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Most of my flower beds have been there for 8 years (since we moved in) and are a hodge podge of cottage garden flowers, volunteer plants, plants that ultimately didn't survive the heat from last summer and are pitiful this year, over grown, or I'm just not fond of them anymore. Irises? I'm looking at you.

Plus, I'm over the cottage garden look. I know some of y'all love that, but ugh. It's a) a lot of work, b) it's easy to get messy looking, c) grasshoppers love them. SO. You should know by now how I feel about that last one. I love love love Japanese gardens and French gardens. The first is a carefully cultivated "natural" look that takes years and years and thoughtful planning (and oodles of patience) the second is a carefully cultivated "forced" look - straight lines, box hedges in specific shapes, etc. Order, ja. (Oui!)

My problem: I'm lazy. (Well, I'm not in comparison to others, but compared to Mr. Miyagi's carefully tended bonsai garden of pines, YES. I am lazy.) So I'm creating a look I'm calling "Texas-French." (Pronounced Texas-Frainch.) :D Drought tolerant natives in specific patterns, seasonal color that is specific (pink, blue, white for spring, primary colors for summer + orange and purple, hot pink, buttery yellow, indigo, coral for fall), and everything gets dead-headed at the same time.



Big plant list (I have some, I want more): Gulf Muhly grasses, my orange day lilies, gayfeathers, Midnight Blue meadow sage, pink creeping phlox, David Fannick Phlox, Texas sundrops, 'Lucifer' crocosmia, Texas blue bells, my unnamed yellow antique day lilies, ajugas, Japanese painted ferns, purple oxalis, Spider lilies, Hurricane/Surprise Lilies (I have 10 bulbs, want more, and they cost $25 bucks each. DAMN), bat-face cupheas, catmint, Spanish lavender, Russian sage, creeping Germander, wooly stemodia.

All are thriving in my garden, all are in the color palate I want, and now I just need to remove everything and put more in. (And I have a special place where it will be nothing but Tiger lilies, Star-gazer lilies, and Easter lilies for a solid month. <3 <3 <3 DREAMY SIGH.

I have a few random trees that popped up in the garden, trees I don't want, so those are going to be a bitch to get out, as they're entangled with my beloved Crimson Queen Japanese maple. And a hackberry tree growing against my Bloodgood Japanese maple, the bastard. Solution: tourniquet on the trees I hate, let them die all winter, then I can extricate them. \o/ (sturdy twine or flexible wire, a pencil and clamp. Give it a twist every week until it dies off. This is why you don't leave braces on trees for longer than a year - you cut off their food/water supply.)

So there are things I'm desperate to get rid of, because they are HIGHLY invasive. Houttuynia cordata, aka Korean ginseng, aka, Hootie Tootie, aka Chameleon Plant, aka bane of my existence. First, it STINKS. Have you ever smelled orange-scented furniture polish? *puke* That's what this plant smells like, from root to leaf. This asshole plant is taking over my shade bed where I have beautiful silver and purple Japanese ferns, ajugas, peonies, my beloved black liriope (monkey grass), etc.

You have to get up EVERY. SINGLE. BIT. of root. It's like Bermuda: you leave a fleck of root in the soil, it regenerates. Bastards. And just like Bermuda, you have to dig (pitchfork, please) it out down to a good foot. Succulent white roots that snap easily. Damn you, evolution for being smart enough to know how to make this jackass survive anything. Oh! And the smell triggers migraines, so seriously: avoid this plant.

Because I have OCD (I just say that, but keep reading; you'll agree.) that means I'm going to dig up my 30 ft. border of ajugas, oxalis, and Japanese painted ferns, gently wash the roots of soil, and check for any straggling Chameleon Plant roots. Because, my friends, that is a LOT OF MONEY to replace all of those plants. So. =|

I measured the flower beds I want to redo so I can start mapping out the new design (and then STICK TO MY DESIGN, no matter how pretty something looks at a nursery <--sternly tells self) and here's the final tally:

5 flower beds with 900 square feet of space to reconfigure. *cries* I mean, yay? Not all of that will be dug up - there are some evergreen junipers, a few roses, some good groundcovers (if you have space and cats, you should be growing catmint. Plus, it's pretty) and 3 Japanese maples. I'm moving the latest one I planted, but it's still only 3ft tall, so that's not a struggle.

