Saturday, July 2, 2016

A River Ran Through It


I may have mentioned this in previous posts, we live on a slope. The front of the house faces the higher ground and the back empties out to the lake. The front street level elevation is about 485 feet above sea level, the lake is 439 feet above sea level....and the lot is just under 400 feet street to lake. Water finds its way through the grass and gardens, sometimes making new pathways. This past winter we had a few heavy rains that caused some washout in the gardens.  You can see through the screen from the porch that there was a river rushing through the back garden. 

Here is another view- a bit lower in the yard. It looks like a lake above the lake. 


Washout through the garden was becoming a large problem. Plants didn't have a chance in this gully washer.  Over the years we had placed some larger boulders to divert the water but something more needed to be done.


A few of the garden bloggers visited last summer and we chatted about solutions. One idea was a dry creek bed...something I had pondered over the years but wasn't sure size or path. Well, after this past winter's rains, we decided to do it. 
We had moved enough rock in the garden to know we didn't want to do it ourselves....we are no spring chickens and like I said earlier, we live on a slope. We contacted the folks, Wyatt Farms, who did our landscaping/irrigation/garden prep when we built. We talked with Wyatt and he came up with a sketch and a plan and a date was set.
My first job was to remove any plants that were in the pathway of the new dry creek bed. A few small clumps of Calla lily and Gladiolus didn't seem like much until I needed to find new homes for them. Right now they look a little sad after being transplanted. We are now in drought conditions and it is July in South Carolina....warm hot weather prevails. 
Below is a before photo. The blue square box is the irrigation manifold box. It couldn't be moved. In the grass you see thin grass and some flat rocks/ stepping stones as it gets soggy right there.  My Japanese maple needed to be protected. It was a narrow spot for the dry creek bed to begin.

Many seedlings of Blackberry lilies were sacrificed for the cause.  


Another wide view of before-


Big equipment (well, bigger than me and a shovel) was brought in and digging commenced.


The pathway was divided into pathway and dry creek bed. The creek bed is a little wider than it would have been if I had been doing the digging. The hole/trench is about three to four feet wide and roughly two to three feet deep. 


At the top of the garden two trenches were dug to hold a french drain pipe. The pipe would then feed into the dry creek bed. 


We have a french drain around the front of the house that empties to this spot in the grass. With our clay soil, the water didn't drain so grass was weak and the soil soggy. 


The river rocks were delivered, looked like a giant pile of baked potatoes.


Before the rocks were placed, the black landscape fabric was pinned into place. 



Oh to have a Bobcat as a tool in my garden....dreaming dreaming.....from the front scoop they wheelbarrowed the rocks to the right place. 


The guys placing and cutting the french drain pipe in place. It is a black plastic pipe with holes all around the circumference of the pipe then encased with a mesh fabric.


ROCKS IN PLACE! My larger boulders already in the garden were used as accent rocks in the creek bed. Luckily I had a lot for them to use. 


Sod was the final step in the process. We had laid two pallets of grass last month and it took three of us a good couple hours to get it done. These guys were done in no time. 


Finished product from the deck- 



And from the lower part of the garden. I love it. Now if we would get some rain, it can get tested.  I spent yesterday moving a few plants along the edge. I also had to move some of the existing rocks that lined my pathway for the mower to get to the lower part of yard. Since we decided to have the rocks go across the grass, the path to the rest of the yard was cut off.  I only needed to move about twenty feet of flat rocks over about two feet so the mower could go down the path. I will put more plants around the edges as time goes on to give it a more natural look. 


Our next task is a load of mulch. Luckily we have two kids coming to visit! 

©Copyright 2016 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lovely Olivia

Olivia Rose


I wanted to share some photos of one of my recent additions to the garden. You may remember the rose give-away  I hosted this winter. I won five roses from one of our sponsors for the Garden Blogger Fling, David Austin Roses. I chose two roses for myself and offered up three to my readers. I had a wonderful liaison to work with from David Austin, Sally Ferguson. Thanks Sally!






Since I live in South Carolina, my bare-rooted roses arrived March 10th, earlier than those who live further north. I had a nice new container for 'Olivia' Rose and a spot chosen for 'Lady of the Lake'. Both are doing well. 'Olivia' is a little bit ahead of 'Lady of the Lake' and I needed to share some photos.  Both are new David Austin introductions this year. 'Olivia' is perfect for a container, disease resistant, repeat bloomer and wonderfully fragrant.


