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Author Topic: The 2015 season of "Todd's Annual Yard Adventure . . ."  (Read 7925 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2015, 12:37:30 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2





And now I see that a bunch of Lilies have appeared !  The Happy Returns Daylilies did in fact return this year after becoming a snack for the local deer population last year.  


May 25, 2015



The same is true with the Tiny Dessert Asiatic Lilies on the front porch.


May 24, 2015



I invested in a bottle of "Liquid Fence" in an attempt to encourage buffet goers to try the next station.  This is one of the most offensive smelling substances I've ever encountered.  But it seems to work, which is what matters.  I just can't breath a whole lot while spraying it.


May 24, 2015



In the back of the house, I see where the pokeweeds have returned.  They weren't awake when I decided to create an "island" in the back yard in March, and I actually forgot about them.


March 15, 2015



I discovered that they are alive and well.  The Phytolacca Americana plant is pretty cool to look at.  It can grow to around 8 feet tall, and produces white flowers, which I should be seeing soon.  But it's the whole toxic thing that quells any initial enthusiasm.  Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center doesn't paint the prettiest of pictures.


Quote
"All parts of common pokeweed are toxic to humans, pets and livestock .  .  . Adults have been poisoned, sometimes fatally, by eating improperly prepared leaves and shoots .  .  ."


Not only can I not snack on any part of the plant, it's not recommended to touch it without protective gear.


Quote
"Since the juice of pokeweed can be absorbed through the skin, contact of plant parts with bare skin should be avoided."


Awesome !


May 13, 2015



Pokeweeds aside, I'm really happy with the way things are going so far .  .  .


May 24, 2015
« Last Edit: May 07, 2016, 11:03:07 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: June 10, 2015, 12:41:09 AM »

Another expansion .  .  .
May 29 - 31, 2015
Part 1 of 2





So far, so good for this "flowers" thing.  I must have planted the Coronation Gold Yarrows at the perfect time.  I got them in April at the second UGA Hort. Club plant sale of the season.  They began to grow and flower almost instantly, and filled out nicely in the subsequent weeks.





I see the deer haven't been snacking on my lilies.  





Liquid Fence is one of the worst smelling substances I have ever encountered.  But is does appear to be doing its job.





I'm not quite sure why the lilies on the front porch are leaning heavily, with the left side being the more horizontal of the two.





Both are flowering quite beautifully.








I have to wonder if all the rain we've had here may have something to do with it.  But I'm really not sure.  





I noticed today that I have a couple of white flowers on the Frostproof Gardenia in front of the house !





One of the large shrubs further down the line is also showing some white flowers.  This, according to my neighbor, is also some kind of Gardenia, although he wasn't sure of the exact variety .  .  .


« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 09:39:29 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: June 10, 2015, 01:07:42 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2





I mentioned the possibility of expanding my random curved shape previously.  My front yard is mostly weeds, meaning I've got nothing to lose by doing so.





The area in between the maple and pear trees, on the far right in the photo below, has been on my radar since the beginning of this adventure.





The Crape Myrtle seem to be very popular around here.  I see a multitude of varieties everywhere in my neighborhood.  The nice thing about them is that they bloom during the summer months.  With Lowe's being the very dangerous place that it is, I came home with three varieties:  (L - R) Crimson Red, Purple Magic, Plum Magic.





And then that word "Clearance" caught my eyes again, (50% off in this case !), this time in the form of a Persian Lilac.  It will probably be going somewhere in the back yard because of the "part-sun" designation on the tag.  But I'll worry about that later.





I chose Crape Myrtles for the reason I mentioned above  -  they bloom in the summer, thus adding some color at a time when color may not be present.  I chose the location  -  in between the maple and pear trees  -  based on other factors.





Crape Myrtles like full sun, which is plentiful in the front yard.  These shrubs will grow to somewhere between 6 and 10 feet tall.  Planting them rearward, behind the smaller bushes and bulbs, will draw the viewer's eyes over the entire yard.  





