Fall Garden Project Number One

No, really, there are no remains in the Memorial Garden…although you might suspect otherwise if you saw this.

While we were away, fall signaled its arrival.

Just hints so far, but the creatures know.

And with cooler days come a mountain of projects. First on the list: a complete demolition and re-do of the raised bed area of the garden.

Once, these housed a mountain of overgrown and deadly blackberry brambles. They spread their spikes throughout the garden, so they were banished to the perimeter a few years ago where they (and the bunnies) thrive safely out of the dogs’ paths.

Blueberries, California Poppies and a bed of Rosemary took their place, but the spot was too dry and hot for the blueberries, the boards were rotting, and the Bermuda grass was winning the war on all fronts. I have learned to let nature have her way…to a point which does not include Bermuda grass!. So, the raised beds have been razed and the blueberries donated – and in their place will be gentle mounds hosting native and drought-tolerant selections more appropriate to the site while echoing other sections of the garden.

The first order of business, however, are trenches.

When it rains, everything on the property flows from the dog yards and kennel to the garden. It helps to keep the dogs drier (our first priority) but creates lakes in the garden. We lost one tree this year to the swamp that collects in the center; we want to prevent that going forward. So, in the design are trenches and mounds – to act as catch basins for some of the deluge while keeping drought-tolerant plants high and dry.

Maria helped me with phase one: the blueberry and box frame removal while unearthing and capping the existing irrigation.

Nash came to the rescue to cut down and remove the heavy redwood boards.

And while the dogs did not quite grasp the principle of sled dogs to help in moving wheelbarrows of gravel,

Kermit the cat was happy to provide supervision and amusement.

A few plants will go in this fall to get established, but mostly, we’ll fill the bed with fresh compost and leaf mulch and let it “cook” over the winter to be ready for spring planting. I have learned the hard way: preparation and patience pays rewards in the end.

What’s on your fall garden list?

Published by


I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

8 thoughts on “Fall Garden Project Number One”

  1. I was following along thinking hard about your chores until I got to the ‘sled dog’ and then I had myself a good hearty chuckle with the visual. 🙂 I’ve been doing all the normal fall New England chores to batten down the hatches and get ready for the winter deluge of snow. That has included trimming, pruning, dead heading, and in general tidying everything up and storing anything that was brought out in the spring. I’ll look forward to seeing how your trenches work and your bed looks in the spring.

  2. An ever evolving garden with new ideas. It is hard to believe what use to be with the berries. I so remember taking those thorny vines out. Thanks for sharing the old blog as this new part of the garden gets reworked and planted.

  3. This time of year I often think of what it would be like if we had snow or a winter covering that let the garden chores rest–completely. Of course there isn’t the abundance of growth and flower we have at other times, but they still need a lot of tending. Fortunately the cooler weather makes it a little easier. I grow weary sometimes, but I’d probably miss the garden routines if I didn’t have them, so I’ll take inspiration from you! I love the dogs, always, but that delightful photo of Kermit stole my heart this time. 🙂

  4. Wow, that’s a lot of work, but it will be worth it in the end. We had really poor drainage when we first bought the house, eventually sending water into and under the wood flooring leaving them buckled when the water retreated. We now have a french drain and a couple of underground ditches to catch the excess (when it rains that is). I’m looking forward to seeing your memorial garden evolution. Stunning photos as ever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s