Monday, November 16, 2015

Progress

Over the weekend, we worked on the sitting area at the end of the gravel path.  I'd already dug a small trench to mark the perimeter of the roughly circular spot.  This time, we removed the sod inside the circle.

(We then planted chunks of sod here and there over the pad, where the lawn is more ground-cover weeds than grass.  That made the job a lot longer and more tiring, but if the grass takes root, it will be worth the effort.)

Gravel Progress

Eventually, all the grass (inside the fence) out to that green water hose will either be dug up or smothered with cardboard.  One step at a time!

Gravel Progress

Here it is from the other side...
We might need to dig down a little deeper, but the hardest part's done.  Donald's already started bringing home the edging "stones" for the circle, and we already have everything else we need (landscape fabric, staples, and gravel).  If the weather permits, maybe we'll be putting down the gravel this coming weekend.

Gravel Progress

Looking back up the path...
I find myself thinking of all the work that I need to do here.  Settling on spots for a few new plants, maybe transplanting a handful of things... Adding vertical interest in a couple of places... Filling in the blank spots until it's as full and lush as I envision.

November in the Garden

But then it strikes me how much we've already accomplished, in this part of the yard.  It's a very big difference from just the beginning of this past summer.

I don't see any photos from that exact angle, but here are a few of the same general area.
June:

Garden Survey, Early June 2015

April:

Garden Overview

June again:

Garden Survey, Early June 2015

Many days of exhausting labor are represented in that "before and after"!  The gravel path was a major effort, and the arbor took some work, too.

I'm very fortunate to have such a capable partner for these big projects.  I wouldn't know where to begin, if I had to do some of these things on my own.  In fact, I'm certain I'd never even have attempted many of them.  Donald has a way of making even scary-big projects seem do-able.  (Even though I may have some grumbling doubts of how it'll all turn out, when we're in the sweat-drenched thick of it!)

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A few random photos...
The Japanese shrub mint seems to be doing okay so far.

That tiny little blob of dark green back against the lattice wall-- see it between the loropetalum and the floppy iris?-- is another new acquisition.  Brazilian plume (aka flamingo flower, pine-bur begonia).  Justicia carnea.  It should have some exotic-looking pink flowers for us, next year.  (I hope, I hope, I hope!)

November in the Garden

I feel obligated to take photos of the Confederate rose's flowers, after complaining so much about their absence!  They certainly are pretty:

Confederate Rose


Confederate Rose

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I put in some time in the yard, today.

Though I feel almost guilty for removing things that were still blooming, I needed to see the lay of the land (and where I can put some of those perennials I bought/was given).  More of the sprawling annuals had to go, so I pulled out another gigantic vinca from along the path, as well as the three or four space-hog marigolds that were still brightening up this small flower bed.

It looks empty without them, but now I have a better idea of how much room remains.  Plenty of room for at least one of those new plants.  (But which one...?)

Flower Bed Renovation

I also took down one of the "rustic obelisks"-- the one that used to be in front of the elephant ears in this next photo.  I'm still pondering what will replace the obelisk.  Maybe a clump of ornamental grass.  Maybe a somewhat-more-permanent support for a vine.  (I did like the vertical interest the obelisk provided...)

In the meantime, I planted one of the plants from Mom-- a canna lily-- off to the side.  I might have to move it, next year, assuming it comes back.  It looks crispy, but I've kept it watered, and there's always hope with these tough plants.

Flower Bed Renovation

I also started rearranging the expanded bed.  (The expansion's not finished, but it's pretty far along, and I really want to get those new plants in the ground before frost, if possible.)

The row of crinum lilies is breaking apart into clumps and moving around the bed.  I'm planting the clumps more or less between the shrub roses, but I had to stop for the day before I could finish.  The large group to the left hasn't been moved, yet.  (And I'm a little nervous about messing with it, because I saw a wasp or two a couple of times, hovering in the area. Ugh, wasps.)

Flower Bed Renovation


Flower Bed Renovation

I also transplanted a few roses.
--There's a tiny piece of single yellow Knock Out rose moved from another part of the garden.

--The 'Nearly Wild' rose that has refused to grow well (formerly adjacent to the northern edge of the back porch) has a new position in front of the trellis.  I hope that it will do better here.  There's probably more sun in this new spot.

--The 'Apricot Drift' rose has also been looking a little depressed, so I moved it from the other side of the bay window to this sunnier position.

Flower Bed Renovation

A photo from the other direction...

Once the graveled sitting area is finished (...and the sitting area trellises are finished... and whatever else that crops up in the meantime is dealt with...), we're planning to put concrete pavers in the area behind and to the side of this trellis. We have most of the pavers already, salvaged from other parts of the yard, but because I've expanded the flowerbed like a madwoman, we'll need to buy some more.

I'm already looking forward to seeing this rejuvenated part of the yard in late spring or early summer, when the plants are starting to come back into their own!  With a little more work, I think this can be an ideal place for sitting with a good book (or maybe even taking a catnap).

Flower Bed Renovation

One more thing I did today was finally pulling out the overgrown marigolds and abandoned vegetables from the (ever-so-slightly) raised beds.  All that's left now is an ag├ęd onion and a couple of skimpy clumps of chives.

(Nearly) Empty Vegetable Beds

I was amused to find five smallish but perfectly good bell peppers on the long-neglected plants.  I haven't watered them for months-- haven't even looked at them once they became the favorite haunt of those horrifying leaf-footed bugs.  And yet they were still producing!  Apparently peppers are very easy to grow.

There was also one decent green jalapeno and some red ones that might've been fine, but weren't worth the effort, since we already have more peppers in the freezer than we're likely to need in the foreseeable future.