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1  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 11:22:45 PM
It's been a great summer .  .  .
August 25, 2017

This is the time of the year when the summer bloomers do their thing.  I planted three crape myrtles back in 2015.  All of them are growing beautifully and have flowered each year.  The Purple Magic crape myrtle below has been the first to bloom each year, with this year being no exception.  

It began blooming in mid-June, and has now been sporting flowers for two months.  

The same is true for the Plum Magic crape myrtle.

The Plum Magic crape myrtle first started showing blooms in July.

For whatever reason, I don't have many blooms on the Crimson Red crape myrtle.  But it is blooming.

This is a pleasant surprise !  After moving the Chinese Snowball and Small Anise Tree from this location in 2015, I planted a Yucca Color Guard and a Joe Pye Weed in their place.

I have no idea if the Yucca is doing "well" because it looks exactly the same as it did when I planted it.  But the Joe Pye Weed looks pretty good.

The Joe Pye Weed didn't look too good last season.  I'm guessing that's because I didn't keep the soil moist enough.  With all the rain we've had this year, it looks like it's rebounded quite well, even if it is leaning significantly.

The Joe Pye Weed is said to attract butterflies and appears to be doing its job .  .  .

2  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 11:04:42 PM
My first pampas grass bloom .  .  .
August 21, 2017

Well this is a wonderful surprise !

I was heading to work today and discovered a bloom on one of the Pampas Grass plants.  I originally planted all of them in the backyard, which was not one of my better ideas.  Pampas Grass likes full sunlight.  Over the past couple of years, I relocated them to the front yard where they seem to be happy.

Pampas Grass is pretty popular around here.  Most of the examples I see in this area are very large and covered with these feathery blooms.  I'm thinking that moving my plants may have slowed the growing/blooming process.  But now that one of them has become established, I'm starting to see blooms !

I've got one bloom !  It's not much.  But it's my first.  Hopefully, I'll have more in the future .  .  .
3  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 10:49:04 PM
continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2

I had two projects on the agenda for today.  In one of my first Yard Adventure undertakings, I planted an Eleanor Tabor Indian Hawthorn shrub directly in front of the house in March 2012 where it did ok, but not great.  I moved it to the mailbox area in April 2016 thinking more sun would be beneficial.  That idea, which looked good on paper, didn't work at all in practice, (it dropped most of its leaves shortly afterward).  It's looked pretty sad ever since.

My reason for wanting to move the hawthorn at this point stems from the nearby Pampas Grass plant which is doing extremely well this year and has slowly been encroaching on the hawthorn's space.  So the plan for today was to move it once again before it gets smothered.  I broke out the shovel and pulled it out of the ground.

According to the tag that came with the hawthorn, it likes sun.  When directly in front of the house didn't work, I moved it to the mailbox.  That location, even though it is in full sun, didn't work either for unknown reasons.  So now I don't know what to think.  I decided to put it next to the Leyland Cypress and Reeves Spireas by the front walk where I had the small relocated azalea.  This area gets sunlight, (although not full-sun all day long), and is large enough to give it some room.  After a little bit of effort, the hawthorn now has another new address.  Everything I do with this plant is a guess at this point.  So I'm going to cross my fingers and see what happens.  

I tried to center the hawthorn evenly in between the Leyland Cypress and Reeves Spireas.  There should be enough room in this location for everyone.

With the Eleanor Tabor Indian Hawthorn relocated, this meant I had to find yet another home for the small azalea.  Since I hacked all of the azaleas next to the driveway this past spring, a decent gap has developed in between two of them large enough to fit this small shrub.  This will be the fourth, and hopefully last location for this little guy.

This is the azalea that I originally found on the other side of the yard completely surrounded by English Ivy.  I've moved it twice previously with no ill effects.  It has continued to bloom beautifully each year, but hasn't really grown at all.  So we'll see what happens now.

My mind likes the idea of the small azalea being next to all the other azaleas along the driveway.  And if my previous experiences are accurate, this shrub is pretty stout and should survive another relocation .  .  .

4  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 10:04:49 PM
A couple of changes for late summer .  .  .
August 13, 2017
Part 1 of 2

This has been a great summer so far.  My yard seems quite happy with the amount of rain we've had.  The summer bloomers continue to do their thing.  The Purple Magic crape myrtle was the first of the three in this area to bloom this year.  It did so in mid-June, which means it's been sporting purple flowers for a month now.


The Plum Magic crape myrtle has tripled in size since I planted it in 2015.  It has also been blooming for a month. 

The Crimson Red crape myrtle is getting a late start, but is now starting to bloom.

Speaking of benefiting from the rain this summer, the Vitex Shoal Creek has tripled in size since I planted it in April 2016.  This plant should get pretty large and bloom in blue each spring.

