So much for what I said earlier

Monday, March 29, 2010

New plants and mulch
Originally uploaded by sassycrafter
I know I said I was probably hanging up my garden blogging gloves, but what can I say? Spring sprang and I got the itch that all gardeners do. I figured as long as I had made some solid progress in the yard, I might as well blog about it!

As always, you can click on the photo to make it bigger and see the plants in all of their glory.

Jason and I purchased a bunch of new plants this week. The amazing part is that we got them all in the ground the very night they came home. If you know me, you know that rarely happens. Heck, I still have plants that I paid good money for a year ago sitting in pots in the front yards! And no, they aren't container gardens.

Here's what we bought and planted:
+ soap aloe (Aloe saponaria)
+ fireworks grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Fireworks')
+ Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii').

Can I just tell you how excited I am to finally have an ensete in the front yard? I've been lusting after this plant since I first saw it at a Garden Writers Association conference three years ago. I splurged and bought the biggest size I could find so that the plant could get itself nice and big before the freezing temperatures return in December. They're root hardy here, which is good, but the leaves tend to burn back.

If you haven't ever seen the 'Fireworks' fountain grass, you should check it out. It's incredibly colorful. I'm not sure yet if it will survive our winters -- it's supposed to be Zones 9-11 and we're 8b -- but I'm going to give it a try. If it dies, I'll just put in something hardier.

Speaking of ornamental grasses, the bamboo muhly grass that I brought back from GWA is still going strong. Jason and I debated about cutting it back but decided to leave it for now. And the river oats that I bought last year at Plant Delights Nursery are starting to come back, so that's good.

We also a dwarf Cavendish banana in the front yard, courtesy of Tom. Apparently the squirrels in his yard wouldn't stop chowing down on it, so he decided that the only humane thing to do was to give away the plant. Lucky me! I guess his other option would be to shoot the squirrels, but that's probably less humane.

And I can't get over how nice it all looked once we added a "mulch veneer," as our friend Erin calls it. We spent $30 and got eight bales of pine straw. They just barely covered all of the crappy looking mulch that we got for free from the power company. Not a bad use of resources, if you ask me.

In the backyard, we planted the grow box with two 'Sweet Million' cherry tomato plants and also planted two jalapeno peppers in containers. And I finally got the fig tree in the ground after a year and a half. Yes, it's true. I'm hard on plants. Jason says I'm just "trialing" them to make sure they're hardy before I spend the time to put them in the ground.

We still have a lot to do, though. We need to remove the azaleas under the front windows completely -- we cut them back last year, but that's as far as we got. We need to remove the stumps along the south edge of the property where we cut out the overgrown holly bushes and viburnum (yuck). That's where I'm planning to finally plant those yuccas, but I don't want to put them in until the stumps are gone.

At any rate, it's been a busy gardening season so far. Who knows -- maybe it will be a good season for blogging too.


sarah said...

It's lookin' good!

Steve Asbell said...

good call on the abyssinian banana and the soap aloe. abyssinian banana seems to recover from frost faster than any other plant in the "banana" family I've seen so far and the soap aloes are hardy as you could ever expect an aloe to be.

kim taylor - - - the sassy crafter said...

Thanks, Sarah! And Steve, I have to say that I love your blog. I popped over there and can see that you are a gardener after my own heart. As for true bananas that are cold hardy, I've had good luck with Musa acuminata 'Dwarf Cavendish'. And Musa basjoo is supposed to be incredibly tough.