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Author Topic: Yard Work Season 2013 has begun . . .  (Read 15905 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« on: March 17, 2013, 11:47:10 PM »

I remember over Thanksgiving 2012 thinking, "winter is almost here," and getting somewhat depressed.  This means the shorts have to be put away.  It gets darker earlier thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time.  And worst of all, the roof on the car stays up more often than not. 

Not all is lost, though.  Living in Pennsylvania really used to take a toll on my mental well being, which got progressively worse with each passing year.  Missouri was better, but could still suffer from lots of snow and cold.  In Georgia, however, winters are quite mild.  This winter, Athens, Georgia had exactly 0 inches  of snowfall, which is absolutely perfect as far as I am concerned.  I especially love it when my brother sends me pictures of his front yard covered in snow when I'm driving with the roof down.  Makes me feel good.

Time seems to pass by much quicker as I age.  Even though winter seems like it just arrived,  it's finished.  Daylight Savings brings about longer days.  Average daily temperatures creep upward.  And before I know it, the long pants go back into the closet. 

Around here, the greening begins in February.  Temperatures warm up enough during the day to "wake stuff up," but stay cold enough at night to keep a lid on the progress.  I refer to this as the beginning of "Yard Work Season."  It's time to get the remaining leaves gathered up, and whatever goodies you got at Lowe's in the ground.  Usually, flowers begin to appear in March.  By April, everything is green, and my spirits uplifted.  What follows is my usual documentation of this annual event .  .  .
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 12:27:21 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 12:31:27 AM »

I got started the other day. Mowed part of the yard that was getting high, trimmed all the shrubs around the walkways and patios, bushes around the pool, cut back the crepe myrtles and snowball bush, and put fresh mulch around everything. Noticed today my Bradford pears started popping some white flowers out, they've been covered in buds for weeks. 77 degrees yesterday must have been the push they needed.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 12:37:28 AM »

Part I  -  Let the day begin .  .  .
February 8, 2013





The nice thing about February in Georgia is that daytime high temperatures in the 70s are not unusual.  Typically, you see days in the 50s.  But when a front approaches, temperatures can warm quickly, only to drop after the front passes.  This roller coaster pattern has a tendency to wake stuff up, meaning some green will slowly begin to appear.

A friend of mine gave me a large clump of bulbs last spring with instructions to break up the clump into smaller clusters and plant them individually.  My yard is usually a place where things come to die.  But, I figured that I would take her advice and give it a shot, the details of which are chronicled HERE.  

Those bulbs, along with everything else I planted last year survived !  !  !    With spring approaching fast, they began to grow at a rapid pace.





I've got some weeding to do.  But everything is still there and growing !





Hopefully, I'll have some nice flowers in the months ahead.





One of the bulbs decided to get a head start on the others.  That, coupled with the previously mentioned warmer temperatures made for a single bloom.





I'll take a bloom in early February any time I can get one.





Remember what I said above about time passing by much quicker as I age ?  It's hard to believe that my "new" patio is over one year old   already !  And I'm happy to report that all the bricks and pavers are still in the same places where I originally laid them, meaning nothing has sagged or shifted.  So far, so good.





I found out that this nice piece of greenery at the front of my driveway is called an Aucuba Japonica.  There are several varieties of Aucuba plants with names like Crotonifolia, Gold Dust, and Mr. Goldstrike.





In the spring, red berries begin to appear.  And naturally, the berries are poisonous.  But, they look great, especially with the green contrast.





The occasional warmer temps this month have also caused my rose bush in front of the house to bloom.





Judging by how it looks, this bloom appeared a while ago.





The large flowering tree in the front yard is beginning to sport a bunch of blooms.





I'm not 100 percent sure.  But, I wonder if I have two different plants here.  The tall tree blooms a pinkish color.








The smaller bush in front of it blooms in a more dark red shade.





Pretty soon, the Azaleas along the driveway will start to bloom.  Right now, they are just beginning to awaken and sprout some new growth.





So, it looks like I'm off to a good start .  .  .
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 11:31:50 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 03:58:42 PM »

I just realized something. You dont have a lot of actual "lawn" do you? Lawns are overrated in my opinion.

