Thursday, May 7, 2009

Let's go around front...

So, here's a much overdue update on what's been going on in the front yard! Back in March, I finally convinced Dan to pull out the rest of the old azalea hedges and that pesky, half-dead formosa tree in the front yard. The tree started out tiny when we bought the house, and grew at an alarmingly fast rate. We had been talking about pulling it out of the ground for the longest time, so it was nice to finally see that thing go.

Here's Dan in his victory stance. Thank goodness he has a truck that can pull a tree out of the ground... AND thank goodness he has a wife who doesn't mind if the lawn gets ruined in the process!

As you can see, this thing really didn't want to come out of the ground!

Here's Dan chopping and pulling the roots out of the ground. The thing with formosas is that they are highly invasive (which means nearly impossible to kill) and will grow if there is even a bit of root left in the ground.

In place of the formosa, we planted a palm tree surrounded by some creeping phlox.

Here's what the front yard looked like at the beginning of March. You can see that my lantana is starting to come back, and you can barely see the leaves on the salvia and beautyberry. The confederate jasmine looks a little brown still.

This picture was taken a few days ago. As you can see, the lantana has filled in... a lot! The salvia and beautyberry are hiding out behind the lantana.

Here's a close-up of the lantana. I have two different varieties - don't ask me what they're called though. I bought them a few years ago and don't remember. The lantana comes back bigger and better every year and requires almost no care. It attracts lots of bees and butterflies. It's my pick for easy, pretty and long-lasting plant. I don't even have to weed because it grows so thick. What more could I want from a plant?

Here's the salvia. The variety is called "black and blue." As of today, there is a second flower spike coming up. This plant is already so much taller than it was last year!

American Beautyberry - one of my favorite late summer/fall plants. It will eventually have bright, magenta-colored berry clusters on it. I ordered this one in the mail last year. It died back in the winter, leaving only a sad little twig, and now it's growing like crazy! The good thing about native plants is you can plant them and forget them, once they're established.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the milkweed coming up! This was another plant I ordered through the mail, and it wasn't doing so hot last year, it never really grew much. This year it seems to be shooting up, and I am hoping for a few more plants to come up. For those of you who don't know, milkweed is a host plant for the monarch butterfly, so I am hoping to see some of those tell-tale caterpillars soon.

Lastly I will leave you with this picture - not sure if I posted him two months ago when I took his photo, but who doesn't love an anole? And it wouldn't be a typical post if I didn't have some form of wildlife represented!

I am refraining from posting more garden pictures, although I've taken some photos this week. I just want everyone to ogle at how big everything got in a week.

I purchased a barrel to turn into a rain barrel, but it's been too hot to work on that project during the day. We hit 90 degrees today!

I will have a garden and rain barrel update this weekend!