I wanted to finish up with the progress in the yard so far this year. The heavy construction is almost over! I'm getting lazy and don't want to walk around the outbuilding to my potting area so I thought a step up to the short retaining wall would solve that problem. Then I tried that one step. Too HIGH. OK a couple of steps...not enough. What I thought would be a quick trip to get materials and an hour of construction turned into a much bigger project and it still needs work.
More soil and plants will come in later this spring.
This gets good sun most of the day and should drain well. Lavender (I've always killed this plant too much water I think) and thyme are in some small spaces. I'm waiting to see if the Agapanthus bulbs(to the right of steps) I planted come up both blue and white. They were end of season so I'll just have to wait and see.
I'm trying my hand at fruit in containers starting with Blueberries, Figs and Grapes.
Dwarf I will put in my plant list.
The sales person told me this is a Mission Fig but there was no tag.
I wanted to grow horizontally so we will see. I've read Figs have a large root system so I figured a cedar box with no bottom would be a good option.
I wanted the tree to have easy access for picking so in theory I can stand at the wall and be eye level with the fruit.
Last but not least Razzamatazz Grape.
I've never grown figs or grapes so this will be new and hopefully tasty! I have had blueberries but the deer got to them before I could. I still have deer problems here so I'm thinking of getting a motion activated sprinkler, the reviews I heard are good.
Over the winter I have propagated the dwarf mondo grass down to the burn pit and moved aguga into shaded areas under the arborvitaes on both sides of the house. Too small for pictures.
Cutting from friends for a Peppermint Camellia and Weeping Forsythia so I waiting to see if those take root.
There has been some moving of plants to more or less sun but I will address that later in each bed. For now I need to gather the names of plants to add to my list and get ready to go to a gardening class at the Extension Office on combining Edibles and Ornamentals in the the garden. I've already started putting Kale, Spinach and Artichokes in the front beds.
It has been a beautiful winter mostly warm and sunny. I'm finally back to documenting my progress outside in the garden. This has been the warmest winter I can remember in a very long time. In the last few days I have cut back the poinsettia I purchased from the neighbor kids before Christmas. I read it was supposed to have been cut back in early January but it was to pretty so I waited. I repotted and have it outside in good morning sun.
Before cutting back.
I cut back and planted these Amaryllis in January. I think I should have waited to plant outside. I was lucky it's been so warm.
The name on my plant marker did not survive winter.
Very hard to see but 2 leaves are coming out. Bloomed after Christmas
This was a sad dry bulb when I planted it. They were both in the big red bowl in the 1st picture.
I really did do a great deal of planting in February.
Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts
2 Broccoli locations...we love Broccoli
This is the Asparagus bed I put in last year. It started as a 6-pack from Bonnie. Those tiny plants went into a big pot with parsley seed then the whole pot into this bed.
I did not cut any of the new shoots. I'll wait a couple of years. The Parsley never even frosted this year.
My understanding is Parsley is a biannual, this year it will bloom and I will let it go to seed. I love the swallow tail butterflies and they love parsley. Last year I seeded a large pot and have already moved the small plants around the entire yard.
This was taken yesterday. My first sighting this year!!
I try to maximize the $ in spend in the garden. I purchased Bonnie tomatoes, peppers and leeks. Each had at least 2 plants in the pot. I know my soil is not warm yet so I divided the plants into larger pots and bring them out into the sun when the temp rises then back in the outbuilding in the evening. It takes a little time but it's worth getting that head start.
This patio faces South so I have good sun until about noon.
These tomatoes and pepper will stay here until they go into the garden.
There has been more progress but it's time to make dinner so the info will have to wait until tomorrow.
It was a wonderful October, traveling and seeing friends and family. It's good to be home but there are fall projects to be started and completed. And!!! That armadillo!!! After removing the two Indian Hawthorns in the side bed, in keeping with the theme of low maintenance, and planting the fall violas, I had to replant the dwarf Irises planted back in September. The evil armadillo is digging up established plants in the front and back beds, not to mention the garden too. I watered everything and put out Milorganite. I have seen first hand that Milorganite is a deer deterrent and according to the internet, armadillos do not like strong odors but at the very least I will keep out the deer.
The violas are tiny but the red million bells have really done well in this pot. The dwarf iris are happy too. I love getting plants from friends and family, thanks again Mom and Martha (for the lambs ear).
I went to Pikes to buy spinach plants to replace the ones the evil one killed but I was too late. So I had to buy the Gerbera Daisies that were being cleared out. Dark pink for the front and yellow for the back. I had already put in a couple that had been clearanced from Walmart so it will make a nice grouping if they make it through the winter. A word of warning! Gerbera Daisies are listed as an annual but I have several friend that have had good luck with them. I planted them a little high in the ground and mulched well around them. I will keep my fingers crossed.