I'll have to get some shots this weeekend of our new yard. That is if the fooking snow melts ... 
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 06:25:19 PM »

As far as a clearly defined, finely manicured, weed free, beautiful green area of grass, no I do not.  My front yard is the closest thing to it.  





Most of this appears to be a good mix of some kind of grass and a lot of weeds.  But since it's green, and grows without a lot of input from me, I'm happy to have it.  I don't think I would want a "lawn" that requires constant care and maintenance.  I'm looking for something that will grow without a lot of external inputs, and survive the hot and dry summers we tend to have in Georgia.  

The one side of my back yard has a bunch of grass.





I think this is some kind of ornamental grass, only because of the way it grows.  In the spring, it will grow like mad for about a month, then stop.  I don't have to cut the above area more than three times per year.  I wish my entire yard was like that !

The other side of the back yard is mainly a dirt and Ivy mix of some kind, with dirt holding a slight advantage.





I've got a box of "shade mix" wildflower seeds that I'm going to try and plant somewhere over there and see what happens .  .  .
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 11:56:21 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2013, 01:02:36 PM »

Ah. I see. The front is nice, a frame if you will for the house. Very cool.
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 12:42:55 PM »

Part II  -  A slight diversion .  .  .
March 16, 2013





A little more than a month has passed since the first set of pictures were taken.  Some progress has been made in the greening process, but not nearly as much as you would expect.  This can be clearly seen when you compare this spring with last year.  This post from almost exactly one year ago shows some considerable differences.  I attribute this to the much colder than normal temperatures I've had so far this spring.  
   




Notice that a majority of both the actual hi and low temperatures are below the historical average.  The graph at the bottom of the picture is of particular interest.  While this may put a cap on the pace of greening, it doesn't seem to stop it altogether.  





Some new growth and a hint of color can be seen almost everywhere.





The Azaleas along the driveway are awakening and showing some color.





By this time last year, the Azalea shown below had a few nice blooms.  No so much this year.  This guy has always been a late bloomer compared to the others.  So, I think he'll be ok.





The colors are starting to appear.  They're just taking their time in doing so.





Based on what I see happening so far, I wonder if the recent cold temperatures will not just prolong the blooming, but actually reduce its intensity.  I have no idea how this process works.  But if the blooming begins and then the cold weather hits, does the process stall ?  I ask this because of the flowering tree in my front yard.  On March 11 of last year, it looked like this:





This year, the beautiful bouquet in the above photo has been replaced with this:





There are blooms, (really beautiful blooms, actually), just not that many of them.





I mentioned in Part I that somehow, everything I planted last year survived !    Although looking at my new October Glory Maple tree in the front yard, it may be hard to tell.





A closer look reveals some growth beginning.








I've got some weeding to do around my rose bush and the Eleanor Taber Indian Hawthorn I planted last year.





Both of the Leyland Cypress shrubs are doing well.  Apparently, these have the potential to get quite large.  I'll have to keep an eye on them.





This whole area by the paito is doing well.  Some new growth can be seen on the three Japanese Boxwoods.  The bulbs are growing, but aren't blooming.  Hopefully they will, but I really have no idea.  In terms of blooms, the Dogwood tree looks about the same as it did this time last year.  With any luck, which I really never have, this means the cold temperatures will disappear before the blooming begins, and allow the tree to turn beautiful white.





Yardwork Season is usually a good time for planting.  And this year is no different.  I made the first of what will probably be many visits to Lowe's.





My goal is not necessarily "flowers" as much as it is "greenery."  If it's stout and low maintenance, it will find a home in my yard.  On deck, it's time to do something about this mess .  .  .


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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2013, 12:41:19 AM »

Part III  -  Getting down to business .  .  .
March 17, 2013





I mentioned in Part II that fixing the mess shown below is going to be one of my first projects this spring.





My mailbox has been one of the more neglected areas of my yard.  It's not something that I've done intentionally.  But compared to the rest of the yard, this area has never really looked that bad.  When I first looked at this house in March 2009, a somewhat neglected but nicely established shrub occupied the area.  





The neglected aspect makes sense considering the house was vacant for over a year before I moved in.  But even then, this shrub seemed to be doing just fine on its own.  It wasn't going to make the cover of any gardening magazines, but it was green and growing.  





I did what I usually do and tried to give it a nice basic shaping.  By March 2010, I had made some progress in trying to establish something that resembled "round."  And all was well.





