Sunday, May 09, 2004

Forgotten Accomplishment.

i forgot at least one thing that should have been on the may 9 list:

after removing the dead redbud and before adding the lantana and sage, i had to dig out and relocate the holly fern (cyrtomium falcatum). i dug out the rootball as best i could then recruited darin to carry it across the yard to its new location in the fig tree corner. in the process, i removed two baby clumps and planted them a few feet from the mother plant.

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Saturday, February 28, 2004

Things Still To Do.

  • cut back driveway lantana (done feb. 29)
  • move lantana out of front bed and relocate to site tbd
  • move cuphea hyssopifolia (mexican heather) out of front bed to ??
  • cut back pentas lanceolata and relocate ??
  • trim (heavily) trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine)

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Today's Accomplishments.

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Thursday, January 08, 2004

Back, But Busy.

we're back from spending the holidays in albuquerque with darin's family. actually, we've been back since last friday.

since there isn't much happening in the garden this time of year we've undertaken a reasonably labor intensive indoor project -- removing the carpet from the second floor (finished out attic) and restoring the hardwood floors.

darin has suggested / given permission for me to use the second bedroom as a seed starting room. however, for the time being, the room is jammed full of everything from upstairs.

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Saturday, November 29, 2003

Green Roof.

from today's houston chronicle -- 'Green' roof a cool hybrid of ecology, engineering.

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Thursday, October 16, 2003

Today's Accomplishments.

  • sifted smaller pea gravel for lavender and sage drainage (as i shook the gravel through my makeshift sieve, darin asked whether i was finding any gold)
  • planted remaining new plants in the dedicated herb bed
  • assembled the lovely trellis i designed for the carolina jessamine; this assemblage will go in the space previously occupied by the red-tips
i'm especially proud of this trellis. i laid it out with string last weekend after darin and i put together the big espalier, selected the pieces and cut them to size, and screwed and nailed it together today. all by myself. it isn't perfect, but it is pretty darn cool. pictures tomorrow.

the second trellis darin was working on sunday was, in fact, for the ballerina rose, not the carolina jessamine.

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Two Down, Two to Go.

this afternoon darin took out the two red-tip photinias between the sunroom and the deck. only two remain in the backyard (and one by the driveway).

the red-tip eradication took longer than it might have because i first had to inspect each branch, twig and leaf for monarch chrysalides. the largest of our latest crop of monarch caterpillars wandered off yesterday or the day before and i wanted to be sure it didn't end up in a pile with the red-tip scraps.

interestingly enough, today is exactly one month since the last batch of monarch butterflies emerged. i didn't realize the butterfly weed had recovered so quickly. by tomorrow the remaining three caterpillars will have stripped the foliage once again and moved on.

if i remember correctly, this is the fourth generation of monarchs we've had this year. (shame on me; i haven't recorded each generation as it appeared.)

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Monday, October 13, 2003


images/espalier_20031012a photo of yesterday's project. it's actually more stable than it looks.

i "designed" it and picked out / positioned the bits; darin did most of the cutting to length and attaching.

as i mentioned in the previous post, it is made from the remnants of the two trees we removed from the backyard.

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Sunday, October 12, 2003

Back to the Blog.

i've been remiss in my blogging of late, partly because i got out of the habit while on vacation and while sick but mostly because i've been doing lots of boring things -- raking leaves, raking pine needles, cleaning out beds, weeding annoying lawn weeds, raking some more...

i have done a few interesting things to break the monotony. way back when on october 2nd, i planted two kinds of lettuce, spinach and cilantro in the new / unoccupied vegetable bed. the lettuce and spinach seeds were leftovers from this spring; the cilantro is seed collected from the plants that grew this spring.

speaking of the cilantro, lots of cilantro volunteers are coming up around the yard. one batch in the island bed where i do remember a small bit of dried cilantro had fallen / been blown by wind. and a second batch behind the garage below the spot where i hung seed heads to dry (and they are still hanging there).

one variety of lettuce began sprouting four or five days ago and has already been thinned out a bit. the other lettuce is much slower to start. the cilantro is also coming up well; the spinach so-so.

the two tomato plants from this spring have completely taken over their bed. the lavender and mexican mint marigold are struggling for light. the lavender, after thriving all summer now seems to be suffering from the fall rains. i've pulled back all the mulch around it to help dry things up, but i've also taken precautionary cuttings to try to propagate.

the other interesting thing is that today darin and i finished a making an espalier out of branches from the trees we took out. the idea (darin's) is to grow a dwarf apple tree on it. picture to come. he is now (as i type, i'll go help as soon as i'm done) working on a trellis for the long-suffering carolina jessamine (which, by the way, is about to put on a very nice show).

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Saturday, September 20, 2003

Ouch, My Aching Bones.

we've been busy, busy, busy outside lately. the summer heat seems to be definitely behind us and the cooler weather has made darin restless and eager to get various projects underway.

he pretty much single handedly built another raised veggie bed out of cedar planks (i held a few boards for him). it is now full of partly done compost with a few bags of dirt mixed in and a thick layer of chopped leaves and grass clippings. a few weeks of "resting" and it will be ready for fall / winter crops (to be named later).

myself, i raked the whole front yard and then "vacuumed" the leaves with the toro leaf blower / chopper. and i cleaned out the driveway bed. still lots of fall cleanup to do -- clean up the beds in front of the house, add mulch to all beds, keep up with leaf raking / chopping.

oh, and we (again, mostly darin) have started a raised bed across the back of the backyard. we have differing ideas of what will ultimately go there, but whatever it is it will be an improvement over the sad st. augustine.

almost forgot the biggest project -- we took out two (smallish) trees in the backyard. the carolina cherry laurel and the white mulberry are history. the cherry laurel wasn't such a bad tree, but it was in a very bad place -- right against the back fence and directly under the power lines. while it wasn't up to the lines yet, it would have eventually grown into them and the power company would have come in and given it an ugly flat-top. it had very nice flowers in the spring, but then we spent the next six months pulling seedlings. the backyard neighbors were happy to see it go, too, since it also dropped seedlings all over their yard. the mulberry was just an ugly, trashy looking tree and i was very happy to have it finally gone.

now there is a fair bit more sun in the backyard, offering many new planting possibilities.

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