patrob's blog

Starting over again
Posted on Aug 24, 2022 4:15 PM

We moved in late 2021 from the house we had built 21 years ago. Now we live in the western edge of Waco, TX, 90 miles east of the tiny town where I had lived for fifty years. My dream home had become two large, and the acre and a half lot, way too much to take care of.

I found a home I really liked on 4/10 of an acre, and the way the street curves prevents any neighbors from being in our faces front or back. The front landscaping is fine with a couple of large oak trees, two tall crepe myrtles near the house, plus tall hollies on the ends with boxwoods in between. The former owner planted a bunch of plain red roses with very small blooms either side of the front porch before putting the house on the market. Those need to go.

In back there is one large oak not far from the house and neighbors' trees providing shade along the back and east side. Unfortunately, the only planting bed is narrow with crumbling edging.

I transplanted about thirty remnants of daylilies into that bed. There were a couple of roses, likely Don Juan, a couple of miniature roses, a May Night salvia, a small clump of lemon grass, a coreopsis, a lantana, and a clump of something with silvery foliage.

Today the yard man weed whacked the flower bed to knock down crabgrass. The daylilies have metal markers with white labels. He noticed a few plants and went around them. I doubt if the small ones that suffered so much during this incredibly hot summer will have enough left to come back. The daylilies were there when he started mowing for me in the spring. However, with the ongoing drought no weeds had been growing. I have been watering, and two days ago, we finally had about an inch of rain. I explained to him what the markers are, and he understands not to weed whack in that bed again.

I have some new irises to plant and daffodils coming in a few weeks. With the high humidity, the mid-90 temps outside still have a heat index over 100. Too hot for me!

I want to create some raised beds for veggies and more flower beds along the sides and back. I'll use shrubs and perennials as much as possible. I just can't do the work I could even a few years ago.

Thumb of 2022-08-24/patrob/5a271f
Thumb of 2022-08-24/patrob/c1b2d6

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Another photo from years ago
Posted on Jul 8, 2011 6:33 PM

That pretty hedge is shinnery, and it tried to take over this bed too.  The johnson grass got there first.


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Starting from Scratch
Posted on Jul 8, 2011 2:27 PM


After ten years, I thought I would have my gardens pretty much the way I wanted them.  I just hoped 1.4 acres was going to be enough land.  It is.  A lot has happened in those ten years.  We had a well drilled, a garage/workshop added at the back, a pool installed, and a high fence erected to keep the deer out.  I managed to save most of my daylilies, but I lost a lot of irises to the construction/destruction.  The survivors are not particularly happy living in pots, so I hope to have permanent beds for them before they have to endure another winter above ground.     

My first efforts to create gardens were not as successful as I had hoped they would be because I did not properly prepare the beds.  They looked great the first season or so, but the shinnery, briars, johnson grass, and other weeds came back with a vengeance, even though we have experienced one drought year after another for a long time.  The undesirables must be eradicated this time! 

The first photo shows irises blooming in 2000 after being moved from the old house the fall before.  There's an innocent little clump of shinnery on the left side and some weeds mixed in, but nothing looks seriously wrong at this point. 


The second photo shows the same area in 2007 after the well drillers created a mudslide a foot or more thick and about sixty feet long and thirty feet wide.  At least that thick layer of mud and ground rock killed many of the undesirable plants too, but the shinnery came back everywhere else we had cut it down and tried to dig it out. 


This spring I used a little tractor with a bucket to push down shinnery that had grown to a height of twelve feet and then dug out all the roots I could.  As soon as it rains (or I give up and run water on the area), I'll spray regrowth with brush killer.  Right now it's just too hot to do anything outside.




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