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.