When old man winter visits with gusto and leaves a garden bleak and weary it is perfectly legitimate for the gardener to scurry off to the garden center for some colorful fillers.
With bright spots in mind to take the place of dull and dreary; winter blooming flowers will help grab our attention and keep us from staring at so much brittle-brown that dominates the garden otherwise.
But before we start planting there is some prep work to begin. You may remember the mention of measurements and stakes being hammered by the little one and helpers removing lawn grass.
It's a project I've had in mind for a few seasons. An area of grass I knew I wanted to remove eventually. There were design ideas to make it happen floating around in my head for a couple of years. The tropical pathway created last fall melded right into thoughts of this new space.
Then I saw a photo over at my friend Freda Cameron's blog, Defining Your Home Garden and Travel. The instant I scrolled through to it in her post, it all came together in my vision.
New Adirondack chairs had already been ordered in November.
I knew immediately what I could do to make my own space work for me.
With Cameron's permission, it became my inspiration photo.
What struck me initially was the circular brick surround and walkway. The circular brick being what I had envisioned for MY space but cost prohibitive at this time.
Now don't get too excited over those amazing flowers. It isn't the cottagy blooms that came to mind to duplicate. Although they would be glorious.
It was simply seeing that container garden in the midst of a circular design that confirmed to me how my area could work for what I had in mind and within my budget.
A sort of "design on a dime" version.
Getting started we find the center of the space and measure the area where the container would be situated. The container I had picked out is 39" wide and 18" deep. Then we measured out from the center to form the circle 6' in depth in every direction.
All of this was done prior to the hired man power showing up to take out the grass. Using a hose to lay out the outer boundary and then spray paint on the grass marked the outer limits.
With a machine like this handy for sod removal ~~grass could become endangered around here.
The tree is gone (far right side of photo), the grass is gone and the new container is put in place and leveled. And the man power is gone.
When thinking about a substitute for bricks laid so perfectly surrounding the circle and simultaneoulsy directing footsteps to adjoining pathways and seating areas it dictates that all materials used and plantings chosen will necessarily need to keep a low profile.
The grassy area above is the summertime view of that grassy area just removed; a time when garden life is brimming and overflowing. This image (August 2009) not only helps me remember the garden will return but it probably tells a better story of why the centered design must be kept low-lying. (Scrolling down to the very bottom of this blog you can view more photos of this area when grass dominated the landscape).
In lieu of bricks, I'll create my pathway in keeping with the tropical pathway this area feeds into on the far side.
Bales of pinestraw are purchased locally and easily spread for a naturalistic setting.
Keeping in mind ample passage space for carts and wheelbarrows consideration was given for enough room when measuring for the pathway. Placing the pine straw on the outside of the perimeter allows for passage on every side of the planted circle. I'll appreciate also keeping 18" out beyond the container cleared for re-planting and watering access.
Asiatic jasmine is a wonderfully versatile ground cover already in use in a few other locations around Hoe and Shovel. Trachelospermum asiaticum, Asiatic or sometimes called Asian Jasmine has a prostrate, dense growth and will eventually blanket the ground, forming a thick mat of shiny evergreen leaves. Remarkably, it does well in sun or shade. It is cold hardy below freezing and happy in our summer humidity.
This view of its usage in the front lawn gives you an idea of how it joins together carpeting the planted area. This cover is not especially fast growing but given some warmth and time it fills in nicely.
Once the 36 jasmine were planted a yard of pine fines was used to fill in as mulch between the plants.
Now for the fun and color. It's time to put some pretties in the big pot. A few were purchased but several are from cuttings and rootings. Shown here: Euphorbia leucocephala 'Silver Fog' (purchased)and english ivy (rooted from cuttings).
Other plants: Flax lily, lobelia, vinca, and violas (purchased); Iresine blood leaf, red penta, devil's backbone (from cuttings).
I used some left over grey cobblestone pavers for the base under my pot instead of rocks like in the designer version photo.
I'm still debating about whether to paint the new Adirondack chairs a bright color or leave the Cedar wood to age naturally which is the look I am partial to. Any thoughts?
By replacing the grass with plantings, this new area becomes the hub and connection point of four separate planting beds in the back garden. It will be a walk-through between them as well as a seating area and focal point located beyond the pool and screened lanai.
Patience is needed for the end result. It may prove necessary to buy more jasmine when they become available. I wiped out the garden center with this initial purchase. But it's a good start.
I do hope your gardening days arrive soon if they haven't already. We have more projects underway and more plants waiting to go into the ground. I bought my first-ever peach tree and the blooms are enough to swoon over. Stay tuned. Meems
Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.