Friday, January 29, 2010

My State of the Garden Address - Part 2

Yesterday I showed you part one of the state of the garden which contained mostly the front yard and side yard, today we go into the backyard to visit the gardens.

The Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden in Winter 1-2010-1Vegetable Garden in Winter 1-2010-2Let’s start by looking at the department of agriculture. The vegetable garden isn’t being very productive right now even though it could be. Hoop houses constructed over the beds would have been an asset this year if I had ever gotten around to building them. As it stands the only plants still alive in the garden are the cilantro, the strawberries, and of course - the weeds. There’s a weed for every season isn’t there? A major cleanup is needed but I’ll do that right before I begin planting, possibly in conjunction with my new raised beds I’m planning on building. It won’t be long until it’s time for sugar snap peas and spinach.




The Birdbath Garden

Here is the backyard birdbath garden. It doesn’t seem like much now but the mounds of dead branches and foliage once contained bright flowers like coreopsis, verbena, and salvias. The bush on the left is the butterfly bush while the one on the right is a ninebark. I surrounded the ninebark with two ‘Powis Castle’ artemisias both made from cuttings.

Birdbath Garden 1-2010-1

Here is one artemisia now, just trying to maintain its silver foliage throughout the winter. It looks a little worse for wear but once warmer weather returns it will once again be big, bright and beautiful!

'Powis Castle' Artemisia in January 1-2010-2
  
My ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint isn’t looking too happy right now. Really, not much is! Once things begin to warm up I’ll cut back the dead foliage and the plant will be good as new – and maybe better! I like to leave the foliage on through the winter to help shield the crown of the plant from cold weather. It’s just a little extra insulation to keep it safe and sound. I rarely trim anything back in the fall.

'Walker's Low' Catmint in January 1-2010-1

And here is my wayward ‘Purple Homestead’ Verbena. I’ve found that it detests wet winters. A shady spot where it’s wet in the winter is doom to this drought tolerant sun lover. This verbena was a cutting from another one I have on the north side of our house. This one is in full sun on a slightly mounded bed which was ideal for it to prosper last summer. It overtook my ‘Jethro Tull’  coreopsis fast and kept going. Verbena seems to walk by rooting along the stem in various places and dies back over the winter from where it started.

'Purple Homestead' Verbena in January 1-2010-1

Can you guess where our next destination might be?

Shed Greenhouse from Across the Winter Landscape 1-2010-1


The Greenhouse Gardens

If you guessed the back gardens and the greenhouse you got it right. In front of the greenhouse area are two garden beds haphazardly created last fall with grass clippings and leaves. Grass clippings make a great mulch/compost layer and break down very fast. The leaves were gathered up in the fall with the push lawnmower and it's bagging attachment. I know that mowers are not the most eco friendly tool to use (especially when you catch them on fire) but it’s still a necessity in our yard - there are only so many gardens I can put together each year.  I would love to try out one of the battery powered mowers one day but right now they seem a little on the pricey side, but enough about the economy!

This bed is the left hand bed. Since you really can’t see much of anything other than leaves so let me tell you what is here. You’ll have to trust me now and you can see it later! (Did I just sound like a politician or what?)  A small maple tree that needs moved is on the right and a ‘Shenandoah’ switchgrass is on the left. The switchgrass was a gift from my parents last year – is it odd that I like getting grass for my birthday? The little pot is a temporary protection measure I put around a crape myrtle to prevent rabbits from finding the small plant. It came from cuttings I made in the spring. On the far end of the bed are several small forsythias that I planted in the fall.  They will border our yard and this garden. Also in this bed is another artemisia, a salvia, a bunch of seeds that I hope will sprout for 2010.

Back Greenhouse Garden 1-2010-1


This garden is on the right side in front of the greenhouse. The mound in the back needs leveled once the greenhouse work is mostly completed. Another switchgrass is on the right and together the two grass clumps flank a wide grass pathway between the gardens. Another crape myrtle is hiding behind its plastic palace of protection while Russian sage and artemisia help to fill in this garden. There’s yet another small maple that needs a new home as it stands right in front of the greenhouse front door. I’ll find it a new home in the next couple weeks.

