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Author Topic: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . .  (Read 1333 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« on: June 25, 2017, 07:09:14 PM »

Welcome to the 2017 Edition of Todd's Ongoing Yard Adventure .  .  .
 
  
  
  
  
I'm a little late getting the story of my annual rite of spring penned for no reason other than life has a tendency to do that on occasion.  Turning the calendar to 2017 begins my fifth year of what I affectionately refer to as my ongoing Yard Adventure.  That may sound like an elaborate title.  But in reality, it's nothing more than a giant exercise of trial and error.  I dig a lot of random holes in the dirt and make a bunch of guesses, (some educated and some not).  I had no idea where I was going with this adventure when I started.  And I've been confused for five years already.  But I've managed to turn an open space in my front yard into something, even though I'm not quite sure what "something" actually is.  Looking back on the last five years, I see that I've made quite a few physical changes to my surroundings.  But more importantly, I've also managed to alter my decades-old perspective of how I view "yardwork" and what it means to have a yard.  
 
I moved into this house in 2009.  Keen observers will note that starting in 2009 and adding five years does not equal 2017.  I actually consider 2012 to be the start of what I term my annual Yard Adventure.  While I had done a few small things prior to that, 2012 is when my entire outlook really began to evolve.  My first few years in Georgia were spent practicing the only form of "yardwork" that I knew from my past with a skill set that consisted of two activities that I could do with some level of proficiency:  Cutting the grass and trimming the hedges.    
 
My neighbors told me that my house was unoccupied for around 18 months prior to my arrival.  Like any home on the market, the grass was cut during that time.  But a lot of the basic maintenance was hit or miss.  The front yard, which was nothing more than a bunch of green weeds, seemed to be in decent shape.   This is what my yard looked like the week after I moved in.
 
 
May 25, 2009

 
 
Nothing special, nothing different, nothing particularly exciting.  It was a front lawn full of low maintenance grass that was in good shape overall.  It was also what my decades-old perspective of "yardwork" was looking for.  I continued in Georgia where I left off in Missouri using what I learned in Pennsylvania and put my skill set to use.  I cut the grass.
 
 
May 27, 2009

 
 
And I trimmed the hedges.
 
 
July 23, 2009

 
 
And I tried to grow grass.  A typical conversation with myself from that time went something like this:  "There's a bare spot over there next to the driveway."
 
 
May 21, 2009

 
 
I had no idea what pine straw was and didn't realize that it is commonly used as a landscaping feature in this area of the country.  My mind saw a bare spot, (i.e. a place in the yard that doesn't contain grass).  "I need to plant some grass there."  So my first "yardwork" exercise saw me getting rid of the pine needles and trying to get grass to grow.  Success was limited at best.  By spring 2010, the large defined circular area full of pine straw seen above had morphed into something a little less defined but marginally more green.  You definitely wouldn't see me in a Scott's Turf Builder commercial.  But my mind was happy the bare spot was gone, even though it really wasn't.
 
 
April 7, 2010

 
 
Later that summer, I embarked on my first very simple planting project.  My then-wife bought two miniature rose bushes.  I thought they would look great in an open area in front of the house and broke out the shovel.  One of them died over the winter.  But the other one survived and was actually looking pretty good when spring 2011 arrived.  Looking back on this after the fact, I can't help but see this as an extremely prophetic statement considering that spring 2011 would also feature a divorce.
 
Planting those two rose bushes was hardly what anyone would call an intense activity.  It was, however, when the figurative seed changing how I view "yardwork" was planted, (I guess that would be both literally and figuratively).  
 
 
May 8, 2011

 
 
I spent the remainder of 2011 continuing to put my past to good use by keeping up with the maintenance.  The place didn't look too bad by the end of that season.
 
 
November 19, 2011

 
 
I also spent the remainder of 2011 initiating some much needed maintenance on my life.  Divorce number 2 drove home the fact that the yard wasn't the only aspect of my existence that needed a lot of work.  The seed that was planted earlier would have to wait.  Any ideas I may have started to consider beyond basic maintenance were put on hold for the remainder of that season.
 
