Thursday, July 24, 2014

PREVENTING YARD WARS! BOUNDARY IDEAS WHEN PHILOSOPHIES DIFFER

For the most part, neighbors plant & mow the same types of grass. They don't often care where their yard stops and the other begins.
But what if you don't have the same ideas about gardening?
Here are some neighborhood yards and gardens that conjure up some interesting solutions.
This gardener used black star gravel and a metal border. To prevent gravel from becoming a problem for the neighbor's lawnmower, they then cleverly transitioned to a black mulch!
I'm not sure I like the stark all-gravel look with a bungalow, but never mind.
These two neighbors have a dramatically different philosophy!
To solve the problem and keep the gravel in its place, they've used landscape bricks and a metal runner.
Note: The nut sedge has already decided to live in the gravel. (Mother Nature hates a void.)
It pains me to admit that one of my neighbors in the next block has a fake yard. 
You are looking at St. Augustine grass on the left and the fake yard on the right. 
The concrete divider comes standard with the fake grass. By the way, studies have found that the fake grass heats up about the same as concrete sidewalks. I've not tested the theory, so let's move on.
The family on the left wanted to plant natives and do away with part of their lawn. 
Landscape bricks separate their planting from the St. Augustine lawn next door.
I liked this idea so much that I borrowed it for my own border problems (which I'll show you at the end of the post).
A small ditch separates these two different mowing philosophies; longer grass on the left and shorter grass on the right.
Both are St. Augustine grass.
Three of the newest homes have Bermuda grass lawns.
I personally do NOT like this type of grass since it is much more difficult to maintain.
As you can see on the left, weeds are a constant battle. If you are next to a standard St. Augustine lawn, you'll need to install a metal strip to prevent the lawns from battling for supremacy. 
Another example. St. Augustine grass on the left and low cut Bermuda grass on the right.
Nothing divides these two types of grasses and this could lead to problems.
Bermuda grass is on the left and something new is on the right. I'll check back in a couple of months to see what happens.
If both houses have no lawn and lots of shade, homeowners like this one plant under story shrubs in a shared bed (left side). The right side of the property has a fence, then gravel next to the sidewalk. I like when neighbors work together. It looks like one endless garden.
Now for my problem.
 Last year, I faced my own form of border war. The garden and trees next door were clear cut and the land stripped. The pink marker shows the boundary line for the new house. The orange line is the start of my garden.
There couldn't be two more different philosophies of gardening on this planet!
Even the one remaining tree near the pink marker was later cut down to make room for the house.
(The green spot is what's left of my neighbor's large back yard garden)
So.......
I've  had to make a boundary line decision.
The boundary line begins.
This whole process is emotionally difficult since the person that once lived here was a gardener. We shared plants, stories, and gardened together. She died of cancer a number of years ago and that's why her family sold the house.
My former gardening friend's yard is on the left. Our new raised bed with sunflowers marks the boundary.
When they put in sod (which they do 100% of the time) they'll know where to stop.
Here's the rest of the boundary line between my garden and 'FutureTurf Land'.
The bricks are temporary since I didn't have enough natural stone on hand for the raised bed.
(My garden and house on the right, the new house on the left)
I hope you NEVER have to face a boundary problem between you and your neighbor.
But if you do, hopefully this post will offer some solutions to keep the peace.
And on a positive note, the house next door will be finished next month. The lot will be cleaned up and all the construction rigmarole (a nice little word for a long, complicated and annoying process), will finally come to an end.
In my dreams...
the house will sell and I'll get wonderful new neighbors 
that LOVE to garden.
 They'll dig up the standard turf and plant plumarias and other tropical plants. 
I can only dream....
In the meantime,
thanks for stopping by!
David/:0)


















Wednesday, July 16, 2014

JULY STALWARTS: FLOWERS THAT BLOOM IN THE TEXAS FURNACE

STALWART: a loyal, reliable, hard-working supporter in a common cause
*****
None of the flowers below would cause passerby bicycle riders to fall off in utter amazement.
But when it comes to the furnace of the Texas summer, I'm happy with any flower that wants to be in my garden.
THIS IS GBBD PART 2 (My first one for July was devoted exclusively to sunflowers)
What's always so remarkable about doing these GBBDs (Garden Blogger's Bloom Day by May Dreams Gardens) is the fact that I always find a surprise waiting for me in the garden.
This is now my third season with Coreopsis 'Route 66'. It came back from the roots this time!
I call Gomphrenas a grandma plant since my beloved gardening grandmother always had them in the garden.
This one is called Gomphrena 'Fireworks'. I'm tossing the spent seedheads everywhere to see if they will self-seed next season.
Other Gomphrenas I would recommend are 'Tiny Buttons' and 'Buddy Purple'. 
This will be my comparison photo for years to come. Sunflowers and Castor beans are on their way to the skies above.
I would say this crimson Castor bean wins the prize for most tropical and exotic plant for this month.
Back down on the surface we have a small white Lantana montevidensis
I grow this species more than the native variety because the native variety is a magnet for lantana lace bugs.
Here's the native variety. So far no lace bugs.
Here's a portion of the purple and blue garden. Blooming in the foreground is Ruellia 'Blue Shade'. 
This is the rarest plant in the garden right now. It's called Zinnia maritima 'Solcito'.
This species is native to Hawaii and will even become a perennial in your garden if protected from frost.
I had about 7 seedlings appear in the path. That's fortunate since I can't find it for sale anywhere in the U.S.
Yucca gloriosa will be blooming in a few days. 
Here's a view of the front garden. For a million dollars, I'll let you live by my small bungalow! LOL
That's how much that new house next to me is selling for.
Now for the surprise. It wouldn't be summer without the sounds of cicadas.
I found this one struggling on the ground. It had fallen from its perch as its wings were developing.
Cicadas are probably the black sheep of the insect world. Some people are downright scared of the things.
Yet, the shades of gossamer green found in the unfolding wings holds a special magic.
An hour later it flew away....to somewhere here in the garden.
And the magic was over.
Hope you find some magic in your garden today.
David/:0)

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