Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Making inroads with the home gardens

A couple years ago, while trying to maximize use of space in my genus garden, I accidentally removed the bulbs of a few beautiful purple crocus and three or four lavender and pink hyacinth plants. I was left with a solitary white crocus from the original bulb planting.

Last week, I cleared out the last crocus plant and transplanted it into the circular garden in the middle of the backyard, where it joined well-established tulips (a pastel orange color, highlighted by stripes of purple). To the circular garden, I also added several new purple crocus plants (such as the those shown in the photo leading off the post) and a couple yellow daffodils, deciding to make that garden one of predominantly spring bulbs since those blooms go away just about the time blooms flower on the the red bud tree in the garden's center. We also put some lavender hyacinth and yellow tulips into the front garden.

The new plantings in the backyard, which gets more sun than the front, have already bloomed; foliage for the tulips and transplanted crocus there are up, so blooms from those should be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

The transplanting enabled me to convert the entire genus garden to one of vegetables and strawberries. That garden has plantings of various forms of lettuce and some broccoli, and in a yet another nearby bed, one I refer to as my cucumber garden, there are broccoli, cauliflower and some cabbage. I'll put cucumbers in there once the spring plantings mature.

Speaking of transplants, for several years I've wanted to break up and transplant four well-established plants in separate gardens in the backyard -- the two day lilies in my genus garden (one of which had become surrounded by my sprawling strawberries) and the two sedum plants that served as bookends to my rear backyard fence line bed for about six years now.

The sedum have gotten huge ... and for the past three years, then have been been dwarfed by adjacent Henry's Garnet bushes. So I decided to give the bushes a bit more room to expand -- and me a better opportunity to keep them in check before the branches extend outside the garden boundaries.

I broke up all four plants and relocated them in two rows to a heretofore undeveloped patch of grass outside the back fence line facing the alley. It'll be interesting to see in the years ahead how well they do there ... and how (or even if) they spruce up the alley landscape as I had envisioned. I filled the lily spots in the genus garden with broccoli plants, short-term uses. The holes left by the sedum plants are unfilled at this time.

Photo geek stuff: I shot everything for this post with my Canon 6D equipped with a Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. I set the camera at 100 ISO and switched between f/5.6 and f/8, with the shutter set at 1/400. Ordinarily I like to stop another stop or two (i.e., f/8 or f/11) for floral closeups, but I was in an exploratory mood ... and decided to see what a little shallower depth of field would render.

Above: A perspective shot of the circular garden, with the new crocus and daffodils already in bloom. Foliage for the orange tulips is showing. The tree trunk belongs to the red bud, which I allowed to grow from seed dropped into the yard from a next-door neighbor's tree, which is no longer there. 

Above and below: Two more closeups of the new crocus.

Above: A closeup of one of the daffodils. 

Above and below: Looks at the genus garden, showing some of the strawberry foliage in the foreground in both photos and new lettuce plants in the background. The dirt adjacent to the pot in the photo above is where one of the day lilies used to be. A couple broccoli plants are there now. 

Above: Foliage and blooms from a plant that had started in my neighbor's yard on the other side of the property line fence found its way on my side. The blooms were pretty enough last year that I decided to see what it would bring this year.

Above: The start of one this year's large-petaled Asiatic lilies in the same bed as the spillover plant immediately above. 

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