However, in the center of the shrub in the photo above, a small patch of brown leaves can be seen.  It's as if one of the satellite branches died for whatever reason.  No big deal.  In September 2010, things still seemed ok.





And they were until 2012 when larger parts of the shrub began to die at random intervals.  I can best describe what happened by saying that one branch would turn brown and break off.  A few months later, another branch would die, then another, then another.  This continued until I was left with no alternative, and finally had to put it out of its misery.

Today turned out to be the day to address this.  My idea was one of simplicity with "green" being the ultimate goal  -  nothing fancy, nothing extravagant, just some nice greenery.  So, I chose some ornamental grass called Javelin Rush.  Why ?  I have no idea.  But according to the tag on the plants, it likes sunlight and doesn't require too much water.  That works for me.





To add some color, I decided to plant a Bridal Wreath Spiraea.  Why ?  Again, I have no idea.  I have said from the beginning that I am the most horticulturally challenged individual you will ever meet.  I walk through the store, wait for something to catch my eye, and hope it doesn't require a lot of maintenance.  Like the Javelin Rush grass, the Bridal Wreath Spiraea likes lots of sunshine.

With the previous shrub gone, I am now left with two large stumps, one of which can be clearly seen in the photo below.  The other is lurking under some twigs to the left of the larger stump.





I'm not sure what the tall bush is exactly.  All I know is that I have a bunch   of them in my yard.  They grow very nicely on their own to a moderately sized non-offensive looking bush.  





The fact that they grow everywhere so easily leads me to believe that this particular plant is recognized as something "weed-like" rather than "ornamental," and therefore undesirable.  But I could be wrong.  Personally, I don't mind it all, so it will stay.

Behind the tall bush is some ornamental grass of a different variety.  Next to the mailbox post is what I have been told is English Ivy.  Since these items do very well on their own, they will stay in place as well.

The task before me would require several ordinary gardening tools, the most useful of which would be this.





I started digging, cutting, and pulling.





After a while, I had the largest of the two stumps out.





The space previously occupied by the large stump happened to be the right size for the Bridal Wreath Spiraea.  





Stump number two wasn't nearly as large as the first, and came out with the help of a claw hammer, a good sawzall blade, and a little effort.  





Given the shape of the available area, I figured I would plant four Javelin Rush plants on one side, and the remaining two in the opposite corner.  With all the stumps gone, digging proceeded much easier.





Later on, I'll add some mulch and do something with all the bricks.  But for now, I think it looks just fine.  Don't look for me on HGTV anytime soon, though.





Some people can look at a space and envision what it can look like given the appropriate resources.  They can also take this vision and make it happen.  My autistic mind has a lot of trouble with "vision" and "design."  With regard to landscaping, I will see something appealing and know that I would like to have it in my yard, but can't envision where it should go.  The only way I can take on a challenge of this nature is to physically put things in place and ask myself, "does this look right ?"  The case of my back yard patio area is a classic example.  I am, literally, making the design up as I go along.  I did it when building the patio, (the checker board pattern), and I continue to do it with the landscaping.  

In Georgia, I see a lot of tall grass-like plants that sport some kind of feathery flower.  I had no idea what it was called until I asked someone at the Greenhouses across the parking lot from where I work.  "Oh, you mean Pampas Grass" was the typical response.  Trees That Please Nursery had a couple of really great photos on their website.  





I find it appealing for whatever reason, and thought it would look great in my back yard.  I decided to lay six of them out in a perimeter-like arrangement around the one side of my patio.





I put two of them on one side of the patio that faces the open yard.








I put one at the opposite corner of the patio (on the far right in the photo below), and another further along that same line beside the bulbs, (that aren't blooming yet).





The remaining two fit nicely along my flagstone walkway, (top right hand corner of the photo below).





I don't think it looks bad at all.





I don't think I'll be on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens or Mother Earth News.  But, I'm happy .  .  .
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 12:03:17 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 02:55:43 PM »

I really like that Pampas Grass. I didn't know what it was called either, but I see some huge ones around, usually on each side of someone's driveway entrance. Might have to get a few, there's some places in my lower yard that it might look good. 
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2013, 12:24:36 AM »

Part IV  -  Spring has arrived .  .  . Finally .  .  .
March 30, 2013





Today, I received confirmation that spring has finally arrived in Athens.





