The tea room garden is a big project that needs to be done in stages, as time and funds allow. It would be so easy to go overboard planning garden projects, especially in the dead of winter when cabin fever strikes. But since the garden is a publicly visible part of the business, we can't start big projects and then let them languish for weeks or months unfinished.
The long-term goal is to create a walking garden, with interesting architectural elements, outdoor dining spaces, flowers that bloom throughout the growing season and attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other native pollinators, and trees, shrubs and annuals that produce fruits and vegetables for the kitchen.
We've already partially fenced the perimeter of the garden and built flower beds around the foundation of the tea room. Along the way, we've placed bird baths, arbors and a couple of small patios. We've also planted dwarf fruit trees, flowering shrubs, climbing roses, and Spring-and Summer-flowering bulbs.
I can't think of anything that is more satisfying in the garden than looking at a freshly mulched flower bed (primarily because a freshly weeded flower bed is a whole lot more work!). I know that the act of putting down mulch is going to save me a lot of weeding and watering later on, so the sore back and dirty fingernails are totally worth the work.
There are all sorts of flowers that I love, but I have a fairly large garden space to work with, so I have to keep costs down.
I've found several ways to get a lot of plants for cheap or free, and I thought I'd share a few of them with you.
Residential tree removal is pretty darned expensive, and I don't have any tips for getting rid of trees for cheap or free. But I can share how we reduced our cost, and gained value from unwanted trees
When we bought the tea room, it came with a large yard full of grass, black walnut trees, scraggly, stinky, over-grown cedar trees. The cedar trees covered the front of the house, and the walnuts lobbed green grenades into the yard in the fall (I spent 6 months walking with a limp after I rolled my ankle on a black walnut). They had to go.