Play in the Dirt Again

If you are under the assumption that this post is about planting…well, you would be wrong.

This post is basically a shrine to one little boy getting dirt into every sweaty crevice of his tiny little body.

Sounds like a Kevin Bacon movie, huh?  (yum…bacon….)  Brain trail – what if I was pregnant with a boy and we named him Kevin Bacon Bower.  Awesome and hilarious.  And then I would have to play that game – 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon Bower – all the time.  And I would make him memorize the dance moves in Footloose and introduce himself with his full name to complete strangers.  Oh the amount of motherly love that I have…

Anyhoo…let’s set the scenery here, shall we?!

I left ya off with our left-much-to-be-desired-landscaping near the front of our driveway…

On either side of the driveway was random lawn ornamentation…a fire hydrant, a water meter, a water line & spigot, a rotten palm tree stump and a very important drain.

Well, we decided to put the ole muscular system to work and dig out all the rocks behind our light pillar.

We picked each one up, threw it three yards and then cleaned out the ditch.  After laying some weed blocker, we put each rock back into place…anchoring the fabric and also creating proper drainage from our neighbor’s yard to the drainage pipes under our driveway and into the ditch.

The best part about the project was that it was free – because we already had the weed blocker on hand and the rocks were already there. Just a little time and patience – and a killer forearm workout – and we had ourselves a much nicer drainage ditch on one side.

On the mailbox side, we decided that we definitely needed to start planting some shrubs…

so we headed to a local place called The Growers Outlet.  Basically this is a place that sells directly from the plant growers…so no huge markups but you still get quality plants.  And it’s only open during certain seasons.  Like the winter – notsomuch.

I knew from our last house that both Jeremy & I loved Lorapetalum.  It’s this beautiful shrub that turns golden bronze with dark green during the winter and purple during the blooming season and is full all year round – and does great in this Georgia heat and our deer won’t mess with them.

We didn’t really have much of a plan – but when we saw the sign for the Lorapetalum say that it works great with roses and hollies, we decided on the spot to go with the growers advice.

When we got home, I laid out the plants and got to capturing my longhaired boy (this was before his first haircut) help his daddy.

I often get the question – aren’t you nervous with Will helping out on your projects that he will get hurt?  or how do you manage him – my toddler is always making a mess of things?  or won’t he mess up your progress or make a ten minute project ten times longer?

Um.  YES.  Emphatically.

Will could get hurt.  He could mess things up (and often does) and he makes everything take longer.  He gets every.single.part. of his clothing dirty.  even when I’m doing a cleaning project.  BUT we want him to love tools.  And we want him to not be afraid to tackle things or work hard or get his hands into stuff.

I’m more liberal than Jeremy – like I am the mom that would show him how to access and walk properly with scissors – while Jeremy wouldn’t trust him with a butter knife.  And as partners in this parental raising thing we are in, I’ve learned that when Daddy says no – I enforce those rules…because they are now mine…whether I agree or not.  And Jer has learned that actively engaging Will in our projects helps him understand what danger is, what messes are, what helping is all about, and that it’s not impossible to get things done with a kid (we once thought that it was)…but it just requires more multi-tasking and patience.

oh and small plastic tools often help too.

And one boatload of pretreater…

Since we planted all these last September, we didn’t trim anything back this spring.  I need to still fertilize…but hopefully those two things will help these little guys grow big and strong.

Will discovered the clumps of roots in the red clay we have here…

and then went over to add some topsoil.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a bag of manure…

The planting overall went really really fast.  It’s probably because of my excellent cheering…

and it probably helped that the entire area was tilled by our neighbor when they added the drainage pipe.

Okay – can I just tell you how much I love this photo!?

Like a lot.  a tiny little hand covered in all sorts of dirt – with a pudgy wrist and dirty socks in the background.  It’s so Will :)

Oh and his little booty….it started off clean(ish)…

and soon progressed to full on muddy.

And that wasn’t the only area that saw dirt that day :)

His outfit got so dirty that day that Jeremy said “well I guess that’s a work outfit from now on”…

to which I said “are you kidding?!  I can get those stains out”  “hopefully”.

And I did too.  I am still overly impressed with myself about it.


Around the fire hydrant, we planted some Waxleaf Ligustrum.  It can grow really really tall…but we planted it strategically so that the leaves will be at least three feet away from the hydrant (per county code), but it will be blocked from view on the inside of our mailbox…but not the neighbors side of the mailbox….still visible from the street.

As Jer was wrapping up the plantings, I continued my hard work in documenting all things dirty-boy.

Will found his way into the ditch.  This end of the ditch is still waiting on one more long tube for drainage.

Will decided it was the perfect play place.

I wish I could have this much fun in a ditch.  Oh simple joys.

Well, in the end, the one side ended up looking like this:

We just mimiced it on the other side (I’ll spare you the other five hundred Will photos from that side)..

Here’s the before photo and the progress photo….


Not too shabby, huh!?

