Cool Weather Advantages

edward-sisscor-hands-shrubbery

The weather here has been generally cool with a smattering of warm days thrown in here and there. In fact last week it seemed like spring! However, it is too soon and it should remain cool especially since there are projects that need to be done where I don’t have to worry about tending young plants… or snakes.

Last week we were able to cover more of the back yard with cypress mulch. Hopefully this project will come to completion next month. I think another 80 to 90 bags of mulch and plenty of newsprint should do it!

Modern art!
Modern art! When using newsprint always add a thick layer as this will keep out the grass and most weeds.
Always use a thick layer of mulch.
Always use a thick layer of mulch.
A clean look. I truly enjoy how this is tying in with all the paths, unifying it.
A clean look. I truly enjoy how this is tying in with all the paths, unifying it.

This weekend past we began to clear the area under the magnolia trees to prepare for the addition of a gazebo that will be placed directly under the two magnolia trees. I also intend on planting a shade garden underneath to create a tiny woodland area around the gazebo.

Under the magnolias. That mass of greenery between the two trees is from all the pruning, pulling and cutting.
Under the magnolias. That mass of greenery between the two trees is from all the pruning, pulling and cutting.

There is another area that I consider part of the magnolia grouping, but it is off to the right of the two trees. It too, was over grown and had to be cleared as well.  In this area I would like to place a bee hive. It has a large red camellia and two small azaleas that had to be pruned and nurtured back to health after suffering under an overgrowth of extremely invasive vines.

Also in this area there is a pile of rubble, bits of concrete and broken bricks. I really don’t want to mess with the pile due to the reports of Copperhead snakes in the area. I think I will dump a mound of dirt over it and plant directly on it. The layers of concrete and bricks would make for great drainage. This is one of the advantages of cool weather, the snakes are dormant and if you stumble across one they are slow to react. Another advantage, no sweating!

This area will eventually have a beehive and a planting mound.
This area will eventually have a beehive and a planting mound.
This area will house a gazebo and shad loving plants.
This area will house a gazebo and shade loving plants.

I have been researching grapes. Currently I have three Somerset grape vines growing on the garden arch, but I have had reservations about its ability to carry a lot of weight. Especially since I will be adding three more vines on the other side. While watching YouTube videos I have noticed that some grape vines become very thick and heavy. So I decided to strengthen our trellis with bamboo.

Flattened arch trellis.
Flattened arch trellis.
Bamboo detail.
Bamboo detail.

We managed to slide bamboo through the cattle fence pieces and tie it up with metal wire. We added cross pieces from side to side and then tied the top of the cattle fence to these pieces, which has taken away the rounded arch and made it flat, but this seems to have stabilized the whole structure. The addition of bamboo has added some unexpected architectural detail so we are going to add some to the sides simply to make it stand out more.

I have been making plans for spring plantings. These will mostly be vegetables for the kitchen garden and perhaps a few ornamental additions elsewhere, but I believe I am running out of space. Until the front yard is transformed into beds I am not certain I can squeeze that much more. I need to see how things mature before investing in more plants, but at the same time with the garden tour coming up in May I will need to fill in blank spaces. This makes me unsure how to proceed.

Sometime ago after coming to a final decision on the paint colors for the cottage, I changed my mind. Ha! I decided to go with a green so that it doesn’t stand out against the house too much. I realize whatever I do, the cottage will end up looking much better than the house, but I figure painting it a similar green it will blend more. In several years when I can have the house painted the cottage will change too, but for now, I need to get this thing done before the garden tour. So much to do!

Green Tea Leaf for the walls, Delicate White for the trim and Knights Armor for the door and window sashes.
Green Tea Leaf for the walls, Delicate White for the trim and Knights Armor for the door and window sashes.

 

Until next time…

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