Thursday, September 01, 2016

Project Updates and Miscellany for August

As August drops behind us and autumn greets us on the horizon, we try to hold onto a bit of summer. Since the season went by in such a flash, let's look at our progress these past few weeks.


The whole of the gravel garden is filling in nicely.


The Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather' plants are really something to behold. I did not know what to expect as when I bought them a year ago; there was just one stalk per gallon pot. Pictured here are three plants total although only two show up in this photo. Amazing!



Here, just below the deck, I wanted to illustrate progress and my vision. Up until recently there were Rudbeckia hirta plants, zinnias, calendula, sunflowers and a lot more Lychnis coronaria scattered about, none of which I planted. They were all volunteers from the last gardener, and I let them be for a while to fill in and add color and sustenance for pollinators. Having done their job, many have since been dug out. Some were replanted, but most saw the compost pile. This was to allow the semi-permanent plants room to grow. The Ceanothus 'Italian Skies' from Xera Plants have filled in nicely, you can see two of three of them in this photo (just at the base of the deck)  - the one on the right is smaller because a Rudbeckia was in its way. I also have several Penstemon pinifolius, a wide variety of sedums and other sun-loving tough plants spaced out in this area of the garden. 


This bad photo is to show the 18 or so Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Ripple' - the little mounds you see in the center. I saw a large swath of this in the garden at Joy Creek Nursery where I work and had to have it. I had no idea its foliage is lemon-scented. I noticed it was covered in bees of all kinds, so why not? It has already grown a little bit since it was planted two weeks ago.


 Here it is at Joy Creek.


I'm expecting mine to look like this by next week.



The Carex comans field is coming along. Evan of the Practical Plant Geek gifted me some volunteers from his garden so the whole thing is technically planted now.



From a distance you can see the whole area but not each individual plant. There are probably 50 total plants in there, so my hope is they will fill in quickly. The whole thing will be a sold mass of carex or, as the Facilities Manager calls it, the "carrot field."



Since Facilities Manager David painted the chicken cube a questionable shade of what he calls green, it clashed with the orange-red of the trim on the garden shed. I was thus forced to paint the red bits the same color as the deck - charcoal gray (reads as black from a distance). The wrought-iron hooks for hanging baskets were also finally installed (by the happy FacMan) so that adds that same color in a different way to make it a cohesive whole. I'm ok with it, although the red was fun.


(David says, "Just uphill is the beautiful green-tomato chicken cube. Hooray!")


As penance for his bad paint choices, David has been clearing blackberries. Here he gives me the tour of a couple days' worth of chopping.



Same location as pictured above: here's what it looked like last month.



Having completely wilted in the sun, his trophy piles are now crispy.



I am taking this photo from an area of the property I had not up until this time stood upon. Reclaimed land! Once this tree here and a few others are removed we will plant a variety of fruit trees.



 He has continued to work on it this week as well. Here is evidence of his progress.



I am very happy with all of this, he did it all without any help while I'm at work bringing home the bacon. He's hired, I think I'll keep him.
 

Here is one of the big leaf maple trees that will be cut down. A few weeks ago it was green and lush. It very rapidly declined, now on its way out. I thought it was verticillium wilt, common to maples, but my friend Evan thought it might be something else as the decline was way too fast. He sent me an article on this common issue on the West Coast - here's a link for your information.


As mentioned in the last post, I have had a lot of fun placing rocks from our inherited huge rock pile all over the garden. I wanted to illustrate a particularly nice result. I like the naturalistic look of this without it being too much like a wall. It does keep hoses from dragging all around and helps to define this bed until the plants fill in.


See? Not quite a wall, but it transitions into wall a little further down to the right.


From a distance.


One of the first blooms from my wildflower mix I sowed several weeks ago. Here Phacelia campanularia or California bluebell is showing its charm. Many of the wildflower seeds have germinated and are well on their way. I am thrilled that any came up and hope they fill in areas of bare soil quickly before grass and weeds do.