The three Crape Myrtles will eventually take up all the space in between the maple and pear trees.  





I added black mulch to match the existing design theme and contrast with the other colors.





The next step was to cover the remaining weeds with my homemade brown mulch.  A few passes with the lawn mower in the back yard with the bag attached yielded more than enough to finish the job.  I sprayed some weed killer on the weeds first before I covered them with the mulch.  Anything to help reduce the amount of time spent weeding is always a good investment !





And voilĂ  !





I like it.  At least I think I like it. 





Something about the triangular shape as seen from this vantage point doesn't match with the rest of the design.





I'll have to let this sink in for a day or two.  But shapes aside, I'm quite happy with the results .  .  .
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 09:53:28 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: June 27, 2015, 09:00:44 PM »

A slight adjustment .  .  .
June 6 - 7, 2015





I've had a week to look at the three new Crape Myrtles.  And my thoughts are the same as they were a week ago.  It's just not right.  Basically, I've got a double-amputee wearing a black bikini.  This is not the look I was aiming for.





With the dominant theme being "curved shapes," I decided to convert the large triangle into three circles.





I shifted the black mulch into three separate circles surrounding each Crape Myrtle.





I've got enough leaves and pine needles in the back yard to make more homemade mulch.  A few passes with the mower and bag filled in the rest of the gap.





I feel much better now.





Northern Georgia is entering the hot and dry part of the year.  All the spring flowering items are finished for the season.  The summer flowers are just getting started.  The Coronation Gold Yarrow continue to do their thing.





I did some trimming in front of the house.  Now is the time to trim and shape any of the spring bloomers like azaleas and loropetalums.  I have two Ruby Loropetalums that were starting to get a little too wild and needed to be trimmed.  





A few more flowers have appeared on what I am told is some variety of Gardenia.  Whatever it is, I'm going to cut it way back after the blooming season ends.





The flowers on the Gardenia above make me think the row of flowering bushes by the back porch are also gardenias of some kind.





They look pretty similar to my untrained eye.





And call me crazy.  But I kinda like the Pokeweed paradise in the back yard.





Don't know what it is about them.  But I think they look cool .  .  .


« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 08:10:13 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: September 04, 2015, 10:49:05 PM »

A colorful summer .  .  .
July 22, 2015





It's pretty obvious when Athens-Clarke County's Leaf & Limb Collection is scheduled for my neighborhood.  Huge piles of yard debris appear in front of everyone's house, mine included.





My pile is a bit larger this time.  My neighbor and I were discussing an unsightly overgrown shrub of some kind that sat on the property line between our houses.  She had expressed an interest in seeing it disappear.  I broke out the sawzall and started hacking it up.





Northern Georgia is now into the hot and dry period of the year.  This is the time when lawns begin to turn brown if they aren't watered.  But there is also a lot of color to be seen if you look close enough.  This is a closeup of a flower cluster on one of the Yarrow Coronation Gold shrubs.  The detail is pretty cool !





Apparently, once the Happy Returns Daylilies have flowered, the dead stems should be removed because this will spur new growth.  I wasn't aware of this until I was chatting with my neighbor a while back.  After our conversation, I started picking the dead stems.  The tactic seems to have worked.





The Liquid Fence spray, despite being one of the most offensive smelling substances I know, seems to be very effective in keeping the deer at bay.  Removing dead stems will cause new growth and produce more flowers.  But snacking the plant down to the ground will not, at least not until next season.  I offer a "Thank You" to Liquid Fence, but from a safe distance.





And I'm happy to report that my rose bushes aren't dead.  They aren't exactly thriving, but they are still among the living.  My mom had the most beautiful roses all over her yard.  Me .  .  . not so much.  But I'll take what I can get.





The giant Crape Myrtle beside my garage is sporting a few red flowers.





