TULIPS are always the stars of my Spring Gardens... but today there is much more than tulips blooming in this Grandmother's Garden... finally! (Spring has come so slowly this year.) A walk through my garden reveals the following blooms happily doing their thing on this May Garden Bloggers Bloom Day:
Hyacinthoides Hispanica (Scilla)
These dainty little blossoms are a first in my garden. I planted 100 of the tiny bulbs in a container last Fall.
They are just beginning to bloom.
These blossoms are always a welcome sight... fresh sweet strawberries will be here soon!
These strawberries are everbearing, but the largest crop is always in Spring.
Chocolate Chip Ajuga
This variety of Ajuga has short four inch spikes of blue on foliage that will deepen to dark green with splashes of chocolate brown. In addition to being much smaller than other Ajuga varieties,
Chocolate Chip isn't nearly as invasive.
All the Redbuds are in their splendor!
Eastern, Forest Pansy and Oklahoma are in full bloom.
Incidentally, they are blooming here about four weeks later than last year.
Just beginning to peak out from their foliage.
These are planted with Shasta Daisies that won't be blooming for a while yet.
Burkwood Viburnums have finally popped!
And oh my! Their sweet fragrance fills the air with its heavenly smell.
I actually think they look more like DANCING hearts. Turn up the music please! (jk)
Rockfoil These crimson blossoms grow on a lush carpet of green but they only bloom in Springtime.
Another reason why I love Spring!
Flowering Plum Tree
These trees dot my neighborhood, planted by the city in our open green spaces.
Their flowers are profuse and fragrant in Spring.
As Summer approaches, their green leaves will turn to deep burgundy.
So glad that Spring has finally Sprung here!
Our bones are a bit creaky today and our muscles are a little tired and stiff,
but we're so thankful for the joys that come from gardening.
We work hard on Saturday so that on Sunday, our Sabbath Day, we can rest and give thanks
for all the beautiful creations we are blessed to nurture in our gardens.
With the sand in place between the stones, our patio was looking beautiful. However, we wanted to keep the sand in the gaps and not have to worry about sand on top of the stones. We also wanted to insure our hard work would last through the extremes of heat and below freezing temps as well as wind and rain and snow.
The seller of our flagstone introduced us to a secret ingredient...
This sealant is a thermoplastic, all acrylic polymer which seals the stone, penetrates the jointing sand and binds the sand to the sides of the natural stone creating a stabilized surface. It is designed to be sprayed on to the sand in the joints between the stones, holding or locking the sand in place.
The five-gallon container of Stone Lock we purchased was quite pricey, but worth the cost and effort to apply. Here's what we did:
We waited several days for the heat of the sun to completely dry the sand between stones.
Not wanting to 'glue' any sand to the surface of the flagstones, we carefully swept any remaining sand from the face of EACH stone, back into the cracks. Then we used a shop vac to vacuum any remaining grains of sand from off the flagstone. This was a bit tedious, but not difficult.
Next, using a pump sprayer, we sprayed the Stone Lock liberally to the sand in the cracks as well as on each stone. Initially the liquid looked like bluish milk, but dried clear. (I freaked out when I saw the blue, but my Honeyman assured me all would be well... and it was.) The patio was dry after 3 hours.
Noticing that some of the joints were not quite hard, we applied a second coat to all joints.
After waiting again for the Stone Lock to dry, our flagstone patio was finally complete.
Next month will be the third anniversary of our patio. It
has fulfilled all our expectations. We love the beauty it brings to our
landscape. We haven't been disappointed in its performance at
providing a beautiful, easy to maintain, walkable surface where our
family can enjoy the paradise we have created. We worked together to create something beautiful,
but more importantly, a choice opportunity to create family memories
that bind our family together with love. Or family motto has become: We Do Hard Things.
♦ ♦ ♦
A few additional notes: The Stone Lock was advertized to virtually eliminate weed and
grass growth in the joints, which it did quite well during the first
year. We now have a few weeds peaking out from the cracks but we have never re-applied the Stone Lock as was
suggested. Perhaps we will do that this year. We have on occasion been asked why we didn't use mortar to fill the
gaps. The answer is quite simple. We don't like the looks of mortar. It
tends to crack as the extreme temperature changes we experience here cause the
stones to shift. Sand, even with the application of Stone Lock, is
flexible enough to eliminate the unsightly cracks. I would also like to note that my Honeyman is not a contractor or a builder, or anything of the sort. He is an engineer by trade and works at a computer. He has become, in the course of our almost 36 years together, The Builder of All My Dreams... if I can dream it, he figures out a way to build it. Wait till you see what we're working on now! To see the completed project visit: You've Got to Have a Dream You may wish to also visit: Part One: Preparing the Foundation Part Two: Laying the Stone Part Three: Filling in the Gaps
This is the third in a series of how our family built our beautifulFlagstone Patio.
You may view Part One and Part Two here: Preparing the Foundation Laying the Stone Now that the stones are laid and level and the puzzle is complete, we're ready to fill in the gaps between the stones. This step was actually a lot of fun. Partly because the hard labor was behind us and the end was in sight but also because sweeping sand is just plain fun!
Genuine Happy Smile... Whistle While You Work
Even the photographer wanted to give it a whirl.
Honeyman's job was to come to the rescue whenever there was a stone that was even the slightest bit "tippy". Gently moving it around at this point helped it to settle well. Remember, the leveling of the stones had already occurred in step two.
Sometimes we dumped a little too much sand in one spot. Our trusty snow shovel was the right tool to scoop up the extra.
With all the sand swept into the gaps, it's time to gently squirt the surface with water. We then let it dry for a day and added sand to any spots that needed to be topped off. Another sprinkling of water and we were ready to begin our final step in building our beautiful patio.