Monday, February 24, 2014

Preparations for Planting

In my post on January 1st, I mentioned that I wanted to extend the small bed that encircles the backyard fountain along an existing pathway, linking it to the side yard border we created last year. By February 1st, we'd gotten started.

Before work began

After the edge of the new border was defined



Last week, we finished digging out the sod.

New extended fountain bed




In January, my husband also removed the snorkel spa on the far left side of the backyard border.  I described this spa, which is heated using firewood rather than electricity, last year.  Taking out the spa proved to be relatively easy but clearing the 6-inch layer of gravel underneath it took time.

Photo of the snorkel spa taken last year




The wood salvaged from deconstruction of the spa will be used to build furniture for the backyard patio - someday.  At present, it's neatly stacked in the garage.

What I hope my husband will turn into a patio dining table




However, the most important thing is that the spa's removal leaves another empty spot to fill with plants!

Bed sans spa




We ordered topsoil to backfill the new beds.  It took the 2 of us several hours to move and spread the soil over the 2 beds.

3 cubic yards of topsoil

New bed with fresh topsoil



I've been deliberating on my planting scheme for some time.  I have a long list of options for both the new beds but I've yet to draw up planting plans.  However, I signed up with Pinterest and created a bulletin board to capture ideas for the new border.  (I ended up creating 5 boards - Pinterest can easily become a time-consuming obsession!)

I already have a few plants for each new bed.  One of the Japanese maples I splurged on recently will go into the extended fountain border.  The Driyms lanceolata supplanted by the other Japanese maple will go into the bed formerly occupied by the spa.  I also have a few plants I mail-ordered from Annie's Annuals & Perennials set aside, as well as a new pot, which will mark the transition from the side yard path to the grass path between the 2 backyard borders.  I've even got some seeds germinating - my first attempt at starting seeds indoors rather than directly planting them in place.

Acer palmatum Mikawa Yatsubasa, already beginning to leaf out

Purchases from Annie's Annuals & Perennials: Digiplexis 'Illumination Flame' and Scorzonera hispanica (aka Black Salsify), which I potted up pending placement in the new bed

I bought this pot for another purpose, then decided it would be perfect to mark the transition from the side yard to the backyard (provided that I can pick up its mate this week)




I've still got a LOT of plant shopping to do and I'm looking forward to it!  That will have to wait a bit, though, as we have not one but 2 rainstorms expected this week!!!

16 comments:

  1. Hooray for the rain that's coming! I know you need it. And Wow! You have a lot of empty space to fill now. I'm jealous, I want some of that Digiplexis. I've been checking out some of your pins on Pinterest, isn't it a fun way to gather ideas?

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    1. Your Pinterest site was what pushed me the final way toward establishing my own Pinterest board(s), Alison. Thanks for that!

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  2. Kris, I put Illumination Flame on my AA wishlist last fall, perfect for my front garden color scheme! Love seeing all that lawn removed ..

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    1. You should have seen my husband's face, Kathy, when I told him that there were 2 other (smaller) sections of lawn I want removed. Needless to say, that's not going to happen anytime soon unless I pay someone to do it or tackle it myself.

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  3. You've been busy...and the best us yet to come, right? I love the two tone green container. Do you know what you'll plant in it?

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    1. I was able to pick up a 2nd container of the same type - the last one on the shelf at the nursery. I've put a Euphorbia 'Dean's hybrid' in each to hang down the side but I'm thinking of succulents as the main event, maybe Graptoveria 'Fred Ives.' I considered Agaves but my favorites there are big and prickly and I'm afraid they'd give visitors a hostile welcome.

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  4. I love, love, love that two tone pot!! You guys have been very busy but look at the superb result, and to think it's still work in progress! Enjoy the process of planning and plant shopping, and hopefully the (welcome?) rainstorms won't cause too much mess and instead bring some much needed moisture to kick start spring even more :)

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    1. We got our 1st rain last night when I'd just about given up hope the promise would become a reality! The bigger storm is due to arrive very early tomorrow morning - the newscasters are already predicting dire consequences for some areas. Unfortunately, mudslides often do accompany heavy rain here.

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  5. Your changes are wonderful! Your curved grass path is perfect. Well, that's subjective because I'm fond of curved beds and paths. Happy to hear that you have rain on the way!

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    1. We curved the new bed to roughly mimic the lines of the existing backyard border, Peter. Now, the fun begins!

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  6. It is such fun having a new bed to plant up from scratch. What a gorgeous pot! I look forward to seeing it when it is all finished.

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    1. I wish I could find all the plants I'd like for the new area now so I could lay them out and properly fiddle with placement like landscapers do but I think the border's construction will be somewhat piecemeal despite my advanced planning.

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  7. Very nice! That must have been an absolute ton of work, but will be well worth the effort! Love that pot btw. It will make a great focal point.

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    1. The pot was a bit of a happy accident. I'm glad to say I found a 2nd one. Now I just need to select the right plants to complement them.

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  8. I love that moment when all the hard work of preparing the new bed is done and it is ready for plants. This is a beautiful new planting area; I look forward to seeing how you fill it. -Jean

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    1. Thanks, Jean! My desk is covered with plant lists and mock-ups for planting schemes. I'm impatient to get started but trying to exercise some discipline about the process (for a change) - we'll see how long that lasts...

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