Sunday, November 7, 2010

Front Garden Bed

When I bought my home, it had been abandoned for awhile, and was very overgrown and wild. Little by little, I am getting a foothold in it. Baby steps.

This was the front garden bed when I first saw the house.

It was edged in rotting railroad ties. We've trimmed up some of the things and done some weeding, but little else.

So today, with our beautiful weather we've had the last couple of days, we decided that it was time to tackle this area. We weeded, dug up the rotting wood, cut up what I think was Brazilian Pepper growing in the front bed, etc.

While digging around in the front bed, I found five of these curved cement edgers had been buried upside down in the ground. Not in any understandable pattern. I don't know what the deal was with that. They were buried all the way to the "tops" (upside-down. They were really the bottoms.)

After that was done, we put edging bricks down and filled the beds with mulch.

Additionally Woodrow built me a patio to hold my trash cans. He wants to do a little more work on it, since the second half added today slopes a little.

One nice surprise today: I discovered a papaya tree behind my shed...
Unfortunately I also found that mother-in-law's tongue is taking over my well head. I need to get this cleaned up ASAP. Next project.

But for now we are very pleased with the results on the front bed. Unfortunately I am absolutely EXHAUSTED and every muscle in my body hurts! So I won't be doing any more yard work this week!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reverting Back to Weediness

My Weedy Garden has been reverting back to its former self. I've been in my house for nearly two years now (how is that possible?!), and I still didn't own a weed eater. A family friend has come over a number of times over the last year+ to weed eat for me, keeping the yard under control. However he has had a lot going on, so I have insisted for awhile now that he not come over and help me out. So, in the meantime, the yard has become overgrown.

So I finally went out this weekend and bought myself a weed eater. I actually bought a cheap one a few months ago, but returned it after using it once. The thing wouldn't even keep running, and had no power.

This one, however, is full of power! Today I worked on the area behind the shed. I started with this...
...and ended with this...
Much better! That weed eater (a Tanaka brand) had no trouble chomping through weeds as thick as my pinkie.

That area behind the shed is a bit troublesome. I've mentioned in the past that the previous owners laid carpet remnants on the ground back there. Ugh! I think the weeds love the carpeting! One of my future projects is to pull up all of that carpeting, and then cover that back area with shell or gravel of some sort. That should be much easier to take care of!

Hallelujah for my new weed eater! It's been a long time coming. If you are looking for a good weedeater, I would happily recommend a Tanaka brand weed eater. It's affordable, powerful, and has a 7 year residential warranty. I'm gonna wear this thing out!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Garden Update: May 2010

Current garden status:

For the first time since I've lived here, my magnolia is in bloom!

The trees by my lanai are in bloom as well. Now that I have these blooms to help me identify them, I think that I am now comfortable identifying these as Shady Lady olive trees.

The lubbers are infesting the yard-- both big and small lubbers.

So far they haven't been destroying my vegetable plants, but they have been eating the sheffelera. That's alright by me.

My gardenia is in bloom now...

I do nothing to this thing, but it seems to love it's location. I fear it won't do so well after we cut down the ficus, which currently provides it with shade.

The rubber vine is in full bloom right now.

I love this shot that Woodrow got of the rubber vine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More veggies and other updates

I decided that for Mother's Day I would give my mother a potted okra. She likes okra, and like me has been growing a few veggies.

I am now growing an assortment of herbs, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and melons.

I also noticed the other day that one of my Plumeria (Frangipan) seems to have died.

Perhaps it took a bad hit from a lawn mower or weedeater. I was told by a nursery person that these are especially sensitive to damage caused by weedeaters and bumps from mowers.

I also bought a plant at an arts and crafts show Saturday. I don't know what it's called, but it looks like a colorful version of a Hens and Chicks succulent.

I thought that it might be pretty in front of the house, where I have no hose to water potted plants.

Not bad!

Unfortunately I uncovered a carpenter ant nest when I moved a pot yesterday. Well, unfortunate for me. The lizards were all very excited! They all came running when they saw what was going on! I had three of them vying for the buffet. I learned that the adults ants must have a fierce bite, so they are avoided by the lizards. The lizards seemed to be concentrating mostly on the winged ants, and occasionally an egg.

Grody! But I found both the ant and lizard behavior fascinating!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dueling Lizards

This morning I went out to check my garden and see what needed watering. As I walked over to check the new veggies, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and heard a *thunk* on the deck. Startled, I turned to look and saw two lizards on the deck, one on its back and the other one had a hold of it by the throat. I watched for a minute or two, and other than occasionally clawing at one another, they didn't move. I wanted to get video of the match, but I feared that the minute I turned my back they would depart, and I wouldn't know where they went or what happened next. I sprayed the hose in their direction, and it barely fazed them. So I decided to risk running for my camera, and sure enough as soon as I turned my back and stepped away, they broke apart. However there was no need for concern-- they weren't going anywhere. I ran and got my camera, and got a few shots of the lizards...

