ravensgarden: (snakeflowerR)
[personal profile] ravensgarden
I have not looked through photobucket yet to see what I need to post about, but I imagine I need to leave 2013 for a separate entry.



I got a box of mostly bulbs and a few plants and seeds from Wisconsin at the end of September. I planted the plants immediately, but left the bulbs in the box on the front porch. It was still really hot, and the “proper” time to plant bulbs here is at the end of October.

I planted the purple emperor sedum in the big mama garden, close to the base of the gravel pile for the blue agave and planted 4 blue camassia bulbs around it.

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The drop wort I planted in a temp pot, it was looking a little worse for wear.

One day in October I had a cool day and was able to get out early (important to avoid the wasps. On warm days they started swarming the house by the thousands as early as 10am. Everything outside needed to be completed by then. On cool days sometimes I had until noon.

I dug the thirty feet or so of the inside curve of the driveway up and turned it. That area had not been scraped down to subsoil, still had topsoil and was relatively level. It is right at the tree line, but in the morning and afternoons gets full sun. A lot of the scrubby trees will be taken out later to increase the light.

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I mixed in a bag of manure and spread the soil as flat as I could.

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I then dug up the first row of irises in the stacked rock flowerbed in front of the house. There are WAY too many bulbs in that bed; it was mainly a place to store them until I can get around to places to plant them. There are still too many even after I dug out 42 Irises and a few daffodils and surprise lilies.

I laid them all out to figure out how to plant them all.

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To the left are the 40 I dug up. I don’t know what is what. The plastic bags have the camassia and crocus bulbs, from that point to the right are: Dotted Swiss, white, black, yellow Cross Current, Chickasaw Sue, lavender Time to shine, Purple and white bicolor, Sky, pale yellow, siberian and golden rebloomer irieses, and small yellow daffodils. In front to the left are a pile of dried up iris rhizomes that I found in a moving box. They have to be two years old, out of the ground. There are 3 boxes of bulbs that I ended up not planting, as they are spring bulbs. In the bags are new bulbs that I purchased: Firebreather orange bearded iris, Full tide blue bearded iris, Spartan maroon bearded iris, King Alfred daffodils, and Replete salmon and cream double daffodils.

I laid them at the edge of the bed, to see how closely I was going to have to space them. WAY too many. I had to not plant the dried irises in that bed. Several weeks after I planted that bed, I dug an area close to it and shoved those dried iris in the ground. We will see what comes of them.

I started at the end closest to the house and planted the irises from Wisconsin, with bagged daffodils in between the varieties. I thought it would look nice with clumps of same color blooms, rather than willy nilly. I sprinkled the crocus and daffs that I dug, and those from WI, and the surprise lilies in at random. I then planted the iris that I dug up willy nilly, as I don’t know what they are, and because as the bed curves down the driveway, the top soil gets less and less, and I figure I probably have all of what is in there still in the stacked stone flowerbed.

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I put the dropwort at the very end (road end) since it seems to be wildflower like and there was only an inch or so of topsoil in that area, and had tree roots all in it.

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I sprinkled Maryland butterfly peas that I had collected from my property and Showy evening primrose and Trefoil red clover that I purchased along the bank of the bed.

As the weeks past, I would carry a bucket around with me and pick up rocks to place on the sloping edge, to help hold the soil in if it ever rains hard.

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I didn’t place them solid because I want as many of the wildflowers to come up as possible.

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Sometime in late October or November the zinnias I seeded in the rock flowerbed by the house started blooming.

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I got very little time to enjoy the butterfly haven they created because of the wasps, but I did manage a few pictures.

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This is one of the “green” zinnias that I got from Washington.

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One of the garden club members stopped by the house in November and was just entranced by the butterflies and zinnias. She said she could never grow zinnias. She could hardly finish a conversation from watching them. I realized after that that my car is parked between the road and the zinnias, and started parking it down the driveway a bit. People started slowing down and stopping in the road when they saw them. I had the only blooming thing around in November and December. *grin*

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Sadly a three day freeze got them before they could go to seed, so I am going to have to seed again in the spring. Also in December the little blue cape daisy bloomed again in the big mama pot.

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Had a disabled entry storm shelter put in and finished at the first part of December.

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I actually had to use it a week later. Yes, tornadoes in December. We have also had at least one in January and in February as well. Really odd.

On thanksgiving my aunt and uncle gave me a birthday present. My uncle handed me a loaded down gift bag with the words “happy birthday, here is your bag of work.” It was a bag of daffodils and hyacinth. I loved it… but at the time had NO IDEA what I was going to do with 20 hyacinths, 55 double daffodils, 24 trumpet daffodils and 24 Tahiti orange and yellow daffodils. I had to cram what I already have into whatever space I could come up with!

When that storm shelter went in, it became the PERFECT SOLUTION to my lack of space problem. And the ground was already dug! The gentleman that put it in told me to wait a few weeks for the ground to settle first. At least until it rained a couple of times.