The one remaining Super Blue Lavender still shows a few blooms.  It bloomed earlier this spring.  When it finished blooming, I cut the spent flowers off hoping it would bloom again, which it did !  This sounds like something I should pay attention to.

I tried to zoom in on a moth on one of the flowers, which was a lot harder than it sounds.  But the picture turned ok given the circumstances .  .  .

5  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 09:39:33 PM
Another branch down .  .  .
August 8, 2017

I was preparing to head to work today and found this.

A large branch from one of the trees next to the driveway broke off and fell.  This is the largest branch that has come down in my yard in a while.  Yet it did so during a calm weather period, (i.e. no storms or high winds).

Unfortunately, if fell on top of the Korean Azalea.

I moved the branch off of the azalea and was relieved to find that nothing was broken.

It looks like the branch bent everything over, but didn't actually break anything.  I think it will be fine.

I think I see where the branch broke, which was quite a ways up.

Naturally, Leaf & Limb collection just happened in my neighborhood last week.  I'll have to set the branch aside for now until the next collection in 6 weeks .  .  .

6  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 09:25:25 PM
A colorful summer .  .  .
July 29, 2017

The summer bloomers in the yard are doing their thing.  I've got a lot of whatever the ornamental grass seen below is scattered throughout the yard.
 This cluster that surrounds the large Crape Myrtle next to the garage seems to be some kind of Liriope and always looks great each summer.

Speaking of which, the crape myrtle next to the garage continues to do its thing like it does every year.  

While not blooming all over like some I have seen in the neighborhood, it blooms beautifully every season at the top of the tree, (which is a long way up !).

I planted three crape myrtles in this area of the yard back in 2015.  All three are growing beautifully, and have bloomed each season.  The Purple Magic crape myrtle was the first to bloom this year.

A week later, the Plum Magic crape myrtle was showing a few blooms.

The three Reeves Spireas are benefiting from the large amount of rain we've had this summer.  

Actually, the whole yard is benefiting from the wonderful summer we've seen so far in this part of the country.

It's been warm, (this is Georgia, after all), but not stifling.  It's been wet enough to allow the yard to grow, but dry enough for me to enjoy a lot of weekend cruises to nowhere with the roof down.  Life is good .  .  .  

7  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: October 07, 2017, 09:02:15 PM
Taking down a couple of small trees .  .  .
July 23, 2017

I discovered a tree leaning in my side yard by the driveway a few weeks ago.  We've had a good amount of rain this summer along with a few incidents of high winds.  The small tree seen below started to lean.

What confuses me the most is that this tree seems to be in a somewhat protected area and surrounded by several larger trees.

Regardless, with Leaf & Limb collection approaching, I decided to take it down.  It pushed over very easily which makes me wonder if it wasn't exactly healthy despite the fact that it didn't look bad at all.

In the midst of taking the tree down by the driveway, I discovered a second tree down in the back yard by the fence.

This is the same situation - a small tree in a relatively protected area falls victim to strong storms and high winds.

Like the other tree, this one pushed over very easily.  I cut the roots and carried it down to the driveway for the next Leaf & Limb collection.

So I've got two small trees that fell over.  Yet the giant pine tree below, that has been leaning for years, is still standing and, compared to previous pics, is unchanged.

The good news with this tree is that it's leaning in a direction where it can't hurt anything if it falls.  So I'm going to leave it alone and hope for the best .  .  .

8  The Auto Lounge . . . / The Garage / Re: A glimpse inside Todd's Cathouse . . . on: August 13, 2017, 10:16:29 PM
Wow !  I've said many times before and continue to say that my troubles are insignificant compared to those of others .  .  .
9  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 09, 2017, 11:22:55 PM
continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2

This is good news !  The Purple Magic Crape Myrtle Looks great !

The Purple Magic Crape Myrtle was just starting to bloom three weeks ago, and is now covered with large flower clusters.

More good news !  Some of the ornamental grass plants I moved at the end of May from the backyard are now flowering.

This looks like a type of Variegated Liriope, (not 100% sure).

I've got a few more flowers on the Happy Returns Daylilies.

The Pampas Grass plant I moved at the end of April has completely recovered.  I was initially concerned when the whole plant turned brown right after I moved it.  So I cut most of the dead foliage away.  Now around 10 weeks after the fact, it looks pretty close to the size it was originally when I moved it.

Now that the gardenias have finished blooming, I decided to give them a much needed trim, "hacking" actually.

The two gardenias next to the Crape Myrtle were both in place when I moved in.  I've pruned them a few times over the years, but hadn't done so in a while.  Both had become quite large and unruly.

Since we've had a bunch of rain this season, the loropetalums were also starting to get pretty wild again.  These plants grow fast and, if left unattended, quite large.  So they got a trim as well.

