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I bought some tulip, daffodil, iris and crocus bulbs for the garden. As I was planting them, I had the brilliant idea to plant them in our lawn. It’s another step to “naturalizing” our lawn. Here’s a link on how to do it.

After I planted a bunch of them, I found out that I planted them too shallow (they need to be planted about 2-3 inches deep), so I guess I’ll see how the first batch will turn out. Tonight, I purchased 70 more bulbs to plant in the lawn. I’m excited about the thoughts of crocuses blooming all across our lawn in the spring. We already have a few crocuses that have been planting around one of our trees in our front yard, which was a pleasant surprise this last spring, but the more, the merrier.

The iris and tulips were planted in our flower bed, the daffodils will be planted near the house on the edge of the lawn and the crocus will be planted throughout the lawn. I love digging in the dirt, so I look forward to doing this! This is my first time planting fall bulbs and I look forward to being rewarded in the early spring by all of the brilliant colour. I also love that these are all perennial flowers that will grow back every year.  Yay!

My clover planting experiment that I mention here worked out okay. I didn’t plant the clover seeds at the best time and it took longer than I thought to germinate and grow, but now I see that clover is starting to grow in large patches all over the lawn. Spring is the best time to plant, so I’ll sow more clover seeds in the spring. We still have a lot of dandelions growing in the yard, but they are smaller Fall Dandelion, which I’ve learned to tolerate. We’ll mow it before they set seed and that’s about all that we’ll do with it. When there were less of them, I tried picking the heads by hand, but there’s too many of them so it became futile (and I was also starting to wonder if it was causing them to send up more heads).

I found raspberries in our backyard today that I didn’t know were there.  It felt like an “everyday miracle” because I’ve been talking about how I want to grow raspberries in our backyard, and lo and behold, there’s actually a raspberry bush already growing there.  They were behind our shed.

I  bought a flowers of Newfoundland book and I was identifying some of the wildflowers growing in my yard when I found the raspberries.  hee hee!

After spending hours picking the seed heads off the dandelions off of our front lawn last week (4 grocery bags worth — yeah, a lot!), I thought that there must be a better way.

I researched on the internet environmentally friendly solutions and came up with seeding our lawn with white dutch clover. 

As Life in the Slow Lane puts it,

Clover is great, because you don’t need to:

a) cut it

b) water it (clover has much deeper roots than grass and will remain green throughout the summer)

c) fertilize it (clover is a nitrogen fixer, simply put it introduces nitrogen into the soil thus fertilizing the soil on it’s own).

d) clover’s deep roots tolerate soil compaction more readily than grass (don’t worry about aerating it).

The only thing about it is that it’s not originally native to Newfoundland (it’s native to Europe), but neither is Kentucky bluegrass (also native to Europe), which is currently all over my lawn.

So I’ll be replacing a non-native species with a non-native species, but at least it’s a non-native species that has all of the advantages that are mentioned above plus has pretty flowers!  I’ve also read that the clover will outcompete dandelions, which is my hope.

A potential negative that I’ve read about is that clover attracts bees, but that’s a positive point for me (well, I guess it depends on how many bees we’re talking about!).

Some people  view clover as a weed (like my dad, who was shocked to find out that I was choosing to seed our front yard with clover), so it’s not for everyone.

As I mentioned before, I’d like to eventually have the entire front lawn a relatively maintenance-free, naturescaped area, so I see this as a stepping stone towards my vision.

I bought some seed from the local Farmer’s Store on Topsail Road. I bought too much seed, in fact, so I probably have enough seed to last us a lifetime (they say it takes 2-8 oz to seed 1000 sq. ft, and I purchased 3 lbs of seed). In addition to the White Dutch Clover seed, I purchased 2 lbs of Red Dutch Clover seed, which grows taller (up to 18″ tall), so I think I’ll plant it in our “wild area in our backyard”, and will see what it looks like before planting it throughout the front yard.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  I’m pretty excited about it. I basically just sprinkled the white dutch seed over the existing front lawn and watered it, so I’m not sure if it’ll take. (They say the best time is early spring or late summer / fall and to rake it into the ground). I’ll let you know how it goes.

For more details about benefits and how to, see: Plant a Clover Lawn, and Establishing White Clover in Lawns.

This is the first time that we’ve had our very own garden and I am loving spending time in it.

Digging around in the dirt.

Breathing in the fresh air.

Talking to the trees.

Mixing up our compost.

Admiring all of the snails.

Picking the dandelions.

It feels like our own bit of heaven in our backyard.

Slowly we are putting in our touches — we have two bird feeders so far, a finch feeder and a millet/black sunflowerseed feeder.  We’ve had American goldfinches, black-capped chickadees and dark-eyed juncos visit so far. Eventually I’ll put out a suet-feeder too.

We had some perennials come up in our front garden, and we’ve planted some more perennial seeds.  The nice thing about gardening in Newfoundland is that it rains so often that you don’t need to water the garden at all.

We eventually would like to landscape the entire front yard and transform it into a xeriphytic / naturescaped area.  No more lawn.  But, we’re going to take our time to do it. In the meantime, the front lawn has been completely overtaken by dandelions.  There were so many dandelions that going around with the dandelion-picker was pretty futile. I tried to go around and pick all of the yellow flowers before it went to seed, but again the dandelions won. I kind of feel like dandelions are so hardy and good at growing, they deserve to take over the world. (Though I also admit that I also feel a bit like a bad neighbour with all of our dandelion seeds spreading across the neighbourhood).  I picked a few of dandelion leaves tonight and will try eating them as a green — I hear that they are very nutritrious for you. If you have any tips on how to “control” dandelions in an easy and non-chemical, let me know!

In our backyard, there was a very small vegetable garden that was started by the previous owner.  Very small.  As in a wild onion plant and another plant that we haven’t been able to identify yet. We’re slowly extending the vegetable garden and planted a couple of tomato plants, sage, thyme, peas, tomato seeds, and pepper seeds. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m pretty excited about it. I don’t know anything about gardening and I’m also pretty lazy about it — I want to see what will grow with minimal effort and will grow more of whatever grows well over the years.

Eventually I’d love to turn most of our lawn into a vegetable garden. But, again we’re starting small and will slowly build. It’s pretty exciting…

Alex enjoys his time in the backyard as well — digging in the dirt — he calls it “his dirt”, pushing his toy lawnmower and riding his tricycle around.

We purchased an old-fashioned push lawnmower — the non-gas / non-electric type. Mel’s been doing the mowing and he says that it works pretty well. You need to exert a bit more force than with the electric/gas type, but it’s non-polluting and quiet and does the job! We highly recommend it.

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