Thursday, April 30, 2015

Expanding the Flower Garden

While trying to decide where to place a new plant (Osmanthus fragrans, sweet olive), it became obvious that I needed to expand the flower garden area.  Technically, part of it is a whole new bed, because it's separated from the rest of the flower garden by a pathway (to be graveled in the near future).

It also seemed like a good idea to tweak the original path layout to make an opening for the wheelbarrow-- not to mention walking, since this is an oft-traveled route to the backyard. (I can only hope the dogs will choose to take the path, too, instead of blazing one of their own through the flower bed!)

So, I positioned an old water hose in a pleasing gentle (mower-friendly) curve between the circular rock bed and the garage and "traced"(cut through the grass) along one side of it with a sharpshooter shovel. 

Expanding the Flower Garden

Expanding the Flower Garden

Then (not pictured), I removed the hose, went back along the "traced" line-- perpendicular to it-- and dug/lifted/loosened the grass.  (The first cut line makes this easier, and the grass will automatically lift in a fairly clean line on that side.  If you want a clean line on both sides, "trace"/cut two parallel lines before doing the perpendicular digging.) 

Expanding the Flower Garden

Next comes the hard part-- shaking soil from sod.  If you don't need the soil right away, there are easier ways to deal with this, but I tried to shake out as much as I could.  Into this newly de-sodded trench, I planted monkey grass (a.k.a. mondo grass).

Fortunately, there was a strip left over inside the flower garden, planted in the years before we planned the gravel pathways.  Divided and stretched a little thinly, that was just about enough for the new edging, but I did also thin a bit from the circular bed, too.  (And managed to accidentally cut off a daylily scape in the process.  Boo!)

Here it is, freshly planted and well watered in:

Expanding the Flower Garden

It looks a little rough at the moment, but it should perk up soon, and in just two or three months, I bet it'll look like it's been there for years.

Planting monkey grass (especially if you're doing it by "thinning" or transplanting) always seems like a lot of hard work.  I tend to put it off-- but today it really wasn't that bad.  (It helped that we had absolutely beautiful weather.  Cool, dry, and breezy.  Heaven-on-Earth weather.) 

I need to do some more monkey-grass planting, at some point.  But for now, I haven't even finished the current bed expansion.  Next up is planting the sweet olive and mulching it.

- - - - - - -

While I was planting the monkey grass, I was visited by a pair of bluebirds.  The female was the braver of the two.  She was very interested in the grass I had tossed onto the lawn.  I imagine she's building her nest.

What a nice thought, that the scraps of grass I pulled yesterday morning have now found their way into a cozy nest that will protect baby bluebirds, later this year!

Female Bluebird

Here she is again-- this time on a wheelbarrow handle:

Female Bluebird

Please ignore the cobbled-together second handle.  (g)  The original one broke off, and though we've bought a nicer replacement wheelbarrow (which is actually no longer in pristine condition, either), we're still eking out some use from this old one.  It's funny, but sometimes I actually prefer using the broken-down things to the newer ones, because I don't have to be careful with the old one, as it's already broken!  Plus every bit of use you get out of it at that point is a thrifty bonus or something... ;o)

- - - - - - -

This seems to qualify for inclusion in this blog, because it's about growing your own food-- just not in the garden. 

We like sprouts, but I'm a bit paranoid about the store-bought ones, because of some recalls in years past.  I know they're most likely safe, but... Well, at least I admit that I'm being paranoid.  ;o)  I'd rather grow them at home, where I can apply my own stringent levels of quality control.  (Actually, I didn't know you could grow your own until Donald told me about it.)

As an added benefit, after the initial outlay expense, you can grow tons of sprouts from very little seed, which makes them a very cheap food.  Cheap and loaded with nutrition. 

A New Hobby?  ;o)

I ordered the sprouter and seeds (sampler pack) above from Amazon.  Technically, you can grow sprouts in a simple glass mason jar, but this sprouter seems more foolproof.  (And probably easier to use, which should make me more likely to do it.)

The "EasySprout" box looks like it was designed in the 80s, doesn't it?

I'll probably start my first batch of alfalfa (starting with something familiar) today.  If I remember, I'll post updates.