06 May 2008

Yard Work and Bed Planning

Boy, have I got my work cut out for me. I really thought I would be out in the yard earlier this spring. And I was. Several weeks ago, then I got sick, and I have been trying to take it easy. I'm not allowed to take any allergy medication until the doctor figures out what is causing my heart rate to go all wonky, so I've been hesitant to get out there in all that pollen.

Anyway, the plan for the yard goes like this:

I need to patch and repair the grass in the front here. It is spotty for three reasons: one, Oliver (need I say more?), two, the new grass seed is coming in patchy where we pulled the shrubs out, and three, we kind of got heavy clay mud all over the place the day we planted the purple-leaf plum tree, and it has smothered the grass in those patches.

The other thing I want to do here is make a circle of bricks around the new tree, so we don't get too close when we mow. I have a small stack of bricks for just this purpose. I think I want to plant some kind of ground cover inside the brick circle, at the base of the tree. Maybe vinca or alyssum? I'm not sure if that would be okay for the tree though? Any thoughts? I don't really want to put tan bark down because diggy-dog seems to think this is an invitation, and he chews on big pieces, and a lot of that stuff is treated. Ew. Stones are also out, for much the same reason. And I don't need Oliver breaking his teeth on stones and needing to see the doggie dentist.
I had my marigold bed in this crescent last year, but this year I have something different in mind. I have several packets of seeds of flowers in dark purples, whites, and yellows. I can't remember all of them off the top of my head but I know I have johnny jump-ups, violets, and white cosmos. Tallest stuff at the back, shorter to the front. That mess of tarps, empty pots, pavers, bricks and mats it trying to kill all the weeds coming up, but so far it looks like the weeds are winning. The last two years I had cucumbers growing on the L-shaped lattice, and it really thrived, but I'm not sure if I should keep planting the same thing there year after year. Maybe I should give it a break, just plant flowers, or maybe plant a different climbing or vining vegetable?

I'll probably dig up the rest of those hyacinth and tulip bulbs (I thought I had gotten them all last year) and relocate them. Also, Lewis' frog-belly plant is doing very well under the drain spout. We had nearly killed it while all the major construction was going on, but it has come back almost to the size it was five years ago. I have no idea what the real name of this plant is, so we call it the frog belly plant because Lewis says if you break a leaf off and blow air into the pocket (it is a double-sided leaf) it feels like a frog's belly. I wouldn't know.
Again, we are trying to kill weeds here, under the plastic tarp, bags of topsoil, and various containers. We seem to be having better luck in this spot. I would like to plant blanket flower and gazanias here.This bed has already seen some work. The hostas you see here are the last two survivors of my digging last year. Oops. Oh well. I tried to get another started by the door, so they would be evenly spaced, but the bagged bare-root thing I bought from Home Depot didn't look good from the start. I really need to stick to my rule. No plant purchases from HD. Nothing ever lives. So, I think I'll go to a local green house (with a photo) and get a matching hosta that is already growing to about the same size. Then, in the spaces between the hostas, I have seeds for liatris. It is a tall perennial with big white plumes. Any space remaining will be filled with nasturtium. The first year I planted them, nothing came up. Not one spindly plant. Gardener's favourite, indeed. So last year, when I found a leftover packet, I just threw the seeds in this bed, and to my surprise, they really took off.
My garden bed needs so much weeding, I'm dreading it. Maybe I'll do the others first, then try the tarp trick. Maybe it is too late. Much of the stuff growing in this bed is grass, not weeds, though, so, it could be worse. (It could be raining.) Last year I had tomatoes, and I think zucchini here. I had a net suspended from the kitchen window's knee braces for the zucchini to climb, and once it got going it looked really good. Again, I'm wondering about crop rotation, but this is really a terrific spot for veggies.Mom, this is for you: I don't want to overdo it with the vegetables this year. Again. Too much to keep after.

1 Sweet Millions tomato plant
1 Big Boy tomato plant
1 cucumber plant
1 zucchini plant


Jennifer said...

I hope the pollen goes away soon!

Vinca would look great... it's pretty invasive in certain climates though. Which means it would fill in VERY nicely... but you might have to pull runners every once in a while in the lawn part.

Jenni said...

What color did you paint the exterior of your house?

Oliver's Bungalow said...

jenni- actually, we didn't paint the house. That is the metal siding the house came with. I understand the siding was put on (over stucco) sometime in the early 70s. I actually like the color, but Lewis is none too fond. The siding is really dirty and needs a good cleaning, but I'm hesitant to do a power wash on an old house. Who knows what problem that could cause.

Jenni said...

I do like the color. From the photos it looks like new paint. Not 30 something year old metal.

I would also be worried about pressure washing.

Oliver's Bungalow said...

You know, if we ever have the money to replace the siding, I'm leaning toward Hardie siding and Hardi shingles. But that is a long way off. The biggest reason to tear off the siding right now would be so we can insulate from the outside in, because I have no intention of tearing up the plaster at this stage. We've taken almost 5 years to make every room liveable. I'm not about to ruin that, not even for insulation.