Monday, October 20, 2014

weekend update

So, the front-door bed, then. Ultimately, I. HAVE. PLANS. for the front of the house, both landscaping-based and someday-I'd-love-to-have-a-proper-front-porch-based. Usually you do any hardscaping/building first, but I got tired of waiting for that stuff to happen. So over the past few years, I've been haphazardly plopping plants in the ground near the front door. Most have croaked, leaving only prairie sage gray sagewort and a few bluebell bulbs (both of which came with the house).

The first step in my plan for the front door bed was to transplant the surviving-but-not-thriving daisies and sages to the sidewalk bed. They've all weathered the move, and have even thrown up some new foliage.

Next: figure out what to put in their place(s). I wanted a mix of perennials that wouldn't require much fussing. They needed to be relatively shade- and low-water-tolerant. Eventually I settled on a mix of hardy geraniums (cranesbill), columbine, and leadwort. Final plant list:
  • 3 @ Geranium richardsonii
  • 1 @ Geranium procurrens × Geranium psilostemon ‘Ann Folkard’
  • 1 @ Geranium phaeum ‘Raven’
  • 2 @ Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Leadwort
  • 2 @ Aquilegia vulgaris ‘William Guiness’ columbine
  • 1 @ Aquilegia rockii Columbine
  • 1 @ Aquilegia vulgaris plena ‘Ruby Port’ columbine

Here's my very rough sketch:

Been plugging in plants over the past couple weeks as they came in. Here's the planted bed — sticks to mark locations, so I didn't trample stuff (also to know where to look in the spring). The remaining prairie sage gray sagewort can stay until the new plants (hopefully) fill out.

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All the flowers are white and/or shades of and blue/purple/pink. The Ann Folkard geranium is supposed to have very chartreuse-y foliage, and of course the leadwort gets those nice red leaves this time of year.

Here's a silly Photoshopped version (thanks, Google images!) of what I hope it will all end up looking like — not that they'll all be blooming at the same time, ha ha!:

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Monday, October 13, 2014

long weekend update

Called it for the backyard for the summer. Pulled out the tomatoes and peppers, cut down the 12-foot hollyhock, cut back the Maximilian sunflowers (including the ones in the side yard, which has been impassable from them since July), put away the cages/bamboo stakes and most of the hoses/sprinklers, dug up some of the ever-fabulous Bev's perennial arugula volunteers for Cynthia and Steve. Picked up a new Dramm watering wand (gift card from Jim for Newman's), 8 Lacinato kale starts (Agua Fria Nursery) and 4 cota plants (Plants of the Southwest). Kale went in the raised bed, where the tomatoes were. Cota went out front in the sidewalk bed.


Cota (note one of the transplanted daisies behind on the right):

Sunday, September 21, 2014

weekend update

Decided that the daisies and the sages in the bed by the front door just weren't getting enough light — after the locust leafs out, it's a pretty shady spot. So I moved them to the bed by the sidewalk where, hopefully, they'll be happier with more sun.

I'm incubating a plan for the front-door bed ...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

a bad year for tomatoes

So the tomatoes pretty much all crapped out this year. All I got was about 2 dozen Sungolds. Peppers also wussed out. Got 2 tiny jalapeƱos. Boo. Not warm enough.

The perennial arugula from the ever-fabulous Bev volunteered across the walk into the "yard," though. So there's that.

Monday, July 7, 2014

weekend update

Bad news: Tomatoes and peppers in the side bed are still tiny. Peppers:

I cut the crack-in-the-sidewalk volunteer arugula down and put it between the tomato cages. maybe i'll get some volunteers over there. Sungolds:

Good news: Hey, look! Dill volunteers!

Bad news: One of the Robesons is also struggling.

Good news: ZOMFG, more arugula than you can imagine. Thanks to the ever-fabulous Bev for the perennial arugula! Also, other herbs are doing well.

