Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekend Project...

It's been raining here but off and on it stops, and I work away at the yard. The original plants consisted of a row of lorepetalum with a row of dwarf (I hope) nandina in front of them. They weren't planted by landscapers; instead the building workmen dug holes and plopped the plants in. You can probably imagine that they didn't follow the 'dig the hole twice as wide as the root ball' rule. In fact, I found one where they put the plant in the hole and didn't even bother to fill in with dirt; they just put mulch over it so no one could tell.

So I pulled out some of the original plants, since I don't expect them to do well, and planted around the rest with things I like: four varieties of ornamental grasses, coneflowers, day lilies, and lantana. In our other house, the previous owner had planted the most boring day lilies imaginable, so it was wonderful to get some variegated ones. I love the way the grasses sway in the breeze, and lantana are pretty and hard to kill. The coneflowers, though, are my passion. I can't tell you why, but I adore coneflowers. They're a native plant (though the ones I planted are a cultivar), bees and hummingbirds love them, and the plants themselves get huge and flower all summer into the fall. I've already told my husband that we are going to be planting coneflowers all over.

Below is (I hope) a 'before' picture. There should be an 'after' picture in about two months.

This gives you a view toward the porch, which is a wonderful sitting porch. The purple foreground plants are Red Fountain Grass, and the feathery ones just beyond it are Mexican Feather Grass, which is one of my favorite grasses. I planted them both in containers at our other house and put them around the pool.

And now the aforementioned coneflower. One plant will grow to be about 3 feet around by next year, and it'll have masses of these flowers. The petals drop off eventually and leave these huge, prickly centers, so it's pretty even then. It's a perennial, and needs very little care.

I planted this lantana in the other bed, right in front of where we sit on the porch so that we can watch it grow. It's one of the prettier ones I've seen. Lantana is such a common plant here in the south, but it's so hard to kill and there are so many different kinds that it's hard to resist.

I'm really enjoying being able to plant my plants directly in the ground. At the other house, the soil was what's left over in a construction site, and it was mostly clay, so it was just impossible to dig and I did containers instead. I don't know why, since this house is new construction, but the soil in the beds around the house is a clay loam, and it digs really easily. I'm experimenting with not amending the soil much, since I had read that it's really best to use the native soil. We'll see what happens...
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