Cottage Gardening forum: Have any ideas??

 
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Imagestarlight1153
Mar 12, 2010 7:47 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
I am determined to try and do something with this mess this year. I sit here at puter and look out little kitchen window and see a jungle. Usually I go through in the spring when the ground dries and mow. I have been leaving all that tall grass grow in the fall and winter as it provide d food for little birds, but I have lot s more of yard that has it so want to try and pretty this area up.

I have some just noid old-fashioned blue and white Iris out there if ya can even see them. They looked good first year but then weeds and such took over. The biggest problem I have is there is about 120 + huge and I mean huge oak tree and it's roots extend all over back there so almost impossible to run a tiller through the ground.

I sure could use some ideas and help if anybody has any.

Thumbnail by starlight1153

Imagedryad57
Mar 13, 2010 8:42 PM CST
Name: Robin Lange
Corydon, IN
Huge oaks, eh? Am I correct in thinking it's mostly shade, and some moisture (with the iris)? What kind of native stuff has popped up there?
Imagestarlight1153
Mar 14, 2010 5:41 PM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
Hi Robin! ( waves) The back area is mainly Pines and just to the right in the pic is the one huge old Oak. To th eleft of the area is about 5 fairly large Oak and Hickory trees. It is usually shady in the mornings back there, but then it full hot sun the whole rest of the day.

The tall grass you see will get mowed, The area behind the Iris has a lot of tree stumps still in it and for some reason that area is where the Milkweed loves to grow and bloom for the Monarchs especially and the other butterflies.

In front of the Iris I have wild native Passiflora that pops up all over the place to feed the caterpillars. Other native stuff in there is just about every weed imaginable. LOL

Other than where the Iris are the leaves behind them haven't been raked up in about 8 years. Just been letting it decompose naturally.
Imagekqcrna
Mar 17, 2010 6:41 PM CST
Name: Karen
Valencia, Pa.
Lasagna garden.

Karen
Imagedryad57
Mar 18, 2010 4:18 PM CST
Name: Robin Lange
Corydon, IN
Yep - I agree with Karen. Lasagna the areas where you want to put in something other than your butterfly stuff. Sounds like it's drier than I had originally anticipated. What about some of the shorter sunflowers for one area?
Imagestarlight1153
Mar 22, 2010 6:43 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
If your going to Lasagna an area, do you have to have a structure or can you just leave it level with the ground? That are a back there has a slant to it. Whole property is one giant section of slants, some worse than others.

Ok, I can do sunflowers, I have some smaller ones, now what to go with them?

Imagekqcrna
Mar 22, 2010 3:24 PM CST
Name: Karen
Valencia, Pa.
No, Ella, you don't need a structure to contain it. Just build it on the ground, like a compost pile (which it actually is). Usually 12" to 18" are recommended but I have used as little as 8". I've also heard of people using 2' to 3'.

Just throw on the organic matter and it will rot in place. A good layer of corrugated cardboard on the bottom keeps grass and weeds from coming through. One more very important thing- moisten as you build the pile. It's impossible to wet through later.

Karen
ImageKLStuart
Mar 22, 2010 6:03 PM CST
Name: Kelly
Simpsonville, SC
If you need cardboard, I found the boxes from some furniture we bought in the summer were great. Nice big pieces. I'm planning on hitting up the local furniture store for more next time I need some. I'm sure they'll have plenty they bring back from deliveries!
Imagetoomanyanimals
Apr 12, 2010 7:35 PM CST
Name: Sharon
near Detroit, MI
I'm so glad you posted this Ella.
I plan on doing this for a wooded area behind my house. Very small compared to yours, but I have some hellebores, Arisaema Triphyllium, Arisaema Dracontium and the astilbes coming in and a trade in progress for some shade plants (Trillium,
Red twig dogwood - cuttings. I've heard they are easy to root, Weigela, Heucherella).
The area is not at all ready for planting, but I plan on doing the cardboard/newspapers, then throwing on some dirt and compost ... 6 inches, water and then planting ... and holding my breath... all in the same day!!!!!
I really don't want to put any more work into it than that.

Not that you can tell much from this picture, but here is the area. You can see where my regular bed ends at the plastic edging. So far all I have back there are some daffodills from last year. This is the place where I have already gotten some poison ivy ... yikes!

I would guess the area is approx. 30 x 20 with 3 very mature maples, and everything else that grows on a woodland ground. I've done only a half-asked job of clearing it. Rolling my eyes.
I'm trying real hard not to use any chemicals.

Lets compare notes on what we do and what the outcome is.
Ears perked up!

Thumbnail by toomanyanimals

ImageKLStuart
Apr 13, 2010 5:42 AM CST
Name: Kelly
Simpsonville, SC
My beds that I made in the fall, I planted right away (I used some pretty heavy layers of mushroom compost, newspaper shreds, pine needles, grass clippings and oak tree leaves) and all but 1 of maybe 20 plants survived with that early planting, and are thriving now. I will never make a bed another way!

