Monday, April 4, 2011

Maybe I'll Make Some Tea...

Yep! I'm still procrastinating on the backyard. However, I think we all can agree that the front yard is more important. So let's just ignore the back for a while, shall we?

I haven't put up a picture of the front of the house yet, so here she is, in all of her 920 sq. foot glory!
(I am dying to paint the exterior, btdubs.) This picture was snapped a year ago, when we put our house on the market. At the time, I randomly planted some flowers and shrubs from Lowe's and kept my fingers crossed that they'd survive until someone else moved in.

As it turns out, we decided to stay. And even though our house may be small, I love living here. So we're working with what we've got, as they say.

And believe it or not, I actually kept A-L-L of those plants alive until about December. And then, I'm not really sure what happened. My watering schedule started to wane, but I also found some grub worms in my soil, and then it also could have been the neighborhood cats, who are, much to my chagrin, privy to relieving themselves in our flower bed. For those of you wondering why I never planted a vegetable garden, now you know. :)

Back to the present, here is what the front looked like on Friday afternoon:

Not much left, except for the Japanese boxwoods and rosemary (which is completely un-killable in Texas).

Saturday morning, I took a trip to the plant store and came back with my loot:

I tried to go for lots of color, as well as varying heights and widths. Everything pictured is Texas native, low water (once established), and perennial (which means it's supposed to come back every year, if I do my job right).

Step One! Prepare the soil (you're supposed to do this about 2-3 weeks before planting, but the plant store expert assured me that I'd be ok).

First, I removed all the dead plants and pulled back the mulch. Then I tilled the old soil. And finally, I combined one part organic compost with one part topsoil and tilled the mixture into my old soil. Oh yeah, and then I watered the beds to prevent shock.

Where did all the boxwood shrubs go? They're in the process of being reassigned to the backyard. [Insert wild-eyed gaze here.]

Step Two! Plant the plants!

Little E helped decide where they should be placed. She was very curious throughout the process and kept checking-up on me. She did not, at all, enjoy the smell of the compost. It's an acquired smell, I suppose.

See that pretty little blooming tree thingy? That's a hibiscus! I'd love to make some hibiscus mint tea - doesn't that sound amazing?!? I'm not at all sure if this is the right variety of hibiscus, but I've got my fingers crossed!

And Step Three! I put down chicken wire:

Whaaa? But, why? Remember earlier, when I hinted at there being a cat problem? Apparently, cats don't like chicken wire because it prevents them from scratching and digging in the dirt.

The plant store expert also advised that I wait to mulch for another 2-4 weeks. Apparently mulch takes the nutrients out of the soil! Who knew? However, I'm hoping that a thin layer of mulch will neatly hide the chicken wire without enticing the cats back over. I'll keep you posted!


  1. Looks great! Doesn't it feel great to dig in the dirt?

  2. Looks AH-MA-ZING Butterfield!! Love love love the hibiscus. And the chicken wire? Genius!

  3. Y'all are too nice! I hope they live!!!

  4. Update: No evidence of cat activity, to date!

  5. OK, it's been a few months. How are things doing and are those pesky cats staying away?

  6. Believe it or not, the chicken wire is actually working! We have had greatly reduced cat activity. The trick is that you can't have a very thick layer of mulch on top. Pesky, when you consider just how dry the Austin weather is.