Then I watched in fascination as they kept at it, maneuvering around one another, looking for the tactical advantage. Then they started sparring again.

And again...

Did you see the way that he flipped the other one right off the strawberry pot?! Awesome move! I could watch that over and over!

It was very interesting to watch! The "thought" that would go into their maneuvering around, looking for the advantage, was really fascinating. I'll be looking for these big boys in the future!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Planting a small vegetable garden

Today we spent a couple of hours working in pretty searing intolerable heat in order to prep part of my giant raised bed for plants. I plan on ripping this bed apart and create 2-4 small square beds in its place, or a couple of long, narrow beds. But it will be awhile before I can do that. So for now I decided to prep a portion of it for a small vegetable garden.

Katy was there to supervise our work.

We moved a bunch of the dirt out of a 10x3 foot area, and mixed in potting soil, compost and top soil. Then I planted the poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, green pepper, cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe and two eggplant.

Plus the other day I potted an herb bucket and in another bucket I put a Rome tomato plant with sweet basil.

But looky here! I was surprised to discover a bloom on the old pepper plant from last summer! This has been totally neglected, unwatered and in a weed-filled pot, yet there it is!

Yes, I weeded it now that I see how hard it is trying to survive. And I still have a couple of strawberry plants popping up...

And my mango tree, despite the freezes we had this winter, is trying to put out a small harvest as well. So far I've spotted two mangoes...

Also the other morning I was out in the yard when I noticed that my mahogany have lost their leaves (which they seem to do this time of year). Then I noticed this...

I haven't figured out what the heck that is! It's webbing full of leaves, forming a basket. I don't know whether that was purposeful or what. But I did see some lovely new little leaves coming in on the mahogany...

My jasmine is in full bloom, and I love the smell drifting around the lanai.

I still don't know what these two trees are that are in front of my lanai, but I like the look of them, even if they are too close to the lanai. They kinda look like Shady Lady olive trees, but I've never seen any fruit on them.

So it was a day of hard work, and I should sleep well tonight! We'll see how the vegetables and fruit do. It's getting hot out there. I hope that I can get them through the heat and keep them well-watered!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garden Update: April 2010

Jeez! Has it really been 9 months since I posted here?! How is that possible? Well, the unruly garden is still unruly. We did some work in it today.

I've decided that the large ficus needs to come down, after a lot of debate and asking others for their opinions as well. The consensus is that the roots are a liability and will likely undermine the foundation. So Tommy started cutting off the ficus branches. Now is a good time to take it down, as the hard winter freezes caused it to lose at least half of its leaves.

Mom and I did a lot of weed-pulling, filling up a large 65 gallon can. Mom also lopped off some palm fronds, which got hauled out to the road.

One thing that has been going on in the yard is lubbers. I know. I always have lubbers. Only this time, it is baby lubbers. I first spotted them nearly a month ago, when I found about 30 of them around my swing and deck in the backyard.

Then a week or so later, I spotted a second nest in the...yucca?...located near my front door.

That's a lot of lubbers in my yard this summer! When Mom and I were pulling weeds today, we kept coming across lubbers scattered around the yard. I don't like to kill anything, and I also don't like to use chemicals around my place. So I decided to capture as many as I could and I'll release them in on a vacant lot on my way to work tomorrow. So I started collecting them in a jar. It was pretty tough, because as you let one in you would often find another would jump OUT of the jar! But in the end, I wound up with a jar of five lubbers!

So tomorrow morning a vacant lot will have five more lubbers, and my yard will have five fewer. I'll keep doing this, slowly getting down the lubber population without harming them or polluting the environment with pesticides.

The yard has TONS more work to be done, but at least I am beginning to get a vision. Things that I previously loved and refused to remove I am now planning on taking out. I want a yard that is low maintenance, and low water requirements. I'm considering doing some bromeliads for this very reason, like the ones that they have out at the bromeliad and orchid center.


The mango has surprised me by blooming. We'll see whether it comes to fruition and I get any edible mangoes out of it.

I noticed the other day that something is eating up my loquat. Maybe the lubber babies? Today I bought a tomato plant and some herbs to start with. Next weekend I hope to plant some veggies in the garden bed.

I spotted Black Ivy (my black snake) recently, so she is still around and survived the winter. I also spotted a raccoon a few weeks back. Doh! I hope that doesn't become a problem.

Stay tuned! More to come!