I've noticed that mine doesn't flower nearly as much as others I see in the neighborhood.  I suspect that this has something to do with the fact that my Crape Myrtle is much larger than any I have seen.  I have been told that a Crape Myrtle can be cut off at the ground and it will grow back and produce a ton of flowers.  But I really like that mine has become a "tree" and will leave it alone.





The three new Crape Myrtles have been in the ground for about 6 weeks.  The Purple Magic plant is the first to produce flowers.  





This is a great start, especially after only 6 weeks.  Give it a few years to grow in size and I bet it will look beautiful .  .  .


« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 10:51:45 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: September 12, 2015, 09:09:57 PM »

Colorful Crape Myrtles .  .  .
August 22, 2015





I planted three Crape Myrtles back in May with the hopes of adding some summer color to the yard.  A good bit of what's in my yard blooms in the spring.  I thought it would be nice to have some flowers over the summer and chose three varieties of the very popular Crape Myrtle. 





I'm happy to report that all three have responded.  There is one single cluster of flowers on the Crimson Red.





The name should be pretty easy for me to remember considering the red flowers.








The Crimson Red has grown substantially since I planted it in May.  It should eventually get to be around 10 feet tall and should look pretty spectacular.  But for now, I'm happy to be off to a good start.





The Plum Magic is sporting a few flowers.





Even though it's called "Plum," it looks more like Hot Pink, which is fine by me.





So far, so good here as well.





The Purple Magic was the first of the three plants to produce flowers.  I began seeing blooms only after about 6 weeks.





It also seems to have produced the most flowers of the three.





Like the others, the Purple Magic should grow to around 10 feet tall eventually.  This means I should have a lot of color in that part of the yard in a few years .  .  .


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« Reply #51 on: September 20, 2015, 08:35:38 PM »

Lowe's had stuff on sale again .  .  .
September 12 - 13, 2015





As hard as it is for me to believe, summer is coming to an end.  In Georgia, that means that the intense heat and humidity seen throughout July and August will be giving way to more moderate temperatures, especially at night.  Watering will go a lot further during this time of year which is always a good thing.  Plants that bloom during the summer are finishing up while the fall bloomers are just getting started.  The only thing that doesn't seem to change is the amount of weeding I have to do !  Even with landscape fabric in place in some areas, weeds still find a way to grow.  This isn't really a surprise with my front yard being 90% weeds to begin with.  But I do the best I can in spite of the odds, and the fact that I appear to have mutant weeds that refuse to go quietly.  I headed outside to try my best anyways.





It was at this point that I noticed the Pink Muhly Grass I planted in April.





It's blooming !





I love ornamental grasses and wanted to incorporate several varieties into the design.  Five Pink Muhly Grass plants went in the ground in April.  Seeing them bloom made me smile.





Lowe's had mulch on sale over the weekend.  I took advantage of this opportunity to carve an "island" around the Japanese Camellia.





I removed a bunch of weeds in a circular shape around the shrub in keeping with the rest of the design.  This whole side of the yard is nothing but weeds anyways.  So I had nothing to lose by doing so.





With the weeds removed, I used black mulch to create a visual "island" around the Japanese Camellia.  





I have no specific plans in mind with this move.  Everything I do follows the "I wonder if this will work" philosophy of landscape design.  If anything, I see this leading to another "I wonder if this will work" question, then another, then another, etc.  At some point, a "design" will (hopefully) appear.





Lowe's always has an area full of "clearance" plants, the content of which varies throughout the season.  Today's find was a bunch of Blue Arrows Rush ornamental grass plants marked down 50%.  I love ornamental grasses and brought a few home.





Unlike the Pink Muhly Grass above, Blue Arrows Rush Grass likes part sun.  The narrow area behind the patio in the back yard seemed like a natural fit.





I finished the project off with more black mulch.





Like the "island" Japanese Camellia above, I have nothing specific in mind other than, "I wonder if this will work."  Time will tell .  .  .


« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 12:00:51 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: September 25, 2015, 01:08:50 AM »

A few final adjustments for the season .  .  .
September 19 - 20, 2015
Part 1 of 4





I spend a good bit of time just wandering around in my yard seeing what I can see.  It's a good way to relax and enjoy the results of my time spent herein.  Seeing the Pink Muhly Grass bloom last week made me smile.  The intensity of such seems to have picked up slightly. 





This area should look really great in a couple of years when these plants reach their full height of 3 - 4 feet.





This, however, was something I did not expect to see.





I appear to have a bloom on the Bridal Wreath Spirea at the mailbox.  This shrub was beautiful this past spring when it was covered with these white flowers.  But seeing a bloom in September is very unusual.  But there it is - one single bloom.  Don't know why, but I'll take it .  .  .


« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 01:18:10 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #53 on: September 25, 2015, 01:10:28 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 4





On the agenda for today is one last big project for this season.  I planted a Chinese Snowball and Small Anise Tree in front of my living room windows in April 2014.  


April 12, 2014



Lee's comment from that post has been in the back of my mind since that time.



I probably wouldn't have planted the snowball bush that close to the house. They just get bigger and bigger .  .  .



Fast forward 16 months to today where the Chinese Snowball has basically tripled in size.  





The Small Anise Tree seems to be growing at the same rate.  I asked my neighbor, who showed me the Small Anise Tree in his yard which happens to be taller than his garage roof.  Points well taken.

Today's project was to move both of these soon-to-be-monsters to spots that offer a little more room.  The Chinese Snowball will be moving forward to a location roughly 8 feet in front of the Mr. Goldstrike, basically in the center of the photo below.





I settled on the area in between the Japanese Maple Tree (L) and Windmill Palm Tree (R) in the photo below for the Small Anise Tree.  This space features enough room for the shrub to grow without hitting anything.  And it also gives me the opportunity to expand my "Random Curved Shape."





I grabbed my shovel and started digging in front of the Mr. Goldstrike and interrupted someone's R & R.  





His "What the !@#$%^&*() do you think you're doing" look was quite telling.





The first thing I did was grab my camera and start snapping photos, which I'm sure made him even more frustrated.





I'm going to call this guy a harmless garden snake, which is actually extremely beneficial to have around.





After playing paparazzi for a few minutes, I grabbed my shovel and moved him to the other side of the yard out of harm's way .  .  .


« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 09:03:46 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: September 25, 2015, 01:12:39 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 3 of 4





I resumed digging only to find a few unusual things.  The most surprising find was a bunch of sand.





I was definitely NOT surprised to find more bricks.  I dig up a few every time I put the shovel in the ground.  I swear this house was built on top of an old brick foundry.





The metal line is actually a gas line that would have fed both gas lamp posts, neither of which work.  The line is actually disconnected.





I shoveled out as much sand as possible and filled the hole with loose dirt.  I also added a bag of garden soil.





With the hole prepped, I moved the Chinese Snowball into its new home.  This was surprisingly easy, not that I'm complaining or anything. 





This area will be large enough to accommodate the Chinese Snowball's 10 - 15 feet height and 6 - 10 feet diameter.  Having the plant further away from the house will allow the large "snowball" blooms to be seen from the living room window, and at the same time not block the view of everything else.





The area shown below between the Windmill Palm Tree (out of view to the left) and Japanese Maple Tree (R) will be large enough to accommodate the 8 - 15 feet height and 6 - 10 feet width of the Small Anise Tree.





I also chose this area for the Small Anise Tree because it will allow me to expand my "Random Curved Shape."   Instead of being just in the center of the yard, I can now connect it to the Japanese Maple, thus producing one giant area with a 90 degree bend in the middle.





I didn't encounter any snakes, sand, or bricks when digging here.  The Small Anise Tree also moved quite easily .  .  .


« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 01:15:57 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #55 on: September 25, 2015, 01:13:42 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 4 of 4





I now have a vacant area in front of the house waiting to be filled.  I paid specific attention to the size of the plants I was considering this time, and settled on a Yucca Color Guard (L) and Eupatorium Joe Pye Weed (R).





