I don’t have anything new and exciting in my garden right now that I have not shown y’all recently, so I decided to show gardens I created with the patients at work. In Feb I started working as a therapeutic gardener at a clinic in town – it is rewarding, and fun having another garden to play in!
Here is the veggie garden I created with the patients. It is comprised of 4 raised beds.The tomato and onion bed is growing super well – Those are Texas tomato cages which are the bomb! The onions perimeter the bed – with some basil thrown in for looks and because some gardeners say they make the tomatoes yummier…I always companion plant because #1 – I love old wise tales, and #2 – I like to make my vegetable gardens pretty. I built this tee-pee trellis with the patients and they loved the project. It was fun and it functions well in the cucubit bed filled with cucumbers, squash, melons…and of course, for prettiness…some poppies in there too.Our herb bed is starting to take off, complete with marigolds/zinnias/echinacea/gazanias/sunflowers for more color and happiness. This is a place of business and when veggies and herbs get tired, and the edible garden is in transition, my plan is for the flowers to carry things through. Plus, I just started in Feb so I want to impress the boss ;) Note: thyme/mint/oregano are in pots otherwise they would take over. We also created this tee-pee for a native passion vine. I am going to create one for my home garden as well – I am still looking for that perfect pot.
It is amazing what a garden does to brighten up a space, and the moods of those around you. This is an urban location, and the neighbours around here that walk by are always so happy and chatty. The owners are so progressive to have done this. Most importantly, the patients love it!
Happy foliage follow-up – for more shades of foliage head over and visit the lovely host of this meme at digging.
We have the beginning of a back garden y’all! Thanks to the recent rains things are really filling in nicely. Lets take look at a few key beds…This is what I see now as I walk out of the sliding glass doors onto the covered patio. The herb bed is floating in the middle of it all. It has been VERY handy. Lets take a closer look…I like to make my herb and vegetable gardens pretty – I have mixed in california poppies and blackfoot daisy for color and ….well…fun!Thanks to the cool spring we have had I still have an abundance of parsley. We use a lot of it so this has been wonderful. That is french sorrel and red veined sorrel in front of the orange pot. In the pot is peppermint. I keep my mint, oregano, and thyme in pots within the bed otherwise they would take over! I also like how the pots add instant levels, structure, and color to the bed.Pretty little combo of comfrey (essential for bumps and bruises and your compost pile) and California poppy. In the right-hand corner peeping in is stevia.Above is my a/c bed from hell that I think (knock on wood) I have finally figured out! This bed has 6 months in full shade and 6 months in full sun. It has been a challenge! On the run down, first is bamboo muhly grass (Muhlenbergia dumosa), then Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruticosa), dahlberg daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba) and ‘angelina’ sedum living mulch, orange bulbine (Bulbine frutescens), blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) and Mexican honeysuckle (Justicia spicigera). From the bulbine surrounded Inuksuk on, this area gets some sun in the winter. Because of this, the bulbine, Mexican honeysuckle, and blackfoot daisies flower A LOT.Within the dahlberg daisy living mulch, yucca rostrata ‘sapphire skies’ has survived 6 months of shade! Yippee!I planted the berms a little, but I have started to mulch them in and pack it in until fall. Above, HOT zinnias steal the show. They are surrounded by green santolina (Santolina pinnata), Mexican feather grass (Nassella tenuissima) for movement, and more dahlberg daisies for added hotness.
Like my front “purple garden”, you can see my backyard garden color choices are also analogous. The front is “cool and sharp” and the back is “hot and soft.” I want my front garden to be soothing and easy to look at for passers-by. To expand that thought…cool as in cool colors (purple/blues/silvers) and modern – and sharp as in crisp and organized and lots of succulents and cacti (sharp as in ouch) for structure. However, the back garden is going to be hot and soft – a party full of red, orange, and yellows. Not too many cacti back here where we hang out and play. I want more of a fiesta of color and texture. That is the ultimate plan that I always keep at the forefront when I make design and plant decisions for home.
