Archive for July, 2008

Garden Journal Chapter 9

Critters in the Garden

Little side note here, I didn’t realize that when we moved back into the city we would have such an assortment of wild life visiting our yard!  This is a photo of a hawk that just nailed a bird in my garden.  The snap isn’t very clear because I had to take it through my kitchen window.  Had I gone out, the hawk would have flown away.  Which it did when I went out to get a closer picture and he took his lunch with him!  (One day I will tell the racoon tales in the house, *giggles*.)

We, also, had a squatter this late summer.  This little, tiny, bird found a space no bigger than an inch square, up under the front porch.  He stayed there, every night, for about a month and a half then just left.  Don’t know why.  It isn’t like we were charging him rent!

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The Back Yard

After we tore down the raised brick patio, which was a termite haven.  We built a screened in patio!  Screen made this space much more usable because there are no mosquitos or bugs, my grill is even inside this screened area.  We have two, indoor, cats that love it because this provides them an outside area when weather permits.

Then we laid a brick path around to the shed, wood pile and driveway.  I didn’t want to have to bring grass clippings and mud into the patio and house everytime there was some bad weather.  Thank goodness my hubby toted all the bricks for me and I laid everyone.  The steps in front of the shed had to be mortared.  All these bricks were buried or scattered around the yard and on the top of the former patio.  We recycled. 

On the side you see here I planted Winter Daphne.  Since this picture was taken, they have doubled in size and the fragrance of the blossoms is lovely in very late winter and early spring.  I plant a lot of ornamental plants like Gerber Daises here (a protected area) and on the corner another lily, which has a fiery red/orange bloom, surrounds the Angel Trumpet (Brugmansia variety).  Ginger Lilies planted on the back of the patio, also, another fragrant bloomer.

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The picture below is of the Angel’s Trumpet which blooms at night.  This picture was taken in the dark while it was in full bloom.  Again, a sweet, fragrant flower and the lunar moths love them. Can you tell yet?  I just love plants that have a smell good.  🙂

More chapters to come.

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Garden Journal Chapter 8 with Pictures

Short Chapter…  More front yard photos of the on going progress in the yard.

Destruction time.  Last January we had to have the driveway  and entry way redone.  This could not be accomplished till the city came and repaired the sidewalk.  That ONLY took 2 1/2 years!  Nice job but now we had to work on the grass again!

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Then, this spring, hard work pays off.  The azealeas and juniper have filled in next to the driveway.  Note how tall the italian cypress is now and to the left our little cedar.

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Again, this spring left yard. Gardenia between boxwood and frizzle, growing well.  House front has southern exposure.  Peonies will have to be moved because they are in the far back corner under the dogwood and need more light.  The little circle, to the left bottom of the photo, is where I have an Angel Trumpet planted.

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Garden Journal Chapter Seven – Photos

Just a short chapter to add some pictures.

This is a close up snap of the bushes we have just under the front porch. This picture was taken this summer just after a rain shower.  My husband wanted me to take this snap because the bush looked as if it were laden with diamonds.  The lay term name, I believe, is Frizzle.  It has beautiful leaves that are colored from a dark purple to a dark green and anywhere in between.  It has pretty filly hot pink flowers from spring through the summer.  It will grow up to 6 feet so I do have to cut it back two or three times a year.  This spring it will, again, need a hard cutting.

Frizzle Closeup

Frizzle Closeup

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These are some of what I call my “man proof” flowers. Day Lilies and some varigated plants on the ends (they have a nice purple flower in the late late summer) and I cannot remember their name.  These are hardy enough to withstand mowing, weed eating, neighborhood pets and drought.  They are planted around a city Crape Myrtle tree between the street and sidewalk.

Double Day Lillies

Double Day Lillies

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Posers Questions and Queries – Politics

In today’s economically depressing times.  How can the politicians, current presidential candidates, republican and democratic parties alike, justify spending the obscene amounts of money running for an election that the average voter has very little to say about (if anything at all)?  