Turning the calendar to 2012 ushered in a whole host of changes in my life.  The Q & A sessions I had been having with myself  -  who am I, what am I looking for, what is important to me, why do I do the things I do, etc.  -  began to sink in and infiltrate every aspect of my life, including my idea of "yardwork."  The seed I planted earlier now had the opportunity to grow, and was beginning to yield some visible results.
 
I finished building a new patio off of my back porch in February.  I remember looking at the space and thinking, "A couple of small shrubs would look nice here."  
 
 
March 24, 2012

 
 
I looked at the empty spot in front of the house previously occupied by one of the miniature rose bushes and decided to plant something in its place.
 
 
March 24, 2012

 
 
I also tried to add something to the front porch area to try and make it more appealing.  
 
 
March 24, 2012

 
 
I remember looking at my front yard and thinking two things.  In spite of all the maintenance I had done, it was still basically one giant weed field with a few patches of actual grass scattered throughout.  It was a good "50-footer," meaning as long as you're more than 50 feet away, it didn't look bad.   But don't come any closer.  My second thought centered around the idea that, since Georgia summers are very hot, I'd like to have some more shade.  And from those simple thoughts arose an idea.  If I planted a tree right in the center of the front yard, I'll eventually have more shade and possibly be able to use that as a bridge to getting rid of some of the weeds.  The October Glory Maple tree, the first new resident of my front yard, went in the ground on April 21, 2012.
 
 
April 21, 2012

 
 
I took this Yard Adventure idea born in 2012 and ran with it.  The following spring, I started looking into adding a color other than green to the front yard.  My mailbox area got a much needed upgrade.
 
 
March 17, 2013

 
 
The maple tree got some company.
 
 
April 14, 2013

 
 
Even though I was concentrating on the front yard, I didn't forget about the back yard.  A few new residents moved in there as well.
 
 
March 31, 2013

 
 
A whole host of new residents moved in during the 2014 season.  I planted stuff in small clusters and ended up with several of them scattered about the front yard by the end of the year.
 
 
May 4, 2014

 
 
When I turned the calendar to 2015, I remember looking at those individual clusters and liking how that type of expansion worked.   I still had a lot of available room for more new residents.  Planting more of these small clusters seemed like a good way to highlight each one.  But if I'm going to plant a bunch of clusters of individual plants, I started to wonder if I could somehow connect them all together.  That would get rid of a lot of weeds, reduce the amount of mowing that would be required, and look pretty nice.  Rapid expansion became the theme for that year and actually worked much better than I had expected.
 
 
September 20, 2015

 
 
Last year saw me being a bit more cautious.  The design had evolved to the point where adding more stuff just for the sake of adding more stuff could be counterproductive.  The last thing I wanted was to go from having a nice yard packed full of greenery and color to being a cluttered mess.  But that didn't mean I couldn't find room for a few more new residents.  
 
 
September 18, 2016

 
 
That brings me to spring 2017.  I've done quite a bit to this yard since I've been here, with a majority of the changes taking place within the last two years.  I've reached the point where I don't want to get ahead of myself.  It's easy to take a guess as to how things will look based on what the tag on the plant says.  But the only way to judge accuracy is to actually let the growing/maturing process happen.  That means this year will be more maintenance based than anything else.  I'm going to give what I already have in place the chance to grow a little bit so I can try and get a better idea of what I'm working with.
 
Welcome to spring 2017 .  .  .
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 07:15:09 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 01:47:27 AM »

The awakening process .  .  .
February 2017
Part 1 of 3
 
 
 
 
 
I thoroughly enjoy living in a region where turning the calendar to February indicates the arrival of spring.  Central Pennsylvania where I grew up is still firmly in the grips of winter in February, (I woke up to 18 inches of snow in my driveway over President's weekend 2003).  But not Georgia.  February is typically a weather roller coaster.  High temperatures hover in the 50s but often reach the 70s during a warm period.  Overnight lows can reach into the 20s.  While not really "winter" according to the definition I'm used to, this is cold enough for most of the green to disappear.
 
