Summer Blooms Continue into Fall Blooms
Labor Day has come and gone and we’re in the last gasps of summer. We did extensive planting in our landscape beds this year and enjoyed the summer blooms which I’m so happy to see have turned into fall blooms! When we moved into the new house in June of 2015, we had our front yard sodded and the landscape beds carved out. That was the extent of our exterior design. It was ok, because we filled the beds with a clean black mulch that gave the yard a nice neat look. This made a great backdrop for our Halloween decorations!
We also had beautiful vignette Thanksgiving decor in the beds through November. I have no idea why I don’t have pics in daylight, but you get the idea.
Springtime brought on actual landscaping! We knew that we didn’t want a formal landscape plan with sculptured shrubs and such. Our plan was to have a more natural look; randomly organized. Yeah, um that’s a thing… randomly organized. This meant that we spaced the shrubs evenly; flowers, and other ground cover also. But, we chose plants that look great without having to prune them into exact shapes. We chose shrubs that would flower in the spring, others that take off in summer, and now heading into fall, we happily also have those fall blooms.
Prepping for planting
We have the absolute worst soil you can imagine. Folks just call it “gumbo,” which is a mix of some dirt and mostly black sticky clay. We knew we couldn’t expect to have successful plants by just sticking things in this environment. After researching each shrub and tree, we had several soil mixes that we created. The Mean Man used a pick ax to break up the soil so it could be shoveled out. I would, in turn, scrape the mud off of the shovel so it could go back into the muck. Then, as he placed each plant, I handed him bucket after bucket of the prepared soil mixed to fill in the holes. This process took us several weeks to finish.
For the gardenia shrubs (we planted 15) we did a mix of garden and organic mix soil, compost, and peat moss because they thrive in a more acidic soil. The Abelias (we planted 20) got the mix minus the peat. Our our two azaleas got the acidic mix along with the two Chinese Snowballs shrubs. We flanked our tall fountain, birdbath, and magnolia tree with Red Fountain Grass (which we didn’t realize isn’t perennial) so they’ll have to come up at some point when they die off. There is an olive tree just before the Teddy Bear Magnolia on the south end of the house. Dwarf Mexican Petunias round out the design as border edging along the entire length of the beds. These are absolutely lovely pink and purple blooms that have just exploded!
The azaleas bloomed in early spring and to my surprise, again in the past few weeks. I believe there are more big and lovely blooms now than when they first bloomed. Our Chinese Snowball has also started to bloom again. A potted hibiscus tree sits next to our Texas star bench and a lovely pot of pink and green caladiums fill a “Welcome” planter. I grew these from bulbs and am so happy at how full and beautifully they turned out. Cannas were also in the mix, or at least we wanted them to be. We planted about 16 canna bulbs but only two managed to come up out of the ground.
While it was a grueling process, I love the results. In the spring, the entire area around the front of the house was filled with the lovely fragrance of the gardenias. Everyone who walked up to the house were amazed at wonderful scent. We are still trying to figure a few things out as far as how we need to prune the Abelias. Truly this is just the infant stage of the landscaping, I know the look will change as all of the plants begin to mature. The style in which we planted lends itself to a more natural looking growth that is low maintenance. A little fertilizer every few weeks and a consistent watering schedule is working really well (along with pulling stray weeds and grass every few weeks). Fall in Texas is always a wonderful time, these fall blooms are just making it lovelier.