Saturday, October 4, 2014

Works in progress

I've been slowly converting grassy areas to more interesting and water-wise paths and beds. My latest project tackles the area around my AC unit, which is big, squat and ugly. I've never enjoyed mowing and edging around it and have always been worried I'll cause a gas leak weed-wacking around the gas pipe. Carving out the grass takes some time shoveling, but my chickens keep it entertaining as they devour every grub I find.

Here's a comparison of before and after:

Before: The uneven dirt area is the scar from plumbing trenches dug for the addition- it has never filled in well.

After: I have artemesia, flame acanthus, butterfly weed and purple sage on the sunny/dry side and have some bearded irises left to plant. On the part- shade side I've planted Turk's cap. I also placed Mexican honeysuckle on the bed to the right and am looking forward to thinking about more low dry shade plants to fill the remainder of that bed. It should be a hummingbird and butterfly attraction once the plants fill in, and I'll be happy to hide the AC unit. I still have the remainder of the decomposed granite path along the small stone pathway to dig out, but it can wait for another day..

Chick updates: They got to go outside in a small chicken wire pen. I think they had fun..

One gal has a cross-beak but eats ok so far. Given that our girls are pets we'll work with it.

Flowers and veggie update:

This plumbago has found success hiding from the chickens behind a chair.. I may move it back to the shady bed later this fall.
 Wild morning glory blooms everywhere..

 Go Lemon Boy tomato, go! My spring plants have staged a come-back..
 Cucumbers finally growing, but what are those insects?! Must look them up. Unfortunately the chickens won't eat them..
Good news and bad news: the sages, butterfly weed, black dalea, grasses, Copper canyon daisy and wild arugula are doing great, but the bamboo is also trying to return. I've sprayed it gently with herbicide and will cut it down tomorrow..

 Mystery flower= goldenrod! I've been curious how they would do in my wild back area, I guess the seed balls I threw out last fall had them. It's beautiful and I will certainly let it go to seed to see if it spreads. It grew through the summer heat so it's a winner in my book.
Bluebonnet!! I just realized I have one of Dottie (my Cuckoo Maran)'s eggs in my hand, too :)

 Wild violet, planted (and forgotten a few years ago), coming back..
I have a bed that I either ignore or trim down to the nub because nothing grows there but weeds (horseherb, carolina snailseed are the best of them). I ignored this "weed" this summer and was happy/surprised to see that is a volunteer lantana! I thought the bed was too shady for lantanas, but if this one can grow maybe I'll plant a few more..