March 1, 2010

Trying to get a head start

Monday, March 01, 2010 Posted by Ryan , , , No comments
You know it's finally spring when Costco has the spring bulb packages for sale. Actually a mix of bulbs and dormant perrenial plants. I couldn't help myself, I had to buy some this year even though my purchase last year was a failure. The double-decker coneflowers that I planted in the front never came up. I think the plants went bad sitting inside while I waited for the weather to warm up sufficiently. Obviously I waited too long, and I think the hallway was probably too warm. I overcompensated last year by seeding regular purple cone flowers over the top of my plants and some of those did come up so I'll still have some this year. I really want some white cone flowers, and almost bought some at Costco last night, but I held off. Partially because I didn't want the other plants in the mixed selection bag, and because I have a neighbor/friend who has a really big white coneflower and said I could have some. Free plants are best. I really hope that starting this year I might have enough established plants to start offering something in trade. Everything looks so barren still, but I know it's filling out. And, I should be getting some of that third-year growth spirt on some of the plants.

It may seem crazy but one of my new plants is a seedum. Normally I wouldn't buy these because they are so easy to divide and get from someone else's yard (like my mother's) but this one is new and exciting. It's a new variety called Elsie's Gold and is really similar to the Autumn Joy, but has variegated leaves. I think I'll plant all the little plants in the package, and once they come up and look established, I'll give away half of them. I don't need 10 plants, but 5 or so will help fill in some gaps (like the one left after the plant theft of '09). I love how low maintenance they are and they're one of the few things in the front left standing after the first freeze. This winter's super early hard freeze actually did bad things to everything including the autumn joy seedum, but that is rare.

With the mild winter we have been having on the west coast - which is only fair after the 93+ of snow last year - I've already been out and pruned and started weeding the yard. There were still some frozen patches, I though they were just rocks at first, but I got a good head start. Of course when I say "I" I mean that I was out there, but had some help from my family last weekend too.

2010 Plans for the outdoors:


Put in gravel pathway across front yard.

Plant more groundcover along front path and driveway.

Till parking strip, remove lots-o-rocks, replant w/ ? (the vinca vine is doing okay, but I"m impatient. If it was all filled in I think I'd be happy but there is still too much room for the weeds.


Finish fence on south side of yard.

Rototill the entire back yard.

Install patio, pathway, planting beds according to plan.

Seed lawn area w/ drought tolerant no-mow grass. (You stil have to mow it 1-2 times a year to eliminate the seed heads in mid-summer.)

Plant vegetable garden.


Build chicken coop.

Build garden fence.

Remove concrete back steps / re orient and re build wood steps.

Build fence on n. side of yard.

Spring hasn't even started yet, but I look at my list of plans and feel overwhelmed, and behind schedule.