My only problem now is that there are so many worms in there, the Robins are literally staking it out. Planted the rest of the bed yesterday, and every time I would leave to go get something, I'd come back and have to shoo away a Robin poking around where I'd been digging! They like the shredded paper too, which is still somewhat intact and would occasionally be turned up when I planted something.
Imagestarlight1153
Apr 13, 2010 8:35 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
Sharon... Sounds like a plan. : ) All the Iris that are there are blooming away, so I am going to wait until they finish up before I start digging and seeing if I can't get part of a tiller back in there. I was afraid that if I moved them that they wouldn't bloom this year and they bloom for just a short while, have to get what pleasure you can from out of them while ya can.

When I dig them up, gonna be giving some of them away for postage, they pretty, but just don't need 50-60 purple and then the same amount of white ones too.

KL... LOL.. That so funny. Can just imagine, birdie walking to steps right behind ya eating away while you busy working. I have a huge pile of leaves in the front, I need to move that been composting down. That what gonna get me is seeing all them worms. Gonna be bunches of squeals for sure. LOL

Imagetoomanyanimals
Apr 16, 2010 5:09 PM CST
Name: Sharon
near Detroit, MI
Ella, my first plant for the woodland garden has arrived ... Virginia Bluebells.
I'm keeping it in my greenhouse till it warms up just a bit more.
ImageKLStuart
Apr 16, 2010 7:17 PM CST
Name: Kelly
Simpsonville, SC
Oh, um, I'm sure no one else would be this dumb, but just in case... I've discovered that apparently I chucked a bunch of acorns into the lasagna beds along with the oak leaves... you can guess how I'm figuring this out... I don't recommend it ;-)
Imagetoomanyanimals
Apr 17, 2010 5:32 AM CST
Name: Sharon
near Detroit, MI
Blinking Thumbs down Hilarious! Rolling on the floor laughing
Imagestarlight1153
Apr 20, 2010 4:36 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
Agggggg. Start pulling them seedlings out before they so big ya can't get them out. They a pain, a royal pain and a half. Bad thing is if ya don't get them out by the roots, they will just grow back. Oak roots are tenacious little things, they don't want to give up for nothing.

You not the only one. I usually just rake and toss. There always way to many oak and hickory nuts to try and sift through in the leaves and I don't get them all.
ImageHemophobic
Apr 21, 2010 5:44 AM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
Ella: Are you wanting to be strictly flowers or are you up for some shrubs? Weigelas would be great back there and they like the sun, plus they attract hummingbirds. They're easily rooted, too, so if you get just one, you can root cuttings and spread them around the area. Caryopteris for fall bloom.

Some salvias would be great as well, along with lavender, a few dahlias and roses. Depends on what you want to achieve and how much of your valuable time you want to spend there. You're already a very busy lady!!
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Imagestarlight1153
Apr 21, 2010 6:15 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
Morning Angie! No it doesn't have to be strickly flowers. Shrubs never even crossed my mind. Weigela is pretty and I like them. I haven't tried to grow them in a long while. Tried about 6 or 7 years ago, had two pots and lost them both. They didn't seem like the sun in a pot is what I figured. Maybe they would do better in the ground.

I've had some pots of double white Spirea and the double pink flowering almond too that been sitting in pots for 5 years too. Things have grown roots out of bottom of pot into ground where they been all crammed.

The thing that gets me is I can sit and do the landscaping drawings for other folks and til my back got so that I couldn't dig them 3 and 6 foot holes anymore in mass quantities. I've landscaped a college and done private homes and such, but when it comes to my own place, I sit and stare and stare and have an absolute blank mind. It very frustrating.

That reminds me, I need to see if I have some more lavender seeds and get them started. When I was gone over a weekend, mine got cooked to pieces. This will be the third batch starting them. First ones stretched to much and had toss them, killed the second batch, maybe the third will be a charm.

Yep, I busy now, but in about 8 weeks, things will be real slow for about three months , during the hottest part of the year down here, that when I can really get out and start doing a lot of the outdoor work. If I can get ideas and things planned now than soon a s spring season ends, I can be somewhat ready.

ImageHemophobic
Apr 22, 2010 6:15 AM CST
Name: Angie
North Carolina (zone 7)
There you go, Ella, but I don't know how you'll stand the heat then!

It's frustrating for me as well with my own landscaping. I can see houses when I'm out riding and think, `Oh, they need to take down that pine tree and clear out some of that overgrown shrubbery that's too close to the house and it would look so much better.' But I walk around my house and study and take photos and play with them and still I can't quite get the plan right. I guess that's part of the fun of gardening, though. Right?
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Imagetoomanyanimals
Apr 24, 2010 8:51 AM CST
Name: Sharon
near Detroit, MI
Oh Star, I just love the double pink flowering almonds. Thumbs up

Where I grew up we had them lining the Garage driveway. I have happy memories of my sister and I just running up and down the driveway being delighted with the blooms. I keep thinking I should buy one, but I'm so shrub challanged, I can't seem to find a place i would want to plant it. Too bad they need full sun, I would love to plant it at the back of my hosta garden. i think the pink would just be a stand out there.

So anyway, I think you definitly need to get those planted .... somewhere. Rolling my eyes.
Imagestarlight1153
Apr 25, 2010 7:04 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
AL.
Sharon... Mine are not in the full sun. Mine sit just a ways out from a giant Hickory tree. Mine spend most of the day in the shade. I have found both of those shrubs do good in either full sun or shade and they still flower like clock work.

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