Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fall Projects

It's funny that just two weeks ago I couldn't get any energy or enthusiasm about working in the garden. It was the end of the dog days and both the garden and I had a bad case of the blahs. It's amazing what two weeks of cooler weather can do! Now I have fall projects and am excited to get started!

One: To improve the xeri-garden I started this spring. I've already admitted to you that I didn't let the soil settle before I planted this garden, with the result that now it's settled several inches and I need to add more soil. This week I bought most of the components for Mitchell's square foot garden, so I bought double and will use many gallons of this mix to add to the xeri-garden. I have also done some thinking about plants and have purchased several to finish filling out the box. A recent heavy rain and wind smashed one of the agastache 'Ada' plants, so I also need to do some trimming to get it back into better shape to withstand the winter.

Two: Plant fall asters and other perennials. I picked up five cerise asters to put in the back garden for some additional fall color. There are already some white ones starting to bloom, and some lavender and pink coming along so these will help bridge the bloom gap before the chrysanthemums open.

Three: "Fix" the nandina hedge's "bed". This one takes some 'splaining. Our neighbors at the back are nice people, but their yard is a bit junky for our taste. Fortunately, they have a euonomis hedge about 30 feet long that provides a nice backdrop for my garden across about two-thirds of our lot. It is taller than it needs to be, but I keep our side sheared pretty well, and have used it in my color planning. The hybiscus look great against it all summer as the the fall mums. Two falls ago I took all the little volunteer nandinas we had and started a nandina hedge to fill in the remaining one-third of the lot line. Unfortunately, I laid out the bed by eye, but while sitting on the ground. I used plastic edging pieces to enclose it and when I finished I discovered that it is nearly an s-curve - not at all straight. It is makes life difficult when I am cutting the grass and basically looks stupid! So, my plan is to put in steel edging and square up the bed. Some of the nandinas are now waist-high, so by this time next fall I will actually have a decent hedge back there and I want it to look less amateur.

Four: Irrigation. This is a tough problem. We desperately need to run some sort of irrigation to several parts of the yard, especially those with a lot of shade. I would like to add to our shade gardens, but none of them gets sufficient water to grow the things I would like to add. In all of them the plants have to compete too much with the trees that are creating the shade and there is no natural source of water. Whatever we do will be a big project, so I hope to do a couple of stop-gap things for the winter and then plan out something more permanent. Fortunately, most irrigation systems today can be installed "by the homeowner" and no longer require hiring a lot of expensive work done. I may need to get a plumber to run another outside faucet, but I hope that is all.

I cannot tell a lie. I wrote this two weeks ago and intended to give you some photos, but have just not had the time or energy. Am posting so that I can move on!

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