I have antique day lilies that will find new homes, and oh, how I love that plant. Nothing kills it, it's mannered and stays put, expanding like me at a Thanksgiving buffet, and easily divided. Anemones that are antique, double blooms in a pretty pink that spread really well (and are being choked out by Jerk-face stink-plant) need to replace a hybrid anemone that's boring and not interesting. I need to find homes for lamb's ear, loads of irises (Dutch blue and white, bearded) rain lilies, French hollyhocks, and then rip out my massive rosemary hedges. They're just cumbersome and NEVER STOP GROWING. I have the perfect place for them, but I spent a lot of money on some amazing boulders that you can't see anymore because the rosemary covered them up. Two rosemary shrubs, 20 feet wide. That's...more rosemary than anyone could ever need.

Plus, I have rosemary and a blue-rug juniper right next to each other, and that's a design no-no. Same texture, it looks like a boring wall of green that cancels out anything pretty.

HEY ISN'T THIS INTERESTING TO READ? I'm mostly collecting my thoughts here, so sorry for the lame-ass post. :)

Aren't you glad I didn't post the grid-layout of existing plants and the new designs? (I don't have the new designs solidified, otherwise I'd slap them up here for posterity.)

...all of this doesn't include the last huge swatch of Bermuda (and Dallis grass, because it's not full-sun) under my Chinese Pistache and Sugar Maple that I want ripped out to be replaced with woodland ground covers and a walking path for people interested in the garden. (lol)

DOES MARTHA STEWART LOAN OUT HER GARDNER?

(And the jerky neighbors that always tut tut my garden - they want me to deadhead plants, when you don't do that until FALL, not to mention they're providing food for birds, dummies! Then again, they just have a hedge of box woods tortured into rectangles, so they are clearly idiots - planted a tree to replace the awful one they had before, a Bradford pear. I told them years before that they're bad for our area, they break, split, fall over. Guess what it did? So they bought a new tree, ignored me when I said not to put tree gators on them - seriously, DO NOT USE THOSE, I can explain why in comments if you're curious - and it died in one week. Big, huge, 20 ft tall oak. How the hell do you kill an OAK TREE? Like that!)

But today I am going to lay around because I have a sore throat and feel dreadful. Bah. To the grid paper! :)

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
wesleysgirl
Sep. 26th, 2012 03:55 pm (UTC)
I had to google tree gator, I've never even seen one. Weird. What about if I have a little (maybe 5 ft tall) tree and it's leaaaaning toward the sun as it gets bigger... can I use one of those little rubber Cs against the trunk and a wire or something to pull it more upright? Do those work? Are they bad for the tree? I think you should have an "Ask Stoney" column about gardening. That would be good for me. :-)
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
They are super popular in hot climes. The problem is, it traps the VERY IMPORTANT oxygen transfer that happens at the root flare (the base of the trunk where it widens before diving under the soil.) That gets covered, moisture is trapped on the trunk base, and disease and death are eminent. GAH.

As for staking your tree, that's an excellent plan for a new tree. If it's been there for a few years, you're not going to be able to "pull it" away from the sun. Eventually it will straighten out. But! If it's new: get a cut of old hose, wide enough to go around 2/3 of the tree trunk. Loop heavy duty twine or wire through the hose, place the hose against the trunk, and affix the twine/wire to a stake. You don't want it tight - the tree isn't going to climb out of the ground and walk away. :D You want the tree to be able to move with the wind a few inches - that strengthens the trunk.

(And you'd want to stake it in two opposing directions.)

I posted to my Sticky Post on my LJ a general catch-all of gardening info; feel free to comment and ask there any time you'd like!! <3 (Then it becomes a catch all of q&a, too!)
darkhawkhealer
Sep. 26th, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
*waves* Can I come help you garden? I know nothing about plants or getting dirty, but I'be always wanted to learn! Just so long as I cab have a big floppy hat and like a billion gallons of ice water. And about twenty pounds of sunscreen because I'm a princess who burns in the sun. *g*

But I mentioned being totally willing to learn, right??
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
O_O

YES. I have a FABULOUS and large floppy gardening hat that you are welcomed to use. And a 5 gallon Igloo water container. And SPF 75 that doesn't come off in the Texas heat.

