Monday, July 5, 2010

More garden inspiration

Dear friends,

I've been in the middle of a veritable picture taking frenzy here in my little secret garden. More photos, continued from last post!

A young Shumard oak will eventually shade the front windows of the house:

I've almost managed to cover the utility boxes that sit in the front. (Editorial comment: This drives me nuts! Builders brag about underground utilities here. Is this underground??? I think not!)

Second family of barn swallows this year. They are almost ready to leave the nest. There are four of them crammed in there. LOL!

Now, let's walk through the garden gate, into the backyard secret garden! Next to the back door sits some gorgeous pots of coleus. I avoided these plants for years because they do tend to take more water than I like to use, but since this is near the kitchen, we're able to throw the old cat drinking water on it, or water from the kitchen. These plants have rewarded me by blooming now. I love the colors! Next to them sits a pot of crimson salvia, volunteers from last spring.

More patio garden---containers of strawberries, a spineless prickly pear cactus in an old antique iron pot.

More containers...basil, cedar sage, tropical cannas (grown in pots so they don't take over). I often use the birdbath as a holding spot for new plants I need to get into the ground. Here I have more salvias and some Turkscap, a native beloved by hummingbirds.

Walking across the patio, behind the house, you see the bulk of our backyard garden. We now have four large beds (app. 3x15' each), one shorter bed, and perimeter beds beside the garage (to the right), and along the back fence, along the wall to the back (to the left) and a more natural area along the fence which is shared with the neighbor. Notice the giant sunflowers! They are wild, and the birds were kind enough to deposit the seeds into the beds for me. One of them is getting eaten alive by hundreds of tiny caterpillars, probably from a Painted Lady butterfly. I'm watching that situation closely. The bees LOVE these sunflowers, and so do I!

Here's a blue fiberglass planter filled with a metal obelisk, Gregg's blue mist flowers (butterflies love it!), Asian yard long beans (delicious, and they grow so fast), and an old blue wine bottle stuck down into the middle.

Along the back fence, we find a wild passionflower vine that came up from the neighbor's yard, traveled under my yard and popped up at the back, more Gregg's Blue Mist, a baby pumpkin vine, Maximilian sunflowers (a Texas native), a mountain laurel, salvias mixed with herbs (sweet marjoram) and a pyracantha.

I LOVE it when plants reseed and volunteers pop up. This is a huge bed of cilantro that came back after the spring last year. We had fresh cilantro to eat for months and seeds to dry for coriander for cooking and for replanting in the fall.

Here is an overview of the main beds. These are the easiest raised garden beds in the world! They consist only of rough untreated cedar fence pickets held up with metal tent stakes and galvanized 12" nails from the hardware store. I started out using wooden stakes, but they rotted too fast. These metal ones should last for years.

The beds, looking towards the back fence--you can see the young fruit trees here. You can really see how small this space is. Yet we still have room for much more.

I guess that's all for today. I hope this has helped show what can be done in a very small space. I previously lived on seven acres, but my garden was never this productive there. Even if you don't have this much space (I've lived in many apartments over the last 30 years, so I do know how that is), you can always plop a plant into a pot.

I hope you'll bookmark this blog and come back to visit me in my little garden.

Happy trails,

bobbi c.


Theresa Bayer said...

Bobbi you are a gardener par excellence! What do you plan for your fall garden?

That little basil plant you gave me is still going, btw.

About Bobbi C. said...

Thanks, Theresa! My spring/summer is running into the fall garden since everything is late this year. Hopefully I'll get more tomatoes, beans and corn. I just noticed tons of teeny baby cucumbers this morning, too.

Glad you're enjoying the basil!