Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Down by the Gate...My Favorite New Plant...Mani

2 acres is a lot of property. Not all of it is tamed but a good portion is and I spend 3-6 hours a day outside doing stuff. A lot of the time it doesn't look like I've done anything even though I am sore and tired! It would be nice to work on one area until it is "done," but it just doesn't work that way. Now that we are getting some afternoon rain and dew at night everything is out of control. It is the perfect time to plant though - at least some things. In an effort to make things "easier" and find long term solutions to problem areas I make them harder at first. One area is down by the gate. This is what the gate area looked like when we first got here. It was pretty much just grass and overgrown trees from the neighbor house. This spot is really hard to mow since is is sloped and the driveway is long and steep.

We got tired of dirt flowing onto the driveway in the rains and tired of weeding/mowing etc down there and generally didn't like how messy it looked. Since we drive up and down everyday it needed changing. We built the wall to stabilize the dirt, make a planter and neaten it up.

This is how it looks today - a lot more tidy. I started the croton hedge on the right with cuttings from our other hedge and they are now actual plants instead of a sticks with 2 leaves on them!

Since our area is hilly, the neighbor's put their garbage cans down where they can be picked up and I got sick of seeing them as I drove up to our house. 3 cans...none of them ours (ours is inside our gate until garbage day which sometimes is an unknown but lately is 5:30am on Mondays). I planted the purple shooting star plant on the left and whalla! no unsightly garbage cans! This large bush started out as several small shoots.

If you have bare dirt it washes away in the rains so I put in my new favorite plant - Mani (peanut) It has taken over the slope and hides the water lines also. The silver hedge is growing too. This is a hard spot since we cannot water without dragging 400 feet of hose down there. It has been slow to cover since I plant little bits at a time and water with soda bottles full of water. Now that it is getting wetter it is really taking off!

The new plan is to replace the lawn (hard to mow) with mani so we don't have to mow along the lower driveway. I have figured out how to do this and make it work. I take cuttings from the Mani patch in the wall...put them in pots until they have roots...dig out some lawn..plant them on a rainy day and it is working! I tried direct planting starts but they really need roots or they just dry up. This seems to be working out well. I can't dig out all the grass yet or I'll lose the soil so it is patchwork right now - pain to mow.

We've also got Mani is the back and it is spreading and stabilizing the slope there too. It is nice to have something that just requires occasional weeding. As it grows it becomes less effort.

It's a nice, cool, soft spot for the cats to hang out in too!

As part of the arboretum plan I have started to put flowers or ground covers under trees. I put Mani under the Ylang ylang and as it spreads I keep a dirt strip between the wild weed-whack part and the cultivated part.

My orchid bloomed. It is so colorful and a surprise as I look around the yard. Things are can kind of see the is exciting to see fruit, and flowers, and actual trees!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We love the entrance transformation, great job you guys!!!

H Jr.