SO HEY COME ON OVER THIS SATURDAY WHY DON'T YOU. :D
brunettepet
Sep. 26th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
Well, you certainly have your work cut out for you, Missy! I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results. How can you possibly be so enthusiastic when you're feeling sick?

Thanks for the tourniquet tip. It's like being an invasive tree assassin! Watch out hackberries.
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
I am enthusiastic because it's all on paper so far! Ha. Oonce I get out there with my shovel and pitchfork, it'll be a whole 'nother reaction, I'm sure.

Hackberries are the WORST. If you can pull them before they get big, great! Otherwise, tourniquet! That way you don't have to worry about poisoning plants you want to keep. <3 Good luck!
julia_here
Sep. 26th, 2012 05:25 pm (UTC)
Tree gators look like an open invitation to laminar root rot, to me; I've used static waterers I'm sure your neighbors would hate (two liter soda bottles with pinholes in the bottom, set at the drip line).

I'm living vicariously through you; much of what I planted in my thirties is beyond my ability to care for given my mobility and pain problems, and I'm intentionally planting thugs like mint to fill in space (and feed to the chickens, OK?) and putting big pots and raised beds for color; there are so many huge roses and flowering shrubs that it's not as if I'm living in a natural landscape but it's also a solid mess.

Boxwood, bleah. Stinks of cat pee, to me, and except fot the best of the drwarf cultivars needs constant skilled maintenance. The height of conspicuous consumption.

Love the idea of a lily corner; mine are all in pots now, and therefore need replaced/repotted more often than I like.

Julia, just heard that my hired help is only working for a few hours tomorrow, argh, having to edit a lot of lifting.
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
Tree gators are exactly that. Just another gimmicky hunk of shit to make money off of people who don't know any better. BAH.

Boxwood TOTALLY smells like pee. Agreed 100% Not a fan of that at all. Yes, they're lovely in big huge open spaces where they're cut into diamonds and interesting shapes. But I can't stand them in a suburban setting.

I love lilies so much. I have some utterly gorgeous ones, and want more. And then I want them all in the same spot so I can see them together instead of 5 or 7 here and there.
stephanierb
Sep. 26th, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)

Wow, it sounds like your neighbors are about as green as parts of your garden, in both the novice and envy sense. I've seen enough photos of your garden to know you've more than earned your Master Gardener certification (I hope that's what it is.) And it always looks so beautiful, like the gardens featured on magazine covers. Obviously, you know your stuff, so ignoring your advice and going out of their way to try to find fault with your garden is pretty absurd. You'd think they'd want to pick your brain so they could improve their own gardens, but no, that would mean admitting they're not all that in the green thumb department. Sad.
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
The wife will chat with me every now and then, but the husband is the biggest grump that ever grumped. 8 years we've lived here, and not ONE WORD has he said to me. He bitches to his wife loud enough for me to hear. EYE ROLL. *hugs you, however*

I'm actually talking to a friend right now (he works for a local studio) about how AMAZING it would be to have a gardening show that was set up like Alton Brown's Good Eats - here's how things work, here's WHY this grows/this doesn't, and then actually go to homeowners' yards, identify problems, and then show them how to fix it. (And maybe a 5 minute segment from the region's master Gardeners/extension agency to talk about common problems or things that they know work? That would drum up interest for them, too.)

I'm just saying, I'm willing to host. :D
swmbo
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:02 pm (UTC)
Oh no, feel better!! Drink hot tea and read steamy fic!
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
HAHAHAHA - steamy fic! (Oh, I read that fic you mentioned yesterday. I'm TOTALLY A KLAINE SHIPPER, but that was a fun read. Even though Kurt belongs with Blaine. lol. But yeah - that was a good read!)

HOT TEA! I'll apply it directly to my forehead!
swmbo
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
Heeee! I am glad you were entertained! WINGS and PHYSICAL PAIN WHEN TOUCHED BY NON-SOUL-MATE, what can be better than that?!

Nothing, that's what. Man, I really want more long, semi-plotty super H/C fics with lots of ISSUES being ultimately healed by cuddles and sex. Any fandom, any pairing, with extra angst (but good grammar).