 What a joke, I wonder who’s lining their pockets?

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Garden Journal Chapter Six – Picture

front yard

front yard

Early Front Yard Photo

This is a snapshot of our Craftsman home about 4 or 5 years after we moved in. When we planted the Italian Cypress in the front of the house it was only four feet tall. The other tree (I believe a different type of Cypress) on the left was very “gnarley” when it got older and we finally had to take it down. I replaced it with a Gardenia (something I will be able to maintain).

A former owner had planted a Blue Spruce tree on the property line between the two houses and it had grown toward the sun. It was unsightly with its “L” shaped trunk so this was removed and we replaced it with a tiny, maybe a foot tall, Cedar tree that a friend of ours gave us from the golf course.

At the base of the driveway we planted a low growing Juniper. It would never be too big to impair my vision for exiting the driveway but would forever be green and needs very little water. Plus, visitors entering and exiting the driveway can drive over it and it will come back!  Dogs and cats don’t like it much either, lol.

We bought all the, salmon colored, Azaleas from the GEAS Club we belong to. They sold them for cost that year, left overs from a parade. That is what you see all along the driveway path. There is a hydrangea at the base because the neighborhood pets kept urinating on the azealeas. hydrangea seems to resist the pet problem better. I put the hydrangea and azealeas on the other side of the lawn as well.

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Garden Journal and History – Chapter Five

Now that the palate of the yard is clean and we are starting from scratch we planted the grass seed on the sides and back yard.  Also, while landscaping we saved buckets of bulbs.  Narcissus, double and single Jonquils, Daffodils, Snowbells and, much to my delight, Spider Lilies in hot pink!  (I had been trying to find that plant for years but never knew its name!).  Then my husband and I planted some of the plants I toted with me through the years.  Chinese Holly, Irises an Cannas’.  They might have to be transplanted, eventually, because I wasn’t quite sure what the sun would be doing throughout the year. We, then, waited through the winter season to see what would pop up in the yard come spring.

Now, while I tell you part of this story, I want you to know that I am married to a lovely man that loves grass but knows absolutely nothing about what a plant looks like!  His theory is… if it is green, it is grass.  I had to draw smilies on my fence so he wouldn’t mow down my spider lilies when they come up in the late summer!  With that thought in your minds, everything that has been planted in this yard is very low maintenance or IT CAN BE MOWED and will come back!!  I call it Man Friendly.  If it cannot be mown down it is protected with some sort of divider. 

Much to my surprise there were a lot of plants that were very hardy and had survived all the landscaping!  There were, also, a lot of assorted wild plants growing in the grass and yard. I don’t know all the names of them but there were wild violets, a very pretty, petite, five pointed white flowering plant that, I later, found out was a variety in the onion family. (They were all over the place. I imagine that some people would love to plant them in a flower bed.)  Then, there was a beautiful low growing plant that had leaves which were clustered and round.  That turned out to be an old fashioned variety of buttercups, also, a very prolific plant!

Originally, there was raised, three foot high, hand built patio on the back of the house. It had beautiful yellow jasmine and morning glory vines growing up a privacy lattice structure.  Unfortunately, we had to tear it down because it was a termite heaven!  A bit of never, never advice.  Do NOT build a landscape timber box, filled with a dump truck of sand, then put bricks on top to create a raised patio!!  This structure was a wonderful environment for  termites!  It, also, holds rain water that will, eventually, leach into one’s basement.  NOT GOOD, trust me.  The homeowner, builder, of this patio did not put anything next to the wall of the house to protect it from the water draining into the side of the house then to the basement floor.  Very bad.

