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Garden Craze

It’s hard to believe that our garden began with a decision to buy a bird feeder to hang in our backyard to attract entertainment for our two cats. We created two bird-loving felines and then somehow the obsession to remove grass and put in flower beds led to our wonderful, colorful, wing-filled backyard. Here’s the history of my “Garden Craze”…

May 2006 Craze

Thanks to my good friend Wendy, I was hibiscus-obsessed this month, and after a long debate between a bush and a tree, this is the first flower bed to be added to our backyard. It’s funny to remember how long it took to pull the grass for this bed…I’ve gotten a lot more efficient over the past year!

Red hibiscus and yellow marigoldies

Red hibiscus and yellow marigoldies

I liked my little hibiscus so much that I decided to make a flower bed around the bay window. I’d been dreaming of doing so since we built the house, but the thought of pulling all the grass was daunting. I did it, though, and then Rich and I made our first trip to Lukas Nursery to find the plants. A crape myrtle to shade the window in summer, some pretty Mexican petunias, and the first of my roses.

Bay window bed

Bay window bed

June 2006 Craze

Inspired by my beautiful flowers around the bay window, I decided to implement another dream I’d had since buying the house: planting a “living fence” hedge around the backyard. I decided on viburnum (suspensum, not odoratissum) and then got busy digging. It actually only took a long weekend…but the neighbors thought we had taken a week off from work to complete it!

Viburnum around backyard

Viburnum around backyard

July 2006 Craze

Rich kept teasing me about going garden crazy, but HE was the one to suggest adding a vegetable garden during our Fourth of July vacation. I didn’t object, though! After a fight with a stubborn tree trunk, we cleared this area and planted some herbs and vege seeds. Catnip, anyone?

Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden

Then I went to Lukas to get another rose to put around the bay window. But who can go to Lukas and buy only a single rose? I discovered their butterfly gardening section and came home with plants to transform our front flowerbeds into a butterfly garden. Butterfly bush, Bush daisies, red pentas…I was very pleased with the result!

Front flowerbed

Front flowerbed

August 2006 Craze

Early in August I saw some hummingbird moths drinking nectar from the red pentas in my front flowerbeds. I mistook them for hummingbirds and started my hummingbird obsession. I decided I couldn’t wait till spring to add more flowers to the backyard, and cleared a nice big area in the back left for some hummingbird plants. After a trip to Lukas, I made the area even bigger! Another butterfly bush, some hummingbird bushes, a spicy jahtropha bush, some milkweed (for the monarchs), angelonia, lantana (a weed, I know, but the butterflies love it!), torrenia…anybirdy thirsty for nectar?

Hummingbird Bed 1

Hummingbird Bed 1

Annoyed with the boring little lone azalea on the right side of our driveway, I got some pink hibiscus and some purple groundcover Mexican petunias to brighten the area up. I added a bottlebrush someday-to-be-tree for the hummingbirds, a clump of red impatiens with a hummingbird feeder further back (not pictured), and now I’m much happier with the side yard!

Side yard

Side yard

September 2006 Craze

Roses, roses, roses…I couldn’t wait any longer to add more roses to the yard! After all, it’s just as easy to care for one bush or a dozen, right? So I found myself a Double Delight, a Chrystler Imperial, and a Gemini (all hybrid tea roses). They add some nice color to the back of the yard. :)

Backyard roses

Backyard roses

The obsession with attracting hummingbirds continued…probably fueled by some of the pretty butterflies that were starting to visit our yard on a daily basis. So I dug more grass and moved more sprinklers, made another trip to Lukas, and the second backyard hummingbird bed was created. :) This one contains cape honeysuckle, porterweed, more milkweed, a third butterfly bush, Indigo Spires salvia, a shrimp plant, and more red pentas.

Note: As of January 2007 I’ve yet to see a hummingbird…I know they are in the area, though, from this GardenWeb discussion, and I’m hoping to see one soon!

Hummingbird bed 2

Hummingbird bed 2

October/November 2006 Craze

Perhaps our craziest yard change yet…we finally decided to add a screen room to the back of our house. We spent several weekends in October re-routing the sprinklers away from the screen room area. While we were at it, we cleared room for plenty of flowers around the porch. After the porch was done, I couldn’t resist filling the beds with annuals (and a few perennials), planning that I’d add some more permanent plants in the spring.

Porch flowerbed

Porch flowerbed

December 2006 Craze

December is a really good month in Florida for pulling grass! My neighbor planted a flower bed bordering our yard, and we decided together to pull some more grass to make it easier for us both to mow. So I spent several days removing more grass…it’s very sad to pull grass and not be able to immediately plant flowers, knowing that freezes are often unexpected!

Porch flowerbed extended on side

Porch flowerbed extended on side

January 2007 Craze

…and the grass pulling continues! I prepared another bed for roses, and transplanted my Queen Elizabeth there.

I also connected two existing beds to make a long narrow bed of flowers up the left side of the backyard. Since this will basically be an extension of my neighbor’s bed, we’re both excited to see how this will look in a few months. I’m thinking of putting in some lantana here, and transplanting a few other plants that I spaced too closely in other beds. Probably the porterweed, the cigar plant, and maybe a hummingbird bush. Spring, hurry!

Left side of backyard.all flowers!

Left side of backyard.all flowers!

February 2007 Craze

The February craze was the planting of the “Carla Extension Bed.” My neighbor had planted some flowers on her edge of the property line, so of course I had to plant some on mine, too! I put in some lantana for the butterflies, transplanted a hummingbird bird to hide behind the bird feeder, and added some annual butterfly nectar plants.

Carla Extension Bed

Carla Extension Bed

March 2007 Craze

Roses! After several disappointing trips to Lukas when they didn’t have the roses I was looking for, I ordered five floribunda roses from Jackson and Perkins. This is the first time I’ve ordered bareroot plants from a mail order company, and I’m excited to see the roses leaf out and start to bloom. They are going to be gorgeous!!

Roses!

Roses!

The last weekend in March I went really crazy. After one trip to Lukas I created two new beds and started a third. I guess that’s what happens when one dreams of spring for several long months of winter! So here’s the new bed in the front (designed to facilitate mowing, but definitely a good excuse for flowers!)…

New bed in front

New bed in front

…and here’s the new bed on the side of the porch, also designed to facilitate mowing (but who can resist a few zinnias to make a border?)

New bed on side

New bed on side

April 2007 Craze

The craze continues…this month we continued to pull grass in an attempt to make it easier to mow. I put two holly trees in the side yard for the mockingbirds, and put the hydrangeas in between them. Hopefully I’ve finally found a shady enough place for them to grow.

Side yard with no grass!

Side yard with no grass!

Rich thought I was crazy when we finished pulling grass in the side yard, and I immediately went to the front yard and started laying out this bed! Within twenty-four hours I had this all done. I’m excited to get more color in the front yard.

New bed in front of sidewalk

New bed in front of sidewalk

May 2007 Craze

We celebrate one year of garden craze this month by extending the rose bed in the far back of the yard. (What was Rich thinking when he offered to take me to Lukas after a bad week at work!?) The new additions are St. Patrick, Memorial Day, Peace, and Pope John Paul II (all hybrid teas). Hopefully they will bloom well!

Extended rosebed in back

Extended rosebed in back

I also added a mandevilla vine and some daylilies to the bed immediately outside the back door. It was a big debate between a mandevilla and a climbing rose, but the mandevilla won out when I remembered that the hummingbirds like the red flowers. I hope Ruby comes back soon!

Mandevilla and Rambo daylilies added to bed

Mandevilla and Rambo daylilies added to bed