Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall memories 2009




We have such a wonderful weather today, that I thought I make some last pictures of my yard, before the cld nights break in and everything need to get cut down. Yeah, I messed with the grass around some beds, but until next year it will be covered again, I am pretty sure of that one, even if its just weeds.

Potting up plants for the winter

The winter is slowly moving in and the nights get cold. Last week we had one night in the lower 30s, so I had to hurry and pot the most sensitive plants up, bring them in the house to save them.

Here is my Yucca elephantipes, Aloe vera and 2 pineapple plants. I still have to pot up my hibiscus seedlings, which I will probably do today or tomorrow.

I also will take my Musella Lasiocarpa out of  the ground and pot it up, because I want to see it bloom so badly next year and when it stays outside it won't ever bloom.

What hurt me most was that I had to cut all my Brugs down, they were in so perfect bloom and at the top of their beauty, but had i not taken cuttings from all of them, I'd  probably loset them during the winter.

I took several cuttings of each, so I will have plenty of new plants next year. On the left you see 2 Pink Caesalpinia pulcherrima seedlings, that hopefully grow a big bigger next year. This year they didn't do a lot but getting a strong root system. I've also several palm seedlings that need to be protected in the first 3 years. Lots more to do like mulching all my banana trees, cutting the stems down and cutting the thousands of Cannas that I have. When I have to cut everything down in late fall, it gives me some kind of sadness, because my yard looks empty and dead, but then, spring is always coming and everything awakes to new life and becomes bigger and more beautiful each year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Brugmansias in bloom

Some of my Brugs have started to bloom

Brugmansia Charles Grimaldi

It opens up yellow, then becomes kind of peachy

Brugmansia Rosamund

This one smells like heaven.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New succulent bed and others in progress

I almost finished my new succulent bed today. still need some more little plants to fill it up, but so far I am already very satisfied with the overall look

I have only 4 opuntias planted and a couple yuccas. Want to get some winterhardy agave too.

Also got 100 more rocks today and made the border for 2 new beds

Sprayed everything with Round-up and need to wait a week until the grass is dead. There is still so much grass that I want to get rid of. Who needs grass? Not me!!!! It's a waste of space.

Here is the neglected corner bed that I still need to finish
Had last week some major stuff in the front yard going on. My neighbor said, I make myself more work every day, but in reality, it will be less, once everything is done, because my weekly mowing duty will be minimized to a few minutes only. Moved hundreds of flagstones in the front yard (sorry, no picture right now) and enlarged the existing beds to almost the double size. (Killed appr. 40-50 Black widows when moving the rocks - an entire can of spider spray gone, ughhh)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sunset from my patio

We had a beautiful sunset today, when I was sitting on my patio and although my cam is not the best one, I could catch a spectacular picture

Alabama sunset

Four o' clocks

Some time has passed again and I am working on different projects at the same time, which means transplanting between different beds to make space for new plants. The work basically never ends and I hate to show half done projects, but I had to make a few pictures of the four o' clocks that I have blooming right now.

Aren't they beautiful? They are so easy and simple to plant, but they are my all time annual favorites because of their intoxicating fragrance. In the evening, when I sit after a long day of garden work on the patio, I can smell them from all directions. They make me so happy, and I am tempted to plant even more of them all around the yard.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The corner bed

The corner bed is my next project. I worked already today on it and removed part of the Cannas and Elephant ears growing in there. I also removed half of the rocks you see in the front. Need them for my second succulent bed. I made the border much larger than it was before and will plant something that differs in size. Tall in the corner and shorter as I get to the front of the border. Not sure yet, what it will be. Before I can start thinking about it, I still have a lot of work ahead of me.
It just didn't look nice with the Elephant ears in the back and the Cannas in the front, because they had the same size and there was visually no interest.

This bed also need to get filled up with topsoil, it is a bit sunken, because I mixed a lot of yard waste into the soil last year and it decomposted so much, that it sunk almost 5 inch in height.
That's my job tomorrow.

I was in Lowes today and came across this beautiful palm. It was without a tag and the sales person didn't know if it's a winter hardy palm or not. I recognized it as a windmill palm but didn't say anything. I asked the supervisor for a discount, because I didn't want to waste $34.95 (the original price) for a palm that isn't winter hardy. She agreed to give me 50% off, so I got it for $17.00, which was a great deal for a windmill palm that size.

Extremely happy about my bargain purchase, I stopped at Walmart to get some mushrooms and Papaya for my torts, when I saw these lovely Crape Myrtles for only $11. Got a white one called Chocolate white. It will get only 8 feet tall and I planted it against the fence.

I had already this lovely pink one, which I bought last year at Lowes, also without tag, so I don't know which variety it is and how tall it gets, but the color sure is stunning.

It was a good day and I am planning on buying more rocks at the weekend to get an other huge bed beside the succulent bed next week going. I thought it's better to stay with rocks instead of wood borders to give the garden a more uniform look.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New succulent bed

I completed my succulent bed today. Of course I couldn't wait until the grass was dead and just put everything on top of it, starting on Friday already. I had to buy several bags of soil, sand, soil conditioner and pea gravel, which were multiple trips to Home Depot, because my car (Mustang convertible) only fits 3 bags at a time. My back suffered the most carrying all these heavy bags, especially the pea gravel, from the garage to the bed. Then yesterday it wouldn't stop raining and everything got pretty messy, but God thanks it stopped early in the morning today and I could go on planting.

this little pot in the middle is an Aloe vera, which I found yesterday when I was grocery shopping at Aldi for $3.95. It can't stay outside during winter, so I left it in the pot, also the 2 Pineapple plants are in a pot.I still want to plant some Hens & chicks to add more color and maybe buy 2 more bags of pea gravel for cleaner look. I had 2 bags, but they just disappeared in this bed like nothing. Actually I started liking the idea of having more succulents. And have already an other bed in mind, where I want to create a rock garden with Agave and Cacti. But that is still far away, because the next duty will be to remove all the Cannas and elephant ears from the corner bed, weed it, fill it up with soil and plant something more attractive there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Emma's Bellflower

My neighbor Emma gave me a couple months ago some tiny 1 inch bellflowers. I just saw one is blooming now, although it's not their season any more. It's only a couple inch tall, but the bloom sure is pretty and I had to make a picture.

I am so upset

Just drove to Fred's to get a metal arbor. Wanted to place it right where the mulched way begins and plant a trumpet creeper around it. Last week they had 4 left greatly reduced for only $15 each. Of course I came too late and everything was sold. I then drove to K-mart, because I saw one for $25 there yesterday and it was sold too. It's not my day today, too bad, it would have looked so nice with an arbor over there.

Final shape

The new shape of the bed is done. It took me an awful long time to make it work with the number of rocks I had. That it's 111 degrees heat index today with 100% humidity didn't help either. I am soaking wet and need a long break now. These rocks are so heavy and I've sworn myself it was the last time I moved them. I wish I had some more, the bed isn't as large as I wanted it, but those rocks are expensive with all the beds that I am doing, so I will from now on only use a wooden border. They are also a lot easier to lay out and to carry. Everything is weed sprayed and now I only have to wait until the grass is killed.

This is the Pindo Palm, that I want to plant in the middle, slightly elevated. It's still a small one, but it grew pretty strong this year, last year it only was a seedling.

I also will plant Yucca filamentosa, which btw had this gorgeous bloom in spring. The dried stalk is still on the plant.
Beside that, a couple of Hesperaloe parviflora, Red Yucca (see pic below)

Flower of red Yucca

and a small Yucca elephantipes. I have a couple more succulents in the yard, which I also will plant in this bed. If I only could start right now. I hate all the preparation and waiting time, until I finally can do what I love most, planting.

New arrangement

Last night when I went to bed, many thoughts went through my head regarding the arrangement of this new bed. I wasn't really satisfied with the round shape that wasn't so round on the left side. I missed one rock to make it really round and I have tried multiple times to rearrange the rocks to no avail. Also, I figured, since I want to have more beds in the future and reduce the lawn part of my yard, I should arrange the bed more wisely to get optimum space for future projects.
So what I will do today is to move the rocks once again and only leave a 1 1/2 lawnmower wide space in between other beds as walkway. Too bad, I have already sprayed the grass with roundup yesterday, but I am pretty sure, it will grow back in no time, at least the weeds do and it will look green again. (My backyard is anyway more weeds than grass)

When I start a new project in the yard, I usually change it many times, before I am really satisfied. A lot of work that I could save myself, if I thought everything through before I start to work, but like I said earlier, I am almost totally lacking the vision of the finished project and realize as I go, that I want things to look different.