As I had mentioned, in the previous post, we had to have a fence installed.  Along the base of the fence, I took all the buckets of jonquils, daffodils, and narcissus and planted them in the lawn.  I used these plantings to cover the 2×12 boards at the bottom of the fence.  The blossoms are pretty in the spring and the greenery lends cover to the boards which elevated the fence.  Then when they have turned brown in the early summer, all can be mown with ease. Since I liked the Morning Glory’s I plant them in window box containers on the ground (that protects them from the weed eater) and let them trail up the lattice I had my husband attach to the fence.  This coming summer we have a new plan for them. 

I moved some of the buttercups and violets in spots next to the house to protect them from my mower guy. 

Many of the plants I have in my yard I have received from friends.  Bearded Irises, Peonies, Butterfly Ginger Lilies, Angel’s Trumpet/Brugmansia, variety’s of Cannas, orange Double Day Lilies, a variegated grassy planting that has a purple bloom in late summer and a Cedar Tree (three inches high when received!).

There are plants that had to be purchased, sometimes twice.  Azaleas, fruit trees, ferns, cast iron plants, frizzle, winter daphne, figs, blueberry.  Some of the fruit trees had to be replaced because I, originally, thought that I could use a standard tree.  NOT! In a small space, one has to use grafted dwarf trees, lol.  My hubby was not too thrilled while digging up fruit trees, that were established, because the wife said they were too big.  He was not a happy camper!!

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Garden Journal and History – Chapter Four

This chapter is dedicated to this, lovely, Old Home I found in the city! This is the last of the Historical updates because this home and garden is the last move I plan on making. At least, in this lifetime. I call it my retirement home. With that in mind, everything that has been done, in the yard and house, was done with NO intention of resell. This home and yard has been an adventure, to say the least! Maybe some other day I can tell you the entire story of the its renovation but for today our focus be the yard.

After we bought the house we were told, by the city, that I would need to tear down the dilapidated old privacy fence. It had been condemned. In order to be in compliance with city code and be able to get an occupancy permit the fence had to go (along with another long list of house issues). The yard was an overgrown mess! You do what needs doing first so you can rest your head on a pillow.

We were a little suprised when we found a chain link fence behind the wooden privacy fence. There were all sorts of wild cherry trees, honeysuckle, ivy and virginia creeper vines tangled throughout the two fences. To make matters worse all the vegetation was very well established. Someone, who had lost their mind, had planted a wisteria plant! That thing must have been original to the house because its root system was everywhere!

Thank goodness, my Mom’s husband, came to the rescue. Just so happens that he owns an old antique John Deere Tractor. Well, he cranked that baby up and drove it down the city streets and came over to our new yard. You could hear the tractor coming a mile away! It made sort of a kachug kachug sound. I thought he would get arrested for driving it on an inner city street. 🙂

First, we had to cut all the full grown wild trees with the chainsaw and get them out of the way. Then came the tractor’s job. We had a large chain and wrapped it around the fence sections, pulling them down. Then we had to get the stumps out. This was a process because some of the stumps had to be dug up partially before the chain could go around. Chopping, hacking, digging, sawing and pulling that chain attached to the tractor. This project took about three days. It was exhausting. When all was said and done and the tractor went rolling home and the entire back yard was pretty much destroyed. My oh my, then all the debris that had to be delivered to the dump. Maybe one day I will dig out the hard copy pictures but not today. After all that hard work we, finally, got the occupancy permit!

Well, the good side… I had a clean yard to work with eventhough there were hugh ruts left by the tractor tires. So, out comes my Troybilt, thank goodness I never sold her. What a work horse. I tilled everything except the very front patch of grass on the front lawn. I strung plumb lines across the back and side yards because by now it had rained and I knew where all the water was collecting and draining. This project was vital because all the water must run away from the house! I roto-tilled this yard until the dirt was like a powder. Then, I personally, raked every ounce of dirt to those plumb lines so everything would slope properly and have water running away from the house. I have a full basement in a low lying area, surrounded by water. The slope of the yard was extremely important to me. Water must stay away from the basement. This project took about two weeks, I guess, and I was 12 years younger.

This saga will continue.  Thanks for stopping by to read.

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