Sunday, September 21, 2014

My yard.....I have no idea what I'm doing

This is how it started.

This is how it is now. 

What am I doing?? I'm trying to write this post and I'm laughing at myself. My mother has only visited my house once, she lives out of state, and over the phone with her every week I tell her all the things I'm doing and she says, I thought you bought the house because you liked the yard and it had great curb appeal?? So why am I changing everything?

Ok, let's review.....I moved in and spent a weekend cutting bushes, they were a little overgrown. I figured the renters probably stopped tending the yard, they were moving right? Then I thought, you cant see the house with how large some of these plants are, it's a little dangerous if you cant see the porch....think break ins, chop chop, then every week chop chop. I had enough of being in the yard.

Then I was mowing the lawn and backed in to this little gem.....they're called 'sword plants' by some, I prefer devil plants. Not the safest thing for little kids, or elderly people. Having a small child and living in Florida, a haven for the elderly, I decided these were all trips to the ER waiting to happen. And see those two small things? Those are the babies....they sprout babies EVERYWHERE. They had to go. They were everywhere too, used as a border for the house, one abricola, one century plant, one abricola, one century plant and all of it's 100 pups....under trees, and in pots, they gave them to neighbors, honestly, it was overwhelming. Century plants everywhere I turned. I gave them away for a month on Craigslist to anyone willing to take them. It was interesting. It was time was a lot safer than me removing them. 

These puppies were about 20 feet tall when they bloomed a month into us living in the house. The plant dies after it blooms, dries out, and slumps over... It took me three weeks to cut their spears then knock one over. 

I was giving away 'pups' the little plants that shoot up around the mother plant, and asked the guy, a young electrician named Emmet if he would help get the root of the one I'd knocked down out. He said of course!!! And then he goes, you know, let me get rid of the other one while I'm here, it's the least I can do. 

There are angels in this world....

Did I mention the dead orange tree?? It was directly under some low hanging wires. I know...this house has so many surprises, I was that first time buyer. lol They got me!!! 

Did I mention I coupon? I bartered a years worth of toiletries and laundry detergent for this young man to come to my house and cut down this tree. He also logged up these gems I found hidden in my bougainvilleas and cut out some dead wood from my sea grape tree. 

This is the yard waste pile that weekend after all was said and done. I threw my left knee out that weekend. It was magnificent!!

But back to the front yard....well jump to the kitchen, I saw a cockroach in the kitchen and called pest control, while they were here I asked them about all the ants in the front yard. See these wooden garden edgers?? They were hollow with termites, two types!!! (see that little frog?? I cant stand stuff like that....seriously, I'm just anti cute stuff!!)

Thankfully my Craigslist skills are impeccable and I was able to get these edgers for free, and my friends Heidi and Charlie came to my side to help me with their precision crafted yard work skills that led to us laying these down in probably four or five hours. 

(^I still have no clue what this is. I gave it to a neighbor, it didnt survive the transplant though.)

At this point in my front yards evolution I'd gotten rid of a LOT of plants. You!!! Yes, you mystery bush!! You grown more than a foot in one month during the summer?? You're gone!!! Done!!! Out!!! Confederate night blooming jasmine with absolutely no smell that wants to vine and wont stop growing, you're gone too!!! Out!!!

Oh lord, what was I thinking? lol

This tree? It's a royal palm and will get to be at least 50 fee tall. Who put that thing this close to the house? Mature palm fronds can put a whole in a roof or window during a storm. You're gone!!!  Given away for free on Craigslist to someone who sounded like they knew what they were doing. Things went well. 

So, this is how I function. If you're a plant and can impale me or my child, you were once a thriving plant but alas are no more, could fall on my house and cause destruction, or grow so fast I have to deal with you on a monthly have to go. It's not personal. It's just how things are going to be while I'm paying taxes here. 

So everything I dont want is gone at this point. Time to put things back together the way I want them. Weird Ashley fact 509, I prefer rocks to mulch in gardening. I love the idea of zero scaping. I lived in Vegas for a number of years and thought this was ingenious and attractive.

I keep pushing the envelope on my frugal ways. I decided to source my river rocks from Craigslist for free. I've covered a lot of ground so far. It's kind of wonderful, I've saved a couple hundred bucks in rocks much to my backs discomfort. 

This is the progress of one part of front yard. 

With edgers out 

With edgers in

It begins - I'm big on night gardening because the sun is so extreme here.

It ends. Kind can see there's a lot more to be done.

Now to replace my center piece palm tree I gave away. I was struggling with what to put here, I really ruminated on this going between a tractor tire with mother in law tongues, to a tractor tire with a cactus in it, to no tire just a a century 'sword' plant in a pot...I was stuck. 

 I decided to look for ideas by browsing around at houses for sale, they tend to be a bit more manicured when they're for sale and I thought I'd get some ideas, it struck me, these little palm trees that grow in search was on. 

(^Not my house)

These are Andondia palms, also known as Christmas tree palms. They grow to be 10 to 15 feet tall max and are not too bulky. When the plant is mature in age, around Christmas they will have small pods with berry like seeds that come out in red and white colors against the green backdrop of the foliage giving them a Christmas color coordinated feel, giving them the nickname Christmas palms.

(Stop growing little human!!)

I did some purchase research. The 10 footers were 150 at Home Depot, 6-7 were 99 dollars, and the 4 foot and under grouping 49 dollars. I was tempted to go for the 99 dollar option, but my good friend Heidi encouraged me to save the money and go for a small one. They'll grow, she said, save the money. 

With Heidi's encouragement and a little coupon club 10 off 100 coupon, plus a rebate gift card from back to school shopping I was able to buy a 49 dollar Andondia palm and 12 Abricola bushes I needed for the houses back border for 90 dollars out of pocket. What a rock star plant shopping trip....never thought I'd say that. 

By buying smaller we were also able to fit the tree in my SUV and save the cost of delivery for a larger tree, which would be 79 dollars for delivery, 20 for each plant delivered, and then a mystery fee from a third party installer if I wanted to have it installed through Home Depot. Nope. Not happening. 

(That thing is almost 5 feet tall!!)

This past week my friend from work asked me to help him with something, he offered to pay me, but I find taking money from friends a little awkward, he loves plants and I thought this would be a great opportunity to have him over and show him the house. This morning I made a big pancake breakfast and we broke bread at my house and then planted this little guy and all the Abricola bushes. My son loved every minute of helping and then went swimming in one of my rain buckets, yes he had a bath immediately afterward... It was really nice to have another adult to help me. My friend dug and I shoved plants in putting dirt back over them. We even worked on digging up a tree stump I've been working on for a while. We spent about an hour outside tag teaming. 

(I'll get a better picture soon.)

Tonight after I put my son to bed, I stopped and put a little bistro set out front. A staged seating area. I forced myself to sit down and 'smell the roses'. My ex husband once asked me why I wouldn't slow down and 'smell the roses', I replied back, 'what if there are no roses to smell'.....I feel like I finally have roses to smell, but they're not ones anyone gave me, they're ones I planted myself and finally get to enjoy. 

Keep mending your garden. Allow where you are to be your haven not just a place to rest your head at night. Hard times have come and a lot of work has transpired but I'm starting to feel good about things. 

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