Isn't she the most delicate shade of pink? Such a pale pink. 


This rose will grow to approximately 3 1/2  feet by 3 feet. (as long as the deer leave it alone) 


Slowly, these pretty petals unfurl, opening a little more every hour, revealing more and more petals. Its fragrance is lovely, to me it is an old fashioned rose fragrance...but I am not a rose official. I just know this sweet rose's fragrance is just what a rose should be. 


I can't wait for more blooms to open, its fragrance drifts on the breeze as you walk up the driveway.


As for 'Lady of the Lake', she is full of buds. a rambler, poised to grow over an old iron railing. I can't wait to see her blooms as well.


Thinking about roses for your garden? I have to say that I am enjoying my 'Janet' rose and now 'Olivia' and looking forward to 'Lady of the Lake'. David Austin roses are lushish. 



©Copyright 2016 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Casual Observations While Getting My 10,000 In, Winter Walk-off 2016

Skyler and Newton
Every year about this time, my friend Les hosts a Winter Walk-off. To participate in the Walk-off you need only your two feet and camera. The rules are simple- don't photograph your garden/yard and travel by foot. 
I have participated every year, last year I won the drawing! I will bow out of the drawing for this year, but still wanted to play along. Each year I have had my four legged friends accompanying me. Sadly we lost our sweet Newtie this year, so I only have one dog, Skyler. Charlie and I have been walking since the end of November, more religiously since the end of December. 

Charlie 

Our neighborhood is five miles from end to end and so far there are less than 50 houses built. Much of what we see along the way are blackberry brambles and grasses. We also have a rollercoaster-esk road. The elevations range from 440 feet above sea level at the lake to 550 feet or more. Some hills are harder to climb than others! 

My initial goal was 10,000 steps and I have increased it to 11,000 recently. We got Fitbits for Christmas and have become obsessed with how many more steps we need.  The only thing I needed to do for the Walk-off was to remember my camera! We only take Skyler on part of the walk, he does about 2 miles. 

So, on with the walk.... 




Ours is a Hickory-Oak forest, bordered by a Pine forest that is harvested by the paper companies. From the road to the lake is more Hickory-Oak, sprinkled with pines. Native trees such as Beech, Fagus grandifolia, show off their Marcescent leaves deep into the forest. (Leaves that remain through the winter) It wasn't until the first winter here that I knew for certain how many beech were in our woods. 



Another tree that stands out in the winter landscape is Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis.  With its white mottled bark, this tree shines in the forest. This one still has its seedpods, looking like upside down lollipops. 

We first saw this hornet's nest in November. A couple days ago I noticed a Hummingbird's nest on the next tree. Sadly, didn't have my camera with me on that walk. 




Our quiet neighborhood is growing, this is the most recent lot to have building started. Here is the utilities guy marking the electric and phone lines.




If you keep your eyes open while you are walking you will see all sorts of interesting items. Not sure whose nest this might have been last year. It is nestled in the blackberry brambles, food at their front door?


I noticed that the color on the Eastern Red Cedars, Juniperus virginiana was changing, the flowers are getting ready to explode with their pollen going all over.  The dark green foliage is overtaken by the golden male blooms. 


Speaking of keeping your eyes open--- I saw this item after walking this direction for almost a month. Do you see it in the photo below? Look closely--- near the © symbol.


How about now? A mysterious round hole. No idea who lives in this hole, if anything. The hole is very round, about  6- 8 inches in diameter. I would love to move my trail camera to this location to see if I could capture on film something coming in or going out of this hole. Sadly there doesn't seem to be a good place to anchor the camera, (yes I know, I could take a post to mount the camera) but remember those brambles I keep mentioning? There is a thick stand of them between the road and the hole. Any guesses?


Not too far from the hole is a nice stand of deciduous holly. I would guess it to be Possumhaw,  Ilex decidua,  but I don't know for sure. Love the bold red berries! 



Before you leave, give a listen to our noisy neighborhood. You can tell spring is in the air!



Skyler is glad the walk is over, he is ready for a drink of water and a rest.



Be sure to check out the other Winter Walk-off posts. Visit A Tidewater Gardener.


 ©Copyright 2016 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.