Archive for March, 2012

Wildflower Update

March 12, 2012

The wildflowers are starting to bloom! — especially the Elegant Clarkias. The poppies, not so  much, but a few are showing blooms. According to those who follow the poppy situation, we may have a subnormal bloom this year owing to the dry winter.

Meanwhile, I am worried about some of my other plants. My Coast Sunflowers have stunted blossoms — I’m hopeful that they will improve as the spring and warm weather arrives a little more reliably. And my Winifred Gilman Salvias (I have two in the front yard) are getting tough, woody stems at the bottom. We shall see, but I am concerned about these two species.


Path is Finished (sort of …)

March 12, 2012

I have finished adding the decomposed granite (DG) around the flagstones in the path, on both east and west sides. In order to do so, I had to buy the DG in bulk from the same place I got it for the path in the back — even though I did not need nearly as much. It was at most 1/2 inch deep in the front, as opposed to 4 inches deep in the back — but this is something you can’t buy in small quantities from, say, Home Depot. So I had to buy half a cubic yard of DG and have it dumped in my driveway.

In order to store the leftovers, I bought an outdoor storage bin intended for use in storing patio and garden equipment. I am hoping it doesn’t split at the seams eventually with the enormous weight of the DG. So far, so good …  it’s bulging at the sides a bit but still holding up.  Time will tell!

Anyway, I thought the path came out very nicely. Now it is solid and unlikely to get earwigs under it — a much better solution.

I am still planning to extend an offshoot of the east side path into the area on the side of the house, where currently there is nothing planted (except an orange tree). I have plans to eventually plant that area. But I won’t do flagstones — ugh, too much work! I will just remove the mulch and use the leftover DG to make a nice, natural-looking path. Similarly, on the west side I will extend the DG path (without flagstones) beside the house to the gate in the back. But that’s a bit in the future. (I’m just not up to it now!)

My next project is to use some of the leftover dirt from digging the path in the back yard to create some gentle mounds in the front yard, and add a little more interest and definition to the design in the front. I am really excited about this, as I think it has the potential to give it the look of a truly natural area. Stay tuned!


Removing the Trees

March 5, 2012

I forgot I wanted to post these few pictures I took of the process of removing the cypresses. I didn’t want to spend too much time outside taking pictures, lest I get conked in the head. But here they are.

I was surprised that they took the cypresses down by starting from the bottom and removing the branches, and then climbing up the bare trunks bit by bit. I don’t know why I was surprised — it seems like the logical way to do it. But somehow I surmised that they would climb the thick branches up to the top (although I wasn’t sure how) or use one of those trucks to lift the workers up. This way was much quicker and probably less expensive.

Once near the top of the tree, the worker strung rope around the treetop, and then cut the trunk so that it fell, but didn’t crash to the ground, Instead it dangled from the rope, and they were able to lower it to the ground in a controlled way. The worker then started cutting a foot or two of the trunk off and dropping it to the ground, and in that way started gradually descending the tree.

I was surprised that none of these men used masks of any sort, even though sawdust and other particulate matter filled the air. Neither did they use ear protection, though the saws were deafening. I wonder if they will regret it when they get older? I wish some of these companies would insist on those kinds of safety precautions!

Pictures Sans Cypresses

March 2, 2012

Here are the pictures of the front yard without the Cypresses. As a whole, the house looks so much more “balanced” without these huge tall trees at the corners of the garage, towering over the house. As a design statement, those trees said “No matter how nice your garden, I will make your house look stupid. Ha ha!”

But their absence does leave some gaps! I will probably (but not necessarily) wait until fall to fill them in.