 
February 6

 
 
The grass is brown, a lot of the hardwoods have dropped their leaves.  Those plants that do stay green over the winter don't show a lot of activity.  Everything near the driveway is covered with pine needles.  The small grenades from the sweet gum tree cover everything as you move further inward toward the front door. 
 
 
February 11

 
 
I cut the Yellow Flag Irises down to the ground over the winter.  That means I've got a lot of debris to clean up in the center of the yard as well, (there is actually a bunch of red mulch from last year buried under there somewhere in the photo below).  The bottom line is that, just like every spring, I've got A LOT of cleaning up to do !
 
 
February 6

 
 
I've been working in this yard long enough to recognize when and in what order the various plants wake up for the season.  Mother Nature is pretty consistent.  The first plant that shows any signs of activity is the Japanese Camellia.
 
 
February 6

 
 
The camellia in my yard is actually three separate plants clustered together.  The tallest section and one of the lower sections flower in pink, and the other lower section flowers in red.  Blooms usually begin to appear in January, and are noticeable by the beginning of February.   
 
 
February 6

 
 
Once into the middle of February, the whole cluster is covered in flowers .  .  .


February 23
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 01:49:07 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 01:50:34 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 3
 
 
 
 
 
The green stalks of the daffodils also start to appear around that same time frame.  It's not unusual to see a few flowers in early February.   
 
 
February 6

 
 
I discovered not too long after I moved in that I had daffodils scattered all throughout the yard.  I've gradually relocated them this area for no reason other than this is where all the early flowering plants ended up.  Daffodils, tulips, crocus bulbs, alliums, and several unknown "Mystery Bulbs" all call this corner next to the driveway home.
 
 
February 6

 
 
I tried to plant all of the daffodils together, which I did.  But little did I know some of the mystery bulbs I planted nearby turned out to be daffodils.  At least they're all planted in the same vicinity.
 
 
February 6

 
 
Daffodils tolerate the cold pretty well, but seem to be sensitive to a sudden cold snap.  Even so, a few of them flowered this year.
 
 
February 11

 
 
Another early bloomer that always makes its presence known first are the crocus bulbs.
 
 
February 11

 
 
I'm not sure how I managed to get the early bloomers, (daffodils and crocus bulbs), together in one area.  But I'm sure it was by accident.
 
 
February 13

 
 
I planted a few individual crocus bulbs here in 2014.  But then I found several clusters in the backyard.  I've gradually tried to relocate all of them to this area.
 
 
February 15

 
 
The plants below were part of the group of "Mystery Bulbs" I mentioned earlier.  I'm not sure what they are, but the name "Bluebell" comes to mind.  One of the stems broke off, so I put it in a small vase on my kitchen table.  Talk about fragrant !
 
 
February 23

 
 
Well this is a pleasant surprise !   
 
 
February 6

 
 
This Star Magnolia that I planted in 2014 has been one of those "slow and steady" residents.  It produces a handful of flowers each spring, after which it turns green and continues to grow.  But it sure takes its time doing so.  I had a total of ONE bloom last year.  To see a bunch this year is great !
 
 
February 6

 
 
After surprising me for a couple of weeks, it began to turn green late in the month .  .  .
 
 
February 23
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 01:51:24 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 3 of 3
 
 
 
 
 
Seeing activity at the Chinese Snowball makes me smile !
 
 
February 11

 
 
I planted the Chinese Snowball originally in 2014 in front of the house.  Realizing it has the potential to be quite large, I moved it to this spot in 2015, after which it dropped a bunch of leaves, which had me concerned.  "Concern" turned into "worry" the following spring when it didn't flower at all.  It looked like it was alive, but I wasn't really sure.  So seeing it start to wake up this year is definitely encouraging.
 
 
February 23

 
 
I look forward to seeing the Bridal Wreath Spirea wake up each season.   
 
 
February 10

 
 
It always starts to wake up at the beginning of February, and fills in rather quickly.  Blooms start appearing in March.  It has looked wonderful each spring, and has become my favorite feature of the yard.
 
 
February 23

 
 
I have two loropetalum shrubs in front of the house that also bloom in February.   
 
