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There is so much work that needs to be done, inside and out, and I have been focusing on cooking (another love of mine) that there is rarely time to post about gardening or much of anything.

Since so much time passed since I posted last, this entry got HUGE. Sorry about that.

I cut the wildflower section at the end of this entry and separated it into a different entry to shorten it, but it was still too long, so I cut the rest of it in half. So the last month and a half of work is now going to be posted in three entries.



After I posted the last entry, I still worked outside creating my space.

I had a couple of building projects to complete. One was a large compost bin.



The other is a smaller bin of the same design to hold keep my garbage critter safe.




I brought blue agave pups with me from my house in GA (along with a lot of other plants) and planted the biggest one in the big mama garden in a pile of dirt that is covered with blue gravel. It has done well, but I had two others that were small, and were not planted in anything. They sat on the side of the house in the air and the heat for several months when I stumbled across them and noticed that they had shriveled almost to death.

I didn’t really know where to plant them, but decided to put them on the hill that will be outside of the dog yard fence. I dug shallowly in the rocky soil and kept them watered for about a week.







They have been up there for a month and a half now, and are alive! They love being ignored.

I also had a pot of mixed plants that came from my mother’s long gone Victorian house in Alabama, to my house in GA 18 years ago, and now are in Arkansas. Nothing is really notable; I have a piece of variegated vinca, and some wild violets.

One of the steepest places around the house is in between a patch of trees, close to the back of the house, and I am worried the soil will start to wash if and when it starts to rain again.



That vinca has always been a great ground cover, and my aunt took some years ago from Alabama, and it has taken over her front yard a little south of me here in Arkansas.

It was hard digging on that bank as it was not loosened by heavy equipment. Again just like the two agave pups, I could only get a few inches into the soil, but planted the entire pot of vinca and violets in one hole. I banked up the soil that came out of the hole on the downhill side of the hole to create a bit of a well to hold the water.

I used the water that condenses out of the window air conditioner unit to water it.

A month later, the vinca is starting to spread. *GRIN* I LOVE plants that can take care of themselves!

You can see the patch to the left in this photo:




Rain has been scarce, but I knew that the dirt guy left me with a terrible mess.


It rained two days after they finished digging in the utilities, and all the water from the back of the hill drained down to sit under the back end of the house!







Exactly what was not needed the worst possible situation.

When the water dried enough, I started digging a drainage ditch to move the water from down the hill, and away from the house.

I had to both dig the ditch



and pile dirt around the house to try to keep water from standing right against it.



I needed it to rain to check if I was creating a system that worked, but it rarely rained after that first time. When Isaac was coming up two months later, I was really worried because of the amount of flood damage that storm was doing, but when it finally got here, I was in one of those light bands, and it turned out to be a very gentle rain. Not enough to test the drainage.

I continued to widen the drainage ditch, while not really knowing if I had the level right.



A week or so after Isaac, I finally got a thunderstorm that could show me where my additional problems were.







But then it rained gently for the next three days, not enough to hold water, but enough to keep me from digging and piling dirt. I am still waiting for it to dry out enough to drag carts of dirt to the dogyard side of the house.

So, as of this typing, the drainage problem is not solved.

When I thought I had enough dirt against the house, I started piling dirt in the area that I want the vegetable garden to go.



I have one tomato in the ground that will not do much this year, but I wanted to see if putting veg in the ground that is here would grow anything. It will not, the soil will have to be amended. I have two bags of manure and a bag of garden soil to add to the dirt I will place in that area to level it.

The second week in August I seeded zinnias in the front flowerbed with the iris. Just to give it some color, as at the time I didn’t think the hummingbird vine was EVER going to bloom.



It was good at hiding the baby lizards however.




The vines would grow over the railing and reach toward the front door at an alarming rate.





I would wrap them around themselves, and or redirect the growing vines to reach outside of the porch, but with the thought in the back of my head that I was going to wake up some morning and the hummingbird vine was either going to have grown in the front door, or have wrapped itself around the front door so I could not get out!

Wouldn’t that make a good short story?



I need to take out about half of the iris in the front flower bed, as it is too crowded. I have a raised area on the inside curve of the driveway



that I want to plant half of the iris from that bed, and a few bags of iris rhizomes that are in a box on the front porch, as well as some daffodils, AND some iris that are being sent to me from a friend up north.

One of my favorite plants is my Texas green sage, that blooms after it rains. I tried in GA to “trick” it into blooming by watering it with a can, watering it from up high with captured water etc, but it always “knew” when it was real rain or not, and that is the ONLY time it would bloom.

Here it is shortly after I brought it up from my aunt’s house, in the old five gallon green pot it has lived in for about seven years. It is to the right of the tomatoes.



I repotted it the first week of August after I found a large pot (the same size I grow tomatoes in) on sale at lowes.




The last day of August it rained for a good hour or so. And about a week and a half later, it was covered with beautiful lavender buds.



The hummingbird that has chosen to guard my house noticed it first, and was hitting it as the first bloom opened.







I love this thing in bloom, the color of the bush against the color of the flowers, but I also LOVE it against the side of the house.




It is now the middle of September, and it rained for three days this weekend, so it will be interesting to see if it blooms as well again so closely after the other bloom.
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