Showing posts with label side yard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label side yard. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hug a panicky bird


Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

We had a good long weekend. Greg and I played video games and watched bad movies and agreed that we left the house entirely too much. I cooked a big turkey for our friends but didn't eat any because I'm not crazy about it. Then I had to get on a plane on Sunday for a work meeting. But first I froze my butt off in the garden.

And now I need your advice.

This is the side entrance to the yard. It used to be in complete shade because my next-door neighbor's Ceanothus and Douglas Fir stretched into my yard and shaded this area. It was good and I planted all the ferns and hellebores I could get my hands on. Then my neighbor started going senile and thought I hated her Doug Fir and she had everything trimmed along the property line. Then this area was shady on the left but sunny on the right in the afternoon. Everything was fine until this August when we got a weekend of 100+ temperatures and then everything fried and flopped and looked like this.

This weekend I played whack a mole with my plants. I'd dig up one, decide to move it to another area, but then a different plant would be in its way, so I'd dig up that one . . . on and on. Right now the side yard has become a weird mishmash of plants, some of which will stay, others that will not.

This area badly needs height and some contrast. I gave it an enormous plastic pot of grass on top of an old kitchen stool. Sorry side yard, but not everyone gets to be an astronaut; someone has to fry the burgers.

The sweetbox (Sarcococca ruscifolia) has been there for over a year, stubbornly staying small. It's evergreen and fragrant and somehow escaped the blistering sun this summer, despite being a plant that is happiest in shade. So I think I wanna keep it here. I had toyed with the idea of an Acanthus hungaricus here but then I was given an Acanthus spinosus division from Ricki (whose gorgeous banners for your garden would make a terrific Christmas present) and that seemed like a reasonable replacement.

The Chinese fringeflower (Loropetalum chinense 'Sizzling Pink') was removed from another part of the yard and is hanging out here until I find a better place for it.

What would you plant here? It's fairly dry because of the Douglas Fir in the my neighbor's yard, and it sits in shade until the hottest part of the day, at which time it cooks. It's very narrow (less than 18"). It's a pain in the ass to get the hose over here, so moisture-loving ferns were never a good idea. 

Coming into the yard, where it's full sun almost all the time, I've put in Mexican feather grass, some salvias, and sedum 'Autumn Joy.' I ripped out the hops I had planted here because they couldn't climb this strange fence. I need something that can climb up anything. Would it be irresponsible to plant Virginia creeper? Would it even climb this?

Who has my inspiration?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Working around an oil tank

We presumably have an oil tank buried alongside our driveway. I say presumably because this is there.

It is located in the place where I'd most like to have an herb garden, as it's right across from the kitchen. Sadly, oil tanks tend to leak and deposit toxic substances, so planting edibles there doesn't seem like the best idea. My herbs currently live in the backyard in the raised beds. Every time I need rosemary for our potatoes or sage for our squash I have to trudge out in the dark backyard and get it. It's as far from the kitchen as you can get.

Guys, I'm a little embarrassed to say that it took me two years to figure out that I could throw a planter here, plant it with herbs, and have my kitchen garden close at hand. No oil residue required!

I think it softens the entrance a little, which I like a lot. A Korean lilac will flank it in the foreground and then I'm thinking of a sweet low evergreen groundcover. And then maybe a Marjorie clematis to climb the fence, since the hops have a hard time with it. And then the jasmine will climb that trellis and soften the left side. And then . . . and then . . . and then . . .

Guess which Simon & Garfunkel song is stuck in my head?
Side note: do you have any idea how hard it is to find a wine barrel planter in November? I finally found this one at Bamboo Craftsman, where they only had two left. The guy even rolled it out to the truck for me. I probably should have bought the other one too; I'll want it eventually.