Dark pink by the front door and yellow in back by the burn pit.
A quick update on the broccoli. It's growing but seems to have barely survived the beetles and the armadillo. Some are much bigger that the others but they were all planted on the same day.
Oh Crocus! Purple and Yellow for the front. I expect great blooms next spring.
Keep in mind these photos are so I know where everything is next spring.
I need to check on the mailbox bed and do a little work on my neighbors wall, its been so dry here the soil is coming away from the wall, we've had this problem before. That will wait for tomorrow or Monday.
Still in cleanup mode. In checking on the Sweet Potatoes is see new leaves already so it won't be long until I'm ready for a small leaf harvest. I did get Ann's mum planted in the mailbox bed. Again I do not know the variety but Ann gave this mum to me. It made it through the winter in a small unprotected pot so I'm hoping it will be happy in the ground with a little mulch. I had it in one of the 10 inch plastic pots to go inside the Ivy urn but it just got too big even though I pruned it back several times this year. I need to find a small variety.
I was getting in pretty close to this Rudbeckia, trying to figure out why it looks so bad. It may be to much moisture or the mulch is too close but if you look closely you may be able to see the little tree frog there in the middle. I am always surprised at how often I see these little guys. They are everywhere and boy are they loud at night!!
More critters in the back yard. Earlier this year I had a big crop of swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on my parsley that ate all the way down to the stems. I moved the caterpillars to another parsley patch and now that the parsley has come back I have another batch of caterpillars. We have had many beautiful butterflies this year. I put the wire cage on the pot to slow the birds down and keep the deer out. It works!
I also pulled out the last tomato plant. I did save a few tomatoes that were turning. The soil is really bad in that space so I dumped the contents of my red wiggler container in that space and turned the soil over a little. There were no signs of any remaining worms so that is one container I do not have to overwinter and it will improve the soil a great deal. I'll start the worms again next spring.
Now I'm turning my attention to the Meyer Lemons. I'm trying to shape the one purchased this spring into more of a tree form but the deer took a nip out of the top a couple of week ago. It's still about two feet tall, we'll see how that goes. The other bush type Meyer Lemon is huge so I did a little research today on pruning, that will happen tomorrow.
These photos are pretty poor but you get the idea. I'll be moving both Lemons tomorrow after pruning so maybe I'll remember to get another photo.
So good to be home! I love traveling especially to visit with family but it is always good to get back home. The first thing I see pulling into the driveway is my side (deer) gate lying bent and broken in the yard. I put it back up but I think it could use a little more attention. They must not have noticed the red Million Bells on their rush by.
The deer must have come from the back greenbelt area in a big hurry! This is the first time we've been away since putting up the gate. The deer must have made themselves right at home. Two piles of deer berries in the front yard and they really enjoyed the sweet potato leaves but did not touch anything else. So much for my morning omelette.
I am happy I moved my poor Hibiscus from the back, where the deer nibbled away, to the front patio right before we left. There are many new leaves...maybe I will get a bloom before frost...I live in constant hope...ahh, the life of a gardener.
I also transplanted Brad's Begonia (a gift from my friend Brad) from a small seven inch clay pot to a 3 gallon plastic pot right before we left. One of the thick branches broke off so I just stuck it in the new rich soil and waited to see if it would root. It's easier to do things like this just before a trip then you don't have to watch it everyday and stress over whether or not you did the right thing. I do not know the variety thus the name.
One final look at my tomato plant. I pulled all but one plant out because they looked so bad. I should have pulled them all. This one had several green tomatoes so I wanted to give it a chance. Yet another mistake. The soil in my new garden area must be just terrible so my next project there is amend, amend then amend. Fall is coming and so are the leaves. I have some worms working hard as well so again next year will be better. I will also move the tomatoes to a new locations, against the wall may not have been my best idea...I don't know. I will get to the forum and do some studying before spring, I will also get a few soil test from around the yard so I really know what is needed. No photo of the tomato it's just too sad to view.
To end my gardening day on a happy note, I've included a this beautiful urn. This is variegated ivy and yet another fern I do not have a name for. This Ivy has been in this urn for 10 years with little or no attention or water. It also had tall Mondo Grass in there too. In April, while my Mom was here visiting, we cut the Mondo and Ivy out of the middle and pushed the Ivy to the edges. I took out as much old soil as was reasonable and replaced it on the edges leaving a big open space in the middle. I have several 10 inch plastic pots, all exactly the same, and left space for that pot. My plan is to replace that pot with different pots throughout the year for interest and color. This winter I plan to put in an azalea because it is evergreen. Maybe I should get a small Rosemary and shape it into a Christmas tree. That would be pretty. I'll work on that.