Off I go, moving rocks again. Outch, my back hurts already from the last days work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Permanent transformation

Long time since I posted, but I was so busy in the yard, that I had no desire to write about it. I made several new beds, divided plants, transplanted and retransplanted. My problem is that I cannot visualize what it will look like when the plants get bigger and so I am permanently rearranging things from one bed to an other. I got the side bed close to the backyard entry planted and this is what it looks like today.

I put Cypress mulch on the way and bordered both sides of the beds with heavy rocks, which I got from Home Depot. Just carrying all these rocks from their dump to their destination in over 110 heat with 100% humidity was a challenge in itself. It took me several days until I had that job finished. The spider flowers that you see between the Castor Beans popped up after I didn't expect them to germinate any more. So that was a huge surprise. I have sown Cleomes the last 2 years and never got any plants. Now they are squeezed between the Castor Beans, which I don't like very much. Anyway, I let them be, because I don't want to disturb the Castor Beans. But the entire bed must get redone, because I failed to mix some good dirt into the heavy clay, and nothing grows really well there. This clay is like a rock, when it gets dry. On the right you see these huge Celosia Argenteas, they sprouted from the last year droppings everywhere. One plant is now 10 feet tall and has a stem like a tree. It grows in pure sand, unbelievable. I hope I can get it out after it has bloomed. Those roots tend to be very deep and hard to get out of the ground. Behind the Celosia there are Motherwort, which I bought as Cimicifuga racemosa (Black Cohosh) What a disappointment, when I didn't get Black Cohosh, but 9 feet tall bushy plants with very little flowers only. I found out in Dave's garden that it's motherwort (Leonurus japonicus).
But God thanks they are only biennial and I won't have to tolerate them next year. I wait until the seeds are ripe and then they will get out there. I was planing on adding soil conditioner and cow dung to the hard clay and plant everything fresh. The plants that I wanted to get big, didn't, but the ones, that I don't want got huge.

Last week, when I was in Home Depot, I saw this gorgeous Hibiscus, called Kopper King, and I had to have it.

Planted it in the front , where I have the most sun and some Rudbeckia around it.

It looks pretty sad on the picture, because I planted it during the hottest part of the day, but it recreated quickly.

Isn't this bloom gorgeous? The Rudbeckias suffered too, but I know they will regrow very quickly too and multiply.

In the meantime until I can add some nutricions to the soil, I made the middle bed ready. The plants are still small and it doesn't look like much now, but I am sure in a month or so, everything will look beautiful.

I used little rocks for orientation, so that I could get some kind of symmetry into it. They will be removed as soon as I am working on my next project. In the middle I have planted Cortaderia selloana (pink Pampass grass), 4 Castor Beans, 1 on each corner, 2 different medium high varieties of Cannas, which I still need to figure out what exactly they are. Impatiens balsamia (touch-me-not) purple, pink, Asclepias tuberosa (orange butterfly weed), purple Bellflowers which I got from my neighbor and 2 Pennisetum setaceum (purple Fountain grass). Close to the border there are several Musa Basjoo, Cryptum, Daylilies and more Cannas. Just got this one done last weekend and started already a new bed. I've bordered it with those heavy rocks again and sprayed the grass with Round-up super concentrate. That stuff kills the grass within 4 days and one bottle lasts me over 2 years, and I basically use it almost on a daily basis.

I've mowed the lawn yesterday and collected the grass already for the first layer on top of the dead grass. I know some people work with newspaper, but I have found the round-up and grass layer works faster and I can start adding soil only a few days later and plant. This will be my succulent bed with one exception. In the middle, on a slightly higher level I will plant a Pindo Palm (Buta capitata) which is now in an other bed. I think the leaves of that Palm go very well with Yuccas and other succulents. Once I have the grass spread out (probably need to mow again to fill everything up) I will add a layer of topsoil mixed with sand and work with many rocks inside the bed. Can't wait until I can get started. Stay tuned, it should be a working progress latest next weekend.