I just finished Prostitution Hawaii 5-0 Fic for that VERY reason ... I am either the easiest or the most difficult person in the universe.
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
My pairings are mainly klaine =/
Have you read Rainjoyswriting? She writes GREAT AUs. She needs a Brit-pick on occasion, but she's a great storyteller so I ignore kerb, etc. Her "puppyverse" is werewolf AWESOMENESS.

The ULTIMATE H/C fic is Lovesong by Preciousmellow. They're attacked in a hate crime, Blaine suffers severe brain trauma, and they try and make it work. OMG, all my tears, man, all my tears. It's told in random flash forwards/flashbacks, too. <3

If I can think of any others, I'll shoot them to you! (most of the really popular fics are rife with poor grammar, poor characterization, or just bizarre sweeps under the rug so step cautiously my friend! flaming_muse has oustanding recs in her memories for Glee fic recs.)

Edited at 2012-09-26 07:16 pm (UTC)
swmbo
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
NO FROWNY FACES NEEDED

Yay, yay, yay, I will totally check those out!

hahha, I am omni-pairing, I can be convinced to try almost ANYTHING. I've probably not even read much Klaine BECAUSE it's canon and half the time the fun for me is IN the convincing, but a good AU or H/C struggle works just as well since it also has to start from scratch.

most of the really popular fics are rife with poor grammar, poor characterization, or just bizarre sweeps under the rug so step cautiously my friend

Heeee, god, I believe it. I love AO3 so much but it does make finding stuff really weird. On the other hand, I like to pick random pairings, sort by word count and then just TRY it. It leads me into random cross-overs and reading random fics about chars from 1990s canadian shows I've never heard of.
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: NO FROWNY FACES NEEDED
Oh, i'll read stuff if it's linked to me, but it has to be GOOD. And the good writers that I know write Klaine. SO IT IS LOVELY WHEN PEOPLE REC ME THINGS.

It's funny that I was a hard core Angel/Connor shipper (ffs) and now I'm all KLAINE! New and virginal and precious and twee! <3 <3 But I am!

Oh, miggy has a Superhero AU that everyone loves, it's more Gen than anything (I believe) and she's quality. (I'd rec my own stuff to you, but it's not H/C and I know you have Needs. :D)
swmbo
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
Re: NO FROWNY FACES NEEDED
Heeee! Well, and I only have NEEDS right now! My fic-craving profile will be sure to change within weeks. I know how I am. And then I will stalk your fics, I am sure.

I read the miggy one(s)! The complete ones. They were ridiculously fun, I LOVE crackfic that works within canon, it is the BEST THING.

And hey, sometimes you want bitter-angsty-hate!sex and sometimes you want best-friends-falling-in-love. And sometimes you want them undercover-pretending-to-be-married-and-whoops-we-accidentally-had-sex.

ETA: Oh. And I guess sometimes you want gen.

Edited at 2012-09-26 08:33 pm (UTC)
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Re: NO FROWNY FACES NEEDED
Here's another great one, A Parade of Paper Faces where they're TV/movie stars and Blaine is straight-acting/not out. And it's all fandomy with Tumblr and interactive goodies.

And for straight up, well-written porn, go read everything cimmerians has written (multiple ships, but mostly Klaine - she has a Finn/Kurt from way back that's awesome) and skintightsocks. They are two girls that write HILARIOUSLY AWESOME PORN. \o/

Hahaha, digging around in my recs led me to the old Folgercest fic from Yuletide a while back. GOOD TIMES, SWM, the halcyon days of fandom...
swmbo
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
Re: NO FROWNY FACES NEEDED
Heeeee! Rediscovering fics is the BEST!!

Hahahha, ok, I am UTTERLY CHARMED by the idea of the first one, so I will definitely put that on my list. And then check out everything else!
flaming_muse
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yay for gardens! Especially gardens of plants that should be in that climate! :D
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
YES! No lilacs for me, alas. :( (But that's what trips to botanical gardens are for!)