Happy Mothers Day to all the mommies. xo
My two Texas native desert willow trees (Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’) are blooming for the first time since planting them in the front garden last fall. I am in love…
I will share more colors of fiesta this week. :)
I have a few weeds within the frogfruit “lawn” – only a bizillion!!!!!!!!!!!! YIKES! So I needed to get creative weeding in between the frogfruit plants…and fast before they go to seed!2 weeks after I planted my frogfruit lawn, it is a weed fest. In retrospect, I should have dusted everything with corn gluten as I plugged the plants. Live and learn!Some weeds are good and I go back and forth between a combined frogfruit/horseherb “lawn”…however for now, the goal is single species.Work it girls! I put my chickens, and my Texas tomato cages to work! This set up allows me to place them in between the frogfruit plants so they don’t eat those. I do this half an hour, then give them a break back in the coop for water, etc. It will take a week or so I am guessing to get the weeds under control. I don’t want to push them out there too much in that small a space, although they don’t seem to mind. They love to eat green things!Not bad! They get the white grubs while they are at it too.
She’s blooming – Opuntia Santa Rita ‘Tubac’ is striking when she shows her purple and yellow colors at the same time. Nature tells us purple and yellow look good together! Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) in the bee-hive planter plays up the yellow further. This tough cactus sure has a delicate papery flower.My ‘Blue Elf’ Aloe is also blooming for the first time, along with passed along Purple ice plant (Delosperma). I am in love with the almost neon purple of the flowers! Funky Kalanchoe luciae “Flapjack” is also in this pot providing wavy goodness.
Happy GBBD! For more bountiful blooms see Carol at May Dreams Gardens.
Okay… so those of you that watch Portlandia are cracking up at the title, but those of you that don’t, why in the world not!?!?!?
We had this problem area of the yard where a pool used to be. It was filled in prior to us purchasing our home, but the area continued to sink, especially after heavy rains. In fact, after a heavy rain there would be dangerously large sink-holes. With all the extra dirt dug up from the DG parking area, I realized this the perfect place for berms! Finally a solution to this ongoing problem! As the biggest problem area continues to sink, the dirt from the berm will just fall in. This area is not going to sink that much more, but trying to keep the area flat is a losing battle.
It meant I had to scrap my idea of the fenced in veggie garden area, but when you get into a project I am learning that you have got to be flexible. I came up with a design for two “berm fences” instead. The berms surround my veggie garden area and I will plant them up with Texas native trees (not shade trees), grasses, and perennials. They will provide the function I desired in the fence. There are a lot of ugly things that happen in a veggie garden, and I wanted it to be a place all on its own where I don’t have to be diligent about rolling the hose up and putting things away all the time. Above you can see the entrance to the veggie area. – I am going to do a rustic cedar stave arbour at the vegetable garden entrance.In this picture you can see how the spaces relate to one another. We also put a water-line in with hose hook-up similar to what you see in a campground so I have a place to keep all my hoses and water easily. I like the way the berms define the spaces. We were lacking that BIGTIME in this yard…as we were terrain changes. This yard was completely flat with a concave old sunken pool area. I also like the way the berms make the beer garden area super private. I think it will look pretty with lots of movement and color to look at while hanging out. I got all the rocks for free…I still need to pick up more. I did not want the dirt running onto the granite. I left the front of the other berm more gradual and did not place rocks on its front. I think I may even plant some frogfruit up it so the kids have a little hill to roll down.I got a little start planting, but I have a looooong way to go. Now that the bones are in and the spaces are defined, let the fun begin! I plan to take my time and I will likely do what I usually do and plant the bulk of everything in the fall when it is 50% off and a better time of year to plant in central Texas anyways. I am also looking forward to playing with plants that need super good drainage, I finally have that!
I got the Texas frogfruit lawn plugged this week. I will try to take pictures at least monthly as it fills in. I did not amend the soil at all. I read over and over it was not necessary – I went against my nature on this, I hope it is okay. I did ensure the area was nice and level and free of rocks and debris. EEK… I am regretting going against my desire to spread a couple inches of compost out before planting. I did not want to waste $ if I really did not need to amend. So for me, and for y’all, I am really putting this plant to the test.
I plugged the plants approximately 2 to 3 feet on center. I hope it fills in quickly. How long do y’all think it will take until it is completely filled in and ready to walk on? Michael, I would love to hear your answer on this please, and on the amending I did not do.Such a happy little plant. A happy plant that makes me happy because when it fills in we will have a native “lawn” that we never have to mow and rarely ever have to water once established.A lucky thing happened! It only takes one placement of the sprinkler to water the entire green space. I think this fact alone will help ensure the success of the “lawn.” If I had to move that sprinkler a few times to water the entire space it would not work very well for me. I am a lazy water-girl. I think “one sprinkler position watering” could translate well for lawns or any large groundcover area.
