Monday, March 28, 2016

Garden Time Approaches

It's officially spring according to the calendar and even judging by the temperatures and vegetation here in northern Illinois.  On our morning walks, we've noticed more activity from groundhogs and muskrats.  The robins are back, the chipmunks are out, and a pair of adorable rabbits have made themselves at home in our yard (which, however, has not been great for my flowers).

Bad bunnies!  See how they've been eating the daylilies?  They've also sampled the crocus and pansies.

I'm always thinking about how to improve the general looks of the garden -- what to move, what to add -- and recently I've become kind of enamored of willow fences.  Then the other day, I was in a local home improvement store (Menards) and saw peeled willow screen panels (46" high by 36" wide).  The wheels started turning.

We live in a fairly typical in-town location with neighbors on each side.  Our rear neighbors have a wood stockade fence which provides a perfect screen to the back.  Our side neighbors' yards are more open to ours.  On the east side, we have a small area by the garage that years back we converted from very spotty lawn to purple wintercreeper.  It thrives there.  I have flower beds on either side of the creeper.  My long bed of daylilies, however, just sort of mushes up against the neighbor's yard, which is a combination of ground cover and smallish trees.  I decided the willow screens would be perfect for adding some structure to that area of the garden.

I'm really pleased with how it looks.  Right now, I admit, it does look a little like it's just stuck in space there, but the hydrangea to the rear will leaf out and fill in shortly, and we decided to extend just to the birdhouse as a logical stopping point.  If we had kept going, we would soon have had to wrangle our way around a fair sized walnut tree.  Plus, at $16.99 per panel, six panels seemed like plenty!

We attached each panel to its neighbor with zip ties and anchored each panel into the ground with those green metal plant stakes.  I like the fact that it's not at all permanent and we can easily take it out in the fall (or before if I decide it doesn't work after all).

For the most part, I plan to leave it unadorned, but I may let some morning glory vines grow on it.  I have some sprouting that I hope to train up the birdhouse pole.  Maybe a few on the screen would be nice too.

I'm so glad it's warmed up enough to get outside.  Now when will those daffodils bloom???

Morning glory seedlings!


  1. I love the look of those panels! Our daffodils are pretty much done. I am waiting to get stuff into my containers until I know we are past any late cold snaps.

  2. It's so good to see you blogging again - it's been a long time! I love those willow screens...I will have to show your blog post to my husband. The neighbors on both sides of us have put up wooden fences and then we have a row of tall arborvitaes in our back yard, so we don't have need of fencing anywhere, but I think we could use a panel or two at the end of our patio for some privacy.

  3. Oh my goodness, green things poking out of the ground!!! We've still got snow cover and the temps are dropping again, so spring is still a ways off for us. I'm loving the willow fencing!! I so wish we could replace our burgundy wood fence. It fades and peels and it's not a good backdrop color for flowers. Oh, well, I'm just looking forward to seeing green again!

    Your birdhouse is going to look so cute with morning glories climbing the pole!

  4. I love those trellises! I could do with a few of them around the farm here. I bet I know what will be growing up them! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  5. I love spring...and all the gardening catalogs that show up in my mailbox. but I will not be doing any gardening this year. :-(
    we are getting ready to move, selling this house and moving to another state. so my gardening itch will have to go unscratched this year.

  6. I love those willow panels. I suppose they wouldn't stand up to a cold Minnesota winter? What is the tower in the background in your second to last photo?

    1. The tower is the base of an old water tower at a house museum near us. The water tower provided water for the stables. The former owners raised Percheron horses. I think there was a cistern in the house for the house water supply. Now that the tank is gone from the top, the tower looks a little like a fairy tale tower.

    2. And as for winter, I don't think the willow would hold up. I plan to take mine down and store them in the winter.

  7. Love your fence --and it would look great with some Morning Glories there....

    Isn't spring just marvelous? I love this time of year when things are growing and there's new life everywhere... BUT--it's also the time of year when we are the busiest.... Today I worked on my Canna Lily bed ---which we had covered during the winter... Next comes all of the spring mulching... Fun fun...

    Enjoy your spring.

  8. Your garden is going to look really awesome in summer time when daffodils bloom.
    Happy Spring!

  9. So nice to see everything growing again! Your new fence looks nice. I have yet to do any work in my garden, but a pansy somehow survived the winter (which seems amazing here in Iowa), and has already been blooming for over a week! Hope those rabbits find something better to eat than your flowers!

  10. Oooh, bad bunnies! lol
    That fence is nice. I can imagine all the beauty coming from your flowers when they bloom. Such lovliness!
    p.s. I just bought two hyacinth pots and they smell sooo good! I don't know a lot about flowers, but I think I have to wait to plant these outdoors in the fall. Until then, I'll enjoy this gorgeousness right in the pot. I think I'll post a few pics on my blog this week. :-)

  11. The deer are what eat all of my plants, but how can you be mad at deer or bunnies? They are so cute.
    Happy Spring!


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