This is the time of year that everything   left out in the open turns to a pale yellow color.  Pollen can be intense around here.  This year, however, doesn’t seem too bad, especially compared to last year.


2012



2013



I mentioned earlier that March 2013 felt colder than usual.  In actuality, this was true.  The high temperature failed to reach the historical average for 19 of the 31 days in March, including a 10 day period from March 20 – 29 that saw temperatures as much as 23 degrees below average.  My thinking was that the colder temperatures had put a cap on the pace of the greening process.  That seems to be the case judging by the pictures I've posted so far.  Not a whole lot has been happening to this point.

Earlier this week, an influx of warmth began to make its presence known.  Tuesday March 26 hit me with a Pennsylvania-like 47 degrees.  But Wednesday saw temperatures in the upper 50s, and Thursday and Friday climbed into the upper 60s.  Today (March 30), Mother Nature surprised me with 75 degrees, 5 degrees above   average.  The results of this are pretty impressive.  The previously dormant Dogwood tree is now noticeably white with blooms.








I can’t tell if the flowering tree in front has changed much since last time.  





The Azaleas along the driveway are coming along nicely.  The one furthest from the street is blooming first.





The one next to it is just starting to bloom.





The third bush is still somewhat dormant.





This bush still looks the same as last time.  He’s a late bloomer anyways, and won’t turn red until after the others.





The bush combo at the end of the driveway is where the biggest difference in color can be seen.





Look for these guys to be in full bloom sometime next week as long as the weather cooperates.





I’m starting to see a few of the small flowers appear on the Bridal Wreath Spiraea I planted two weeks ago.  This is definitely a good sign.





Whatever this happens to be is doing quite well.





I’ve got two of them, both of which look really nice.





Removing the weeds from around the Eleanor Taber Indian Hawthorn .  .  .  





.  .  . and my small rose bush will be done very soon.





I don’t remember what these plants are.  My ex-wife planted them not too long after we moved in.  All I know is that they return each year and grow very nicely.





It’s difficult to see from this angle.  But, the Sweet Gum tree is still, for the most part, dormant.  The visible greenery is actually from the pine tree behind it.





Heading around to the side of the house, this small Azalea is actually doing well.  Part of me wants to remove the ivy in that area to give the bush some space.  However, another part of me reasons that it is doing just fine the way it is.  Don’t mess with success.





Out back, little bits of green are sprouting everywhere.  Eventually, I want to “shape” all of these shrubs and try to get them to grow in a little more robust.  My dad always said that the way to get shrubs to grow is to cut them way back.  My problem is that I don’t really know when to do this.





This same pattern can be seen at the rear of my back yard.  Everything is reacting to the warm temperatures and beginning to grow.





It’s hard to see in this picture.  But, something is turning purple by the fence.





I still don’t have any blooms from the bulbs I planted last year.  They’re growing quite well, just not flowering.  A whole bunch of new growth can be seen on the three Japanese Boxwoods.





Today’s project involves some weeding around the Japanese Boxwoods and putting down a layer of mulch.





I thought this would make the area look a lot nicer and “neater.”  My autistic mind likes neat and tidy.  The first step is to get rid of the weeds.





I put a few more bricks in the ground to give the area where these bushes sit some sort of boundary.  Once in place, I filled the area with the mulch.





I had some mulch left over, and decided to put it on the opposite side of the walkway to the patio.  I transplanted a small Holly bush to this location last year.  It is still green, but doesn’t seem to be growing, if that makes any sense.  The typical deep dark green usually seen with a Holly has been replaced with a much lighter shade.





Now that I have some mulch down, I’m considering getting some landscaping blocks and creating another boundary in this area.  The biggest question is how far do I go with it.  I could encase the small Holly and stop there.  Or, I could also include the three large bushes behind it.  Defining the area, removing all the weeds, and filling in with mulch would look really good here.





While shopping for mulch, something else caught my eye, (Lowe’s can be a dangerous place this time of year).  This is called an Otto Luyken Cherry Laurel.  The tag on the plant shows a bunch of small white flowers which look really nice.  Apparently, this plant like partial sunshine, and doesn’t require a whole lot of water, (a common theme in my "landscape architecture").  





