"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No More Grass Within the Fence!

While this blog almost turns into a monthly update, my garden did not cease its progress at all.

My long time readers might know that my garden contains no more than a perimeter of stripes around the house and backyard.  After we moved in two and half years ago, I slowly converted those stripes into the flower beds one at a time.

The last stripe of grass left is a narrow one along the lake, about 30 feet long and 5 feet wide.  Here is how this area looked like back in 2010 (the complete length of the stripe is not shown in the picture).  Except some containers I put there, nothing else.


Since this area is between the lake and the house, I don't want to grow anything big and wild to block the view.  Also this is a full sun area, I know I need some plants that are drought tolerant and sun loving.  Since it is close to the pool, I want this flower bed not making mess, and low maintenance, and of course, need to look pretty!

Lots of ideas were bouncing around in my head when I took the night garden walks under the moonlight in the backyard, and eventually I pictured a flower bed more like a rock garden, but not as many rocks as the typical rock gardens. 

Last December, two small Christmas palm trees were planted to match an existing one at the other end (now shown below).  I think Christmas palms are relatively fast grower in my area, and hope they can provide a little shade to the plants around them, and the human being walking by.  Yet, when they grow taller, they would not block the lake view.  The right bottom corner of the below picture also shows an existing bed that I opened about two years ago.


I forgot to take pictures to record every step of this project, but it has lasted on and off for over a month.  Between kids activities at the weekends, we have been using those pocket of the time to do little by little.  And often, I have been doing lots of digging and planting at night!

Since the real boulders in big size are really expensive in South Florida (easily goes to $300 - $500 each), we bought three artificial ones from local nursery.  They are more less natural looking, the second best I can get compared to the real rocks.

The below was after removing all the grasses, and three artificial rocks were positioned, and some plants were placed at the back half of the stripe.  The big bromeliad in the center is one of the pups of Aechmea blanchetiana 'Orangeade'from my own garden. When it is exposed to the full sun, it shows more intense orange color.



As matter of the fact, most of plants I used here came from my own garden, I only  bought some bush daisies (Euryops) and one full sun bromeliad (left to Aechmea blanchetiana).

After all the plants were placed, I used the black plastic garden edging to  divide the stripe into front and back two sections length wise. To create a more natural look, the edging was put in a wavy lines. Since the plan was to put the river stones in the front half of the bed to match the other part of the backyard, I put the pine bark mulches first to the back half of the bed, so the mulch won't make mess on the river stones.

Finally, last night I finished the whole project! 

Here is the whole view of this finished flower bed. I took this picture early this morning. I think it connected the existing bed at the right quite well.




At the far left end, I created a pathway to echo the other end, and open the view to the widest area of the water. I also bought a solar pagoda with candle.  I love its adding a little bit Asian touch into my garden, and it makes this view more peaceful. It also creates a pretty combo with flax lily and bush daisy.  Although I might have to move bush daisy behind the flax lily when it grows taller.   Bush daisy has been performing really well in my other full sun flower bed without much care, besides that, the cheerful yellow can add more color and life into this flower bed.  Three bush daisies are spread in this bed.



Here is the view looking the other end of this stripe. The very far end is the more matured Christmas Palm.


The following are the closer views of different sections of the bed. Agaves, bromeliads, bulbines, crown of thorn, variegated Devil's backbone (Euphorbia tithymaloides)and cactus are the major varieties I used.


Can you see the black circle in the stone area of the above picture?  That is a plastic pot I buried under there.  I will use it to plug in another pot for a  clean and quick planting.


The grass looking plants around the palm base in the above picture is the bulbine plants.  They will fill in pretty quickly once established. This is another favorite plant of mine. I wrote a post about this little sweet plant here.



Can you see my pot-in-pot usage in front of the above two boulders?  I can use this quickly switching in and out the seasonal flowers to give this bed a little bit of season changes.

The variegated Devil's backbone lost all leaves due to the move stress and a couple of cold nights after the move.  They should be able to recover soon.  Its variegated leaves and the zig-zag stems really add some interests into the garden.  Its leaf color even turns into  pink/reddish during the winter.  Another easy and nice looking full sun plant, also extremely easy to propagate!

This project is so far my most satisfied one, and it could also be my last biggest project!

From now on, I have no more land to open, and no more grass to remove! However, I am sure I will still be busy around the garden. After all, the gardening is all about changing, right?



12 comments:

  1. A number of different neighbors have returned from their Winter months in Florida this past week. Seems the "Snow Bird" are coming back. Between them returning and looking at you photos today, I long for more Florida myself. I am getting jealous! jack

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    1. hehe, Spring is coming your way too. I am sure very soon you will have lots of flowers in your area as well.

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  2. Good to see a post from you again, and you have been busy.. that area looks lovely and I like the idea of the submerged pots...

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    1. Thanks! I got that pot-in-pot idea from the internet. Thought it would be a good idea to use it in the stone area, since I know I will not leave those stone area alone long enough before I decide to dig and plant more ... :)

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  3. Ami-you have done a marvelous job!It is just beautiful!Great plant selections.

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    1. Thank you, Chris! I am too enjoying your progress rebuilding the "Great wall". You have been doing a great job so far!

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  4. Ami...Your new bed looks BEAUTIFUL! Great idea to get rid of that little strip of grass. I think you're really going to enjoy looking at your new bed while you're swimming this summer.

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    1. Thank you, Susan! Yes, now hubby doesn't need to drag the mowing machine inside the fence, and plus I got more space to play :)

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  5. I like the transformation. Many tips I learnt here.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and leaving the comment to correct the plant name for Strobilanthes hamiltoniana.

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  6. I think you did a beautiful job -- and actually enhanced your view. Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Kevin! That is what I hoped. I wish I can create a space to make the plants and water view complement each other.

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