May 13, 2014

Time for Beds

I managed to get some things planted around this joint during spring break, and due to a recent streak of gorgeous weather, I was able to get outside and get a few more things in the ground.

I added two tiny azaleas to the bed in front of the house.  They should bloom light pink later this spring.

Please ignore the super-patchy lawn and poor lighting.

I feel like this bed is still lacking some balance, so I'm thinking of adding some small mounding decorative grass using the buried pot trick to keep things from getting out of control.

I put in two new beds as well, one in each eastern corner of our lot.  Our thought here was to increase our privacy by planting some evergreen shrubs, and to add some interest to a yard that is very square and about equal parts grass and moss.

Here's a new bed that I made.  Origianally I was going to try a swale as a bed border, but the ground here is very sloped.  I found out quickly that the big maple's root system runs quite shallow in this corner of our yard, so digging more than 6 inches into the soil to plant anything was a no-go.  The landscaping blocks became necessary to make the bed slightly raised so that the new plants wouldn't end up with exposed roots.  With this set, I didn't bother to do the careful measurement and leveling that I did around the big maple in front of our house.  Although it would have looked prettier, I am six months pregnant, y'all, which makes it difficult to do much of anything that requires bending over.  So the edging was eyeballed and the blocks were set to follow the slope of the yard.  I plunked in my pretty evergreen whatever-it-is (I don't know what it is but it was so beautiful that I had to take it home) and my three endless summer hydrangeas.  These photos were taken on an 85 degree day, so some of the hydrangeas look a little worse for wear.

G-Falls landscaping techniques.  See also: neighbor's camper.

They're just having a little late afternoon heat stroke.

Since the swale didn't work on one side of the yard, we just continued the trend with the plunked-down landscaping blocks for the other new bed.  The lone arborvitae has been cruising right along in that spot for who knows how long, and it needed some friends.  The two peonies we inherited from Steve's parents when they moved took front and center, and I flanked them with some pink princess escallonia.  I discovered escallonia when we moved into our first house in Arlington.  It's evergreen, can grow REALLY fast, takes the harshest of prunings like a champ, and gets the cutest little pink blooms on it that hang around forever.  Seemed like exactly the type of plant that would help block our view of the local Napa auto parts and traffic through the next-door preschool's parking area.

Napa?  I don't see one.

Escallonia in the flesh-- er, leaves.

I also finally got around to planting the window boxes on the north side of the house.  I used some dead nettle, hardy fuschia, coleus, and a couple of tiny plantain lily hostas.  These little guys will get zero direct sunlight and hang too far under our eaves to get any precipitation, so this being the first time I've planted small containers in these conditions, I am crossing my fingers that all survive to see autumn.  It sure is fun having some green visible from our office and Mr. Baby's room though!

Hardy fuschia, dead nettle, and a tiny plantain lily hiding.

Coleus is always so dramatic.

Here's what gives me hope for those little window boxes.  The planters Steve made that live on that same side of the house are going gangbusters!  Just check out the difference two weeks have made!

Shade plants goin' crazy.

Boxes and planters and weedy walkways.

I still have more plans as far as gardening goes.  I decided to just bite the bullet and do some container gardening of fruits and veggies this year since there's no way we'll get the south side of our house fit for the raised beds we wanted.  I noticed that most of the plants I put in around the big maple didn't make it through the winter (I think some salal and a couple of ferns are the only survivors), and since I also want to get some rhododendrons planted as screen shrubs, I'm thinking it might be time to add some more soil under that tree and see how some rhodies do there.  I'd also love to get some bulbs planted this fall to give a happy little shock of color first thing in the spring.  Plus the urns are still empty and the clematis that used to grow on our arbor has bit the dust (might've had something to do with driving on the freeway with it flapping in the wind last fall?).

For now though, every plant I bought has found a home, every bag of soil has been used, and I've got more functional and pretty plantings than this property has likely ever seen.  Color me happy.

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