 
February 23

 
 
They were in place when I moved in and have always looked great each spring.
 
 
February 23

 
 
This small azalea continues to amaze me.  It doesn't seem to be growing in size.  But it flowers beautifully each spring even after being relocated twice.
 
 
February 23

 
 
Speaking of azaleas, this is also the time when the driveway azaleas begin to wake up.  The cluster next to the street usually wakes up first.
 
 
February 10

 
 
I took a chance last year and hacked this cluster way back, (as in half-its-original-size back), in an attempt to encourage new growth at the base of the plants.   
 
 
February 23

 
 
It looks like that strategy worked.  I'm seeing a lot of color, especially near the base.
 
 
February 23

 
 
And in an unusual twist, the second azalea from the street, which usually blooms later than the others, was actually the first azalea to start blooming.
 
 
February 10

 
 
Not sure what happened, but I'm not complaining.
 
 
February 23

 
 
Aside from a few slight variations, everything seems to be doing what it should when it should.  Unless Mother Nature decides to throw a cold snap into the mix, this spring should be full of color.  Keep your fingers crossed .  .  .
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2017, 12:39:03 AM »

Mother Nature adds some color .  .  .
March 2 – 19, 2017
Part 1 of 4
 
 
 
 
 
The early bloomers like the daffodils, loropetalums, and Japanese Camellia woke up in February just like they are supposed to do.  By the time March rolled around I noticed some activity in the backyard as well.  I'm never quite sure what the Buckeye tree is going to do each year.  It wakes up and turns green, but does little else.   
 
 
March 2

 
 
It hasn't flowered since I planted it in 2014.  But it seems to be growing, even if it is at a very slow pace.
 
 
March 2

 
 
It looks like some type of bloom is trying to form.  But based on past performance, I'm not holding my breath.
 
 
March 5

 
 
I've got a few redbud trees in the yard.  They were all in place when I moved in, and are what I'll call "buried," meaning they're in odd spots in the yard that don't seem like the proper place to plant a beautiful flowering tree.  But they turn purple each spring.  The tree in the photo below sits next to the fence in the back of the yard.
 
 
March 2

 
 
I'm going to move the Persian lilac.  This is the third plant I've had in this spot over the years.  The first two died not long after planting.  This 50% off special from the Clearance rack at Lowe's looks like half of it has died.  So I'm going to move it before it completely dies.
 
 
March 5

 
 
I also saw some color on a tree that sits next to the driveway near the garage.
 
 
March 2

 
 
I have no idea what it is.  But it looks nice each spring .  .  .
 
 
March 2
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2017, 12:45:15 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 4
 
  
  
  
  
Things in the front yard continued where they left off in February.  Both loropetalums were approaching the end of their spring blooming cycle and looked great !
 
 
March 2

 
 
I left them alone last summer for fear of curtailing the blooming season by trimming them too late in the year.  The result, although colorful, looks pretty wild.  I'll have to cut both of these shrubs back quite a bit after this blooming season ends.  
 
 
March 2

 
 
The right hand Sky Pencil Holly at the front porch still looks dead.  I don't have a lot of hope for this one.  
 
 
March 8

 
 
The small transplanted azalea began blooming last month and looked great by the time March arrived.
 
 
March 2

 
 
Hopefully, I won't have to move this plant again.  But if I do, it looks like I can be reasonably sure that it will handle it with ease.


March 8

 
 
The three Reeves Spireas seem to be growing.
 
 
March 2

 
 
The success I have seen with the spirea I planted at the mailbox prompted me to plant these three near the front porch last year.  I don't expect a lot right now because they're still pretty small.  But my goal is for this area to look like a bigger version of the mailbox in the future.
 
 
March 8

 
 
Blooming continued to intensify on the Japanese Camellia.
 
 
March 2

 
 
The camellia cluster starting showing flowers during the first week in February.  That means by this time, it had been sporting flowers for more than one month.
 
 
March 5

 
 
I started seeing a few flowers on the Cleveland Select Flowering Pear tree.
 
