Friday, November 11, 2011

Memories on a Riding Lawn Mower

One of our really nice neighbors let us use his “slow” riding lawn mower.  (I designate this one as his “slow” one because he does have another that would probably give Jeff Gordon a run for his money up at the Texas Motor Speedway).

C. and I have been researching on what kind of riding mower to purchase so being able to test drive one and get our lawn mowed was very helpful.  C. mowed about a quarter of the front yard then let me have my turn.

It was on that Saturday in April, after jumping onto the seat of the mower, turning the key, pressing the accelerator and taking off, that I was immediately transported back to a summer afternoon during high school in my boyfriend’s parents’ back yard.  Isn't it peculiar the memories that embed themselves into the folds of our brains and re-surface when triggered by the littlest thing?

My high school boyfriend’s dad let me mow his back yard on their riding mower one summer afternoon.  He’d put a cold beer in the holder, showed me how to operate it and let me have at it.  I drove that thing all afternoon.  LeRoy enjoyed his "day off" from yard work and the pleasure was all mine.  He kept an eye on me from the back patio but I was completely alone out there.  It was heaven; just me, my thoughts and the hum of the motor.

Most gals would prefer diamonds for Christmas.  Just give me a riding lawn mower.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Peach of a Beginning

The Christmas before the house was finished our Christmas gift from my Father-in-law's girlfriend was money for a couple of peach trees.  One cannot live in Parker County and not have a peach tree.  C. and I sought out a local nursery and selected two peach trees.

One is a Texas Star peach that produces its fruit in July and the other is a Redskin Peach whose fruit emerges in August.  Both are freestone.  The nursery said it would be next year before we saw fruit; but that's OK.

 Looks like we have a real gopher problem doesn't it?

No worries.  They're only the holes we dug for the trees.  Now, when I say "dug" it was back breaking, pick axing, "wish we had a jack hammer" tough.  We desperately need some agricultural gypsum back here.

But, we got it done.  There was no "supplementing the soil" with cotton boll mulch; because there wasn't any good soil to begin with that came out of those holes.  We completely replaced the clay and filled the holes with good stuff that our little babies could thrive in; which did include some cotton boll mulch.

All staked down and ready for the upcoming March winds.  And, boy did they come; in March and April and May.  I felt as if I were back in west Texas.

As tough of an afternoon as it was I felt great.  We were both sore and feeling really old but we went to bed with such a feeling of accomplishment.  That feeling is one of the many rewards of gardening.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cannas and Lillies

I adore plants that are passed down and shared.  My brother and sister-in-law gave us around 2 dozen canna tubors that they separated from their front garden.  My sister gave us a whole sack full of lilies. 
When you receive gifts like these you really need to get them in the ground so with soil amended with many bags of compost the gifts were lovingly planted in the flower bed on the west side of the house.

The lilies established themselves but did little else.  We’ll see how they do next spring. 

The cannas took off and were beautiful all summer long.  In this photo they were just gettng started.  They ended up reaching 6 feet.

We had a light freeze last week and now they look like this.

Near-Future Project:  Cut back to the ground and cover with about 6 inches of leaf mulch.

A Blank Canvas

I love to dig in the dirt.  I'm no Master Gardener but that doesn't keep me from loving it just as much as the pros do.  I am starting from scratch on new property and it feels overwhelming and at the same time exhilarating when I realize the task in front of me.

After we sold our home, gardening was been out of my grasp for about 5 years .  Construction on the new home was finished late February of 2011.

Here is my blank canvas.
 Front yard

 Back Yard


Front bed; looks a little nasty after thawing out from a snow we had.

Lovely clay eh?

The front yard is about 350' deep so the majority of it will be left with the native grasses we inherited with it.  No irrigation system out here either; it's all up to Mother Nature.  One of my plans for this part of the yard are native Texas wildflowers.

Jutting out from the runway driveway are three 4' x 4' little platforms.  We have planters ordered to set on these.

These were C's idea and I rather like it.  The plan is to have some sort of tallish evergreen planted in the pots with ground cover planted in between each niche.

I'm creating this blog as my online journal to chronicle the metamorphosis of our yard and the woods behind us.  As like my past gardening life I'm sure there will be some successes as well as many trials of planting, pulling up and re-planting in a different spot.  Oh, and I'm sure I'll do my fair share of killing plant life.  All in a day's work for a gardener.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A House Warming Gift

This is the front bed that the builder shaped out for us.  It doesn't have much good soil; mostly clay.

It's a nice large bed.  On the driveway side it's about 10 feet deep from the sidewalk to the house.

My brother and sister-in-law surprised us with a house-warming gift of an irrigation system around the house.

First order of business was calling the utilities before they dug.  This is the natural gas line marked.

Next, they dug the trench around the house,

into the Courtyard

and back around to the front.

Connecting with the water well

These guys hand dug the weeds out of the front bed before spreading out and working in compost.  I felt for them, I really did.

We also had this little Japanese Maple planted in the front bed.  Isn’t she cute? 

Shortly after the irrigation system was installed, it got so very hot that there wasn't much else we could do for the summer except keep the Japanese Maple and the peach trees watered.