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Author Topic: Yard Work Season 2013 has begun . . .  (Read 15904 times)
Rather B.Blown
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« Reply #45 on: June 30, 2013, 03:11:23 AM »

I think I may have spoken too soon.  One of the palm trees I planted in back is turning brown.  I suspect two things:  a) Georgia clay DOES NOT equal "well drained soil," and b) I don't think it's getting enough sunlight.  I may have to move it to the front yard .  .  .

Oh, I can confirm that. The Georgia clay does not drain well, it does not drain at all. It is tightly packed stuff and with the well above average rainfall we've had  this year only makes it worse. That's why dirt track racing is so popular down here, the clay packs tight and makes for a killer track. Especially the red clay you find in the north Georgia area.


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« Reply #46 on: July 27, 2013, 11:42:45 PM »

Epilogue .  .  .
July 27, 2013

The year's gardening adventure began on a high note.  Everything I planted in 2012 survived despite being in my care.  This is quite significant considering that gardening has never really been my thing.  But for whatever reason(s), my mid-40s seemed to be the right time to gradually make my way out into the yard to play in the dirt, (truth be told, I've probably done more this year than I have in all of the last decade !).  I took this feel-good opportunity to give it a try again in 2013.  The time has come to see just how well I did.

First and foremost though, I have to say hello to my neighbors.

When these new neighbors moved in earlier this year, I saw only one horse, Cayanne (the brown horse).  I see now that she has been joined by a friend, whose name I do not know.

Cayanne came over to the fence to say hello.

After a few minutes of hi-how-ya-doin', she headed down the fence toward my next door neighbor's yard.

My next door neighbor must have better tasting trees, only because I see the horses hanging out at the fence near her property quite often.  So often in fact that they actually knocked one of the top rails off of the fence.

Anyways, a lot of changes have occurred in my back yard, the biggest of which was the addition of my new patio area in 2012.  I still call it "new" even though is will soon be two years old (already !).  

I planted three Japanese Boxwood shrubs in 2012, all of which are still doing great.

The only issue I have noticed is the unusually wet spring and summer has revealed a drainage problem.  Rain water will gather in the space shown above.  Eventually, the mulch will begin to float and make its way over the small walkway that goes from my back porch to the patio.  I'm not sure what to do about this.  But my first thought is to remove the row of bricks closest to the concrete porch and fill that space with gravel or some form of decorative stone.  That may encourage water to flow out into the yard.

In 2009 when I moved into this house, the shrubs next to the back porch shown in the photo below were still pretty small.    

July 23, 2009  

Not only have they grown quite a bit since then, they have actually flowered this summer.  Some of the remnants can be seen in the photo below.  I'll prune them soon so they don't take over.

The small Holly seen in the bottom right corner of the photo above is something I transplanted last year from its previously isolated location.  All seemed well.  But my concern was that it was still alive, but just not "growing" if that makes any sense.  Normally a Holly has a deep green color, which this one had until I moved it.  I decided to put it in the empty space between the patio and the shrubs by the brick wall.

June 3, 2012  

Things are looking up for the small Holly this year.  It's hard to tell the difference between the two photos.  But it is, indeed, growing.

Three out of the four palm trees I planted this year are doing fine.  The Green European Fan Palm I planted on the other side of the yard seems to be surviving.  The Silver European Fan Palm outside the kitchen window also looks good.

The smaller Pindo Palm appears to be doing well.

Unfortunately, I had a problem with the Windmill Palm.  Not too long after putting it in the ground, I noticed a couple of the lower branches beginning to turn brown.  I didn't think much of it, as the rest of the plant seemed to look ok.  It only got worse from there.

It seemed to be dying from the bottom up.  Online research brought the problem of "root rot" to my attention.  Windmill Palms like well drained soil.  My yard is full of the red Georgia clay that Lee mentioned above, which happens to be everything but well drained.  Here's what I think happened.

I dug a hole in my red clay yard for the palm tree and back-filled it with garden soil.  During a rain event, (or in the case of Athens, the unusually wet spring and summer seen this year), water gathered around the tree and drained into the back-filled soil.  When it hit the non-draining clay, it sat.  Unfortunately, it kept raining.  This means the roots of the tree were probably sitting in way too much water for too long.  Online articles suggested that I dig down slightly and take a look at the roots.  White roots means the tree is still alive.  The roots on my tree were mostly brown, which would indicate that it has died already, or is getting really close.