Here's a shot of the dog lawn, mid-June. Not 100% sure how she got in there, but the flagging tape caught her collar for a nanosecond on the way out, earning us a GSoD. You can see the clover has really filled in.

Bad news: It took me 3 days this long weekend to pull up/cut down the shin-high pigweed that had sprouted up since then. Also: took down the flagging tape.

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Good news: Buffalograss!

Good news: Hollyhocks!

Good news: Roses and Primroses!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

what’s blooming

Century plant (this thing is at least 15 feet tall):

Zoomed-in closeup of the top:

Austrian copper roses:


Jupiter's beard:

Rock rose:



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

weekend update

Rain! Starting Thursday and going thru Monday, we had a series of afternoon thunderstorms that netted us 1.3 inches of rain over the past 5 days. Weird! But good!

Saturday, we went to the Farmers Market, where I picked up 2 basil plants to replace the frost-killed ones from NM Plant Co. and 2 pepper plants (1 Lunchbox, 1 JalapeƱo). Put the basil in the raised bed and the peppers in the side bed Saturday before the rain. Read later that the Tomato Lady recommends waiting to put out peppers until after June 1. Oh well. Maybe I'll rig up another set of foam things like I did for the tomatoes and hope that, plus the south-facing wall will help keep things warm enough.

New basil:


After planting the peppers and basil, Bram helped me hand-pull the Kochia and rub out the little red pigweed/Amaranth seedlings. The weeds are loving the extra rain (and before that, the watering for the grass plugs). The grass plugs are doing fine, if not spectacular. The clover mix is definitely popping. I'm debating whether or not I should rake up the straw, or leave it. Hopefully I can pull up the netting as soon as the clover gets tall enough to cover the straw. I'll be leaving the flagging tape to keep the dog out until things are pretty well established.

Sunday I took a trip over to Plants of the Southwest and picked up some starts: 6 Reiter's thyme; 3 Mexican evening primrose; 1 dill; and a half-pound bag of the Buffalograss/Blue Gramma yard mix. I'll fill in some bare spots later this summer. Dill went in the raised bed with the other herbs.

Dill and other basil:

Thyme went in around the yard flagstones (it's a creeper/groundcover, not edible as far as I know):

Primrose went in along the the little wing/retaining wall. I love primrose and how they self-sow and volunteer about. Maybe they'll establish a colony or something.

Out front, 2 of the 3 beardtongue penstemon seem to be failing. Bummer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

cold snap

I knew I was pushing it. Forecast was mid-30s Sunday night, Monday night. Monday and Tuesday, chance of snow, hard freeze Tuesday night. Boo. So I jury-rigged some foam wrap enclosures for the tomatoes Sunday night. Stuffed them with extra newsprint Tuesday afternoon after work. Seems to have worked. It's supposed to be around 70 the next 2 days, and 80s over the weekend.

Foam tent thingies:

Snow on Tuesday morning:

Oh hai! Tomatoes on Wednesday morning:

Of course, I forgot all about the basil. Rats.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

weekend update

Put in the tomatoes and the flowers on Saturday. Pushing it — we're not supposed to put things out until the 15th. Dug in mushroom compost, set up soaker hoses, straw mulch — the usual. Tomatoes waiting to go in:

Raised bed got the Robesons and the basil. The perennial arugula Bev gave me last year is back, there's a giant volunteer arugula growing out of the crack between the railroad ties and the flagstones, the thyme survived the winter, and we've been eating chives for a month now.

Side bed got the sungolds. There's a big blank space between the tomatoes and the agastache, maybe I'll get a couple pepper starts and put them there. Yeah, that wall crack got big over the winter.

Out front, put the geranium and petchoas in the big pot, the penstemon and sweet alyssum in the front bed. All the perennials I put in last year survived and are coming back.

Elspeth's head is cracked.

Friday, May 9, 2014

what’s blooming

Dakota verbena:

White top (Cardaria draba):