Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Adventures In Landscaping

I am very much a haphazard and novice of a gardener.  I tend to move around and rip out plants on impulse, always wondering if something would be better off somewhere else, and probably planting things where they shouldn't be.

Besides doing some gardening with my parents as a kid, I don't have a lot of experience taking care of plants.  Fixing up our landscaping is the first time I've been responsible for growing so many plants at once while also trying to make everything look nice.  It'll probably be a few years before our landscaping is properly done and grown in with everything coordinating with each other.

My mother-in-law recently gave me several beautiful Hostas to plant in this blank space at the back of our house near our clothesline.

Before it had just rocks in it.  That's it.  I didn't really care about the space because it looked so boring and I didn't see much point in planting anything there.  Noah thought it might look nice with some Hostas and Mary had some giant ones in their landscaping that needed to be separated, so we stopped by one Saturday afternoon to check out what they had.  I was originally thinking we'd get two or three Hostas.  Well, she had such a variety in color that we got a bit of four different kinds and I later separated them further to make a nice symmetrical pattern when I planted them.

The space looks so much better with some vegetation.  I pushed aside the rocks, ripped a hole in the plastic underneath, and dug a hole for each plant.  I've left the rocks pushed away from the plants for now to give them a chance to grow and get acclimated to their new home without being crowded.  I think they're going to look even better once they've filled out some more.

This little area has been very difficult to deal with.  It was full of rocks, tree roots, and plastic.  I ripped and dug it all out to make it suitable for planting.  It's hard though to find plants that like both shade and somewhat sandy soil.

I planted a bit of Creeping Jenny in this smaller section to see how it does.  (Thanks to my red Cardinals ruler, you can tell I used to live close to St. Louis.)  I'm thinking I will put some in the bigger section too if it does well or maybe some other kind of ground cover.  Perhaps some Periwinkle?  I did sprinkle some flower seeds in the bigger section just to see what would happen.  It looks like some of them might be sprouting finally.

My parents gave me a Lilac bush from their home in Illinois last month.  They said it won't bloom this year because they chopped it off too short previously.  I've been so bummed about not seeing it bloom after seeing Lilacs blooming everywhere else around us.  Turns out we had a Lilac bush already!

This little guy is a Dwarf Korean Lilac.  When I was first trying to figure out what it was, my instinct was that it was a Lilac because of how the blossoms are grouped.  The leaves were far too small and round though so I figured it must be something else.

I'm so happy to have a blooming Lilac!  I think it might need some pruning, and I'm wondering if it would be better off planted a little further forward away from the house, give it a little more room.

We have this neat little garden box wrapping around one of the front corners of our home.  It is chock full of Daffodils that I don't think have been separated in ages.  They hardly bloomed this year, I think because they're way too crowded, and the soil in the box drains too quickly so they didn't get enough water.  We've decided it would be better to plant certain succulents and other drought tolerant plants here instead.  So eventually all of the daffodils we be removed, though where I will put them I'm not sure.  If anyone wants some Daffodil bulbs when I dig them up in the fall, let me know!

These hens and chicks were already here at the house when we moved in but they were in that big shady spot by the back door.  They are much happier here in this bright sunny garden box.  They've perked up so much and I love the dark purple showing up on the tips!

Over here on this side of the garden box we have more Daffodils.  I already dug up and transplanted a cluster of Tulips that weren't doing well and put my new Ice Plant there.  It actually flowered the other day!  The Ice Plant should eventually spread out and take up more space in the garden box.

This adorable little plant is a Sea Thrift.  It should get bigger, acting a bit like bushy ground cover, and put out more flowers.  I love the tiny little round flower heads.  They remind me of Alium.  I would love to get a few more of these and alternate them with succulents in the garden box.  It's such a whimsical little plant.

This is the biggest section of landscaping we have.  

I'm not a huge fan of the Boxwood Bush.  It looks nice, yes, if you're into boxy plants.  And it was actually quite easy to prune.  But I love flowers and pretty much every time I plant something I want it to have some kind of flowers.  So we're thinking about removing the Boxwood and planting something else there.  Peonies?  Roses?  Daisies?  I'm not sure.  There are so many beautiful flowers I have a hard time choosing what to plant!

This adorable little plant is a Ranunculus Noah gave me for Mother's Day/my birthday.  The flowers are so gorgeous!  I love the deep orange color, almost kind of a red shade.  This picture doesn't do the beautiful color justice.  The local bunnies kept nibbling on the blossoms so Noah made a little cage to protect it.  I love the seemingly endless layers of petals.  Such beautiful little flowers!  Supposedly when its growing season is over I can dig it up and keep it dormant in a pot over winter and then plant it again next year.  We're in Zone 6 here and it won't survive the winter if I leave it outside.  I hope it works to plant it again next year.

I planted some Daffodils around the edge of this landscaping that I dug up and separated from where the Drawf Korean Lilac bush is planted.  They had a bit of transplant shock and didn't bloom very well so I'm hoping for better blooms next year.  I have also planted Irises in this section.  In a back corner I found several Irises and Day Lilies crammed together.  The Lilies bloomed last year but the Irises didn't.  I dug them all up and moved them here.  The Irises are putting out fantastic leaves, as you can see, but they aren't blossoming yet.  They might need another year to adjust to their new home. 

Here are the Day Lilies I transplanted from the same place where the Irises were growing.  They're doing fantastic so far!  I'm thinking though that some mulch or something would be a good idea over here.  Or ground cover?  You can put ground cover around Lilies and Irises, right?

This giant strip of dirt and dead grass is supposed to be my patch of Wild Flowers.  As you can see they are doing splendidly.  Haha!  No, they aren't.  There might be something finally sprouting, or they might just be weeds.  Only time will tell.  Maybe I didn't water them enough at first, or maybe the seeds were bad.  We'll see.

And so ends our landscaping tour!  I'm learning quite a lot this year about plants, the main thing being that instead of doing everything in a manic frenzy and constantly changing stuff around, it's better to move things around to start with and then slow down and let them be, let things grow and see how they do.  Then you can make changes again later or the following year.  It's very exciting to plant something and then see how it changes over time.  I'm so excited that my Ice Plant bloomed already!  And I can already see changes to my Creeping Jenny after planting it nearly a week ago.  I really love spending time outside, tending to my plants.

But seriously, if anyone wants some Daffodils, let me know.  I honestly don't know where I'm going to put them all.

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