Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Front Yard Garden - Part One

Good afternoon!

Sorry to those who were "anxiously awaiting" more pictures.  Between planning for my work Halloween party on Monday and viciously fighting off a bout of sickness (oh it tried to take over my body!  But with the help of my trusty sidekick Zicam, we triumphed), I was not eager to start a pic-post-athon.  But now I will post pics for you.

Shall we do a before?  Yes, we shall.

From the door, left side

From the door, right side

Right side, palm tree
These were all photos of when we first purchased the house.  After two five months of neglect, it was covered in pine needles and leaves, and a few weeds had popped up, along with an overgrowth of English Ivy that actively tried to strangle the life out of the palm tree.  With the help of my parents, we extricated these buggers, dug viciously, discovered that I had a nice level of moist soil, and deep beneath that, clay.  I didn't realize until after we'd planted that clay was one of the worst soils you could have, and most stuff doesn't survive.  So after all this work, we'll see how the flowers get along.

My husband and I chose six healthy Cast Iron plants, and some purple and white/purple pansies.  However on Saturday morning, the pansies were not looking happy, and next to each other, I didn't think that the mix was going to be a great fit for this area.  A few days earlier, I'd eyed some gorgeous fuschia SnapDragons at Kroger (of all places).  They were a great price and very healthy looking, and after checking out the prices at the discount nursery, I discovered they were actually a really great deal. 

So Saturday, the parents and I drove to Kroger and got 6 Snapdragon sets.  (Then later, at my insistence, we bought two more :) .)  After hours of digging, weed pulling, fertilizing, cleaning, and dirt-transplanting, this was our progress as of Saturday afternoon:

A healthy improvement over Friday afternoon.  

After being such troopers, I blew the whistle and took the parents out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants (mmm, Chuys).  Then we had to part ways, as Husband and I had a Halloween party to go to, and moms had cats to get home to. 

Sunday, after falling out of bed cursing God for the pain he'd afflicted on my body, I dragged myself back outside and kept going.  I started building the garden border (a super cheap but well-made border that I got on Amazon - see here).  They suggested using a rubber mallet, but I didn't have one, so I used a meat tenderizer (the flat side!!) instead.  No one said I wasn't resourceful when needed.

All you had to do was insert the groove for the second section into the first section, and "gently tap in". 
Gentle was a term used loosely, because it is plastic, so it required more "banging" than "tapping".  It was a trial for a set that was really long, because once I got about six pieces together, I'd start tapping in the seventh piece and the first piece would start popping up out of the ground.  I also had to account for the various tree roots that blocked the path of the border, so I have a few spots where there are small gaps.  Luckily the snapdragons hide these so it's not visible.

In the end, it came out looking great.

Next came mulching.  I chose an organic black mulch for many reasons, the highest priority being that black is the best color of mulch in the whole world and it just makes plants POP.  Husband asked why I didn't use red, and I was like, "Because that'd be ugly.  Now go shush and build something."

I used two- to three-inches of mulch all around, and it came out looking great.  Below is a shot of midway progress.  You can see that the right has been bordered and mulched, and the left has been not touched. 

More mulch shots!

I took a break to silently curse my body for hurting (including my head and stomach, which were not garden-work related and should not have been happening - curse you, sickness!  I will have my victory).  Then it was back to work on the second side.  Shots below:
Apologies for the shot - it was starting to get dark and I couldn't see how well the shot was being taken on my phone.

I am particularly pleased with how well this turned out, given that it was my temporary stopping point and I wasn't sure how it was going to look against the stone/palm/ugly dirt.  But I am proud of my work.

And bonus - there were a few huge tree roots that were making my clumsy baby-giraffe self trip every single time I walked on the grass.  Dirt transplant was successful in making this trip-hazard disappear.  No before shot, but it's dirt.  Why do you care about what it looked like before?

Now I just trip on the dirt when my shoe-heels sink into the soft dirt and then make me fall forward.

So here is the shot as of this morning, after I rinshed off the sidewalk as best I could, pruned the flowers, watered, and let them settle for a few days:

 I think we have a winner.  (Ignore the pansies, they are going in the backyard but I wanted them to have sun in the interim.)

Next step: Get more plants, soil, border, and mulch this week, so I can do the same thing all over again this upcoming weekend.  The plan: continue the planting/mulching around the palm tree and across the front yard. 

Can't wait to see the finished product!  And just in time for the cold snap that will make the snapdragons happy.


Jessica said...

It looks like a home!!! YAAAY!

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