Sunday, March 29, 2015

Today's Work

 I got some of the holes planted today, all are perennial except the spiky grass. 10 more plants to go.
 Hardy agave in the foreground. We'll see how hardy it is. The rest are known to be hardy in Boise.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I spent the better part of today playing concrete block tetris. My arms and abs are getting a great workout. I always thought that gardening counting toward real exercise wasn't possible. Boy was I wrong. All I need is to construction adhesive landscape fabric to the bottoms of the holes and plant it up. There are 12 open spaces yet that I can add to. Cool  thing is most of these are perennials.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Damned Pinterest

Our entryway "garden" got some attention last year with the bicycle planter. This year I really wanted to redo the entire thing, so I dug out all of the lava rock mulch that was black and looking ratty.
We pass by this spot at least twice a day, every day of the year and it seemed to me that we could make it more inviting and interesting. The house faces south so we get blasted with 90-100 degree heat and full sun. We also plan to repaint the house a warmer brown-grey. The current color is what I refer to as gross light greenish grey. So with a warmer background, I thought some cooler colors would serve us well. In came pinterest- just look up "cinder block planter" or "concrete block planter". I know it's a bit of a fad, but it isn't permanent, but at least a few years should be nice as I regularly like to make changes. I don't think anyone has ever heard me say " that's perfect, I'm never going to change that".

This is a better overview of the whole thing:
Fortunately there was a good three inches of sand beneath. So I screened out the rocks and leveled the sand. 
Our little evergreen is twice as big as last year.I left the run of the mill orange day lilies because I can't afford to replace everything all at once and they sure perform well in that spot. The little clump closer to the door is a Kniphofia or red hot poker plant. This area gets no water at all in the summer, so I need drought tolerant plants that I can hit with the hose one a week if needed. 
Today I played around with the blocks and pavers, they were out of the standard 8x8x16 blocks at the home store and I knew I'd want some half ones so I bought these. I'll go back when they are re-stocked. Next, imagine the spaces between the pavers and blocks filled with Mexican beach pebbles.
The "planter" will be about three courses high at the top or higher if I build it two blocks deep instead of one. So there is  at least one more trip to the home store and one to the rock quarry. 
 The little hardy agave is the whole inspiration for this garden. I'm gonna need more plants!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Three new Plants for Spring

 Double Take ™ Orange Storm Flowering Quince
 Helleborus 'Merlin'
Hosta 'Blue Angel'

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Garden Prep and New Growth

 This entryway bed was pretty much just like this, but with dark lava rock that was getting shabby looking. I dug up the lava rock and screened it since there was a good 3 inches of sand underneath-score!This bed is about 6 feet wide under the  octagonal window and about 12 feet long. It was a dead space where I had the bicycle planter. We plan on painting the house a darker, warmer color and both like the look of "Mexican" beach pebbles. It gets 6 hours direct sunlight in the beginning of the day. I plan to lay down some square concrete pavers and fill in the rest with the pebbles. On top of that will go a concrete block planter with various drought tolerant sun loving plants. The little hardy agave will go in there with hens and chicks and some annuals for yearly change.
New soil and compost were turned into the bed with amendments. Peas go in tomorrow and the irrigation will get put back in. 
Kyle did an expert job pruning the clematis plants and they are thriving. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Yellow Flowers and Dangerous Plants

 The Forsythia is in full bloom. I'm not a big fan of yellow flowers, I'm not sure why, but the forsythias the harbinger of spring in the inland northwest,so I do love the plant this time of year.
 This is the completed rhododendron bed.I added the creeping plant that was very happy near this site to soften the stone wall. We got drip irrigation running to the bed to keep them happy. Our soil is alkaline here, so the bed needed to be raised and was fortified with pine needles and rhodi fertilizer. 
 More yellow flowers. Who can't love daffodils? I actually had to tune down the yellowness of the photo because it was too intense. 
Lastly, I picked up a hardy agave from one of the local nurseries a few days ago. I've been so envious of several garden bloggers having these. These little guys are hanging out on my desk until I build our new concrete block planter wall next to our front door. I'll post progress soon. Our theme is going to be Voodoo garden, so spiky plants are in order. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy Spring!

I have committed the same crime every gardener in history has probably done. I chose a plant and put it in a place where it doesn't belong. I fell in love with a rhododendron from the local farm and barn store. I bought two at $35 a piece, that is very spendy for me. I like to grow my own plants from seed., or get them on sale. We planted the lovely Percy Wiseman rhodys in front of our living groom windows, facing south. in Boise. That equates to planting them in the middle of the Gobi Dessert. What was I thinking? We shaded them last summer and they lived. Rohdys need acidic soil- we have alkaline soils. So I dutifully built raised beds and put a bunch of pine mulch as well. That is probably why I didn't kill them outright. This weekend we put them under our pine tree out back. We built a new raised bed of what I like to call "the devil's puzzle pieces" Horrible stuff to used in a smaller curved bed. We spent two days figuring out how to place them. Just before sunset, we got them moved to their new home. I hope they do well. 
 Here they are in their original location.
 There was a really badly built raised bed that we dug up. we used those blocks and bought more for the new bed. 
Here is the new bed with the rhododendrons planted near our pine tree. They are now about 1 and 1/2 feet tall and will grow to be about 3 feet tall and four feet wide each.