I'm reading where loropetalums should be pruned in the spring, which I already did after they finished blooming.  These plants set their buds during the summer.  Pruning them too late in the season can curtail next spring's blooming.  Hopefully, I'm not doing this too late.

Since I was in a hacking mood, I gave the gardenias by the back porch a trim as well.  I haven't touched them in several years.

This has been a drama-free season to this point.  I'm quite happy with everything so far .  .  .
10  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 09, 2017, 11:04:54 PM
A week of storms creates a mess .  .  .
July 8 - 9, 2017
Part 1 of 2

The week of July 2 was particularly stormy in this part of the country.  While not a complete wash out by any means, a series of fast moving storms rolled through the region all throughout the week.  Some of them were quite intense featuring winds strong enough to cause some damage.  Limbs and whole trees were reported down across the city.  

As the week progressed, my yard began to slowly fill with branches.  Most of what fell was pretty small.

I did have a few significantly sized limbs come down.  I'm probably lucky the limb seen below fell where it did instead of going through my living room window.

A few branches fell on this side of the yard as well.  

The limb seen below fell from the pine tree by the driveway and landed on the edge of the Yellow Flag Irises in the middle of the yard.

It seems like most of the debris came from the driveway side of the yard.

A lot of what is seen above and below landed in my driveway.  I had to move stuff out of the way several times during the week.  All of it will get moved to the curb when the next Leaf & Limb collection in my neighborhood arrives during the week of July 24th.

Another limb down in the side yard by the driveway.

Trees were reported down all over the city, (including one about 2 blocks from my house).  I appear to have a tree that is now leaning heavily.

It's hard to tell from the photos above and below.  But a small tree in between me and my next door neighbor is now leaning in my direction.

It's a small tree, (only about 4 inches in diameter).  But you can tell from the photos above and below that it's somewhat tall.  No worries though.  It's leaning over top of my Nandina Domestica "Heavenly Bamboo" garden in front of my driveway.  Those plants are indestructible, (I've run small Heavenly Bamboo plants over with the mower and they still grow back.  So if it falls, it can't really hurt anything.


I've got a few small branches down in the back yard.

Nothing significant.  Branches that fall back here can't really hurt anything .  .  .

11  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 08, 2017, 11:56:56 PM
Time for the summer bloomers to get started .  .  .
June 18, 2017

With the spring blooming season finished for this year, it's now time for the summer bloomers to do their thing.  The cluster of ornamental grass by the front walk is showing a few blooms.  I believe this is some kind of Liriope, but I'm not sure.  Whatever it is, it looks great, and has become one of my favorite aspects of the yard.  This somewhat simple idea has produced what I see as great visual results.

The Vitex Shoal Creek is blooming in blue and looks great !

This plant has grown like wildfire since I planted it last year.  I did some research and discovered that it's considered "invasive" across some areas of the southern US.  "Invasive" means that it can grow in just about any soil, take care of itself and spread rapidly, and isn't affected by pests or diseases.  In other words, it's perfect for me and my yard.

The three Crape Myrtles I planted in 2015 have all grown significantly.  The Purple Magic Crape Myrtle is usually the first of the four in my yard, (three in this location and one next to the garage), to begin blooming in the summer.  

The Happy Returns Daylilies are starting to bloom.  For whatever reason, they seem to bloom less and less with each passing year.  I'm not sure why.  But I suspect the local deer population has something to do with it.  I've got a few flowers, which is nice.

The Frostproof Gardenia began blooming last month and exploded three weeks ago with more blooms that I had seen in previous years.  A few flowers remain.

While the Frostproof Gardenia is winding down, the other Gardenia is just getting started.  This plant was in place when I moved in.  I wasn't sure what it was until I planted the Frostproof Gardenia a few spaces to the right and noticed the similarity between the flowers.  My neighbor confirmed my suspicions that it was some kind of Gardenia.

Once I started paying attention, I realized that the plants in the back yard by the porch are the same as the large Gardenia in front of the house.  There are actually three plants in this location.  The somewhat restricted amount of sunlight means that the plant furthest from the house blooms the most.  But flowers can be seen on all three.

I'm guessing this is some kind of Gardenia because it looks the same as the other plant in front of the house which is believed to be a Gardenia.  The leaves and flowers are identical.

The large amount of rain we've had this year means everything is growing and doing quite well .  .  .

12  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 08, 2017, 09:55:27 PM
Another pleasant surprise .  .  .
May 31, 2017

I was leaving for work today and made a wonderful discovery !  I've got A LOT of flowers on the Frostproof Gardenia this year.

The picture I posted earlier the previous weekend showed a few white blooms here and there which was what I was used to seeing.  This plant has grown very well since I planted it in 2014, and has bloomed sparingly with the same low level of intensity each year.  But this is a first !

it's never bloomed with this much intensity before.  I hope this is the start of a trend .  .  .