Both the Yucca Color Guard (L) and Eupatorium Joe Pye Weed (R) are supposed to get to around 3 - 4 feet tall and 2 - 3 feet in diameter, which will work fine in this location.





I think this setup will work quite well.  The Chinese Snowball should look really impressive next spring.





I finished off the project with more black mulch that was still on sale at Lowe's.








In addition to moving the two shrubs, I also refreshed the mulch around the Windmill Palm Tree, and tried to uncover the Creeping Phlox plants that surround it.  Some of the Phlox plants look ok, some look pretty thin.  I'll have to keep my fingers crossed.





You can see in the photos above and below that the Small Anise Tree looked a little droopy by the time I was finished with the move.  I've encountered this before when moving plants.  I believe the key to success is to keep both shrubs adequately watered for a while.  This means everyone got a big drink at the end of the day.





The next morning, the Small Anise Tree looked great, thus confirming my suspicions. 





Looks like the Chinese Snowball also perked up quite a bit after watering.





I'll have to keep both of these shrubs rather moist until they get acclimated to their new locations.





I'm quite happy with the results !





The next step will be to continue the "curved shape" around the Small Anise Tree and Japanese Maple Tree, which I'll do via running the lawn mower with the bag attached.  This should work quite well during this time of year with the leaves falling from the trees .  .  .


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« Reply #56 on: October 18, 2015, 09:00:06 PM »

Epilogue .  .  .
October 1 - 2, 2015





Almost 7 years have passed since I moved to Georgia, which is hard for me to believe.  And it's been 12 years since I last lived in Pennsylvania.  I never really did anything that resembled "gardening" in PA, that was my mom's territory.  My adventures in the yard were confined to keeping the shrubs trimmed and the grass mowed.  I seem to remember the growing season being somewhat short.  April through September comes to mind, but I'm really not sure.  Heavy snow is still possible through the end of March.  Temperatures can vary quite significantly throughout March and April.  My brother has already seen a bunch of nights in the low 40s throughout September.  So maybe I'm slightly optimistic with that guess. 

The point is that in Georgia, Mother Nature is very agreeable and allows me to begin my annual yard adventure in February and conclude in October.  Temperatures in the 80s are quite common, (I saw 88 degrees on September 30 !).  I still see a flower or two on the Crape Myrtles.  And even though they aren't "flowers" in the conventional sense, my Pink Muhly Grass is blooming beautifully !





The sights in my yard can be divided into several categories.  The Japanese Boxwood shrubs (by the back patio), the October Glory Maple tree, and the Cleveland Select Flowering Pear tree have all performed the way I expected.  All of the palm trees and the Creeping Phlox plants came with high expectations, but never really got off the ground.  And then there's the Pink Muhly Grass.  For whatever reason, I never expected it to perform so well.  Seeing is like this is wonderful !





I'm hoping my droopy Chinese Snowball does ok.  I moved it two weeks ago to give it more room, and am really hoping I didn't damage it in the process.  In my favor, however, is the fact that Mother Nature has been nice enough to water it very well recently.





I see a spider web near the top of the Chinese Snowball.





Spider webs are common around here during this time of year.  I have a tendency to run into them when walking in between plants in the yard.  The bushes in the back yard are a magnet for spider webs.  But seeing one here is unusual.  There isn't anything immediately next to the Chinese Snowball.  Where does it go ?





Oh my !  It goes all the way up to the second floor rain gutter.





I see that there is a larger web right under the rain gutter.  But this is 25 feet off the ground.





How in the world was this accomplished ?  I give the spider credit for getting it done.





The rest of the year will be devoted to maintenance, keeping the weeds in check, and gathering an idea or two for next year.  Expanding my "Random Curved Shape" seems to be the dominant thought at the moment.  So we'll see what happens.





I want to thank everyone for reading along, and hope you enjoyed the show .  .  .
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 09:02:35 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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