Tag Archives: landscaping

Primary Colours and Walnuts

Obsessed by sky watching these past eclipsical (is that a word?) days, I found it interesting that the sky separated into the three primary colours of blue, red, and yellow. Where they overlap, there is a hint of what you get when you mix those colours – yellow and red = orange; red and blue = purple; but I couldn’t get the blue to meet the yellow for green, so not quite a rainbow effect. Still, a pretty good selection for a painter’s palette.

The black walnut (see photo below)  in our front yard has a bit of history. I bought it 25 years ago, thinking it was a walnut tree (the kind that gets walnuts on it). Well, it does get walnuts, but you have to use a sledgehammer to open them and there isn’t a whole lot of meat inside the thick, rock hard shells.

When the Captain and I planted the walnut tree, it was just a five-foot stick. Our yard was bare – no landscaping yet – and it was late February, cool and drippy. The neighbours walked past as we dug a hole in the mud and put this “stick” in the ground, and applauded. I think they thought it was a joke – poking fun at ourselves for the bare front yard.

Now, 25 years later, that stick is a beautiful black walnut. I’m guessing it’s over thirty feet tall. The walnuts are still not meant to be eaten, as it’s more of an ornamental tree. But I did go out and buy another walnut tree for the back yard. It’s almost as tall as the ornamental one but this one gets the kind of walnuts you can eat.

The two types of walnut trees have completely different leaves too.

Here, below, is the tree with edible walnuts.

In the photo below, you can see the walnuts on the tree.


They are still encased in their green shell, but those coatings break open as the nuts ripen and fall when the weather turns chilly. A nutcracker will do the trick for opening these walnuts. No sledgehammer needed.

A New Path

The sheltered area on the right side of the picture is under the back deck, an ideal place for the dog mats and their food dishes. From there to the backyard it used to be all grass, until Emma came to live with us. She made her own roads all over the yard, wore the grass down and carved her own path into the dirt by the back door.

That dirt was tracked into the house faster than I could vacuum it up. Something had to be done.


We shoveled out a path that was a bit wider than Emma’s own homemade runway, and it was my job to lay bricks on either side of it. “I put two bricks at the side,” the Captain said. “Did you move that one to the middle of the path?”

“Nope. Ask Emma.” She’ll steal anything – caps, gloves, underwear, and now bricks.


The dogs kept getting underfoot so I gave them a short timeout while I took their picture.


The Captain had cut a stick 40 inches long for me to use as a measure so the path would be the same width all along. He painted the ends black so I’d know this was the special measuring stick.

“Where did you put the stick?” I asked.

“Over by the wheelbarrow.”


We had to go looking for the stick. Lying in the grass some distance away was the measuring stick with most of the black missing on one end, and now measuring only 36 inches.


Underfoot again, Ruby is trying to be a black and white spaniel instead of liver and white. Check out the feet that will want to curl up on the living room rug later on.


And this little hellion (below) is dirtier than her black coat allows us to see, but if you click on the photo you’ll see the dirt magnified. Look on her feet, her nose, the ends of her ears, and the flag on her tail. She’s SO dirty. But that’s what happens when you run under the shovelful of flying dirt that is heaved out of the path to make room for the crushed rock.


To help keep the weeds down, we put down some landscape matting that is supposed to let water through but keep weeds down.

The Captain will finish filling up the path with crushed rock, but then comes the dilemma. Do we let the dogs inspect the new path  while we go into the house? Emma is a thief, a chewer, and a notorious hole digger. Do we dare leave her out here? I have a picture in my mind that I can’t shake off. It’s an image of Emma having dug a  deep hole in the middle of the crushed rock path, grabbing a hold of the landscaping mat and running around the backyard with her prize trailing behind her like a bridal train.

Life was easier when we had cats.


Hedge Your Best

It’s now or never. Just in, the new  hedging cedars are going like hotcakes in the stores and nurseries. We needed a new hedge. The old fir hedge was on its last legs and we could see them. That was one of the biggest problems – that we could see their legs. The lower branches were weak or gone and on many trees, only the top ones greened out. We could not only see the trees’ legs, but the legs of all the people walking past. Our privacy was disappearing fast.

With the purchase of forty-five cedar trees, the removal of the old fir hedge could begin. We hired a friend to help and the first efforts seem funny in hindsight. The winch on the front of the friend’s truck turned around but the cable on it stayed as it was instead of winding up to pull out the tree trunks. Maybe if the cable on this new “Made in China” winch had been attached to the winch itself, there would have been some torque on it. With no provision for attaching the cable, the poor fellow now has a brand new winch to return.


Plan B was a good one though. The friend’s son had a little bobcat and that made short work of the firs.

007The fun was just beginning. A big mess had to be cleared up before the new hedge could go in.


Meanwhile you may be wondering if I helped or just stood around taking pictures for my next blog post. I did my bit by going to buy the rooting compound, bone meal, and several truckloads of composted soil to add to the extremely sandy soil on our property.


 And now for the new trees – western red cedars. The weight of each of these potted trees was cause for many a groan.


Once the trees were in the ground and the valiant hedge planters had moved along, the robins wasted no time getting at the freshly uprooted worms and grubs…


while the work continued….


 I am now very happy with my new hedge. At first I wondered if the fellows would come through for me. If not, I could always have a wood fence built. I had hedged my bets, and they had hedged their best.




PS  Don’t forget to visit my other blog that is dedicated to writers, books, and writing. http://annelisplace.wordpress.com