13  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 08, 2017, 09:49:43 PM
continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2

I planted this Persian Lilac in the back yard in May 2015.  The tag on the plant said "Part Sun," which is why I put it in the back yard.   But evidence suggests that the back yard may be more "Part" than "Sun."  After half of it died over the winter, I decided to move it out front to see if I could save it.

I chose the area by the rose bushes for no reason other than that area is somewhat of a mess.  Adding one more plant to it can't really hurt at this point.

I found the ornamental grass cluster seen below originally growing in the back yard.  The shape and symmetry caught my eye and made me think it would look good in this corner where my driveway and front walk meet.  So I moved it to this location last year.  That simple decision has become one of my favorite aspects of the front yard.  

That got me thinking.  There are several more smaller clusters of ornamental grass in the back yard.  I wonder how it would look if I scattered more clusters around the front yard.  I've got several areas where something small could go given the right opportunity.  So I moved one of the smaller ornamental grass clusters to the area below in between the recently relocated Pampas Grass plant and the existing flowering Dogwood tree.

I put two more smaller clusters in between the pear tree and the three Crape Myrtles.

This area is large enough to accommodate two small ornamental grass clusters.

I put another small ornamental grass cluster in between the palm tree and Star Magnolia.  I originally had two palm trees here.  The Silver European Fan Palm tree still looks ok, but hasn't done any "growing" since planted it.  I also moved the remains of a large Green European Fan Palm tree to this location in an attempt to save it.  What was an actual small tree years ago had devolved into a twig that stayed green until this spring when it finally died.  That spot seemed like a good location for another ornamental grass cluster.  So the one large area filled with black mulch has now become two smaller areas.

I keep saying that I need to figure out how to properly maintain my rose bushes, and I think this may be the first step.  The roses bloom each spring, but don't really look healthy.  Everything I read says that I need to use some kind of insecticide to control the pests.  Cross your fingers .  .  .

14  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 08, 2017, 09:39:59 PM
Implementing another idea .  .  .
May 28, 2017
Part 1 of 2

We've had quite a bit of rain around here lately.  The more Mother Nature waters my plants, the less I have to pay Athens-Clarke County to do it.  The Mexican Pony Tails Feather Grass and Pink Muhly Grass plants all look great.

The Husker Red Beardtongues, Super Blue Lavender, and Coronation Gold Yarrows are all doing very well.

Another week has passed since I moved the Pampas Grass plant to this spot.  Seeing more green is definitely a good thing !  It looks like it will be fine.

It looks like the Vitex Shoal Creek is preparing to bloom.  I should see a lot of blue flowers in the upcoming weeks.

The Frostproof Gardenia has grown tremendously since I planted it back in 2014.  It has bloomed each spring with about the same level of intensity.  This is typically what I have seen, which is fine.

I have another Asiatic Lily flower !

I was hoping it would bloom before the deer got to it.  So seeing this made me smile .  .  .

15  The Off-Topic Lounge . . . / House & Home / Re: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . . on: July 08, 2017, 09:24:36 PM
More progress .  .  .
May 21, 2017

I was relieved to see some activity on the Vitex Shoal Creek in Late March.  The last photo I took of the Vitex on April 2 saw it just beginning to turn green.  Six weeks later, it's now fully awake and is showing a bunch of blooms in waiting.  I should be seeing a lot of blue flowers very soon.

This is a relief !  I moved this Pampas Grass plant three weeks ago, after which all the foliage turned brown.  I cut it back hoping it was temporarily traumatized because of the move.  Seeing new green growth makes me feel much better.

On the low end of the drama scale, the Husker Red Beardtongues are doing very well.  And they have done so without any input from me.

Even though it's bent over because of all the rain we've had here lately, the remaining Super Blue Lavender has definitely recovered and is doing very well. 

The drama-free Coronation Gold Yarrows also do their thing with no input from me.  The combination of green foliage, yellow blooms, and fresh black mulch looks great !

I still have blooms on the Goldmound Spirea.  I've been trying to kill the fire ants in hopes that the sad looking plant in the back will recover.  I first spotted the small purple flowers at the end of April, meaning these bushes have now been flowering for one month.

I've got a couple of flowers on the Happy Returns Daylilies.  The local deer population has a tendency to snack on these plants.  I should be ok as long as I keep them sprayed with repellent.

The Blue Dart Rush Grass plants around the pear tree have done well since I planted them in 2014.  They continue to grow consistently and are now showing small leaves.

I haven't had a lot of luck with the Tiny Dessert Asiatic Lilies in the planters at the front porch.  I think the local animal population likes to snack on them.  But I still have one Asiatic Lily flower, which is fine.

And I definitely have one more Asiatic Lily flower in waiting.  Maybe it will bloom before the deer get to it .  .  .

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