Sunday, August 31, 2014

Plans for TransPlantation

The hostessed monthly wide shot meme seems to be missing in action at the moment. Regardless, I'm posting wide shots because I find the discipline of taking in my spaces as a whole on a monthly basis to be very useful, especially when it comes to planning.  And oh boy, do I have plans!

Fall is "get to work" time in Central Texas gardening circles.  New plants dug in and seed spread are able to take advantage of gentler temperatures.  If the weather stays within usual bounds, seasonal rains will water newbies in, helping them get roots established in preparation for the little bit of winter cold and whole lot of summer heat to come.  It can be an exciting time, an opportunity to make changes, and I have lots in mind.

The changes I want to implement reflect my desire to more directly support local pollinators. I'd begun the work last year, putting several native flowering plants out front.  Unfortunately I hadn't taken into consideration how close the overgrowing live oak branches already were to completely shading out those front spaces.  Those trees aren't going anywhere so the solution will have to lie elsewhere.
I realized I need to turn my attention more towards my back garden spaces.  In this overhead view it is apparent I've let well adapted non-native plants take over a lot of my sunniest spaces here.  I intend to address that with a series of substitutions, transplanting out and passing along non-native plants that have become a little too successful where they are.  I'll work to open space for new native plants and have plans to spread seed for others.
Looking out from a flat footed perspective I readily admit I see nothing "wrong" with these back garden spaces as things currently stand.  The problem is more that they no longer accurately reflect my philosophy or priorities.
Take this bed for example.  It is currently dominated by a volunteer Meyer Lemon, rosemary, a bit of verbena and various mostly non-native transplants thrown in there over the past 2 seasons.

I've been delighted to have a self-seeded native "weed", Bristly mallow, (Modiola caroliniana) establish itself along the front left rock edging underneath the bird feeder.  I like its scalloped leaves and the tiny orange flowers it sports in April.  Between my pruning and the birds' attention I feel optimistic I can keep the mallow corralled to this and other areas where I'd like it to function as a ground cover.

The non-native Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) with their deep taproots are going to be moved to less hospitable spaces.  The ox-eye daisy mounds (Leucanthemum vulgare) and the garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) will be passed along and/or relocated.  A straggly orange daylily will be transplanted into more sun in another bed where it will hopefully partner well with coneflower and wine cup.

The Mexican feathergrass (Nassella tenuissima) might get moved back a bit, but stays in the bed.  There is a small coneflower trying to survive in there, and I hope to get it a little breathing room.  The large throwback orange cosmos in the corner is coming out.  I'll keep trying to dig out recurrent ruellia (whoo boy - I know what puts the "rue" in ruellia!) and a bit of liriope on the other side of the feeder pole rock pile stays put.   I'm not sure what will go in the opened spaces yet but I know I want to use natives.
Looking from the far back, I visualize changes for the rest of these beds as well, but realize I can only get so much done in one growing cycle.  For the next few weeks my focus will be on replanting the sunnier beds closer to the house. These shadier areas will get whatever leftover energy I can muster as cooler weather kicks in.

I'll continue to dig out ruellia, (so much ruellia!) and other pushy plants I originally welcomed that no longer deserve as much space as they've taken.  I have multiplying clumps of variegated liriope I hope to organize into more of an edging effect, some aloe to thin out... Oh, there's plenty of work to do!
As my parting shot, a fond look at the one corner I'm essentially ignoring for the moment where the Hub's plethora of potted plumeria are in full bloom. August is their time to really shine, and our entire family appreciates the way their fragrance dances around on late summer breezes.

And that's officially it for Summer 2014 here at Austin Agrodolce.  It has been a delightful season really, with unexpected rains and not too many triple digit days.  Now, as the weeks of waiting out the heat wind all the way down, I want to state it plainly here in part to hold myself accountable:I intend to rededicate my energies towards using a wider variety of native pollinator friendly plants.

Regular reader, occasional visitor or first time drop in- it is always an honor to have you come along for the ride. I hope you'll stick around to see what comes next!