Thursday, February 06, 2014

Winter planting

It is hard to remember that it is winter, here in Southern California, since it never snows and rarely rains.  But it is, at least, cooler.  And so it is a great time to plant!

Thomas helped me get the lettuce, kale, and peas planted today.  Peas from seed, lettuce and kale from "starts" because I'm kind of behind and I also have an irrational fear/expectation that any seeds that I plant will never sprout.  This was unfortunately supported by the fact that the last peas I planted really didn't grow...but they were very old seeds so hopefully these new ones will be ok!

I spent the last 2-3 months carefully planning a huge overhaul of the front yard.  And by huge, I mean really huge; it includes such things as the demolition of the concrete path, installation of a new stepping stone path, removal of 2000+ square feet of lawn, building a rock feature and rock mini walls, planting a tree, adding some shrubs and a whole lot of perennials.  It is going to be amazing when it is finished but oh my word, it is a lot of work!

I'm just starting to see some tiny results in the first stages.  Those tiny plants under the peach tree are spaced out a lot because they will eventually get a lot bigger. 

And while right now there is only mulch under this tree, in a few more days I'll have vintage stock, and dianthus, and daisies in there.

More flowers, waiting to be planted.  The shrub on the right is a gorgeous soft pink hydrangea - it will eventually be about 4 feet high and wide and is going to be amazingly beautiful!

And this isn't part of the yard, but our front entrance is making me smile right now.

The costs of such a project could easily become prohibitive, so I'm being creative and spending a lot of evenings searching Craigslist.  All of the rock used so far has been free; other people re-landscaping their own yards who don't want to pay dump fees.  The raised beds in the back yard were both free from a local business man who has too many to use and hated to throw them away.  Most of my tools are yard sale or estate sale finds.  I've also made a habit of buying used composters from people who just want them out of their yard and are selling them cheap.  I empty them (why yes, I'll take your perfectly good compost!) clean them up, and then re-sell them for about 4x as much.  That money pays for hoses and fertilizer and plants, and you'd be surprised how cheaply you can get plants if you're willing to be patient and not purchase them at their peak of beauty!  I've found quite a few plants in the clearance section of Lowe's; just this afternoon I brought home two perfect camelias for $3 each.

Also this afternoon, I got an email saying that my application for "turf abatement" has been pre-approved!  Which means that I have 120 days to turn my front yard into the garden I'm dreaming of...and if I can do it, the city will give me about $2000.  Apparently Anaheim doesn't really approve of lawns, and prefers my garden plans. :)


Jessica Snell said...

I love the Lowe's plant clearance section, too! :)

And your plans sound great.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Em!

Amber said...

Your work so far looks great, and your plans sound wonderful! That's a pretty amazing grant from the city too.

Congrats on all your Craigslist finds, that's really impressive. I'm so glad you have this space to work with now!!