 
March 2

 
 
This tree has grown tremendously since I planted it in 2013.  It has to be 4 times its original size by now.
 
 
March 5

 
 
It flowers sparingly each spring, but has been improving with each passing year .  .  .
 
 
March 2
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 08:15:54 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2017, 12:53:13 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 3 of 4
 
 
 
 
 
The Star Magnolia had already finished blooming by the time March arrived, and was well on its way to turning green.   
 
 
March 8

 
 
I'm seeing hints of green appearing at the Goldmound Spireas.  One of them had an encounter with a fire ant mound and will hopefully recover.   
 
 
March 2

 
 
Activity continued at the Chinese Snowball.
 
 
March 5

 
 
I was very happy to see this !
 
 
March 5

 
 
March 5

 
 
It looked like it recovered from my questionable decision making in 2015.   
 
 
March 8

 
 
Since I jinxed myself earlier by wondering what would happen if Mother Nature threw a cold snap into the spring blooming season, she was obligated to do exactly that.  The last two weeks of February were spent above 70 degrees, including one day (February 24) at 80 degrees.  This pattern continued through the beginning of March and made EVERYONE happy !  But when we weren't looking, she delivered a week of overnight temperatures below freezing starting on March 11.  I was understandably a little nervous.  But most of the yard, including the Chinese Snowball, handled it pretty well.   
 
 
March 19

 
 
I didn't have a lot of snowball blooms.  But I had blooms, which made me smile.
 
 
March 19

 
 
The Japanese Maple tree woke up and turned red.
 
 
March 2

 
 
It seemed to fill in very quickly, and looked noticeably fuller a week later.
 
 
March 8

 
 
The Japanese Maple tree and Small Anise tree both weathered the freezing temperatures without incident.  The Small Anise tree is weird.  I was under the impression when I planted it in 2014 that it was supposed to flower in white, even though I have yet to see a flower of any kind.  Not sure really.  So technically, the cold didn't affect blooming.  All I know is that it seems to be growing quite well.
 
 
March 19

 
 
I cut the remnants of last year's Yellow Flag Irises down to the ground in January, and removed the debris last month.  They started to appear shortly thereafter.
 
 
March 2

 
 
The freezing temps didn't have any effect on them at all.   
 
 
March 19

 
 
Techncially, the freezing temps didn't have any effect on the Indian Hawthorns either.  They were dead last month, and appear to still be dead this month .  .  .
 
 
March 19
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2017, 12:58:00 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 4 of 4
 
  
  
  
  
I look forward to the Bridal Wreath Spirea doing its thing every spring.  It woke up last month right on time and was getting greener by the day.
 
 
March 2

 
 
A few hints of white started to appear.  
 
 
March 5

 
 
A few more hints of white.
 
 
March 8

 
 
And that was it.  The freezing temperatures curtailed the brilliant white blooming season I am used to seeing with this shrub.  
 
 
March 19

 
 
The driveway azaleas were either hit or miss with the freezing temps.  Of the seven shrubs in the line, two of them, (the cluster next to the street and the one next to it), started to wake up last month and bloomed fine before the freezing temps arrived.  
 
 
March 2

 
 
The cluster next to the street always seems to wake up first, and it's a good thing it did.  
 
 
March 5

 
 
March 8

 
 
Hacking this cluster way back last year seems to have paid off in the form of fostering new growth, especially at the base of the plants.  Now I need to concentrate on shaping.
 
 
March 8

 
 
The azalea next in line also started blooming last month.
 
 
March 5

 
 
It basically bloomed before the freezing temps arrived, and also looked great.
 
 
March 8

 
 
But the rest of the line got a late start waking up and didn't do much of anything after the freezing temps.  The third azalea in line, although green and extremely healthy looking, didn't bloom at all.
 
 
March 5

 
 
I started to see a hint of color early in the month on the fourth azalea in line.
 
 
March 2

 
 
But the freezing temps put a stop to that.
 
 
March 8



The Delaware Valley White azalea I got at one of the UGA plant sales always manages to stay green, but doesn't flower that much, and didn't at all this year.
 
