Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starting over.

Not completely, of course, but starting over is sometimes necessary in my garden. Plants don't always perform the way I read in books and online. My soil is not consistent. Rain doesn't always fall. I don't head outside to water things when the heat index is over 100. You've got to be tough to make it in my yard.

With that in mind, I've spent some time over the past couple of weeks moving and rearranging plants that were under threat of dying. I started concentrating on pulling things from the Crape Myrtle Bed and the Shrub Island. Coneflowers, salvias, and speedwell made their moves this morning. They're sad looking things right now. So close to the house, and in the shade during the hottest parts of the day, I'll be able to keep an eye on them and water, when absolutely necessary.

Coneflower and ox eye daisy.

Either a white, pink, or blue salvia. I don't really care what colors since this bed has always had a blue/pink scheme in the spring when the salvias bloom.

Last week, I divided and moved some columbines from the Circle Bed. They've put out new leaves. As long as I keep them watered, they should settle in just fine.

Along the street, the blooms are heaviest. In other parts of the Perennial Bed, this is the typical scene. One or two blooms with the promise of more as fall approaches.

I think I'll like what grows in this space next year. I'll be sowing Queen Anne's Lace seeds with the next rainfall. They combine nicely with the coneflowers. Foxgloves and salvias are still in this bed for spring blooms. Daffodil bulbs are scattered here and there.

In the Circle Bed, R. triloba, hibiscus, coneflowers, grasses, and a Crape Myrtle will take center stage. Cosmos from two years ago are still springing up every time I water. Such a pest in an unwanted area, they didn't germinate that well in the meadow this year.

Throughout the fall, I'll be moving everything from the Shrub Island. I might leave the fig tree. I ate three ripe ones this morning. They were the first from a tree I rooted myself. They were delicious. The other plants here, including the butterfly bushes, camellias, forsythia, and althea, will all be moved around the edges of the backyard. I'm hoping to finally enclose it with color that shifts depending on the season. Once the shrubs are gone, the rocks will come up, and the area will be returned to service as grass. I'll be sowing Annual Rye for sure this fall.

It's 84 degrees. 60% chance of no rain today. The heat index is already at 97.


Jimmy said...

could it be they have not been in ground long enough? I give everything four years. Hand watering the first year.
If it is a drought tolerance issue....To The Curb!

scottweberpdx said...

I don't blame you for moving things...I wish I was braver about moving things...I am always hesitant to move things that aren't happy. My coneflowers are just so spindly this year, and I'm sure it's because they just don't get enough sun...but I'm loathe to move them right now...maybe this spring when they are small...ugh. I guess you, as some would say, have the courage of your convictions and i am a little more wishy-washy :-)

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Jim, some of the things I moved today were just planted last month. So no, they weren't in the ground long. Those were the nearly dead things. I am clearing out, so it's either going to be moved or mowed.

Scott, sometimes you just have to do something in the yard.

Anonymous said...

What percent of your present beds are you clearing out and turning back into grass? This has truly been a bad year for trying to keep up with everything, horrible heat and little rain.

I know how it feels to want a more normal life when you have too much to work with. But just to let you know, your gardens were gorgeous this spring and early summer. I think a lot of us are feeling overwhelmed by this SUMMER FROM HELL here in the south. Good luck, Judy

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Judy, I'm just returning the meadow and the shrub island to grass. I miss having a backyard sometimes. And I think it will make it easier to manage the rest of the yard. Shrubs in the back, flowers out by the street. The foundation plantings will all stay. And so will the perennial bed I started in 2008. The veggie beds will remain too. I have seeds for some cool season crops, but I'm not too optimistic about winter coming any time soon.