I’ll touch base soon on the progress. Oh and to those that want more details, to cover the area I purchased 6 flats of 20 per (120 plants) – I spent under $300. If this works, $300 for a native lawn that should not need supplemental watering once established, seemed like a deal to me. Good for me, good for the kids to play on, good for my sweet husband who now has zero lawn to mow, and most importantly good for Mother Earth.
We lacked parking in the back for our guests. No one could park in the driveway without blocking in the garage. It was annoying, but would be even more annoying when the kids are driving so I wanted to take care of that now and create a useful spot to park. The other thing is that we always had to back out of the garage/driveway into the alley. Now we have a place to turn the car around and drive out frontwards which seems like no big deal but it is SO NICE to not have to back out such a long distance.BEFORE: Side yard that was never utilized for anything except storing junk.I should not say that, it was used to store kids paraphernalia and for wildflowers. The wildflower area was a pretty stop-gap but it did not provide the function we needed. Here is looking the other way toward my bamboo muhly grass/color guard yucca lane.You need to dig down parking areas at least 5 plus inches. Isn’t this bobcat a beautiful sight!? Was to me. No diamonds for this girl…it would be fun to drive one of these, eh? I should have asked!Then you need several inches of base – this is NOT fun. It is dusty, disgusting to breathe, heavy and …a chalky mess that blows into the air at the slightest breeze. I have been advised that it is imperative in parking areas though. Apparently, it is the base that provides the solid layer for vehicle parking so you don’t sink.You need to put several inches down.Do yourself a favor and get help with this stage so you can get it down, and cover it up quick. The sooner you are done with this stage the better! Did I mention how messy this stuff is?! Then your granite layer finishes it off nicely. I am really pleased with how it turned out.We built a little path and platform for the kiddos to visit with the neighbour kids. They love to chat in the hedge and we could not keep them from sitting in the dirt there chatting. So we made an opening and re-purposed stepping stones to make an area that is functional and cleaner for them.Soon we will build the modern shed where the photinia hedge is so we can back up to fuel with bio-diesel easier.I think we could do three cars here if needed…but certainly two very easily.
You could adapt this for the front of your home too if you did not adore parking on the street. It is nice to have your cars, and those of your family members or guests, tucked away safely on your property.
Next up: What I did with all that dirt dug up for the parking area!
This larger side yard has functioned as a few things since we moved into our home. It has been a vegetable garden, a weed pit, a storage area…but mostly a forgotten about unused space. Over the last few years, however, it has become evident that it is actually the best location in the yard for a patio! It gets beautiful shade all afternoon and early evening making it ideal for meals outside and entertaining. We lacked outdoor entertaining space big time, so this was a huge priority for me in the backyard redesign. We also lacked a place for a BBQ pit and now my husband is thrilled to have a location for that where it is not an eyesore. Waiting a few years before jumping into any big projects in the backyard worked out well in the end because the time allowed us to see how the sun hits every area, how we use the spaces, what we needed, and what the natural flow is.BEFORE: Invasive nandina and a weed pit was all that caught your eye. BUT, this side yard was a little gem just waiting to be discovered. BEFORE: The back of the house was in the midst of some sort of construction forever…or so it seemed. (Daddy’O on the left side working and Hubby on the right)AFTER: Texas-style DG (decomposed granite) patio and fire pit entertaining area. I think having the patio area spill into the fire pit area will be very useful and easy for guests to navigate the yard at night as well as providing plenty of seating. When I look at this patio I see the three sides planted up in Texas native plants of various heights bringing texture, color, and life to this space. More importantly perhaps, it will cool it down.This is my favorite part – my herb garden within my new patio. I love how functional this is. I am all about function! Eventually a nice modern rectangle around the herb bed and existing patio will be flagstone to alleviate DG being tracked in the house. At that time I will also remove the rocks that line it now. They will be annoying and a bit of a tripping hazard for now, but they were free, and they are filling an important function right now of preventing the DG and dirt from spilling into one another. Eventually you will walk from a nice flat piece of flagstone right into the rest of the yard. I needed to do this project in stages to save money now, but still get the bones in. In the foreground where you see the dirt is where my frogfruit “lawn” will be. Hopefully I will plug that this week. Here is a closer view. It is so exciting to see the vision in my head be the vision I see in reality. Although no rest in the near future for me – time to plant it up baby! Using DG for patios and parking areas makes for an eco-friendly solution to poured cement, etc. Valuable rain water can still percolate through into the earth where it is needed, and not just become run-off.
Up next: Functional parking area…