Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Dirt Pile was closed

That’s my very local source for gravel, topsoil, mulch, bulk potting soil, etc. Apparently, they took the long weekend off, because they were locked up tight when I went there Saturday morning. I needed good soil for the beds under and around ‘Francois Juranville’. Oh, well, I could still dig the holes, so after a quick trip to Lowe’s for cement edging I got started. Just to save on confusion the pertinent writing is under each photo.

 I more precisely scraped the gravel out of the way and set up the edging for the dry-fit, so to speak. Not rocket science but as precise as I can make it for the perfectionist in me.

You remember how the gravel path ran under the rebar arbor that ‘Francois Juranville’ lives on and that he’s planted to the left in the sun here. The shade bed is behind the bench. Do you see the shade line on the ground? In winter the back garden which is on the north side of the house is almost totally in shade. That is the shadow of the gable end of the house about twenty-five feet away. The sun is at such a low angle – and getting lower every day – that much of the shade bed and all of ‘Mrs B R Cant’ to the far left out of frame are in full sun, and she’s just as happy as a clam and blooming her heart out. Curious, isn’t it, how this earth of ours tilts this way and that way with the only giveaway being the shadows we cast.

 ‘Serratipetala’ in the rectangular pot was dragged inches at a time out of the way. As I was dragging his butt inch by inch I thought about finding him a better home than the one he has which isn’t entirely my fault... the home, I mean. He was only supposed to be three feet tall but grew almost six feet tall. Must be the vitamins in the Florida sun. But for sentimental reasons I have decided to keep him. The cool weather has caused him to be much leafier plus I’m just tired of getting rid of all of my original roses. I liked me back then – all doe-eyed and excited and driven to have roses, roses, roses... before I knew that all roses, roses, roses didn’t love my garden. Just some roses, roses, roses. The trick was to find which ones.

 Mmmm, I like it.

Now on to the digging. The place where my shovel is laying is the designated dumping zone for the excavated crappy soil coming out of the new bed, some of which I put there when it was the designated dumping zone for the crappy soil from the front garden as shown in the photo below. The exciting part is that I decided that this area would be graveled, too, and would make a lovely shady sitting area... in the summer, that is.

Step back in time to November 28, 2008, and this was the back garden, receptacle for six inches by twenty feet by fifteen feet (give or take) of limey sand with definite cementitious characteristics that formerly was the front yard. One wheelbarrow at a time. See how excited I was… Gee, what’s that green stuff all over the yard? Can’t remember. By the way not a single rose in this photo – except ‘Serratipetala’ in the rectangular pot is still there.

Dang that tree!! I wanted it out of there by now, but tree cutters who don’t show up when they say they will seem to be in control of my future. DH with the arthritic back that needs surgery and I with no umph or climbing ability surveyed the situation Saturday after the digging was done. We determined that if we were downing this tree it would come down right where the tailgate of the truck is between the two trees. In fact, one or both of those other two trees could come down as well. The left one, unfortunately, would take with it the canopy that ‘Francois Juranville’ planned to grow into, so that would be disappointing. Maybe the right one could go first, and then we could reassess. It was all I could do (what magnificent self-control!) not to say, “Can’t we do it now, Daddy, huh, huh, huh???”, but given the waning daylight and the presence of DH’s cane, I figured I would refrain from totally blowing every shred of my credibility in one fell swoop. I know DH expected me to blow it. However, neither of us showed our hands in this little game of ‘who’s not the mature one?’

 A wider view of the mess.

Here you can clearly see the stratification of the neo-paleolithic era created in the upheaval of three years ago along with the roots of that dang tree. I can’t decide if I want to put ‘Rose de Rescht’ here. May be too much sun in summer for his delicate dark red blooms, so I think he’ll stay in his pot and let daylilies live here. The dark layer of native soil underneath my sand isn’t really as fertile as it looks. It’s basically dark brown and sometimes black compacted something that resembles mortar mix and contains white limestone rocks. I am proud to say that I made the black friable layer of dirt on top which I’m thinking, i.e., hoping is much thicker in the middle of that bed. By the way the edging is laid over because I kept catching, er, slamming the shovel on them. Digging is a game of inches especially for klutzy people.
I do hope you’re finding these holes dug in the ground quite interesting! Otherwise, what’s the point of blogging about them except that I was knee-deep in sand and lived to tell about it.

Don’t you think a birdbath would be great on the gravel side of that curve? You won’t believe what I found at Lowe’s when I was getting the cement edging. Animal, vegetable or mineral, you ask. Well, of course, vegetable. A white hydrangea macrophylla. Alright, I’ll go outside… in the dark… and look at the label… with a flashlight. Be right back. It’s ‘Sister Therese’. Very beautiful pure white blooms. It will be going in this bed and will be surrounded by daylilies. The other vegetable was a burnt orange asiatic lily. The cashier says they “come back”, meaning live to bloom next year. I really hope she knows what she’s talking about since I heard they don’t.  But it’s loaded with flower buds so this year at least it will put on a show.

Notice something different?

Yes, I remembered to extend the half-inch poly and bury it before construction was finished. Too soon old, too late smart. Also, the present ugliness of the gravel paths will be remedied with a hard spray from the hose and a thin layer of new gravel. Aren't you glad? I sure am.

That was yesterday.

Today I took ‘Polonaise’ out of his blue patio pot and put him in the ground next to SdlM. No photos again since it was dark again. I also took ‘Baronne Prevost’ out of that spot in the ground and put her in the blue pot but not on the patio. Just like moving the furniture around. It’s been there a year… gotta move it.

I also redid my rose list today. The one I use to keep me sane, not the one on the blog. My personal list has crucial information on it like when I got the rose, where I got it from and where it is in the garden. It hadn’t been updated in quite a while as evidenced by the many cross-outs and penciled-in items. Getting that done got my brain in order to do the critical thinking required for determining which roses needed to be moved and where to, where the unplanted ones would be planted, which ones had to leave and where would they go. I’m happy to say that none will go to the city compost pile. All six will go to Rose Petals Nursery. Follow the link and you can read about ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison, Climbing’ and her relocation to her new home. See, all’s well that ends well.


  1. Sherry, you've done a great job ! So many changes in your garden. The daylilies will be great under the tree. Better than a rose ... I must make a list with my roses too. Thank you, for giving my this ideea !
    Have a nice day !

  2. I love watching this process, please keep up the pics as you go! Great tree service we have used for years is Florida Living Tree in Gainesville.

  3. Sherry, you've done so much work! I now feel like a lazy slob! I agree, it would be nice to have that tree out. But, oh, well, we work with what we have. And the shadows! The way the houses make shadows at different times of the year has been difficult for me to work around in my garden. It seems you have a good handle on your conditions. It's going to look fabulous!