I thought it fun to show another photo of Tomato Monster. 


Just to recap, this is what it looked like in May. Four tiny innocent tomatoes in there with a Bengal guard dressed in his best stripes and dots.


At our last Garden Blogger's plant swap this past May, I inherited many fabulous plants that were leftovers, as well as some choice plants I picked out. One of the leftovers was this Panicum 'Cloud Nine', a 6' or so upright grass - with these lovely flowers. I have two planted in front of the house facing south. They are gorgeous. I got lucky. Thank you to whomever gave up these beauties!


Just for fun: This is one from the old garden that got moved with us, Crocosmia 'Solfatarre,' my favorite Crocosmia I think. I love the foliage color most of all.


No project per se here, just a look at how it's all blending together, coalescing into a garden with a sense of space and place. The dry creek bed is settling in nicely.


The same goes for this shot. Just an overall look at an area that has seen a total transformation and how it is filling in.


 This is what it looked like last winter.


Some of our sunflower seed-heads drying in the hanging baskets. I figured they're for the birds anyhow, so I might as well give the birds easy access and let the seeds dry at the same time.

As this year's projects wrap in fall we look back with exhaustion, yes, but satisfaction, too. We accomplished many of our tasks and are well on our way to creating bones for this landscape. I think we will likely have another two or so years of especially hard work ahead but as things fill in, seed around and generally grow the watering will become less, the building of walls and fire pits will have stopped and we'll have a routine. For now I take pleasure in simply tracking what we're doing as I would surely never look back if I did not write it down for the whole world to see.

On that note, thank you for reading along with our adventures! Until next time, happy gardening! 



18 comments :

  1. Your Thymus serpyllum 'Pink Ripple' - looks like a big pink heart! Everything is looking great. I love the blue shed! Happy Gardening!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't it? That's the one at Joy Creek..I hope mine forms some kind of cool image as it grows in. Maybe like the clouds...you see forms in your creeping thyme. Happy gardening to you too, Laurin!

      Delete
  2. It's amazing how much progress you've made since you've been there. Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Garden Queen! I appreciate the encouragement...we can use all people have to dish out!

      Delete
  3. This isn't a post from August 2017? I'm just amazed at how far you've come in just a few months. You should be so proud!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are too kind Alan! Proud....well, I think perhaps a little, but more sore than anything :)

      Delete
  4. You and the FacMan have worked so hard, it's a good thing winter is coming, so you can take a bit of a break. You are planning to take a break, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am SO looking forward to winter this year for that very reason. Time to tackle the inside of the house this winter. And nap. A lot.

      Delete
  5. Enormous progress towards making your new home truly your own. Your summer was well spent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like to think so too, Hoover Boo. At least I can say I didn't get wrapped up in soap operas...hahah!

      Delete
  6. Your progress is utterly remarkable! Although I know you still have lots of plans, your garden already looks completely transformed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, mighty big thanks Kris! It's getting there and even I am getting excited about how it's starting to look. For a long time all I could see was the next project, now I'm starting to see vignettes and plants. That's a good sign.

      Delete
  7. You guys are amazing! Oh and your Eupatorium capillifolium... I am beyond jealous. Mine has been shaded out and is no longer a thing of beauty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That Eupatorium is crazy cool. It is at least 7' tall, more likely over 8. But it's in full blazing sun, too.

      Delete
  8. Love these before & afters!... and the WOW Eupatorium... the update on Bigleaf Maple (thanks to you and Evan for that link)... the old pink deck (what the--??)... the blackberry removals... the cool gravel terraces.
    Congrats on all this progress!
    Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Alyse! So many things to focus on, so just a little at a time seems to be the way to do it!

      Delete
  9. I was wondering about that Crocosmia...the foliage is a dreamy color.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaah, yes my water-er! Thank you SO much, Rickii. That Crocosmia is by far my favorite. I wish IT would seed around all over the place!

      Delete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing them, I will approve comments as soon as I can. Yay!