Seeds of Love

This is a photo from last summer before we installed the pool. The yard had already been cleared most of the way by Collin's dad one afternoon when he was visiting and bored (thanks, Craig). Still, weeds weeds weeds everywhere.

This is a photo from a couple weekends ago after we took down the pool and started working on digging up the last of the weeds and roots. Potato vines are the worst; the thorns somehow get sharper and more numerous the deeper you go. Some of those ended up about 5 feet long but we dug out some other nuisance roots that were over 7 feet long! I've also been treating the yard for fire ants periodically over the past year and consistently for the past month or so. There are still ant hills that crop up here and there. Oh, and there was a nice surprise of swarming carpenter ants on the garage wall near the hose. I have no mercy for poisonous insects - they were promptly and thoroughly poisoned. We also have a hefty bucket full of rocks ranging in size from <1" to >15 lbs. Other inorganic items we found buried in the yard: a full size fast-food tray about half a foot deep, and old-school home made label from 1983, a t-shirt, several pieces of broken glass and bottles, a razor head, and lots of random plastic film.

This past Saturday, to celebrate 6-months-married (already?!), we finished the job. Our landlord is awesome and gave us a generous budget with which to purchase supplies for landscaping the yard. We still have plenty of money left to add more to the back and even re-do the front yard too. The front will have to wait a couple weeks but I'm excited for things to look good. Working on a project like this is so much better when we can do it together, we're a good team. And planting a garden together is, for me at least, pretty darn sweet.

I researched good plants for our area and walked around the Lowe's garden center taking notes on my favorite flowers and vines. I saw a lot of plants from my yard growing up and, naturally, quite a few wound up on our cart. I know these plants grow well in our hot, humid summers and the drought conditions that somehow combine with hurricane season. Things like angel trumpet flowers, jasmine, and liriope.

Here's collin raking in the good stuff before we plant the border. There are some really huge wild hibiscus plants along the back fence that we opted to keep. Mostly because it was going to be impossible to dig them out without some kind of power tool. They also are pretty. In the late summer they like to bloom bright red drop flowers. We cut them back so much a few weeks ago when we started working on things. They've already grown so much - I think we'll have a lot more trimming to do throughout the season.

This is the back fence line, where we planted flowers and shrubs exclusively. It was so bright when I took some of these, I doubt you can really make out the individual plants too well. On the left though, you can see the jessamine vine that will hopefully crawl all over the fence. That along with the passion flower vine and two kinds of jasmine! I was able to save the longest roots and tie them together to make natural arching trellis for all the vines.

The finished product, including fire pit. We reserved the left side of the fence for a few flowers and all the vegetables. The whole yard is bright, but I wanted to make sure that the little guys don't get burned this summer so the shadow created by the fence line should do the trick. In the ground are tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, yellow crooked-neck squash, zucchini, watermelons, basil, mint, and onions! We saved the jasmine for this side of the fence. I know it will get big eventually and once the veggies are done, or after we move on and they are neglected, the jasmine will keep that side beautiful. We also spread out grass seed on the lawn. I can't wait to see it start sprouting - really I can't wait to break out the lawn chair and get some sun with a bbq going and a cold drink in my hand.

So, who wants to come to the eventual garden party? This yard is going to be perfect for enjoying friends, cooking outside, and eventually playing with our new pup. The pup who was, in part, our motivation for landscaping the yard. We wanted to make sure the lawn and garden were well-established before letting a dog back there. Plus, we wanted a nice place for us to play together; one that wasn't full of thorny vines and fire ants and broken glass.
As sore as I still am, it was a wonderful day.