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