Gardening Baby Steps

I started writing this post last Monday. Now six days later, on Sunday, I’m composing this first sentence. I got only so far as to think of a title for the post. I’ll be inside most of today as the ‘good weather’ of the past week has finally reversed (as so often happens during springtime on the Great Plains). As I look out my home office window, the trees and lawns wax verdant. My mail box flower garden sports a single red Dahlia bloom while the Gazanias sleep in.

Sunday morning view out my home office window (looking southeast down Fawn Valley)

My front yard drama I’ll cover in a separate post that will become a review, possibly scathing, of a local lawn and landscape company. But I will not mar this post with dark brooding thoughts.

Over the past few days, I’ve planted a Dahlia, four Gazanias and sixteen moss roses (also known as Portaluca). I bought a bag of mulch but I had so many moss roses I’m not sure I can squeeze in the mulch between all these plants. All of this in half my flower garden on the south side of my mail box. The north side is still dominated by my two robust day lily plants. I had two on the south side but that bed was damaged sometime in the last year or two and I’ve lost one of the day lilies and the remaining one is small and stressed. At the end of this year, I’ll probably completely redo this flower bed, put in new soil and find some different perennials, leaving some space for annuals to switch out next year.

Click on photo of the Gazania to see my Flowers and Herbs photo album, updated frequently with new photos.

For the landscaping next to the house to the north of the front door, we pulled out the two remaining spider plants (which I didn’t care for) and left the sick and struggling azaleas (the next project will be either relocating and hopefully resurrecting them to the sunny south side of the house or euthanizing them and replacing them with hostas). The struggle for this section of the landscaping is our large burr oak tree, smack dab in the center of our front yard. It sucks up all the water in this area and shades the entire yard for nearly all day. The grass rarely survives a reseeding past May and the plants next to the house get barely an hour’s worth of full sun.

Burr oak (left), recently tilled area trying to get grass to grow (center) and azaleas (near steps) and newly planted coleus (lower steps near landing). The landing hosts the herb plants and the unplanted hosta). The time of this photos shows the ONLY time sunlight reaches these plants, usually around one o’clock in the afternoon.

Terry bought a small flat of Coleus, which we planted where the spider plants were previously. We also bought a Hosta to plant between the Azaleas and the Coleus. I also bought rosemary and thyme bushes and planted them in containers (mostly to constrain them). They are currently on my front landing but may migrate to the back yard where the other edible plants are raised.

At a local farm shop, we also purchased several tomato, bell and jalapeno plants. Since we’ve had blossom rot the last two or three years from our large pots, Terry researched what we needed to do to eliminate that disease. We first covered all our pots with large black garbage bags and pulled them into an area that gets full sun for most of the day, baking the contaminated soil for several days last week. Next, I took the soil and used it to fill in the depression left when we had a large pine tree removed from the back yard a couple of years ago. I filled in a few other holes as well. Then I washed the containers and left them to dry in the sun for a few more days. Today, weather permitting, we’ll go buy new potting soil and finally plant our tomatoes and peppers. Eventually, we’ll get the Hosta planted as well, but probably not today.

I just hope my curse doesn’t visit all these new plants. Since I don’t drive to work anymore (and haven’t since mid-March), I have made watering the plants a part of my morning routine. I’m skipping that for today because it’s been sprinkling most of the morning and we are forecast to have mild thunderstorms most of the day.

A single red Dahlia bloom is barely visible next to the mailbox. An overabundance of tree pollen trims the grass along the driveway with more waiting to drop from above among the leaves of the burr oak.

I’ll keep posting photos of the flowers and herb plants to the photo album above. I’m very open to suggestions and recommendations to help keep my garden blooming and growing.

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