<3
kuzu_no_ha
Sep. 26th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
I'm over the cottage garden look, too. In fact I ripped out two big shrubby shrubs with a vengeance this weekend.
I was so be there and help you, but there is that whole take a plane first.
I would help you and then there would be nachos and real Tex Mex. mmmm
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 10:37 pm (UTC)
I will reward any and all helpers with only the finest of chile rellenos and margaritas!
kuzu_no_ha
Sep. 26th, 2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Hurray!
dovil
Sep. 26th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
I like the cottage garden look, mainly because I could throw seeds out from the kitchen window and when the council complained about the state of my backyard I could just go "Cottage Garden, yo!". I also like the structured look, but only if I had a team of gardeners to send out to deal with it as I lounged about my castle whipping the servants (I almost typed wiping, ahahaha, ew. They're old and have been with the family for years...).

Do you scream "I told you so" at the neighbors and flip them off? You should have.

I'll help you with your garden! It will involve me standing there with a cigar clenched between my teeth directing a flame thrower. Then helicopters will fly over dumping agent orange. Then I'll crash to my knees throwing my arms in the air as you shoot me. I'm not sure what just happened there, but your garden is now weed free FINALLY!

ps Stop getting throat AIDS.
stoney321
Sep. 26th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Kids? This cough is why you should always put a condom over your ice cream cones. [rainbow: The More You Know.]

Your family is such a bunch of servant wipers. You're up there with the pony-players, you creeps.

I usually flip the neighbors off and tell them that I told them so? But then, I usually leave messages on their doorstep that read, "Your son looks like the mail man" and "I buried a dead raccoon in your house. Good luck finding it."

Isn't that how all neighbors communicate? AM I DOING IT WRONG?
Catherine Mitchell
Sep. 27th, 2012 12:24 am (UTC)
Totally not boring and an awesome read! I'm soo excited for your new garden look. Who knew that the cottage look would be so demanding as the idea always seems to "nature did this naturally" thing. Ok, well I didn't know anyway. You should TOTALLY have your own garden show! You could even start out on youtube and then get sponsors and stuff! How cool! And you know what would be cooler? A garden/WINE show hosted by stoney herself. Yeah, I think everyone would watch that! :) And it would be hilarious.

If I wasn't like a thousand miles away, I would totally come over and help. It would be nice to get out of this 50 degree, rainy weather. It makes me want to do nothing but read, sleep and drink me some chai. which I don't have time to do. Blegh.
ladyvyola
Sep. 27th, 2012 12:55 am (UTC)
Oh, god. Bradford pears. Might as well be the national tree up here in Northern Virginia -- one in front of every newly-built townhouse, rows of them in the median of neighborhood boulevards.

Three weeks of pretty white blossoms and pale green leaves for what? Weak, rubbish trees and the well-deserved nickname in my family of "Stinky Tuna Trees".

I demand grid-layouts!
justa_reader
Sep. 27th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
The only things missing from this post are a flashing FLOWERS MAKE ME HAPPEEE neon sign and a gif of you twirling, twirling at the plant nursery. Giddy plant love makes ME happy.

...they want me to deadhead plants, when you don't do that until FALL, not to mention they're providing food for birds, dummies! Let me give you a thousand squishes because BIRDS, yes. Birds love messy gardens. (And my god, I swear I have the same argument with my husband every year. He: Those flower heads look so messy. Me: But think of the little finches! He: Fine. How long do we have to leave them up? Me: Um, SPRING. You know, when the snow thaws and plants grow again?! Le sigh.)

I'll admit, I have had the laziest summer of gardening of my ENTIRE LIFE (okay, yeah, I totally blew off that summer of '72, too, on account of being a baby and all.) But this might have inspired me to use my upcoming husband- and son-free weekend to tackle that damn rock garden in the backyard that needs rebuilding. The very one I've been fastidiously ignoring for the past 9 months. It's so overgrown I can't see the rocks. Poor, poor ignored garden :(

Asshole plants can suck it. Mine is bindweed. (At least it doesn't SMELL though, too. Orange cleaner? Yuck.) I have seriously considered moving just to get away from it. Turn your back for a day or two and it's twining its way into everything. But it has gotten into the LAWN, so really, it's never going away. So every year I spot treat and pull, pull, pull. Here's a (not-so) fun activity: unwinding little pissant vines from thorny rose stems.

And you don't have to get Martha's permission to borrow her gardener, just bat your eyelashes and smile pretty at him and he'll come willingly. (It has to be a him, right? A whole cast of hims. Because if you were a mega-gazillionaire, wouldn't you hire only hot male gardeners?) Natch.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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