 
March 5

 
 
The next azalea in line did marginally better, but still fell victim to the freezing temps.
 
 
March 8

 
 
And finally, there's the Korean azalea that also came from one of the UGA plant sales a few years ago.  For whatever reason, it always seems to look sparse, like it is on the verge of death.  But it hasn't died yet, and produces one or two flowers each spring .  .  .
 
 
March 5
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 08:31:45 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2017, 08:25:21 PM »

Todd's turn to add some color .  .  .
March 19, 2017
 
 
 
 
 
The idea of alternating the colors of mulch around the individual plant clusters developed a few years ago when I discovered that Lowe's offered mulch in three different colors – red, black, and brown.  The brown mulch was almost the same color as what I have termed my "homemade" mulch, (leaves, pine needles, and other yard debris I grind up with my lawn mower).  Scattering areas of red and black mulch throughout the design looked pretty good.  I've stuck with this pattern ever since.   
 
 

 
 
Most of the red and black mulch in the yard hasn't been replenished in a few years.  The entire design has faded into several different shades of brown.



 
 
Believe it or not, there is, or was actually a layer of red mulch around the Leyland Cypress.
 
 

 
 
The small transplanted azalea has a layer of black mulch, while the Reeves Spireas were finished in red mulch.  The pear tree has black mulch, and so on.
 
 

 
 
It's obvious that I haven't replenished the mulch in some time.  What was originally black and red has faded and now blends in with its surroundings.
 
 



Since Mother Nature has done a good job adding color to this point, it's time for me to meet her half way.





Walmart had mulch on sale for $2 per bag.  I discovered that my Chrysler Cirrus will hold 10 bags of mulch comfortably.  After two mulch runs, one for red and one for black, I got to work.





Today's task was to start replenishing the mulch, beginning with the rearward part of the front yard.  The process is pretty straight forward - Brush away the debris, add fresh mulch, repeat.





The Leyland Cypress got a fresh layer of red mulch.  The small transplanted azalea next to it got black mulch.  The Reeves Spireas got red mulch.





I continued with the alternating color pattern down the rest of the line.  The Chinese Snowball, which only had my homemade mulch last year, got black mulch this year.





I did make one deviation.  The three crape myrtles all had black mulch last year.  This year they got red, which makes sense looking at the pattern .  .  .


« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 08:40:45 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2017, 09:14:54 PM »

Adding some color, part 2 .  .  .
March 26, 2017
 
  
  
  
  
Another weekend means another trip to the store for mulch.





Today's project continued the work that began last weekend.  Having done the line of plants closest to the front walk earlier, I started on the middle of the yard today.





The plan was the same as before.  The first step in the process was to remove all the pine needles and other debris from the surface around each plant cluster.





In the course of removing the debris, I discovered that three of the Super Blue Lavener plants died over the winter, leaving one remaining.  I originally had five of them in this location.  One died almost immediately.  The remaining plants hung on and seemed to do ok until now.  The good news is that the remaining plant seems to look ok.





I prepared each of the surfaces for a new layer of mulch.





I'm sticking with the same color pattern that is already in place.  So the Yellow Flag Irises will get red mulch.





The Coronation Gold Yarrows will get black mulch.





The Goldmound Spireas will get black mulch.





The process is pretty straight forward:  Open bag, dump, spread, repeat, in this case 20 times.





I gradually circled my way around the design until I ran out of mulch.





I had enough mulch to finish most of the yard.





It's amazing what some fresh color can do !





Only the Coronation Gold Yarrows, Goldmound Spireas, and Silver European Fan Palm tree, (behind where I'm standing in the photo below), remain.  And all will get black mulch.





So far, so good for the month of March .  .  .


« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 11:42:21 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2017, 09:45:59 PM »

Mother Nature adds more color .  .  .
March 26 - 30, 2017





After finishing up with today's round of mulch replenishing, I snapped a few more pics of the Chinese Snowball.


March 26



I was quite relieved to see that the week of freezing temperatures earlier in the month didn't cause any problems.


March 26



March 26



After last season, I would have been thrilled just to see it turn green and grow this year.  Seeing flowers was a wonderful surprise.


