Friday, September 19, 2014

For the record

Do you ever talk to yourself?  I do occasionally.  I maintain I'm always aware that I'm doing it at the time.  I also maintain that makes a difference.

Sort of like right now with this blog post.  It consists of a series of before and after shots of beds here indicating the editing, both adding and subtracting, that I've been doing the past few weeks.  After my efforts the focus of what I've got growing in these beds now has shifted to more accurately reflect one of the more objective goals of gardening:supporting wildlife with native plants.

This may not enter new territory or be particularly entertaining for some and that's fine.  I need to have these images on this site in a post because awareness aside, I view things differently once they are on my computer screen.  It is an entirely arbitrary distinction how I see them when they are similarly screen bound as raw photos in a digital library, but in my mind the distinction and the difference exists.  So let's get looking, shall we?

There were two beds I focused on as I applied the first of several changes.  The bigger bed, which I'll call the Big Bed, and the bed that is a bit shaped like a boat that I'll call the Ship Bed.  From both I removed large clumps of non-natives, many of which became passalong plants and a few of which were transplanted to areas out front.

This was the Previous State of Being in the Big Bed.  This is where most of our edible plants live.  I'd already transplanted out Jewels of Opar and most of the garlic chives.
I planted two H. Duelberg salvia plants in the middle of the large open area. H. Duelberg are descendant of Mealy Blue salvia predecessors.  I've got to be careful not to over-water these as they are getting established.
After a trip to the nursery came four more H. Duelberg salvia plants, five tropical milkweed plants, and a healthy scattering of a combination of clammyweed, Indian blanket, and Larkspur seed.  Pre-existing verbena is responding to rain and less crowded conditions.  Bluebonnet rosettes continue to establish themselves, pink evening primrose plants are resurgent, and the mint that rules this universe along with the freely reseeding Jewels of Opar is cropping up everywhere I haven't pulled it completely out.
The jalapeƱo pepper plant to the left rear is still producing peppers, so it stays.  The basil immediately to its right is sporting some major seed stalks that the finches love.  The basil stays for now.  The tropical milkweed plants aren't in bloom but they're close.  I harbor hopes they'll draw in some migratory monarch action.  If not this season, then certainly next Spring when all the flowers are back up on already established plants.

As a parting gesture I buried some nasturtium seed for our winter salads.  Hey, people need to eat, too.  If some of everything planted and scattered here comes up?  This bed will be a pretty lively and delicious space.

On to the Ship Bed.  This shot was taken before removing most of the non-natives.  Honestly I look at this and think it looks pretty good as is.  So why would I want to move around healthy plants doing well and looking good right where they are?
There is not much room left in this mostly sunny bed and barely any native plants in play. That had to change.  The Jewels of Opar came out, as did the ox-eye daisies.  The rosemary was cut way back, the Meyer Lemon tree trimmed, and a lonely daylily moved up front into more sun.  A coneflower that struggled for light was similarly rescued.  Here's a look:
I took out that rear clump of liriope and trimmed the grocery store "mini-rose" back.  I transplanted additional verbena into the back left corner.  In a spot already hosting a native rain lily, I put in pink and yellow rain lilies, some ox-blood lilies,  (I'm OK with a few non-native plants) and scattered seed for native wildflowers here as well.
The ox-blood and yellow lilies aren't blooming.  Yet.  There is a Flame Acanthus I transplanted here from the front where it was courting death after suffering from an excess of shade and deer attack.  I put in another H. Duelberg salvia with its blue blossoms to echo the bed across the walk, and to complement the acanthus' orange display.   Both acanthus and salvia once fully grown, will provide additional shading for various rain lilies, which like some sun cover during the Spring and Summer months.  I'm excited to see how these plants will all fill in and flower as their season to shine approaches.  In the meantime, I'm very happy with this early display as a promise of beauty to come.
Pink Rain Lily, probably Habranthus robustus