At this point, I had nothing to lose.  I decided to move the Windmill Palm out front where it may be able to get more sunlight.  

June 29, 2013  

Instead of digging a "standard" hole, I dug down about 3 feet.

I back-filled underneath the palm with a mixture of sand and garden soil, and used only garden soil after transplanting.  Unfortunately, it didn't matter.  It was dead.  I have to keep an eye on the other palm trees.  Maybe digging around each tree now and replacing the clay with soil would be beneficial.

Most of the Pampas Grass I planted seems to be doing quite well.  The two plants by the patio have grown considerably, and look good.

The two plants on the other side of the patio near the flagstone also look pretty good, although not as large.

The remaining two plants aren't doing as well.

Besides the obvious drooping, some of the grass around the base of the plant cluster is dying.  Before things get any worse, I decided move those two plant out front.  I put one by the mailbox where it will get lots of sunlight.

Just like I did with the Windmill Palm, I dug a much deeper than normal hole and back-filled with garden soil.  

I decided to put the other plant at the end of my front walkway at the driveway using the same planting technique as above.

Cross your fingers.

As long as I'm out front, I see where I have a problem at my front steps.  The two Gold Breeze Miscanthus plants I planted by the front steps are both dying.  I suspect the same well-drained soil problem that I had with the Windmill Palm is also present here.  

I"m not sure what to do about this.  In an ideal world, I would get a backhoe and replace the top 3 feet of clay in my entire yard with actual dirt.  Since this is not possible, I will have to wait and see what happens with the transplanted Pampas Grass plants.  Maybe the planting technique I used in those cases will work elsewhere in the event that more problems arise.  

Well that's depressing !  I turned my attention to my rose bush.

After the first round of blooms back in May, I pruned the bush in an effort to stimulate new growth.  This strategy worked !

I also see where the Crape Myrtle is beginning to bloom.  

But perhaps the biggest bright spot for me today is what is happening with the small Japanese Aucuba plant that used to be in a small pot in the house.  

May 25, 2013  

After 2 months of being outside in the ground, I am seeing noticeable growth in the form of a few new leaves.  This is great !  

The two trees in the front yard are doing well.  

The area around my mailbox has been the biggest surprise of the season.  I planted a few things in the area formerly occupied by an old dying shrub.  What started out as this .  .  .

March 17, 2013  

.  .  . has turned into this .  .  .

From this .  .  .

March 17, 2013  

.  .  . to this .  .  .

You can see in the photo above that the ornamental grass that was there originally is blooming.

Somehow, one single small Azalea wound up on the opposite side of the yard.  It has bloomed each spring since I've been here, but hasn't really grown much in size.

March 30, 2013  

Last month, I decided to take a chance and move it out of the area completely covered with Engllish Ivy vines to the opposite side yard by the driveway where the other Azaleas sit.

The small transplant fits well in the large gap between the branches of the one Azalea that is still a little on the wild side.  I can see new growth, which is always a good sign.

A little further up the driveway, whatever this is appears to be sprouting berries of some kind.

It's probably a safe bet to assume the berries are poisonous.  But I really have no idea.

My Heavenly Bamboo garden is doing well.  Of course, this plant is considered "invasive."  I could probably run it over with the lawn mower and it would do well.

Invasive or not, I like it.  The small clusters of flowers produced by each plant are quite nice.  Seeing a whole group of them together seems to look appropriate in this setting.

And finally, I am pretty sure that all of the grass on this side of the yard is some type of ornamental grass.

I may be wrong.  But I am beginning to see small flowers appear all over the place.  It should look quite nice.

I want to thank everyone for reading along over the last 6 months, and hope you enjoyed the time spent herein.  My yard may look a little on the wild side.  I won't be featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine.  And don't look for me at the Philadelphia Flower Show.  But my favorite thing about my yard is that it's mine.  I'm quite happy, weeds and all .  .  .
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 12:51:49 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: July 29, 2013, 11:00:43 AM »

I really like the way your garden looks. I have a lot of possibility with our new home. I wam looking forward to planning and build the yard Nancy and I want. Since most of the effort is still rehabbing the inside, there wont be much to be done outside this season though.

The one thing I plan on starting though is my in-ground BBQ pit. Pics will be shared as I start that maybe next month.

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« Reply #48 on: August 05, 2013, 01:47:17 AM »

Thanks Adam !  I appreciate it.  Post a few pics of your new place when you get a chance .  .  .

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