March 29



I also see where the Dogwood Cherokee Princess is blooming.


March 26



This is another plant that has had me confused.  Even though it's supposed to flower each spring, it has yet to do so in any capacity.  So this was quite nice to see.


March 26



The large flowering Dogwood, (which I think is a Cherokee Brave), is also blooming.  Like the Yoshino Cherry tree in the back yard, it quietly does its thing and looks great every year.


March 30



I'm hoping the smaller Dogwood will bloom more as it grows and eventually look like its older cousin.


March 26



This is certainly good to see !  I planted the Vitex Shoal Creek last year, after which it bloomed and grew quiet well.  Over the winter, it dropped all of its leaves, which had me concerned.


March 29



I was hoping this was what it was supposed to do, and that it would eventually wake up, which it seems to be doing now.  If all goes according to plan, I should be seeing beautiful blue blooms pretty soon.


March 29



I also see I have a tulip blooming !


March 27



And I have another one on deck.


March 27



Two days later, I had two tulips.  It's not much.  But two is better than none.


March 29



While all of my attention was focused on the front yard, the Yoshino Cherry tree had been quietly been doing its thing.


March 27



This is another highlight of the yard, and looked great this spring in spite of the freezing temperatures.


March 30



I've still got three areas that need fresh mulch, which I'll handle next weekend .  .  .
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2017, 10:23:11 PM »

Finishing the mulch project .  .  .
April 2, 2017
Part 1 of 2





It's hard to tell from the photo below.  But I'm seeing a few small flowers on the Creeping Phlox.





This is another one of those confusing plants.  The Creeping Phlox surprises me each year.  It does nothing throughout the year that resembles "growing."  Yet I still see several small blooms each spring.





The Chinese Snowball looks great !  I first started seeing blooms appear on March 5.  That means as of the date this photo was taken, April 2, the Chinese Snowball had been blooming for one month.





I noticed over the winter that one of the Sky Pencil Holly bushes looked like it was dead.  With the spring awakening process underway, I can now confirm that it is, indeed, dead.  The other bush is still alive, but doesn't look too great.  I also see the Tiny Dessert Asiatic Lilies in the planters starting to wake up.





The Yoshino Cherry tree has finished blooming and is now turning green.  This tree was still white in the March 30 photo I posted earlier.  It's amazing what a difference three days makes.





The Vitex Shoal Creek continues its awakening process.





I was concerned about this plant because it dropped all of its leaves over the winter and showed no signs of activity.  But all is well, and I can now breath a sigh of relief.  I realize now that this is what it's supposed to do.  But given my track record, it's understandable why I would worry. 





The three crape myrtles are also starting to wake up for the season. 





Crape Myrtles bloom over the summer which will give the yard some color at a time when color isn't normally present.





Things are not looking too good for the Indian Hawthorn shrubs.  I said that same thing last month hoping that maybe these shrubs were like the Vitex and just needed some time to wake up.  But this doesn't seem to be the case.  I think they're dead.





I didn't get much of a blooming season out of the Bridal Wreath Spirea this year.  Last month's week of overnight freezing temperatures arrived at the right time to curtail the blooming .  .  .


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« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2017, 10:23:43 PM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2





The plan for today was to finish spreading new mulch.  Three areas remained after last weekend, all of which would get black mulch.  I made another mulch run, (this time to Lowe's because they had it on sale), and started spreading.





I added black mulch around the Goldmound Spireas and Coronation Gold Yarrows.





The Silver European Fan Palm Tree was the last recipient of new mulch.  I actually have two palm trees here.  The Silver European Fan still looks ok, even though it seems to be shrinking.  A small twig can also be seen poking up through the mulch on the far right of the photo below.  This used to be a large Green European Fan Palm that I first planted in the back yard back in 2013.  Like the Silver European Fan, it kept shrinking.  So I first moved it to an area beside the driveway to see if that would be enough sun.  When that didn't work, I moved it out to the front of the yard to try and save it, which also didn't work.  That small twig stayed green for a few years, but not any more.  It has officially ceased to be.