Next is the little paver patio we made for our drain…and then the final photos of all our outdoor adventures!

In the mean time, let’s talk shrubbery!  What is your favorite shrub?  Heck make it any plant…I need to know because it’s planting season again and I am black thumbed, forefingered, pinkie fingered and toed.



  1. Michele says

    Wow, looks beautiful! Will is such a doll–there’s nothing cuter than a dirty little boy with tools!

  2. says

    This is from last year, right? Do we get to see how everything is looking now!? :) I’m loving some wisteria that we planted on an arbor last year in order to block the neighbor’s view into our backyard (since we live in a tract home) and somehow I managed not to kill it. In fact, it has these crazy looking blossoms on it that are starting to bloom.

    I like that your husband is listening to music while gardening despite having you and your kiddo there, my husband does the same even when I’m around (minus the kiddo)!

  3. Karen R says

    We have those purple things too! I love the look of them but they grow really fast and they’re kinda itchy when you get in them. I always have to wear longsleeves and jeans when I trim them. My favorite shrub is our tea olive trees. They are called trees but are more like a bush. They are so fragrant and bloom a lot during the year (I dont know when but it seems they have been blooming for several months now). I only have two and I can smell from far away. I love the growers outlet too!!!! I got a couple of black dragon cedars there last year to flank our front porch and they are still alive so far (I have blackthumbs too)!! :)

  4. Dawn says

    I like Russian sage – it smells good and adds color dimension with its gray/green color. I also love lavateria – it self sows at the end of the season but needs to be up against something or it falls down. My other fav is any “odora” – daphne being the most fragrant. Let’s see – I also like dusty miller and azalea. I have a bunch of fern (Seattle so it’s very wet), not sure if that would work in Georgia. Good luck and may the dirt be with you.

  5. Rhiana says

    I really love hydrangeas. They are hard to kill. Sedum are great because they are also hard to kill and they will live anywhere. You can take off a small piece, stick it in the ground and another plant will pop up!

  6. says

    Your plantings look great! I love Growers’ Outlet. It is nearly 90 minutes from my home, though, so when I go I take a friend or my parents and make a day of it loading up the minivan (usually stow or remove some of the seats to optimize space for plants!).

  7. Rhiana says

    Also hastas. Every couple of years you can split them so free plants! They are easy to split and are super hardy. They are no maintenance!

  8. Sara says

    So ridiculously off topic but did you ever do a post about your experiences with cloth diapers? I know YHL did one, but I dont read there blog as I dont “relate” to them (please, nobody take offence to that, I think they are very ncie and seriosuly talented, I just prefer other blogs) and I would love to hear your experiences.. will you use with baby number 2, did you use a diaper sprayer or how did you get rid of #2.. and did you use special detergent?? :)

    • says

      I did a little post on how we cleaned ours – we didn’t follow the rules. don’t judge us :)
      I think if you type in “cloth diapers” into our search bar, it’ll show you the post!
      xo – kb

  9. Sara says

    I love that you dont follow the rules!!!! Thats why I love your blog, and certainly why I can relate! Esp. when it comes to the not using organic things… My friends all hoped on that trend, but I figure… Our parents fed us regular food and used regular detergent with us… and we’re normal, right?!?!?! :)

  10. BARB says

    Here are my favorite perennials and shrubs. I think they will do well in the south. I love perennial as you plant them once and pay for them once. Then you just enjoy year after year. Here goes:

    Blue Spirea
    Ornamental grasses that grow tall and wide
    HOSTAS are a must…..the giant ones. you can’t kill them
    Cimosifia (SPELLING?)
    Balloon flowers
    Painted daisies
    Huekera (sp?) Hoo-kera
    Sweet William
    Jack in the Pulpit

    Just a few suggestions.


  11. says

    I love it! I just hit up Growers Outlet yesterday….and what did I come home with? Loropetalum! This is my first time planting it, and I’m hoping I get the spacing right in my new beds! Gardening scares me a little….:D

  12. Beth says

    Gotta be the hydrangeas. I love them in every color, especially the white lacecaps. I am so glad that you mentioned Growers Outlet. My family and I have been shopping there for years even though we live on the south side of Atlanta.

    Love the scissors thing too! They gotta learn sometime!

  13. Mary Ellen says

    Hi Katie,
    I am a new fan because of YHL, you are a hoot. We havent heard from you in several days so I hope everything is okay with you all.

    Mary Ellen

  14. Stacy says

    I, too, have the knock rose and loropetalum combo (here in Texas) and ligustrums, too. One plant I really like with the loropetalum is a kaleidoscope abelia, it is kinda golden right now which looks great with the loropetalum being purple/pink now. It will be a brighter green in the summer with the loropetalum will be darker. They compliment/contrast each other nicely. I love the roses for bud vases all over the house. Fun!

  15. lyssa says

    Hey, so I was wondering what methods you used to get those stains out?! Dirt and grass have been a little too familiar lately, and I think I would be more accepting of it if I could preserve the clothing, haha.

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