That will be tomorrow’s project .  .  .
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 12:34:44 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2013, 01:28:25 AM »

Looks good. You've got a lot more green that I have, its been cold as hell here for this time of year. It snowed (flurries) for 4 days straight last week, and we've only had a couple of days so far this year where it got into the upper 60s. This time last year we'd already had lots of 70s and some 80s. Only real green I've got has me confused. My Bradford pears. They got the white blooms on them but not big ones and almost immediately turned green. Others around are still fully white with big blooms, don't know what the deal is with mine.

Never fear about the pollen though, supposed to be 70s and near 80 over the next 5-7 days and its going to really crank up after all the rain we've had. Of course the heaviest pollen will be mid April to early May. Most of the heavy yellow pollen you see on everything is pine and that's when they really start putting it out. I'm hoping to miss most of it, planning on heading to the Gulf for 3-4 weeks and they've already had most of theirs. Hopefully most of ours will be gone by the time I get back (if it works out).  Grin
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 01:43:53 AM by Rather B.Blown » Logged



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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2013, 01:05:29 PM »

Thanks Lee !  It makes sense that the yellow haze is pine pollen.  I've got pine trees all over the place.  And I figured that it will be coming in greater quantities very soon.  Abundant sunshine and 72 degrees is forecast for Athens this weekend .  .  .
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2013, 01:01:52 AM »

Thanks Lee !  It makes sense that the yellow haze is pine pollen.  I've got pine trees all over the place.  And I figured that it will be coming in greater quantities very soon.  Abundant sunshine and 72 degrees is forecast for Athens this weekend .  .  .

I don't want to post it all in your yard thread and screw it up since I figure you want to have it as a documentary of your exploits, but the pines are on of the reasons you don't have much grass in areas of your yard. I've got more about that, but I don't want to sidetrack your writings. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2013, 03:14:46 PM »

I had suspected that, but never really looked into it.  And, looking at my yard, it seems that a pattern does appear.  In the front yard where there aren't a lot of pines, I have grass, (or something that passes for grass as long as you don't look too close).  And, in the back where I have lots of pines, there is very little grass except for the ornamental stuff.  That's ok.  I can find a way to work with it.

And please don't worry about posting educational stuff herein.  I am not ashamed to admit that I am the most horticulturally challenged person I know, and that I could use all the advice I can get.  If anyone reading this sees something I am doing and thinks to himself/herself, "Oh wow, he shouldn't do that because .  .  .", please say so.  I am here to learn, and to have a good time in the process. 

Speaking of which .  .  .
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2013, 03:38:27 PM »

Made a few discoveries today .  .  .
April 6, 2013





I was chatting with my next door neighbor today.  Unlike me, she knows what she is doing in the garden, and her yard verifies this.  In the course of our conversation, I discovered a few things.





ITEM:    This particular tree that, for three years now, I have been referring to as a Flowering Dogwood tree .  .  .





.  .  . may, in fact, not be a Dogwood at all.  My neighbor wasn't completely sure, but seemed to think it was some kind of flowering pear or cherry tree.  So last night, I did some research.

According to this Mississippi State University publication, I appear to have a Yoshino Cherry Tree.  This picture is shown on the MSU Cares website.





When compared to what my tree looks like .  .  .





.  .  . I have to admit that I am pretty convinced.  Opinions ?





ITEM:    I have mentioned that I seem to have a gaggle of these plants everywhere in the yard. 





I've never been sure what they were.  But, I had suspected that they may not be what you would call "desirable" due to the fact that they grow like weeds everywhere.    However, they are non-offensive looking and grow without any input from me whatsoever.

My neighbor says, " Oh, you can have them !  It's called 'Bamboo' something, and they will take over if you let them !"





According to the Missouri Botanical Garden website, this appears to be a Nandina Domestica "Harbour Dwarf."  The two common names for it appear to be "Heavenly Bamboo" and "Sacred Bamboo," despite the fact that it isn't a bamboo plant at all. 





ITEM:    I have two of these nicely colored shrubs in front of my house that look really nice each spring.





This Gardenality.com page describes it as a Ruby Loropetalum. 





I need to talk to my neighbor more often .  .  .
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 12:28:03 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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