Tag Archives: landscape

Project Landscape

10 Jul

The big week is finally here!! And it’s underway, though not in a particularly attractive way:

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A nice young man from the nursery came to begin killing our current grass yesterday. Sorry, grass! It wasn’t personal, I promise! The above pile of dirt was delivered this morning for Mike’s little side project. He’s installing a french drain along the right side of the property (yay.). The man who delivered the dirt was one of those people who could restore faith in humanity, even among the most cynical among us. Seriously, he was one of the most considerate, efficient, easy-to-get-along with, and polite people I’ve ever run across. All that and he was an incredible dump truck driver! He prompts me to want to remind you that if you can make your purchases from a local, small business, you totally should!

I am hopeful, however, that this is the smelliest part of the installation. In case you didn’t know, a big pile of dirt is really stinky. I won’t go into what it smells like, assuming I’m in polite company, but trust me, its not pleasant. I am looking forward to the less smelly parts: the peonies, the abelia, the ferns, the lilies, and all of their friends! 🙂 More to come…

You are the *Iris* of my Eye

22 Jun

Months and months and months ago, when I started sketching out our landscape plan, I sought input from Le Hubs. Much to my surprise, he did actually have input! He wanted iris in our garden! So… Iris he shall have.

“Iris” refers to nearly 300 different species of showy flowering herbs, grown from either rhizomes or bulbs depending on the climate. They thrive in a wide variety of climates, and are easy to grow. They prefer at least 1/2 a day of sunshine, although they may also like some shade if it’s really hot. They aren’t especially particular about soil (although its ideally at a Ph level of 6.8 if you are into that sort of thing), either, as long as its well-drained.

They don’t especially like to be planted deeply, about 12-24″ apart. They may need some help in getting their root systems up and going, so watering up front is a good idea. After they are established, however, they are usually pretty hardy. Feed them with a 6-10-10 fertilizer about 2x each year (in early spring and about 1 month after their blooming ceases), and you will have some happy flowers!

I am most definitely enjoying the theme that the flowers and plants we have selected are by and large hardy, easy, and quite pretty! Installation in T-3 Weeks!

Endless Summer

23 May

About this time of year, pretty much every year, at some point I’ll think to myself, “I wish the weather would stay just like this forever.” But, sooner or later, I’ll start missing my sweaters and tights and boots, and wish that it would hurry up and get colder (hot chocolate weather!). The hydrangea that we are getting ready to plant in our front beds, though, may be just the thing to get me to really wish that the summer would be there forever. The name of the hydrangea variety, no surprise, is “Endless Summer.” Coincidentally, hydrangea are often said to represent preservation (as in a forever love, thus their popularity with weddings), so “Endless Summer” seems appropriate symbolically as well.

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The Endless Summer collection of hydrangea are specially bred to allow for blooms on both new and old growth. These plants bloom throughout the summer (thus the name, I suppose), and include both mophead hydrangea (the Original & Blushing Bride), lace cap hydrangea (Twist-n-Shout), and Wild hydrangea (Bella Anna). We are going with the Original.

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Hydrangea are also fairly easy to care for. Best planted anywhere from early spring to late summer in an area of the yard or garden that gets morning sun (but some shade in the afternoon), hydrangea need well-drained soil but they aren’t very needy otherwise. Especially on getting started, its important that they are regularly watered (thus the name HYDRA-ngea, and they aren’t camels, so you’ll need to make sure that they have adequate water regularly). Acidic fertilizer is a plus, but they really only need it 1x/year, and in the spring, before they bloom. I already know that my soil is acidic, so its really about boosting up what is already there.

I read a pretty cool tip for prolonging the life of a cut hydrangea (they are way too short-lived for my tastes) – its called the hot water method. When cutting blooms, take a container of water out to the plant. As you cut each stem, put it in the water. Inside, boil water and pour it into a container. Place the stems in the (very) hot water for about 30 seconds, and then arrange them in room temperature water. From what I’ve heard, this is pretty much a guaranteed method! Sweet! I can’t wait to try it!

Growing Peonies

11 May

The most lovely peony, and the object of much affection

I am SO excited about our planting plans; I really can’t even put into words how awesome this is for me! Of course, I started upon this plan without a huge amount of knowledge… Unfortunately, this is typical for me.

Oh No! 😦 Dead plants=bad news…

The good news is that I really like to learn!

Yesterday, in chatting about my garden plans, one of my lovely friends and dear readers asked an innocent question: Is growing peonies difficult? (I’m paraphrasing.) To which I had no response! Agh! I don’t want a garden of dead plants!

I need to know more about planting and growing and maintaining peonies, which are indeed some of my favorites!

So… to research I shall go.

The best news is that when I searched the ever-handy google for “how to grow peonies,” all of the results I got stated in no uncertain terms “peonies can live and thrive for decades with minimal care.” Yay! No dead plants for me! In other good news, they are also quite drought tolerant. Double yay! Here in Georgia, we just about don’t know summer without a drought.

It seems that there are a few general guidelines, however:

1. Personal space! Peonies don’t like being too close together, requiring a 3-4′ diameter. Otherwise, they can get gray mold (boo!).

2. Peonies are a little on the tart side… They like a slightly acidic soil. Score another one for my front yard, with my husband’s beloved pine tree covering the entire area with pine straw!

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They also much prefer a very well-drained soil, although like roses, they are heavy feeders and need a rather fertile soil. When mulching, take care not to much much on the crown, as they also don’t like being over-buried (unless its a tree peony, the highest crown about 2 inches below ground). Nursery container peonies may be planted in spring, although from root, a fall planting is best.

3. Peonies tend towards the tan-aholic side, preferring a fair amount of sun each day (6 hours+). They are, however, a little bit wary of too much heat, in which case some shade can be helpful.

4. These little guys need time to grow up before they are, em, deflowered. Its best to wait a few years before cutting them for arrangements, and even then, I’ll need to be mindful to leave appropriate foliage to ensure that the plan can get the nutrition it needs. Never cut below 50% of the flowers. I also read a 3 leaf rule – to leave 3 leaves on any given stem.

5. At the end of the growing season, its good to cut the stems back to about an inch or so above the soil level and remove the foliage from the growing area. This is also a rot-preventer.

Now, armed with just enough knowledge to make me dangerous, I’m about to call the landscape man about getting my plants ordered and such. Anything else I should know as I get started with peonies?