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Author Topic: The 2017 edition of Todd's ongoing Yard Adventure . . .  (Read 1701 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2017, 09:39:33 PM »

Another branch down .  .  .
August 8, 2017





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





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





Unfortunately, if fell on top of the Korean Azalea.





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





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





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





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


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« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2017, 10:04:49 PM »

A couple of changes for late summer .  .  .
August 13, 2017
Part 1 of 2





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


 


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





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





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





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





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


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« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2017, 10:49:04 PM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 2





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





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





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





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





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





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





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


« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 10:53:50 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #33 on: October 07, 2017, 11:04:42 PM »

My first pampas grass bloom .  .  .
August 21, 2017





Well this is a wonderful surprise !





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





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





I've got one bloom !  It's not much.  But it's my first.  Hopefully, I'll have more in the future .  .  .
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 11:06:36 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: October 07, 2017, 11:22:45 PM »

It's been a great summer .  .  .
August 25, 2017





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





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





The same is true for the Plum Magic crape myrtle.





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





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








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





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





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





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


« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 11:25:33 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2017, 01:27:36 AM »

Another minor project .  .  .
September 17, 2017





The arrival of September means the leaves begin to fall from the trees.  From now until the cold weather arrives, I'll be spending time each weekend with the bag attached to the lawn mower grinding up what falls so I can spread it over my Random Curved Shape.   When October arrives, I'll have a lot of leaves and other debris to mulch.  But right now, it's not so bad. 





This week was a bit more intense than usual.  Hurricane Irma arrived in Florida as a Category 3 storm and made her way up the state's west coast.  By the time it reached the Georgia state line, it had weakened to a tropical storm.  Irma came through northern Georgia on September 11 bring light but steady rainfall and a day of gusty winds.  Trees were down all over the place in Athens.  But that was it for the most part.  My neighborhood actually fared pretty well.





The photos above and below are from a week after the fact and show minimal damage.  I had a few decent sized branches come down along with a lot of leaves and small debris, but that's it.  I'll have a good sized pile for the next Leaf & Limb Collection.





I believe the shrub in the photos below is an American Beautyberry bush.





It was in place when I moved in and continues to bloom beautifully each fall.  I have done nothing to it other than cut it back when it gets wild.





I see that the Eleanor Tabor Indian Hawthorn shrub I moved last month has survived the ordeal, which is always good news.  I originally planted it directly in front of the house in March 2012 where it did ok, but not great.  I moved it to the mailbox area in April 2016 thinking more sun would be beneficial.  Even though it seemed like a good idea, it just didn't work.  It dropped most of its leaves shortly afterward, and then had to deal with an encroaching pampas grass plant.  So we'll see how this location works.  The key is that it survived the move !





Relocating the Indian Hawthorn meant I had to find yet another home for the small azalea that previously occupied that space.  Since I hacked all of the azaleas next to the driveway this past spring, a decent gap has developed in between two of them large enough to fit this small shrub.  This is the fourth, and hopefully last location for this little guy.  He's survived the three previous moves and seems to be doing fine after this move as well.





The Sky Pencil Holly I moved back in April hasn't fared nearly as well.  I originally had two of these shrubs planted beside my front steps.  One died over last winter, and the other, even though it survived, didn't look too healthy.  I tried moving it into a sunny area to save it.  That idea obviously didn't work.





Seeing the all-but-deceased Sky Pencil Holly today got me thinking.  I originally found the small volunteer Japanese Maple tree in the photo below in April 2016 buried in my side yard.  Not liking where it was, I moved it to a temporary home in the back yard until I could figure out what to do with it.  Removing the dead Sky Pencil Holly means I would have a vacancy in the front yard.  And if this tree grows at the same rate as the other Japanese Maple, running out of room shouldn't be a problem.  This sounds like a plan.





Out came the Sky Pencil Holly .  .  .





.  .  . and in went the volunteer Japanese Maple.





This location should work for the Japanese Maple provided that it doesn't grow too fast.  If it grows at the same rate as the Star Magnolia, all should be well .  .  .


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« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2018, 01:53:46 AM »

One final project for the season, and it's a big one !
October 15 - November 5, 2017
Part 1 of 4





My Colorado trip from November 2017 has been taking up the majority of my writing time as of late in terms of both getting the 1,700 photos from the trip prepared and trying to find some inspiration for a story.  It recently occurred to me that I haven't added the last chapter of my yard adventure to finish the 2017 season.  With the season winding down, I had one more project I needed to address - dividing the irises.  Everything I had read seemed to indicate that irises multiply and need to be "divided" every few years, and that late summer/early fall is the time of year to do this.  This mid-October afternoon seemed like a good day to get started.  

