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August 28, 2004

kicking grasses and taking names

today i wailed on my back yard. the bamboo grass that has taken over both the yard and the beds was knee-high, even waist-high in some places. i mowed most everything, then got the weed whacker going and razed one long bed, the back beds, under the hollies along the side, and the patio.

i took down some volunteer trees. i do have a few that are too big for me to take down without a chainsaw, but a couple of them might be ok to leave. i might need some help id-ing them so i know how big they'll get. i'll post pictures later.

i had one bed of hostas that was drowning in bamboo grass and grape vines. i was pleased to find that the hostas were still there, doing well under the weeds. i have a new-found respect for the hosta! my ferns, as well, were still peeking up through the weeds. i really love ferns and have always wanted to plant a lot more-- but of course i never get past maintenance (or reclamation), so nothing new is ever planted.

i have decided to make a major change to the one long bed along my property line. i took all the plants down to the ground and plan to mulch it with newspaper/cardboard and mulch, like sarah is doing. that way, hopefully it won't get overgrown again, and i'll have the option of planting herbs next year if i get to it. i always feel especially bad about that bed, because it borders a neighbor's yard which is usually very well-maintained, and i'm probably making his life harder with all my weeds. plus he has to look at it.

the previous owner of my house went in for a style of landscaping that i have decided i really don't care for. some things i can change and some things-- like the holly border-- will have to stay. perhaps having my own plantings and having plants that i like will make it easier to be motivated to do yard work.

i would really like to plant a bunch of tulips. i believe that's something i would do either next month or in october. if any of you know anything about tulips and have some pointers, i am all ears.

i wish i could work on it again tomorrow because if i had another day i could really bring it completely back. but i have to do the waaayyyy overdue nbeast registration form tomorrow, and that may well take me all day.

i was supposed to go out of town this weekend for bug-related stuff, but i decided this week that i just had to stay home and work on things here. looking out at the yard, i'm awfully glad i did.

update: photos on my flickr account.

Posted by lisa at August 28, 2004 06:43 PM | TrackBack


I want to see photos of the yard!

alas, I think I read that most tulips don't do well here because it doesn't get cold enough for them. But I swear somewhere I read about a few varieties that need less cold weather to bloom & thrive in the South. I'll try to find that.

Posted by: Sarah on August 28, 2004 07:02 PM

i really, really want to grow black and deep red ones. my latent goth side kicking in. i could swear i've seen tulips grow successfully in my own yard though-- there were one or two bulbs left from the elizabeth days.

Posted by: spacegrrl on August 28, 2004 07:04 PM

well I found the thing about how they don't get enough cold down here, and it's from the book I just bought which is geared towards the Deep South. So it may not apply to NC.

Posted by: Sarah on August 28, 2004 07:40 PM

more research: found this on the Durham County Cooperative Extension website: "Note: Tulips and Hyacinths generally don't perennialize in our area; our springs and winters are too warm. If these bulbs didn't bloom well this year, dig and discard them."

So I would say, see if you can find tulips labeled "heat tolerant" or somesuch in the catalogs, and don't plant too many the first year so you can see how they do. My book advises digging them up every fall and replanting every spring (because they get colder above ground), but that seems excessive to me. The whole point of bulbs is not to have to plant them every year.

Posted by: Sarah on August 28, 2004 07:44 PM

more on tulips! here's a page for zones 9-10 that suggests storing them in the fridge over the winter (!) and lists varieties that handle warm climates better: http://www.bulb.com/spring/likehot.asp

Posted by: Sarah on August 28, 2004 07:48 PM

thanks for all the good research!

Posted by: spacegrrl on August 28, 2004 11:13 PM

I'm in Winston-Salem. I've grown tulips a couple of times - and I am a pretty lousy gardener.

If you plant them now, they'll come up next year. Make sure you put them in the ground according to the depth on the package (or they will come up too early or not at all) and add "bulb booster" fertizer.

However, I've never had them successfully flower the second year, even though I did buy the ones they say are perennials.

Posted by: on August 29, 2004 02:06 AM

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