Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday Projects

We got about 3/4" of rain Friday, which softened up the ground enough that I could do a little digging. The first item on my agenda was to improve the soil in Teresa's Charleston Garden, which is still under construction. The Charleston Garden is a one-foot strip of dirt between our driveway and the property line, where we put up a little iron fence. The soil there was red clay, packed down hard from forty years of not being worked, and littered with rocks and bits of concrete and gravel from when the driveway was built.

I hauled a couple of cartloads of compost from my pile and worked it into the red clay, then added several bags of black topsoil and turned it again, until I had a rich crumbly mixture, the likes of which I haven't seen since I moved from South Carolina twenty-one years ago. I didn't know how to dig without throwing all my weight down onto the shovel. The first plant to go in was a Camelot Foxglove. We are holding off on the rest to see if any more rain falls.

Feeling more energetic about gardening than I have in months, I then decided to tackle the front bed, which has been a complete and total disaster this summer. Normally we plant impatiens there, but we didn't have the money to buy a bunch of annuals, which was just as well because they would have all burned to death in the heat, but their absence left big gaping holes of nothing but baked red clay and it looked terrible.

I got some more topsoil and worked it into one section, divided my coreopsis and spread it all around the back of the sunny part in a curving band, then divided the several clumps of Stella D'Oro daylilies that have been growing all over the yard until I decided what I wanted to do with them. These went in front of the coreopsis. The idea is that the Stellas will bloom early, then when their blooms are gone, the coreopsis will be in bloom. I then divided and spread out some asters and planted two big spaces with them for fall color, and set out three balloon flowers nearby for more late summer color.

I had so many plants from my divisions that I ran out of space for the coreopsis and asters, and had to put them in the back. I do need some more stellas, however, or maybe something else to wrap around the other side of the bed. It's not going to be the most exciting bed in the world, the plant choices are about as imaginative as those made by the Department of Transportation, and having so many stellas isn't the best option because once they quit blooming, their foliage isn't all that striking, but it is better than bare dirt, and as I get some money later, I can intersperse things that bloom at different times for more variety.

Finally, a layer of mulch (you can see in the photo where I ran out) and my bed is half done.


LostRoses said...

Actually, the Department of Transportation does some pretty cool plantings! You have to give them credit for trying. There's got to be worse sights than 75 Karl Foerster grass all blowing in the wind alongside the road! Kudos to you for all your garden digging - this time of year I'm so done with that! :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Good for you David. It looks like you are whipping into shape this area. Don't feel bad about the lethargy you have been feeling I was reading at At
about her lethargy and there are many who have felt that lethargy through out this long hot dry summer. Funny how a little moisture and cooler weather makes you get into the garden again.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

OOps I put the wrong address to show who was lethargic in the garden. Verobirdie is over there sewing vegetables which would be a fun thing to do and even better (for me) to see. I have totally lost the address to who ever is writing about being lethargic in the garden. Sorry about that. This time of yearI sure do identify with that sentiment tho.

Wrenna said...

I think it was me who was complaining about Lethargy.... with a capital L! But it's going away with the cooler temps and we are actually getting two days of rain.

David, you aren't giving yourself enough credit. There's a lot to be said for using what you have to create beauty. It's going to make a perfectly lovely backdrop for whatever you choose to spend a little money on to really liven it up. I think I would go with something a brilliant orange, but that's just me.

Q said...

You did all sorts of gardening!
I enjoy dividing what is in my gardens and growing from seed. I like saving my seed from year to year too. Glad you recieved some rain. Does make all the difference!

Marion in Savannah said...

You've maybe inspired me to do something about the bed in front of the house. Amazing, isn't it, that grass will grow anywhere you don't want it, but the lawn...

I like the cat statue you have in your picture!

Connie said...

Glad to hear you got some "digging" in, so you can live up to your blog title. :-)
Things are looking good and I'm sure you will be rewarded for your hard work next spring.

Carol said...

You sure got a lot done on Saturday! You must have been 'in the digging zone'. It will be wonderful to see it all in bloom next summer.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Amazing what a little rain will do to refresh the garden--and the gardener!

Tell me, why is Teresa's a "Charlston Garden?" Because of the long thin shape, the iron fence, or all of the above?

David in Greensboro, NC said...

As much as I pick on the DOT, Lostroses, they actually do a nice job. The NC Highway Wildflower Project is one of the best uses I've seen of my tax money. Plus, they use plants that need minimal care--my favorite kind!

Welcome, Lisa! I'd feel a lot better with about 8 inches of rain.

Thanks Wrenna. I think it will look nice. Better not go with orange, though. My house is red brick--might look too much like a fire!

Sherry, Doesn't it make you feel rich when you get so many divisions for free!

Thanks Marion. My real cat likes to sit beside it. Life imitating art!

Connie, I'm thinking of changing my blog title to "Leave Me Alone, I'm Complaining About The Weather!"

Saturday was a good day, Carol. The TV died, so I wasn't tempted to watch football!

Blackswamp--you're right on both counts about the Charleston Garden--its narrow dimensions and the iron fence. The similarities between my house and those on the Battery in Charleston end there, however!