Monday, February 15, 2010

Five New Things

Dave, over at The Home Garden: Gardening in the Home Landscape, has asked us to list five new things for the garden this year. Like him, some of my projects are already underway. Coming up with only five was the hard part.

1) Fruit. This past year, I planted or rearranged a few trees. I installed a Morris Plum and moved the Thundercloud Plum to a better location.

I planted a Belle of Georgia peach in the spring of 2009. It's budding now, so I hope it blooms. It may be too young to produce yet, and there's always the chance of a late freeze killing the tender blossoms once they break.

There will, of course, be figs. There might even be grapes if the vines can produce this year. I've got blueberries and blackberries, too. Strawberries have been planted and moved three times since I put them here in the spring of 2008. The critters have left me two. They were quite tasty. I've got a cherry tree too, but something tells me it's not going to make it. All the branches are brittle and show no signs of life. I'm going to give it a while to prove me wrong. Fresh fruit from my own yard would be a very welcome change from the stuff I buy at the grocery store.

2) Vines. Flowering vines would be more precise. I've installed a couple new items that can become the supports. At the end of the driveway, there's a new fence and walk through trellis with concrete wire spanning the top. I plan to grow Confederate Jasmine and morning glories here. The jasmine was rooted last summer and has survived the winter so far. Morning glories will be sown closer to our last frost.

I'm also looking forward to the Carolina Jasmine putting out some new growth on the perennial bed trellis. I planted it last spring. The cardinal climber that was growing here last summer twined itself around the jasmine. I broke a lot of new growth trying to undo what I had allowed to happen. I knew it would, I just didn't care at the time.

Other vines will be planted and used to screen things like the dead oak tree. I scattered the cardinal climber and morning glory vines back there in December. I'm sure there will be some sprouts that grow quickly in the hot summer weather.

In the basement, I have a rooted cutting of Bleeding Heart Vine (Clerodendrum thomsoniae). I'm going to allow it to grow on the perennial trellis this year. It's not cold hardy here, so if I like it, I'll take cuttings next fall. My cuttings from the passionvine I grew in a pot by the garage door are doing well too. They don't have a home yet.

On the swing in the backyard, I've got a rambling rose on one side. I'm going to plant moonvine on the other side. Along with the datura that should reseed back there, it'll make a nice spot to sit quietly after dark when the mosquitoes have gone to bed.

3) The meadow. This is my most ambitious project. I'm really looking forward to it.

After my injury with the lawnmower this summer, I decided to take out as much grass as I can. I started preparing the area this past summer, spraying the "grass" with RoundUp. I've left the leaves on the area all winter, having just raked them clear today. Poppies, larkspur, red clover, and queen Anne's lace have all germinated. Other summer bloomers should germinate when the weather warms up. The area receives hot sun almost all day and has very little soil for plants to grow into. Large stones have been uncovered and some were removed over the past couple of years.

The space itself is about 50' long and 15' wide. It's not a large space, but it does take up most of the backyard that was grass last year. Reseeding annuals and drought tolerant perennials will form the backbone of this garden. I found the inspiration at another blog. Brian over at Green Mansions Compost posted about his wildflowers going to seed in September. I really liked the look of a simple path mowed through a field of wildflowers. I'm hoping by scattering seeds and some of my wintersown black eyed susans, I can do the same. I've got different flowers than his image shows, but the concept is what I like.

I expect the meadow to bring in more wildlife. Birds will eat the seeds of some of my plants throughout the year. Butterflies will sip nectar from lantana, cosmos, and milkweed. I'd really like to see some Monarchs this year. And though I'm not crazy about the idea, I know that I will be inviting slithering creatures into the yard too. Maybe the hawk or owls eat snake.

4) Shade bed. It's been an ongoing project since I moved into this house. It's not a large bed. The area between my property line and the wall is accessible from the kitchen and rarely gets any direct sun. It's a fairly ugly space.

I've been wintersowing plants this year to add more variety. Blue cohosh and red astilbe should make very nice additions. I also have some myrrh. Sounds patriotic, doesn't it? As soon as I see new growth on the hostas, I plan to de-align the solid green varieties. I don't know why I did that. I'm looking for a more natural flow to the space undulating in and out. Along the wall, Carolina cherry laurels have been planted. They can get huge, but they can also be sheared into formal hedges. I'm thinking a 10' tall evergreen wall would be lovely. That's just slightly shorter than the height of the kitchen window.

5) More sitting. Yes, there are big plans. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done. Yes, I have a hard time sitting still and enjoying the yard and all that I've done. But in 2010, I plan to spend a few hours each week just sitting and watching. I might be making plans in my head, but that's where they will stay for as long as I am parked in a spot. I can't make things grow faster than nature allows. I can't do everything in one day. Ultimately, the reason for doing all this is to enjoy it. I even have the perfect spot.

What are 5 new things you plan to add to your garden this year? Post about them and link them back to Dave's blog.

It's 37 degrees this morning. Rain should be moving in shortly for a few hours. It will continue to warm throughout the day. We'll be back in the 20s tonight. Normal weather is on the way. Come on Friday.


Dave@TheHomeGarden said...


You've got a lot on your plate! The fruit trees are something I hope to add very soon to our garden - apples in particular. I hope one day to have apples that last from August to November. It will take a few years to get that going. I'm interested in the meadow project, that sounds very cool!

compost in my shoe said...

You are one driven gardener! A whole lot of things are happening in that speck of land you toil in!

sweetbay said...

I love hearing about all your plans -- you are an ambitious gardener! It's nice seeming them all laid out like this.

I've been mulling over a "projects" post. I hope to get around to it before spring.

Randy Emmitt said...

Lots of things going on there!

You should not buy Roundup, Monsanto is beyond evil!!! Do some research on round up ready cotton (in India over 46 farmers commit suicide daily over crop and livestock losses because of the BT cotton that is forced on them). And they are the lovely folks who brought us Agent Orange.

gld said...

Tom, I wish I had your energy!

If you are serious about harvesting the strawberries, buy some Remay or polyspun fabric and toss over the plants. Sun and rain go through but it defeats the birds. I have to do that here. You probaby won't like how it looks but the season isn't long and then you can remove it. It will last several seasons.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Dave, My sister has a plum tree, so she started this for me. I'm really looking forward to the days when I have tons of fresh fruit to preserve, sell, or give away.

Compost, it keeps me off the streets. ;)

Sweet Bay, these are just 5 that I prioritized. I've got lots more plans.

Randy, the RoundUp I use is actually a generic glysophate. I'm cheap, so I usually go for the off brands. Not sure if they're made by Monsanto or not.

Glenda, I think it's the squirrels that eat my strawberries. There's almost always a single bite taken from them. It doesn't look like bird damage. I'll have to do something about it though. I really like fresh berries.

Melody said...

Sounds like lots of exciting plans. Sitting is hard for me too, and like you I am constantly making plans while I am sitting - lol.