there!


  1. Oh, I love hydrangeas, too. You can dry the flowers upsidedown and keep them all winter as a remembrance of summer. In fact, I've had some for years before they got too dusty.

    It is going to be just lovely!! Can hardly wait to see it after new plants get settled in. Even if you add a few every year--wow! Going to be you guys' personal retreat out there. :)

  2. I'm excited to see things start to take shape. Keith is going to do the digging for us, too, neither of us are up for that. (Getting old is NOT for sissies!) Of course when he was here the other day to drop off the sketch, he'd pulled HIS back!

  3. If you are looking to get a crabapple that appeals to birds, then you need to get an older version. All the newer cultivars have sacrificed avian taste appeal of their fruit for other things like increased blooms and bloom duration.

  4. Did any of the ones listed on the plan fit the bill? I wanted the orange fruit ones because they're SO gorgeous in the fall, but I want happy birds, too!

  5. Perhaps you're already aware of a program by the Missouri Department of Conservation where you can buy seedling plants and trees at very low cost. I've gotten hundreds of trees and shrubs from them over the years for my Ozarks woods. You have to buy bundles of 25, and you probably don't need 25 cypress trees for your yard, but you might want some beauty berries (good for birds) or some button bush (good for butterflies, and adorable flowers). (Plus, at least a few of the 25 in each bundle are no good, so you don't really get 25.) Go to the MDOC website and search for seedling order form. It may not be too late still this year to put in an order, or to dream about next year.

  6. Thanks, Paul, yes I did know about that program, and used it when I had my farm a billion years ago. It was 20 acres, though, and this is just a little urban yard. I'm pretty sure I don't have room for 25 of anything. (Or a few less, given the death rate.) I'm planning to have a butterfly bush, though!

    What Keith's sketch doesn't show are the trees and shrubs that are already here...lots of redbud, an apple tree, a crabapple, two lilacs, a mock orange, 4 huge forsythia, and a dogwood...give or take!

  7. And by the way, Paul, I miss Round Rock Journal. Lovely, graceful writing about a special place on earth. The Missouri calendar was worth the price of admission!



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