But first, I couldn't help but notice that I had a late-season rose bloom, which is always a nice surprise.  My rose bushes seem to be doing their part by blooming every so often.  I need to do my part and figure out how to properly maintain them.  





A large cluster of Yellow Flag Irises has been a focal point in my front yard since 2014.  But their story begins in 2012 when my friend, Heather, gave me a small box of then-unknown bulbs.  "Divide them up and plant them and see what happens," were her instructions.  I made some room next to my then-new back patio and did exactly that.  They grew, but never flowered.  The concept that flowering bulbs need sunlight, which isn't exactly plentiful in the back yard, hadn't quite sunk in yet.  No sunlight = no flowers.


June 3, 2012



This finally clicked in 2014.  If I want flowers, I've got to move the bulbs to a sunny area.  So the mystery bulbs moved to the front yard in a spot between the trees I had recently planted.  That was my second "dividing" experience.  And even oblivious me could tell that they had multiplied in the two years that had passed.  What started out as a small clump two years earlier multiplied sufficiently enough to fill a 10-foot circular area in the front yard.


May 4, 2014



I knew I wasn't going to see any flowers during that year after the move.  But I was crossing my fingers for next season.  Mother Nature rewarded my decision in May 2015 with the flowers I had waited three years to see.  


May 1, 2015



Thanks to my neighbor who knew right away what they were, the mystery bulbs finally had a name:  Yellow Flag Irises.  I was again pleasantly surprised with more flowers for the 2016 season.  


May 3, 2016



I couldn't help but notice over these two years that my small circle of irises had thickened considerably even though I had done nothing with them during that time.  The "dividing" subject arose again which prompted me to ask my neighbor about it.  "Wait until next year, then divide them in the fall," was his response.  That brings me to today.


October 15,  2017



The differences between the above photos are pretty clear.  If it wasn't obvious how much they had grown and multiplied before, it certainly was now !  





What began as a bunch of single stems in 2014 has become a series of dense clusters.  The arrival of fall meant "wait until next year" had arrived, and the time had come to divide the irises once again.  I grabbed the shovel and started digging.





The dividing process is actually pretty straight forward  -  remove a cluster from the ground and separate the individual bulbs.  Both tasks didn't seem that difficult.  





The sheer size of the area I was dealing with made me think this was going to be a big project.  But just how big became clear after a brief period of time.





Each individual cluster by itself wasn't very large.  But anywhere from 10 - 20 individual bulbs could be divided from each one.  This exponential growth would seem to suggest I've got exponential work ahead of me.  





There's only one way to find out.  My plan was to get everything out of the ground first and see exactly what I was dealing with.





I kept digging and piling.





In time, I had all of them out of the ground.





Now I could begin the dividing process.





"Dividing" is nothing more than breaking the individual bulbs away from the large cluster.  This is not difficult at all.  But once I started doing this, the previously mentioned exponential growth made itself known .  .  .


« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:27:57 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2018, 01:57:05 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 4





Before I started this project, I had a feeling my original idea would be running out of room at some point.  I just didn't think it would happen as fast as it did.  I started to plant the newly divided bulbs back in the center of the circle, which was the original plan, hoping to make a dent on the amount of bulbs I would have left over.





October 16, 2017



I transplanted what I could and piled the remaining plants in my wheelbarrow.





I started planting in the center of the area and worked my way to the edge, which didn't take that long.





Even after planting an area approximately the same size of that which I started with, my wheelbarrow was overwhelmed.





The next afternoon, I cleaned up the area to get a better idea of what I was working with.


October 17, 2017



Clearly, I have an enormous amount of bulbs.  And I will still have an enormous amount of bulbs left over when I finish planting in the original space.  So now I needed to think about some form of expansion.





I began by making the original space as large as possible.  Moving the mulch out of the way added a few feet to the diameter of the original circle.





I also realized that whatever ideas I may have had before I started this project are not going to work.  So with no actual plan, I took the next logical step and made stuff up as I went along.





I took some time during the subsequent mornings to fill in the circular area.





My short term goal was to plant a few bulbs each morning to fill the space.  After that, I have no idea.


October 19, 2017



Gradually, the newly expanded original space started to fill up.





Even though I kept planting, I didn't seem to be making much of a dent in my wheelbarrow pile.





By the end of the week, I had the original space filled even though the pile of bulbs in my wheelbarrow still looked the same.


October 20, 2017



And with that, my original idea was now out of room.  I took a few moments to think about what to do with my still overflowing wheelbarrow and came up with a few ideas, the first of which was to make the center circle larger by carving out some areas around the edges.





This means the circular area was no longer circular.  But I could fit a few extra plants around the edges .  .  .


« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 12:40:57 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2018, 01:59:56 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 3 of 4





From that came another idea.  Everything in my front yard revolves around groups of plants that are separated from each other by what I have termed my "homemade" mulch, (essentially, all of the leaves, pine needles, and other debris in my yard that gets ground up and bagged when I run the lawn mower).  Some of the groups of plants are separated by several feet of this mulch.  I discovered that I could carve out a few small areas that are separated from the main circle.





This just might work !  I found a couple of areas that I could design using this idea and started with this area in between the Star Magnolia and palm tree.





I also had enough room to do the same thing around the maple tree.





The difference here is that this group is connected to the main circle.








The area next to the Husker Red Beardtongues and Dogwood Cherokee Princess was big enough to hold a few plants.


October 22, 2017



Ditto the dogwood and Coronation Gold Yarrows.





Five Super Blue Lavender plants originally occupied the area seen below.  One died right away, and three more died a year later.  So now I have one plant in a space originally designed to hold five.





Shrinking the area of red mulch around the remaining Super Blue Lavender plant created more space.  Following that same "carving" idea in between the Husker Red Beardtongues and the Pampas grass plant created one long path.





From this emerged a plan.  If I shrink the red/black mulch areas around each individual cluster of plants, the homemade mulch path that separates everything becomes much wider.  So instead of merely looking for some extra space in between plant clusters, I'm now on my way to carving a path around and through the entire design.





So now, the plan has become to surround EVERYTHING with Yellow Flag Irises.  This includes not only the individual plant clusters, but the whole perimeter of the design.





Shrinking the red/black mulch areas around all of the individual clusters became the order of the day.  In the case of the crape myrtles, this made the available space quite wide.





I kept making room and planting bulbs at will.





I planted as many bulbs as I could around the crape myrtles.


October 24, 2017






If it worked at one end of the design, it should work at the other end as well.  





Expanding the perimeter near the street was easy.


October 27, 2017



I did the same thing around the palm tree near the street.  Shrinking the area covered by the black mulch and moving the overall perimeter created a large meandering path.





From there, I continued circling around the entire shape .  .  .





October 28, 2017
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 02:24:04 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2018, 02:00:13 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 4 of 4





The perimeter path connects to the center section of irises via a couple of branches like the one seen below.





The path continues past the Pink Muhley Grass and Mexican Pony Tails Feather Grass.





From the ornamental grasses, the path circles the existing dogwood tree.





From the dogwood, the path continues around the recently relocated Pampas Grass plant and around the front perimeter.








This same idea continued around the palm tree, Small Anise tree, and Japanese Maple tree.


October 29, 2017






Once I had the path in place, I ground up some leaves and other yard debris with the mower so I could cover everything with the homemade mulch for the winter.





And with that, the dividing and replanting part of the project was completed.  I stopped the expansion at the pear tree only because the amount of full sun is limited beyond that point by the Sweet Gum tree.





I have no idea what this will look like.  Everything should be fine when the irises are blooming.  But my worry is that it will be too busy throughout the summer.  Only time will tell.





After all of the carving/expanding/planting had ended, I still had two 5-gallon buckets full of bulbs left over.  And this was after I gave my next door neighbor a bunch of them.  I'll figure out what to do with the rest in the spring.  It's interesting to note that the amount I have left over seen below is probably twice as large as the amount I originally started with in 2012 !





The end result of all of this follows the same principle as before.  I still have the area in the center of the design filled with irises, (albeit A LOT more irises than before).  And I also still have the clusters of individual plants that surround the irises.  The difference is that everything is now connected by a meandering path of irises.


November 5, 2017



The next question I had to address was that of how to incorporate the different colors of mulch.  Using red and black mulch in an alternating pattern has worked very well to this point.  But now I have the meandering path of irises to deal with.  I've got an idea !





Instead of using the red and black mulch in an alternating pattern, I'm going to try using red mulch only on the irises.  This means the center section AND the entire path of irises will be red.  Everything else  -  all the individual plant clusters  -  will get black mulch.  I needed to put some mulch down in the center anyways since I removed all of it during the dividing process.  Lowe's was able to accommodate my request for a few bags of red mulch.





I started spreading the mulch in the center of the design.





Even though the center area isn't a circular design anymore, I think it will look fine.  Having the red mulch branch out to other parts of the design from the center should work.





All of the individual plant clusters will get black mulch.  This means the palm tree below will get black mulch, but will be surrounded by a red mulch path.





This same idea will carry through to the rest of the design.





I only bought enough red mulch today to cover the center area.  But I think the idea will work.





Taking a step back and looking at everything, it looks like I'm going to need A LOT of red mulch.  While the path is narrow, it is quite long.








So that's the plan.  Whether or not it's a good plan remains to be seen.  Whatever the case may be, I can work with it in some way.





I want to thank everyone for reading along, and hope you enjoyed the story .  .  .
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:39:43 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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