Back Greenhouse Garden 1-2010-2

Lastly you can catch a glimpse of the front of the greenhouse. Siding is on its way up and a new special feature is in the works for the front – hopefully soon! It depends on the weather of course (as I’m writing snow is still falling - in excess of four inches).  To see more of the greenhouse including the other views visit my post on putting siding on the greenhouse!

Greenhouse Shed Unfinished in Winter 1-2010-1

I hope you enjoyed the state of my garden! Please keep in mind it’s still January and I’ll be in a better state of mind in Spring!

9 comments :

  1. Nice state of the garden address. It sure gives the big picture. Your artemesia looks better than my powis castles. I've begun cutting them back-hard this year. Always a nice time clean the garden. Your yard looks really big. I can't wait to see it in person.

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  2. Your post title immediately caught my eye. :) I have a butterfly bush that I really enjoyed this past summer. I would like to add 'purple homestead' verbena. We live in Austin were there is a lot of hot and DRY. Artemesia sure does add a nice color. Looking forward to seeing your garden in the warmer temps! Your greenhouse looks like it is going to be nice.

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  3. Regardless of the winter time your gardens still look good. The whole yard looks good. Will enjoy seeing the "new" gardens when it warms up & you get them going.

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  4. My nepata is in the same shape as yours (and I can see most of it today, as the snow has been melting a bit). Do you enjoy daylilies, Dave? I'm Such a Fan of the great variety of heights and colors. There are many varieties that bloom for looong periods of time, as well as re-bloomers...
    :-)

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  5. The state of your yard looks very similar to ours, but gardeners have a vision and faith of what will be and I think your yard is beautiful!

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  6. Interesting post. Looking forward to seeing how all grows this year. Greenhouse is looking good.

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  7. Great post as always, Dave. I'm awestruck by all that you tend. My favourite line was the question about there being a weed for every season. I'm sure you're absolutely correct on this, as the other day while watering I found some kind of weed growing in the soil of one of the houseplants that was outdoors for the summer.
    Longsuffering spouse has decided that my old greenhouse needs revamping, so he's tearing it apart and rebuilding it in the spring. He's cut the lumber for it already, and made the design--it's attached to the south side of the barn so only has three sides to deal with. Nice to have a handy husband. He's never caught the mower on fire, but he has damaged more than a few blades by running over rocks that grow in our yard...I swear they do!

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  8. Tina,

    Unfortunately some of the other artemisias aren't looking nearly as good! Another one in the same garden looks poor but I'm sure when i cut it back this spring it will bounce back. The pictures always seem to make the yard look bigger but most of it is lawn which always looks big. Hopefully I can cut that down over time!

    Amy,

    Thanks for stopping by! Artemisia was a new addition this year and I was really happy with it. You can't go wrong with that verbena. It should do fine in Texas!

    Lola,

    Thanks! I can't wait to see the new foliage and flowers that hopefully will be coming up soon. I planted about 50 crocuses in various places that I'm looking forward to seeing!

    Shady,

    I do like daylilies! Unfortnately most of ours are the boring Stellas (only boring because everyone has them but still very nice flowers) but we do have some orange passalongs, one called Red Pirate and another that Frances gave us that is mostly red but the name escapes me!

    Ferne,

    Thanks! I think without some vision people would become disheartened during this time of year. When nothing is really happening it helps to think ahead and imagine what you would like it to be!

    Thanks FSPM! I can't wait for it to get finished enough for use. I keep telling myself "soon!"

    Jodi,

    I hope you'll be showing the construction of your new greenhouse! I'm looking forward to seeing it. Having it lean against another building is a good idea, unfortunately our building didn't lend itself to that. I wouldn't mind a few growing rocks although I would hate the damage to the blades!

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  9. I won't lie.... I am jealous of all the area you have to plant. Actually, I may be fine without that much area because I hate to be outside in the heat and mowing. Looks like big plans are coming your way.

    Jake

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