Between days of working hard as a Realtor, helping buyers find those perfect homes and sellers get their homes sold, we have been working hard in our own yard. Anyone who drives by our place might see bales and bales of stacked pine needles lined up along the driveway slowly being placed in the flower beds. Usually, my dad's old mower is right there with the wagon attached for hauling. The lily pond has been mucked and is just starting to show signs of water lily blooms as the water slowly clears up enough to see the tiny fish swimming around, excited about the warmer weather. We have to pardon the mess for a couple weeks as we transform the winterized yard into what will be a yard with beautiful color and interest.
As a Realtor in Clarksville, showing homes gives me new insight to landscape ideas that I might not think about. I am someone who likes to try out different ideas and plans. I started out as a gardener who loved the look of a natural garden where anything could go anyplace but over the years I started trying to contain my gardens more. Maybe because over time a garden can get away from you as life gets busy. If you saw my gardens, you probably would not describe them as contained and probably would not see them as those like I do, but you probably didn't see them at all before I started cutting back!
Going to view homes with potential buyers can be fun. I am impressed by everything from intricately detailed gardens to natural gardens, potted gardens of all kinds and the rare water gardens. Most of the time buyers are very excited about a beautiful yard-- sometimes it becomes over whelming and they can not imagine putting all the love into a home of gardens that the owner does. As a gardener myself, it is always amazing to me to hear different views on a beautiful yard. Gardens can be described as flower gardens galore or pots of few and plenty, beautifully laid out shrubs and trees or just unique designs with beautiful features like statues or benches, fountains and arbors. The word garden holds different meanings for every individual.
When I was young, my mom and dad always said not to plant until after April 15th. That was the day! As the years have gone by we now wait till end of April to plant in my hometown of Clarksville. I have even been known to go into May after a hard winter.
Before the end of April, Tim is usually in the yard working on any weeds that have tried to make a home in our flower beds. The next step is mulching. Years ago we switched from shredded mulch to pine needles. I first really paid attention to pine needles covering the flower beds when I was visiting my Aunt in Alabama and it looked so nice. After that I just seemed to notice it more and more. I find pine straw mulch is lighter weight than bark mulch which allows for greater percolation of water and makes it easier to handle. It also seems to last longer and go further. Pine needles might also help around acid-loving rhododendrons, azaleas and hydrangeas. And the best part-- pine straw mulch is more resistant to those pesky insects we hate known as termites.
If you have not started this task of mulching yet maybe it's time. As a Realtor, I see it all. My biggest pet peeve is when I see what looks like a mountain of mulch around the base of a tree. Imagine this (as seen in the photo below) in a yard!
Not only is it not a pleasing look (I think of gigantic ant beds) but it can actually be harmful to your tree.
This is how we mulch around an existing tree:
1. Use shovel to clear out the area around your tree. Go out as far as you think is attractive.
2. Lay down about 2 inches of mulch and make sure you go back and watch for any grass or weeds you might need to dig up.
After the first year or two of keeping the area maintained and putting fresh mulch when needed, the area becomes pretty easy to maintain.
You might ask why mulch? I could go on and on. Not does it only look pleasing to the eye but it is healthy for the tree. There are so many reasons and maybe you can check out this website for some quick and good reasons: https://www.arborday.org/trees/tips/mulching.cfm
There are so many varieties of mulch. You just have to play around with what is eye pleasing to you and what fits your yard. You can easily do a search and get expert advice on different mulches. Once my dad decided to do something different and put black mulch out in all the beds. It was beautiful! The downfall was when the family dog came walking through the house after a morning dew and left black paw prints down the hall and on the carpet. We realized black mulch does not come black without a little dye or I have heard they use coal. Not to fear! If you like the black mulch look eventually the mulch seems to wash clean. So read up and decide what will work best for you and your family. It's time to get DIRTY!