Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Some Tidying Up of Old Beds

First off here is a photo of my new favorite plant - the "firecracker" plant. There is a plant for every location and plants that should never go in certain locations. This one has a couple nice features when in the right spot - 1 they flower continuously in sun (often in less sun) 2 everywhere the flower laden branches touch down they root (free plants). What is nice is that the blooms are striking and a good color for dark spots and they are great for erosion control because of the rooting system! That is why I put them along the upper driveway under the Robellini palms. There used to be all bananas there that would take out a chunk of ground when they produced and fell over.

This area (under a large avocado) was a big mess when we moved in. There were lots of plants but they were out of control. When it rained dirt ran off onto the driveway also.

About a year ago we built a small wall, and while Jeff was vacationing I tried my hand at plastering. After that I painted it to match the then color of the house and started moving plants from other spots into this one. I really didn't know what would work and what I wanted to do. When you drive up the driveway and finally get to the house it is the first thing you see. I put in a gardenia (didn't work) and hibiscus (is growing alright) and took starts of gingers and birds of paradise and put them on the upper part of this area. I tried a ground cover above the little wall and it just never took.

While Jeff was vacationing this time I think I finished the area (I have great hopes anyway). I painted the wall the match the new house color. I put firecracker plant as a front row where there is the most sun and where I need the erosion control most. Behind the firecracker I put in three groupings of a dark maroon/pink cordaline and left the birds of paradise, gingers and hibiscus alone. The little hedge of yellow on the right is from cuttings I started. Yellow and white show up well under trees. The thought is that the coral color of the firecracker plant (which gets to about 4 feet) will look great against the slightly taller dark cordaline which is the color of the ginger flowers behind it - and the gingers are the tallest. I think this is the solution so we'll check back with a before and after once they take root and get growing! There are also diffenbachias in the back mix which are a nice green.

Another area I tidied up is the front ginger bed. I like the look of the big rocks but wanted less maintenance (got weeds between the rocks and soil would come between them). This bed needs some clean up still of old ginger shoots and some begonia trimming.

I replaced the boulders with landscape blocks because they are easy to work with, look nice (a little formal though) and you can add blocks easily if you need to or want to. Once I get some plants spilling over the blocks it will soften the wall. For now it just cleaned it up some and I changed the curve to make it easier to mow. I think it looks pretty good and I won't have to mess with it anymore. Man were there a lot of rocks there though. I moved them to the upper lawn area and finished off the rock wall. That wall will stay more rustic looking for a long time. It doesn't cause any problems at all. So that's some of what I've been up to. Mostly I am cutting the grass around all the little trees we planted so Jeff doesn't whack them with the trimmer and so the tree isn't competing with 5 foot grass for rain (if we get any) and sun. It is a lot of work, but putting a lot of trees in at once means they will mature into something sooner. Since I've got the vision of what I want it to be I work toward that even though it is hard to do so much at once. It is really nice to just spend a couple days rebuilding a wall - it is a project that gets done from start to finish and makes a noticeable difference. The other stuff I do around here is hard to notice!

No comments: