My front yard is tiny, and for that, I’m seriously thankful. Most of the front lawn is made of St. Augustine grass, and I’m grateful for that as well.
St. Augustine often gets a bad rap for being a water guzzler grass, but here in East Texas we get significantly more rain (12 inches/30 cm) than central Texas where I’d originally heard St. Augustine maligned. Frankly, I’ve not watered or fertilized my St. Augustine in two years, and it continues to thrive. My St. Augustine grows in the shade of two old oaks, but where the shade ends, so does the St. Augustine. In the approximate 12 ft x 15 ft patch of front yard sun, there is a mix of Bahia grass with a little bit of Bermuda grass thrown in for fun.
Until I moved here, I’d never encountered Bahia grass. From what I’ve seen of it, I’m not enamored.
Bahia grass photographed against my neighbor’s sidewalk. It’s the three strands of TALL grass.
Although Bahai grass is drought tolerant, which is almost a necessity in Texas, it’s also coarse and grows extremely tall very quickly. Suffice to say you mow it and three days later, it needs mowing again, unlike St. Augustine which takes its sweet time to get tall.
Why am I telling you this? Recently, I decided the Bahia grass had to go so I’ve created a lasagna layered bed to replace it. The progress, however, has been slow for a variety reasons:
- I needed enough cardboard to cover the grass, and it’s taken time to find what I needed.
- I decided I didn’t want to invest a lot of money and energy in this bed, plus I wanted to use easy-to-grow plants so I’ve shopped one of the Big Box stores for a few weeks looking at their $1-$3 discount plant rack. (Planting in July is always dicey here in terms of plant survival. If I lose a $3 plant, it’s not such a big deal.)
- I have a large blister on the pad of my foot so I’ve been off my feet reading old Stephen King novels. (Currently, I’m reading Misery, which in a small blistery way, helps me to better relate to the protagonist in the story.)
- It’s 90-94 degree Fahrenheit (32-34 degrees Celsius) outside, and this area gets full sun 24/7. I don’t want to be out there for long periods.
From the discount plant rack, I’ve purchased & planted five Salvia greggii (cherry sage), three coreopsis, six Scabiosa columbaria (pin cushion flowers) and one Sedum “Autumn Joy’ in this bed. Sadly, the Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susans) I purchased all died from a fungus they came home with. I got my money back.
I will to continue to make trips to the discount rack over the next few weeks until the bed is full. From my home stash of plants, I’ve planted three garlic chives here as well.
Bed in progress. The large shrub is Texas Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens). It gets lovely purple blooms every so often throughout the spring and summer. The Cenizo could use some shaping.
This front bed is far from finished. It needs more mulch, plus I plan to edge it with some old bricks I have lying around. I’m not one to hold back.–The bed is not pretty, but maybe at some point it will be. It makes me happy simply to know I won’t have to mow that *&!!@ Bahia grass anymore.
And finally, excitement for me came last week with the building of the gated arbor in the backyard. I’m pleased with the outcome, but am still working on the area, which is in flux.
New gated arbor with old gate. The potted plants in front of the posts are temporary.
View from the backside.
The gate needs a new latch so I’ve been looking for one.
The construction of the arbor has me thinking of the following: Which potted plants should go by the posts? Which tallish shrubs should I plant to either side of the arbor?—They need to take some shade. I also need to strip and repaint the gate. I need to hang a lantern…and there’s more.
I’ve not planted the star jasmine on the arbor yet. Instead, I sprinkled the area where it will go with a lot of homemade compost and then let the rain soak it in.
This is the view from inside the arbor looking out to where the rock path will go. All of that red soil is the subsoil the contractor threw out to make holes for the arbor’s posts. You get the honor of seeing all of this in its “before” state.
The long-range plan is to make a river rock path from the arbor to my other new planting area and to plant bulbs on either side of this path, but it’s all gonna’ take some time!
Wish me luck, and now back to foot soaks and reading Misery.