And with that, all the mulch in the front yard had been replenished.





This is good news !  I originally had five Super Blue Lavender plants in this spot.  One of them died shortly after planting.  The others held on until this past winter when three more died, leaving me with one.  It hasn't looked too healthy so far this season.  So seeing green is a good sign.  It looks like it will recover.





I found a few blooms on the Dogwood Cherokee Princess this year !  For whatever reason, this tree hasn't bloomed in the past.  So seeing a few flowers this year was quite nice.





The other Dogwood always looks great each spring, and this year is no exception.





I really like the cluster of ornamental grass I relocated from the back yard to the corner by my front walk.  I think it's the right size and shape for the space.  I've still got a lot of blooms on the Japanese Camellia.  And the Japanese Maple is looking quite red, which is good. 





I've still got some more cleaning up to do over here.  But everything looks pretty good so far.





I've also got a lot of cleaning up to do on this side of the yard as well.  The large Sweet Gum tree drops a bunch of those small grenades all over the place.  So my next project will be to adjust the lawn mower as low as I can and collect them in the mower bag.  It will sound like a fireworks display.  But this technique seems to work well. 





I'm happy with everything so far.  It's amazing what some fresh color can do for the overall appearance .  .  .


« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 10:30:43 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2017, 11:01:43 PM »

An unusually heavy rainstorm .  .  .
April 5, 2017





Heavy rain and strong thunderstorms were in the weather forecast for the Athens area today.  The rain started in the late morning and continued long enough and hard enough to create a few rivers and a couple of swimming pools in my yard like this one seen in the back yard.  The puddling suggests we got a lot of rain in a short amount of time.  No worries here, though.  The two Pieris Snowdrift plants on either side of the photo below have a serious drinking problem and should be enjoying all the rain.





Runoff made its way to the short path from the back porch to the patio.  The good news is that this is the only area where the water gathered anywhere near the foundation.  And even then, the water continued flowing to the left in the photo below into a small valley behind my house which leads to another small valley in between my house and my next door neighbor, and then to the street.





My other next door neighbor's downspouts drain into the yard in between our houses.  This isn't normally a problem.  But the heavy rain received today overwhelmed the yard.





Hopefully, the Bottlebrush and Korean Azalea will benefit from the abnormally large amount of runoff.





I need to find a way to harness this runoff so it collects around the Bottlebrush and azaleas.





The water was probably about 4 inches deep here.





The runoff from next door made its way to my driveway and then to the street.





The amount of rain received was enough to overrun the driveway and flow into my front yard.








The same thing happened on the other side of the yard.  Runoff from my downspouts made its way to my other neighbor's driveway, although much closer to the street.





Below is the small valley area I mentioned earlier in between my house and my next door neighbor.  Water from the downspouts in the back of the house drains into this valley and eventually makes its way to the street. 





I've never seen this happen before.  The runoff from the property behind mine was enough to create a river flowing through the corner of my yard.





It's hard to tell from the photos above and below.  But the area in between the fence and the large tree is actually shaped like a valley and will collect water.  I have to wonder if this was done intentionally by a previous owner of my home for this very reason.





But even so, the amount of runoff was strong enough to breach the valley in this location.





This was actually a good demonstration as to how my property handles a large amount of rain.  Except for the small area near the back patio, all runoff was diverted away from the house .  .  .
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 11:05:44 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2017, 11:16:04 PM »

Doing some more cleaning up .  .  .
April 8, 2017





This the time of year where the yard turns greener by the day which makes everything look great.  We've had a good bit of rain this spring, especially earlier this week, which made my plants happy.  The flowering Dogwood tree in the front yard looks great !





Hopefully, the smaller flowering Dogwood will look like this in a few years.





Today's project was to gather as many of the small grenades as possible from the Sweet Gum tree in the front yard.  I've found that the easiest way to do this is to set the lawn mower as low as possible, which can be a challenge given the number of exposed tree roots, and gather them up in the mower bag.  





It may sound like gunshots, but it gets the job done .  .  .





« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 11:48:22 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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