amis au fil des ans

just a few good friends, sharing adventures in family, arts, and sometimes heavy machinery

Archive for the category “garden”

return to creativity

before

hello again!  betcha thought i’d never return, huh?  so as you know, i’ve been a little preoccupied for about the past month, but i think we’ve gotten things stabilized again and i’m finding some time for fun stuff.  today was a fantastic day, because i was able to tackle a home project that has been weighing on my mind for OVER A YEAR.  why has it been on the to do list for so long??  two reasons: time, and weather.  the time excuse is obvious, but seriously the weather has been miserable for so long…hot, hot, hot, dry and hot.  not exactly a good time to plant a bunch of new things.  this week mother nature delivered a true gift – 60 degree weather!!  i honestly can’t tell you the last time that i worked in the yard with a sweatshirt on.  wowsers!  so the story goes like this – this little nook in our yard used to have a few azaleas when we first moved in, which ended up dying.  i added the brick border using left over patio stones from our patio project, and i kind of like that they’ve moved around and aren’t exactly even anymore.  i have added a few annuals to this spot to just kind of keep it pleasant looking, but once they died…well it was pretty gross.  so i ripped nearly everything out (the tea olive tree was a wedding gift, so it’s relatively new), and the rest got a facelift.  i used the same process and ideas as the rest of the back yard – multiple textures, heights, and a combination of bushes, flowering trees, perennials and grasses.  i’m sure it’s not a style that would be popular for everyone, but in our eclectic neighborhood it fits right in.  the reason why i picked this style is because it attracts butterflies and birds, and is also tolerant of the little paws that love to pounce on plants as they chase lizards.  i finished it off with cypress mulch, which smells soooooo good!!  what do you think?

after

you may be asking what are all those plants anyway, so here you go:

(1) tea olive tree (VERY fragrant, truly awesome)

(1) pink lady camellia tree

(3) ligustrum bushes

(2) japanese ewe bushes

(4) mexican heather perennials

(2) loropetalum bushes (purple leaves with pink flowers)

(2) green grasses

(3) white grasses

(2) chrysanthemum perennials

(1) persian shield perennial

before and after…

and i know it isn’t much.  but it was.  we dug away and moved so much earth from along the wall to to steps.  so much dirt.  oy.  seriously.  i need compliments on this.  can you see the 18″ wall in the first picture?  NO!  can you in the second?  YES!  we are getting mulch delivered next week and i think i will put in a few more junipers and maybe even a huneysuckle ground cover.  just worried it will overtake our yard.  we also need to grow more grass on the top of the slope and define the grass line some.  maybe add in a landscape border?  that could keep the honeysuckle at bay…

anyway…forward (???) progress is being made!

before:

after:

ever bite off more than you could chew?

b and i are very good at that.  we have a hate-hate relationship with our yard.  so last week we had a company come and tear out everything in the front yard and take down 4 trees and now we have to do something with it.  but it needs so much work that it sends me into a mild panic attack just thinking about it.  but we have to do something.  we just need the something to be in the low low low low low financial requirement category and the something has to be in line with our master plan.  some pictures to give you a framework:

front before and after:

 

right side before and after:

 

back before and after:

 

master plan includes a new front entrance-way, pergola, play structure, garden, flagstone patio around the house and off of the sunroom, and a fence.

i think the steps for this year will be as follows…

1.   excavate more of the land in the back right of the house to expose more ledge (rock).  both for 2 reasons.  1:  we like it.  2:  it will act as a natural retaining wall and can (hopefully) save money by using what is natural versus creating something man-made.  we also need to address some drainage issues since during the rainstorm yesterday it was discovered that we have a waterfall coming through our basement window.  sigh.

2.  level the front, right, and back yards.  the front yard will remain on a hill but we need to level the top part so we can put a fence at the top of the hill and do a low maintenance mulch garden down the slope.  b wants to rework the steps and path to come up by the driveway as opposed to the sidewalk.  we also want to level the area to the right so we can put a play structure for the girls.  the back left we also want to level so we can put up a pergola for an outdoor sitting area.  did i mention we also want to remove all the vines and ivy on the ledge?

3.  update the sprinkler system.

4.  lay sod and spread mulch.

5.  install a fence.  (note:  this is a pipe dream as my budget is $0 and clearly the above items will not be free.  but…a girl can dream.)

next year we will get the play structure for the kids, do some plantings, build window boxes, and hopefully get a couple raised garden beds.  main concern with the garden is that it will have to go in the front yard as that is where the sun hits.  i think as long as we have a good fence that should be fine….?

the following year we will tackle the new front entrance-way, pergola, and patios.

totally doable…right?

drip drip spray

zinnia's are an easy, pretty flower to grow by seed; highly recommend!

here in sunny (too sunny) florida we have two vegetable growing seasons (jan – july), (aug – dec).  this is both good and bad, as you can imagine.  you may recall this year my wonderfully handy hubby made me two large garden planters for our backyard, raised about 2′ off the ground to hopefully keep the pups from trampling our crops.  unfortunately we haven’t exactly solved that problem, but we’ll save that for another day.

gardening in florida can be quite easy, and if success was measured in cucumbers and peppers than i’d say we had an incredibly successful first half of the year.  that said, we are now in break mode, waiting for cooler temps and starting new seeds.

one of our only challenges with gardening is keeping the beds watered.  we’ve been playing around with a soaker hose, but i didn’t like that it has continuous holes because we have about a 2′ gap between our two beds, causing us to lose much of the water on the sidewalk.  thanks to my hubby’s healthy addiction to harbor freight, he came home one day with a do-it-yourself drip irrigation system for…wait for it….a whopping $6!

now, i realize that for $6 you get what you pay for – we have no expectations of this kit at this point, but thought we’d give it a whirl before investing much more into a professional kit.

little less drip, little more spray i'd say

assembly was quite simple; run the rubber tubing from the faucet to the planters, cut the tube wherever you want water and insert the little spray nozzle, attach the rest of the tubing and repeat!  in the end you have a tube that only releases water in the designated spot that you want it, and you waste nothing.  whoo hoo!  i ran it a couple of times to get the spray exactly where i want it, and we seem to be all set.

we have been using a timer for over a year now, so we just hooked up the new drip system to it and now it’s set to run every day for 10 minutes.  once the weather cools, we’ll switch it to every other day or every 3 days, but for now water is a necessity.

of course i couldn’t make a post about the garden without showing off my super cute garden markers, purchased last year at the local art fair!  these are awesome since they were cooked in the pottery kiln at whatever hundreds of degrees are required so they can handle our heat no problem.  love them!

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