Friday, October 14, 2011

South Bed Replanted

I finally got a new camera, posts with photos again!

So after my shopping expedition on Friday, I replanted the first flower bed on Saturday. I did the South one, and will work my way around counter clockwise to the NW one. You can check out my plan for more info.

It was 2 hours worth of work:
  • Step one: ripped out the bishop’s grass from the triangle spots below the planter where it meets the driveway & replanted those spots with a pink flowering yarrow.
  • Step two: carefully dug out all the plants from the flower bed except one white mum (which was later pruned down). I divided the original 3 shastas into… well a bazillion shastas (actually 19) and put them in plastic totes etc.. for now until I’m ready to move them somewhere else and WeeWren picks hers up. Oleander and the other white mum are also in temporary containers at the moment.

  • Step three: once the bed was emptied I hopped over to the fence side to try and rip out all of the grass growing below the planter on that side (under the fence and between the neighbor’s driveway. Very difficult, kept banging my hand against the planter and the fence. I resorted to pouring 3 kettle-fulls of boiling water over this strip to try and kill the damn grass. Next time I'm working outside and I see the neighbor I'm gonna ask her if I can sit in her driveway and try to get at it from there. Eventually I will either plant wooly thyme or seed alyssum here.
  • Step four: tilled up the soil to about 9" deep. Then tilled in compost, poultry manure, bone meal, kelp meal, granular gypsum and just a touch of chelated iron (the oleander had a good bit of yellow) to about 4".
  • Step five: transplanted all the planned plants except hollyhock. I wanted a purty peach variety Michigan Bulb has on their site, but no nursery has anything like it right now. I substituted a super blue delphinium I found instead.
  • Step Six: clean-up. I HATE this step…. took about 10 trips back and forth between the tools, fertilizers, empty nursery containers and full totes of daisies. Not to mention the Felix catus that tried to trip me half a dozen times.
But she is DONE!!! hoorahs! Here's some pics of the plants that went in:

  The white mum that was already here, pruned down.

 A variegated perennial stonecrop

the blue delphinium (and neighbor's Canis lupus familiaris) from International Garden Center

annual stock to fill in space around the perennials that shall grow in
(pink to please mother *blah*)

my Echinacea double decker from Sunflower Farms

Lewis Flax I grew from seed in spring

 the Buddleja from my feeding the Archie Jr's fiasco... 

Gaura grown from seed, I hope this runt grows up quick!

There's a couple other plants I didn't get good picks of. A weird succulent and a pink mum plant.And the overall affect:

Hopefully I have Bloom Day pics tomorrow. The next installment of the 2012 replanting won't be for a couple of week, got a trip this weekend. Happy gardening to all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nursery Exploring

*updated with photos*

So last Friday I went shopping for the plants on my list (and naturally ended up with a few extras). It was a nice afternoon and I made time to visit two new (to me) nurseries.

First I hit up Sunflower Farms which was really cool! It is not like any other nursery in the Southbay. It is alot like what I image my nursery would look like if I ever ran one :9 You have to go there to understand, it's like someone's backyard forest jumble with plants loosely grouped into different areas. I love it. The lady on duty (I think Melissa?) was very helpful and pleasant to talk to. I showed her my plant list, she was sad they wouldn't have half of the items until spring, but had a guy from propagation go hunt down my echinacea. Here I found the coneflower "double decker" that I thought I'd have to order online, and the yarrow from my list. I also impulse bought two woolly thymes, a catnip and chocolate mint. I want to put the woolly thyme into wide low containers for my Felis catus to hang out on instead of plastering my flower pots again next spring..

Then I checked out Deep Roots Garden Center. It is nice, but I was sort of disappointed somehow. From their website info I think I was expecting something more California natives & xeriscape focused. It was way more upscale. They did have a nice patio with drought tolerants and natives, and a succulent section. But most of the their plant space was devoted to tropicals/indoor plants, and popular water-loving annuals. Inside was about 75% pottery and decor, a quarter fertilizers n' such. The soil & fertilizer choices were not bad, quite a few options, but not what I was looking for. Took home some petunias and succulents, but nothing from my Need list :/ I did see a shrub of which I already have a dwarf version but had forgotten the name of, I was happy to re-discover it (alas I have already forgotten its name again).

Finally I fell back on my 'safety' the International Garden Center. Plants here are often a bit more expensive than my usually nursery, but they always have a HUGE choice of all kinds of plants. I was super suprised to see their display of plants from Annie's Annuals, with good signage really giving good info about the plants. The guy (damn, I forgot his name and he was sooo helpful and patient that day!) told me that Annie's doesn't use growth inhibitors like most commercial growers, so their plants don't flower until after they are brought home and planted and grow - so they need awesome signs to show buyers how they will look. Nice touch. Guy also spent at least 20 minutes trying to track down if they could order the vanilla milkweed I have my heart set on. After a long catalog & online check he found none of their suppliers are carrying it :( but I was so appreciative that he tried. He also walked me out to check out their Clerodendrum ugandense - which was going by a common name that I've never heard for it before. I was interested because I haven't seen that plant since I bought two at a Home Depot about 10 years ago. I asked him how it was selling, etc. and he was surprised I was interested and happy to talk about how he'd been caring for them for the past year or so and was disappointed that they weren't selling. His explanation is that semi-deciduous is a bad word in our area :9 I did find a gorgeous bright blue delphinium that I'm going to use instead of a hollyhock. I also found the cottonseed meal and kelp meal I've been looking for.

So that is what I on a Friday. Next time the start of 2012 planting :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

2012 Front Yard Plan

Hey there. So I haven't been posting because I had my camera stolen and for some reason I don't like posting without pictures. My cruddy 8 year old backup camera doesn't take very good pictures anymore.

But I can scan stuff!

So for weeks I've had thoughts abut what to do to the front yard for 2012 stewing in my mind. The main themes: want natives, want hummingbirds, want butterflies (Archies!) and want perrennials. I did info lookups via and and made a spreadsheet that really helped me narrow down what types of plants we should actually get.

Then I made scaled diagrams of the flower beds and scaled cutouts to represent the plants we have and what I want to see what will fit. Voila:

I realize the way I cropped it together some stuff is upside down, but that's the correct positioning :)

 The size of the circle is how much horizontal space each plant should need (larger gaps around plants I don't trust to stay within their listed spacing) and the numbers noted under the name is the average height (so tall doesn't end up in front of short).

With this I now have my shopping list ready! Also did a new soils test last month so I need some fertilizers as well.

Most of the very drought tolerant stuff is going the South Bed as I could, because that always suffers the most. Thing that need more moisture are going in the North Beds, because that's where I'm going to hook up a drip system this winter. The East Bed gets all the average water need plants.

I feel accomplished today :D

Mary's Gardening Calendar