Close up of orange flowers on ice plant.

Ice Ice Baby – Drought Resistant Garden

Back in May, I posted the photo below and talked about how I was still undecided about what to do with this problem area in the yard. I lost a large pine tree in this area, and it went from being a pretty shady spot to being chocked out by weeds. The worst of them was this crazy paleolithic-looking monster weed that was prickly, had a thick (half-dollar sized) hallow stem and would shoot up 5ft over night. I wish I had taken a picture before I weeded, it was really impressively bad.  Anyway, I have been very unsure about what to put in this area.  It’s still a work in progress, but it’s starting to take shape.

May photo of problem bed before replanting

Read on…

Light Weeding

I got tired of getting whacked in the face with brush/overgrown bushes/random small trees when cutting the lawn, so I decided to do some “light weeding”.  Twenty minutes of cutting produced this prodigious pile of crap. piles of brush in driveway

Wait, it looks like I hardly removed anything….

removing brush from backyard

Let’s take a closer look…

The Backyard

Yeah, it’s still a freaking mess.  This part of my yard overwhelms me and I feel defeated by it. I hate bushes. They serve no purpose to me.  They aren’t architecturally interesting, they lack the tall, majestic impressiveness of a good tree. They aren’t ornamental, or providing berries. They aren’t providing any useful shade. They just sit there and sulk and piss me off. The only thing they are good for is creating privacy, but when I ripped out the dead parts and the ones that were at face level and interfering with mowing, I was left with big gaps in the backyard. And in the winter, with the leaves gone, they don’t even offer privacy.

My plan for years has been to replace these shrubs with tall ornamental grasses along the fence line – a type that stays full in the winter so there’s privacy year round.  Then I could add perennials for color. Now I’m thinking I’d like to go a step further and install 2-4 raised beds to take advantage of the direct sun that area gets. The only problem is that this part of the yard is really tough to work with. Since the sewer was installed, this part is a mess. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the ground is very, very uneven, with tall ridges and holes, and all the clay was brought up to surface so the earth is super hard and can’t just be raked even.  I also don’t even know what to do with all that brush. The city will chip stuff left with your trash, but since we are on an alley, our trash is collected out there, and there’s no room to drag all this stuff back there.

So in the meantime, I’m just hacking away at it bit by bit and hoping inspiration strikes.

Piles of brush

By the time I called it quits (it will never be “done”) I had like 20 leaf bags of crap, and I still have piles of sticks/branches too big too bag. Somebody want to buy me my first chainsaw?

Raised Bed Progress

Check out the progress!

Garden as planted July 12


Garden July 25 - 13 days after planting

Not bad for 13 days, eh?  I guess the veggies like our soil. I can’t seem to find a photo of our second bed on the day it was planted, but the transformation in 13 days is incredible.  The squash/zucchini is getting HUGE. There are twice as many leaves and they are four times the size the leaves were when we planted.  The lettuce, which was all flopped over and wilted for like a week is now upright and full. A week of cool evening weather (lows in the 50′s… July….so weird) certainly didn’t hurt.  We picked up a pole bean plant at Eastern Market last weekend for $10 and in a week it’s gone from no beans to tiny beans everywhere.  The galvanized bins have been sowed with two different varieties of carrots. One is called “Little Finger” and I bought it because it made me think of Game of Thrones.

The beds are continuing to mellow out in color and look more aged from the wood treatment.  All around, I’m pretty pleased with how this is shaping up. Eventually we want to get rid of all the weedy grass around them and put down gravel. But that may be a project for next year.