Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Retaining Wall Project

I am finally getting to finish up this new flower bed. After we went to the folks last month, J did some dirt work on the corner of the yard where we put a new rock retaining wall. When we moved in 12 years ago, the yard was just nasty grass, except where the grass took a very steep plummet to the driveway. Nothing would grow there, ABSOLUTELY nothing. And believe me I tried--grass seeds and groundcovers and more grass seeds. The water just ran off the slope, not even looking back.

So we added one rock retaining wall several years ago,

then a second,

And a third part created from some old railroad ties to add on to the existing. Finally this year completing the last section with rocks from our last load.

Each section has had dirt work to decrease the incline and add surface area for plantings. J has essentially scraped the bottom of the slope off with his little 'ole tractor, and then backfilled dirt in for me after the rocks were in place. Then I spread the dirt piles around, getting the dirt settled against the "wall." This new sloped garden is anchored on the corner by 2 varieties of butterfly bushes, planted in memory of my grandfather a couple years ago (my employer has sent me gift certificates to our local plant retailer after the passing of 3 of my grandparents over the last few years. I have enjoyed being able to plant something that will live on in their memory instead of fresh flowers whose days are limited.) To this new section I added some plants divided from my other gardens. I put two clumps of a tall shasta daisy, a clump of pink yarrow (achillea), a couple clumps of a pink day lily I rescued from the new herb garden (barely seen clear in the back of this picture to the left of the back door--the old herb garden is still on the right side of the door--now I have 2 small ones!), a clump of stella d'orro day lily moved completely from another location, and about 4 clumps of some fall blooming mums that were happily reseeding themselves everywhere!! To that I added some tall orange snapdragons, and two groundcover plants, blue flax and purple robe rockfoil--all of which I bought from the local nursery. I've been wanting to try some more varieties of lavender, so I had ordered some from Roots and Rhizomes when I ordered my replacement plant for the daisy that died from my collection last year. (because it would have been RIDICULOUS for them to ship that ONE, teeny, tiny plant in that GREAT big box--I'm always thinkin'). I decided when they came in, that I would add them to this bed instead of the one they were purchased for. I have Lavender "Anouk", "Silver Anouk" and "Grosso." I also bought a white perennial phlox "David," (for bouqets) and an agastache "Blue Adder" from the same place. Dev and I sprinkled zinnia seeds amongst the plantings (pure white, hot pink, and a purple)--they seem to be germinating. Finally last week, I added little peat pots of some black-eyed susans and purple coneflower that I started from seed in the greenhouse. They are still very tiny, but should take off soon and will bloom next summer.
I even put a little rock path up to the electricity meter (then was informed by J that they no longer READ my meter, a little gadget in the sky does it--oh well, the path is cute anyway!)

Finally, finally, FINALLY last night about 8:00 I ran outside and mulched stuff in as fast as I could go--until it was too dark to see anymore! I have grown tired of sprinkling that soil every day to keep things alive and sprouting. The cypress mulch will help a great deal!! Although with the clouds and fall-like COLD weather, nothing seems to be baking right now!!

This morning was the most beautiful morning we have had so far. It was very warm and muggy, the air heavy with moisture. I stole 5 minutes to stroll through the garden before heading for work. The wrens and mockingbirds were serenading me, the air was delicious, the flowers were stunningly vibrant, and all was well in my mind and in my heart! I cherish those few moments of peace to remember to be thankful for all I have been given and the abundant blessings that I have recieved!!

I pray that each of you take time to "stop and smell your roses" today--That you may be invigorated by that which was wonderously made--That you will find peace and happiness in the simple things--and that you find the vision and strength to turn something messy. . .

. . . Into something inspiring!


  1. Wow! I was tired by the time I finished reading this post! You sure put in a lot of work!

  2. What a great improvement. The beds look very nice. A great solution to the sloping problem. The plants will fill in quickly I'm sure. As for the path to the meter--what if it needs fixed? Good thing you have a path.

  3. Very nice! I need J to come do some dirt work for me. Think he would haul that tractor 5 hours?


  4. Wow Mel.........where in the world do you find the energy for these projects?? You have turned your yard into a beautiful area!!

  5. Whoohoo!! Love it!!! (Can I borrow some energy? Mine seems to be lost..gone..missing..probably never to be seen again!!)

  6. Wow - looks wonderful! You know, I had several friends comment on the beautiful morning and how refreshed they felt. Makes me sad to have missed it. BTW, I like your "great big box" logic and completely agree. ;)