Saturday, October 10, 2015

Utilitarian Project with Side Benefit

I think that I mentioned we took up my patchwork landing in front of the mule barn. In its place is now plain geometric concrete with a straight edge from corner to corner where the mower may fly around what was a corner, previously.

Leftover concrete mix turned into some odd pieces that will act as stepping stones or plinths or ornament or space fillers, and what I fancy are succulent planters. I didn't plan ahead so it was a matter of grabbing whatever was at hand before the concrete turned to stone, literally.

I did learn a trick or two for abstract pattern.

Pieces of broken flower pot became 'windows' in the sides.

If it didn't turn out well on top, I scratched the date on the 
other side as it dried. I like finding dated pieces in my paths.

Grass will quickly cover this space by mid spring and mowing will be fast and furious. That little step was just not what we needed and there was no way to keep the area neat except endless hand trimming. In this climate, grass and weed seeds find a way into every crack and crevice.

I had forgotten that my cement work project was going to be planters that look like baskets with real baskets as molds. I didn't have time to run inside and look at pins I saved on the subject of cement work. Fortunately there was a whole bag of concrete mix left over.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Return of Summer

The remnants of the storm moved on and the sun came out. We wake to foggy mornings and warm days.

This is the edge of what I see from my kitchen windows. This area is a trouble spot that tends to grow up in catbrier, euonymous, nandina and other less desirables. Once in a while in spring, I invite in the bush hog mower to cut it all back. This deciduous magnolia was saved. Solidago is an opportunist that I left.

The meadows are ablaze now with wreaths of Goldenrod and swaths of native sunflowers. Tiny yellow stars of rosinweed spread between Silk Grass and Rabbit Tobacco. Bluestems are starting to bloom. Three hundred miles to the north, reports are that fall color will be at its height in a couple of weeks. We see the occasional red leaf on Sassafras. Sweet Gums are still green.

Here in zone 8b, we have summer tropicals that die to their roots instead of persisting through winter as they do in Central Florida.

 In the gingers bed, Curcuma is already dying back for its winter rest. Cardamon ginger and the taller Shell Ginger may persist all season in a mild winter or may be killed back during a prolonged freeze sometime after Christmas. Note the long seed whip on Porterweed at lower right.

Porterweeds are full of blooms, enticing late butterflies, skippers and beneficials.

Root hardy Pentas and Brugmansias are in a last hurrah before frost.

 I took cuttings of white Pentas and the Palest pink.
The greenhouse is filling fast with things I think to try to save for another year.

Brugs droop in the hot afternoon sun, come alive after dark.
I gave away rooted cuttings, except for one I forgot about. Sigh.

Our latest project is done except for removing forms: a wedge shaped concrete landing to replace my ill-fated brick and stone patchwork folly in front of the Mule Barn door. You've seen concrete pads; this one is strictly for utility and will best accommodate mowing with minimal trimming. 

It took four 80-pound bags of concrete mix. I used up leftover cement in various molds for stepping stones and (possible) succulent planters improvised at the last moment.

I started keeping a more or less daily journal in a little file where I note what was done or not, with the date. I've come to wonder if anybody except for the few of you who comment reads or cares, so I'm planning to convert Dottyplants Greenhouse Journal for daily prattle to myself and close it to public view.

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