Ongoing project updates…April 2019

No garden is ever FINISHED, but it is nice to see projects which have seemingly dragged on for years finally reach active ends and retreat to being just another part of your landscape that is developed and refined from year to year. We are now declaring our front lawn removal and bed rehabilitation project started in 2016 as complete. The lawn removal and replanting of three major areas of my corner lot has been chronicled in numerous posts including: Xerihysteria!Update on lawn removal projects…Now THIS is a Labor Day…A little cleanup and a few new friends…Slapped upside the head by winter on the first day of spring…Falling into the new season…Moraea and the 3 M’s…A ghostly princess…The “new” Grevilleas…Salvia ‘Dara’s Choice’…Bigger than a See’s candy but smaller than a coffee table…at least so far, and probably several others I missed in scanning the list.

By mid March the last and largest section–the true ‘front’ part of our yard–had been cleared, tilled, double dug, amended and at least preliminarily planted in all but the squarish wide open section about 18′ X 20′ adjacent to the driveway. As the original landscape has numerous groupings of very large granite boulders we planned to add several to this wide open and fairly flat area to help tie it to the rest of the garden. Rain and snow in the mountains limits the harvest of these boulders from private property owners who sell them by the ton to landscapers and rock yards. When ROCK DAY finally arrived the installation drew a small crowd of walkers and neighborhood kids.

Project update 1
John and James from The Rock Yard arrive with the goods!
Project update 3
The crane swings the boulder into place and a rough perimeter is marked. The crane then lifts the rock to allow removal of whatever soil necessary to let it sit naturally.

I was more absorbed with the placement of the rocks than with my photographic record. John was a really good sport about picking it up over and over again until it was to my liking.

Project update 2
Dave did concede that this was easier than him dragging the rock around with a chain and the pick-up.

Our three boulders for this grouping plus one additional we added to the driveway circle bed weighed in at around 4 tons.

With the rocks anchoring the open area it is much easier to visualize how plant material can be built up around them. I planted the things in my holding area earmarked for the bed and transplanted a number of underperforming plants (needing more sun of which there is plenty in this spot) from other beds. Over the course of several days I mulched it down with 2 truck loads of lovely brown humus.

Project update 4
Two of the Knockout roses moved from a shady area needed to be cut back dramatically–the third never even had a droopy leaf!
Project update 5
As with the first pics of the previously redone areas there is not much to see–everything is very small.
Project update 6
From this angle you can see a number of plants in the adjacent area, installed in early winter and already having grown significantly.

As the new plantings mature to the point they are recognizable I will post on a few individually–I am especially anxious to monitor the growth of the native Trichostema lanatum, or Wooly Blue Curls which should fill the space in the foreground of the center rock.

Project update 14

Project update 15

Needing full sun and no summer water once established this small evergreen shrub is not often successful in residential gardens due to overwatering. Keeping my fingers crossed that I have sited it for minimal irrigation and maximum sun! I purchased this gallon can sized plant in late fall and it has only been watered once in the can since then and came into bloom about a month ago when the weather warmed a bit.

Also moving out of it’s temporary home in a pot to a spot between the first and second boulders on the left is Buddleia alternifolia var. argenta, a spring blooming butterfly bush with willow like branches that layer up to an ultimate height of 8-12 feet.

Project update 16

See my post A minor miracle… to learn more about this plant which is not very common in my gardening circles. Granted it doesn’t look like much now but keep in mind I purchased it by mail order in a wee 2 inch container from High Country Gardens (thank you David Salman and the Garden Bloggers Fling 2018) last summer.

Now that this huge undertaking has drawn to a close, save for adding more plants as I happen upon something interesting, what am I to do now??

An additional project inspired by my visit to Austin last year is also in its final stretch.

Project update 7

A Volvo station wagon full of organic container mix and several days of mixing it, bag by bag, 70%/30%, with some clean and weed free native garden soil has brought my stock tank project (see Dipping my toe into the stock tank gardening craze…) to plant ready status.

Project update 8

I’m counting on my road trip to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden plant sale next week to yield both inspiration and plants for this oversized container!

So that you are not worried that I am laying around eating chocolates and watching soap operas here’s a before pic of my next project.

Project update 9

Washington state garden blogger Alison at Bonnie Lassie came up with the idea of a blog meme where you post the wretched parts of your garden rather than the fabulous ones–she calls it Tell the Truth Tuesday. Garden bloggers far and wide weigh in with their photos. We all have those spots that just cause us misery and this one is mine. Alternately under water and dry as a bone, this shady north facing wall is weed heaven–often times they are so high they obscure the sprinkler manifold on the right. In the last 10 years, more stuff has lived and died in this spot than I want to recall.  My goal is to transform this area–one of few that has a little afternoon shade in the back garden–with a 6 foot potting bench sited between the green tape lines and an accompanying raised seed starting/plant holding area. Being a big picture girl I haven’t quite pinned down the details yet. First up–dig the weeds again and devise a solution to current drainage issues! And we’re off…

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Ongoing project updates…April 2019

  1. Hi Quilting/Gardening friend, I’ve enjoyed this garden evolution in person and it is beautiful and so impressive. I am sorry that I cannot open the pics and don’t know why.

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  2. Hi Kathleen!

    The yard looks lovely, and I love the boulders!
    I see that David is hard at work!!!

    Wishing both of you a Blessed Easter ❤️
    Liz

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  3. Wooly blue curls was something that we learned in school in the late 1980s, but never saw again until the past few years. It is not easy to get started. It rots easily if watered too frequently. It is rad in the wild. It never amounts to much, but the color is really cool!

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    1. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and the water very low—the foliage is a departure from its neighbors and I love the crazy blue flowers. I’ll keep you in the loop on my success or lack of with this one. Thanks for all your informative and knowledgeable comments!

      >

      Liked by 1 person

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