Category: garden (page 1 of 16)

Hell Strip Project Day 2

I first heard the term “Hell Strip” in our Master Gardener Intern year Water Conservation class.  It’s that narrow piece of yard between the sidewalk and the street.  In my yard it’s been mostly weeds, as we don’t have a sprinkler system and we don’t water the yard.  The reason this was discussed in class was so we would consider removing turf (or weeds, as in my case) and planting water-wise native perennials instead.  One of my classmates did just that and I was able to see the finished bed during the DCMGA Garden Tour last month.

I began working on this strip last February, but my initial efforts didn’t really succeed.  I removed as many weeds as I could by hand and then applied a layer of wood chip mulch.  Well, all I managed to do was stir up more seeds to the top, and they grew right through the layer of mulch.  Not at all the results I wanted.

So, I took notes on how my classmate created her new, improved Hell Strip and I began digging yesterday.  The goal is to dig out all the dirt down as far as I can (probably no more than 6 inches), then put down a thick layer of cardboard, and then fill back with new soil / compost, and cover with mulch.  I’m hoping to get that all done this week, as the weather forecast is for an unusually (for June) cool week. 

Here’s what I’ve accomplished in 2 mornings. 

digging out dirt in the hell strip
This is not nice soil. It’s no wonder weeds are thriving.

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s much more work than just simply digging.  There’s chunks of concrete and rocks and trash and oh, so many clay clods.  I shovel some dirt into the cart, then  break the chunks of clay and dirt up by hand and also sort out the rocks and cement pieces, throwing them into a bucket.  Some are too big for a bucket, so they get piled to the side.  Next I add about 1/3 again wood chip mulch and then I spread it.  Yesterday I spread in the swale along the south fence line; today it was under the Bradford pear tree.  Plus I added another couple of loads of mulch. 

Hoping to get it thick enough to stunt the grass and weeds, but not too thick. Don’t want to harm the roots of the tree.

Today I dug out four cartloads, plus 2 extra loads of mulch.  You can see the gaping hole on the side of the mulch pile (the same mulch pile from last December!).  The goal is to eventually spread most of that mulch pile around the pear tree and onto the Hell Strip.

wood chip mulch pile
Wood chip mulch pile from last December when we mulched the limbs of the pear tree.

I’ve decided I will only do the smaller strip near the mailbox this year.  Maybe this fall I’ll tackle the other strip – it’s twice as long, so I’m not looking forward to doing it.  Also, I’m trying to pace myself, because I really need to be able to move the rest of the month!  Yesterday I didn’t feel too bad, but today I am noticing some stiffness.  Good thing I’m still young!  LOL

When I came back inside late this morning, I noticed my hoya is blooming again, this time many more blossoms at the same time. 

hoya plant in bloom
The hoya plant from Propagation Class (Mach 2017) continues to delight.

They have such interesting blossoms – I’m fascinated by them.

Hoya blossoms.

2018 Accomplishments

I often begin the New Year with a few lofty goals and, like most everyone else, they fall away by the time the calendar page turns to February.  This year, I tried something a little different.  I spent a couple of hours assessing the past year and planning for the coming year.  To do so, I downloaded a small printable booklet from YearCompass and worked through the steps laid out in the booklet.  I didn’t answer every question, but most of them, and it was rather interesting and even enlightening in a few areas.

One of the exercises for ending the old year was to go through your 2018 calendar/planner/bullet journal and note down the highlights of the year – places you visited, events with family and friends, projects completed, and accomplishments you were proud of.   Create a record of what made 2018 a good year.  You know how the year just whizzes by and you feel like you didn’t do anything, accomplish anything – it was all just mundane day-to-day routine stuff?  When in actuality you did a lot!

So here’s my list of 2018 Highlights:

  • 2 square dance weekends (January in Waco,Texas, and February in Paris, Texas)
  • Bonus Room Project – put up dry wall and all that entailed, painted the entire room & ceiling plus the hallway wall, and acquired the oak trim needed to finish off the room.
  • 3 weekend trips (San Antonio, Texas, to see The Alamo in January; Hot Springs, Arkansas, in July; Fall Foliage in Oklahoma in October)
  • Took on the job of DCMGA Newsletter Editor and successfully published 9 issues that were extremely well received by the membership.
  • Rain Barrel Project – completed the installation of 7 rain barrels around the house, along with drip line along the foundation and in several flower beds.
  • Veggie Bed Project – completed the building of a large vegetable bed in the side yard and have been harvesting greens all winter.
  • DCMGA – successfully volunteered for several projects, including the annual Plant Sale and Fall Festival, the Jr. Master Naturalist camp in June, and monthly Preschool Master Naturalist classes.
  • Several local day trips (the DCMGA Garden Tour in May with friends; the Dallas Arboretum to see the Kinetic Sculpture exhibit in July; the Perot Natural Science Museum in Dallas in August; the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens & Japanese Gardens in November to see the spectacular fall foliage).
  • Hosted family & friends here in May, June, July, September, October, and November, including Liana’s first ever visit on her own to Grandma & Grandpa’s.
  • Bought new mattresses for our bed and the guest room bed.
  • Settled up the auction part of my Dad’s estate and closed out the bank account.
  • Kept Quicken up to date until August.
  • Got new life insurance policies in place for both Bill & myself.
  • Made a 17 day road trip in September to visit family in New York and Alabama, and also take care https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/of leftover auction items in Alabama.  Also made a side trip to the Land Between the Lakes in Tennessee/Kentucky, which was pretty nice.
  • Created a photo book on Shutterfly chronicling my mom’s 75th year, 2017, and all the milestones of that year.

I also completed several crochet projects:

  • 2 60th birthday afghans for cousins
  • 2 doggie afghans
  • Blocked & starched the 2017 granddaughter snowflakes
  • 6 small doilies for Christmas gifts
  • A filet crochet panel for myself of a mother cat and three kittens
  • A large afghan for myself in reds & golds (almost completed, not quite)
  • 2 granny square lapghans for Christmas gifts
  • One wedding afghan for a cousin

And best of all, for myself, I lost 22 pounds!  I still have 11 more to go to reach my goal, but I’m very pleased with my progress.

Completing this booklet is going to be an annual New Year’s Day project from now on.  If you are interested and would like to see what the YearCompass is all about, visit their website and download the free pdf booklet.

Kinetic Sculpture at the Dallas Arboretum

Bill & I visited the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens yesterday so I could see the Lyman Whitaker Kinetic Art Exhibit.  It was the coolest morning we’ve had in quite a number of weeks, but the humidity was high and it didn’t take long to become too hot!  So we probably toured the grounds in record time.  I definitely want to go back again when it’s cooler, say, autumn?

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a breeze, so most of the time the kinetic art pieces were barely moving.  It was still neat to see, though, and I got a couple of short videos I’ll post later this week.  In the meantime, here are some photos.

Zahara Double Yellow Zinnias

 

This may be my favorite spot of the whole garden.

 

 

A very stately looking tree!

 

The reflecting pool looks like it empties into White Rock Lake, but it doesn’t.

 

I love water lilies!

 

White Rock Lake makes a good backdrop for these kinetic art pieces.

 

Zinnias and more!

« Older posts