During the excavation of the storm shelter they dug down to a layer of solid shale. Now shale is fragile, but you have to have an edge to split it, or a heavy blow of some kind to get through it. That is what fracking is for in the natgas biz. They are blowing up the shale to crack it and release the gas.

I watched in fascination as he used a back hoe to BEAT on the shale layer to crack it and then try to dig pieces of it out. He had to turn the machine off several times for it to cool off, but he made it through. One of the pieces that came out of that hole was quite large and I asked him to put it by the bird
feeder to become another garden.

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His family noticed that I had a pile of rocks and was starting on a stone patio, so when suitable rocks came out of the ground, they piled them close to mine. Nice folks.

Once it rained twice I planted the hyacinths on either side of the sloping ledges of the ramp of the storm shelter. I don’t really like the smell of hyacinths, I would never buy them, so I figure the smell won’t bother me so much there. I planted all the daffodils except the Tahitis on three sides of the storm shelter as far up the hill as I could reach. It was still too loose to climb. I also tossed wildflower seeds orange turks cap lily, cardinal flower, wild geranium, butterfly weed, common milkweed, and baptista – false indigo on three sides of the shelter as well. I left the back of it unplanted. I plan on putting top soil on that side (because I can almost reach to the top of it) and plant strawberries on it. My grandmother used to tell me that you ALWAYS plant strawberries on your storm shelter. She was from Oklahoma. 

When it started getting to freezing consistently at night, I stapled plastic to the cabin exterior in the area of the bard doors, to block the wind from coming in and to protect my delicate plants. I had since found out that the blue agave will not survive outside, but mine is way too big to put in a pot, so I build a frame of tomato stakes around it to wrap in plastic.

One day we got 50 mile an hour strait line winds and I listened and watched helplessly while my temp greenhouse on the house ripped open

And the plastic around the agave became a sail and flew off into the woods. Each time I would look out the windows the giant piece of plastic was farther out into the woods.

The next day I put another layer of plastic over the door area, only this time I put gorilla tape on it every place I needed to staple.

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By the time I retrieved the plastic from the neighbors woods I was tired enough to just pile it on top of the agave.

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Both have held up so far fairly well. So far, 1/3 of the way through Feb.
Just before Christmas my neighbor stopped by to start work on tearing the burn pile apart and burning it.

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We worked hard for two days, then took a break for a few days, and he came back one more day.

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The first day it was just him and his chainsaw. The next two days he brought what he calls a tractor. It is NOT a tractor. *grin* he has a side business that he advertises to do “light tractor work”. What he has is a tractor with a bucket on the front, and a gigantic brush hog on the back. The third day he found all of my topsoil.

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Four feet of it was piled around the bottom trees in the middle of the burn pile. He started digging it out with the bucket and putting it in piles. It is.. *sniff* GORGEOUS STUFF! I missed it. I danced around yelling “I am going to grow TOMATOES. He admitted that earlier when I told him I could not grow anything in my dirt, he thought I was just not a gardener since my property has been woods for at least 18 years. When I responded to that with “they pushed all my topsoil down to the spring” he looked and could not find it… so he assumed I was not a gardener. NOW he understands.

The stumps will not burn. Those that he could pick he took up the hill to add to small burn piles up there, but those he could not, I told him to put to the side, and I will create a stump garden in the meadow. So far he is just removing them, but I see what they are already, and will ask him to move them around at the end.

The Spider is my favorite:

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Although she has since tipped over on her “face” in windy conditions.

Sputnick is really too close to spider and a baby pine tree.

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Since I do not have any mature pines anymore, I will cultivate ANY baby pines.

And the pig, poor thing is on his back and needs some space of his own.

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He does have ears on top of his head. I can see all of them before they are cleaned. Cleared of mud, and given space in the flattish meadow area, I think I will enjoy them.

We had a surprise snow on Christmas day (really, the forcast was for flurries, we got 4+ inches, took the entire state by surprise) and weather conditions have been such that he can’t get back here to continue. We did not talk about what this is going to cost me. He is a kind of closed up person, so I will try to pry it out of him when he comes back. I can’t budget for my handyman until I know how much I owe him. Whatever it is… it will be worth it.

At the same time we were burning the burn pile, I was able to get out and start cleaning up the dead tomato pots and started piling the used potting
soil/garden soil/clay native soil around the big rock. I planted the ten Tahiti daffodils after Christmas, but will post pictures of that in the next entry, as I just finished that garden.

As I mentioned before, we got a surprise snowfall on Christmas day. It was beautiful!

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But a mess to clean up after. Living in SE Georgia for so long, I don’t have the clothing or the equipment to quickly deal with all that snow. I used a shovel, broom and bat (to break the ice up on walking surfaces so I would not bust my ass).

That pretty much gets us to the end of 2012. Sorry this is so long.
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