Wednesday, February 9, 2011

That Four Letter Word

P-L-A-N.  That's it.  I said it.  It's out there, now.  I never thought it would come to this, but it must be done.

We have been very slow in getting off the ground here at Castle Turling.  Because we have so much space (by California standards), we are stymied on even where to begin.  Trips to the nursery turn into walking around events where nothing gets accomplished.  So, we've decided, we are going to map out a planting scheme for a section, visit the nursery and buy what's on the list.  Stick to the list, I say.  Here's where we're starting.

This is the (wait, rises in the east, sets in the west) east side of the backyard.  Where our so called orange tree is that I've written about in the past.  Yes, it looks exactly the same.  It's so sickly, you probably can't even see it in the pictures.  Anyway, it's moving somewhere else.  No, not the compost pile (we don't have one, yet), but another part of the yard.  If it doesn't thrive there, then it will be the first visitor to the compost pile that it will begin the formation of.

Here's the plan:

Not a good rendition, no, but it works for us.  I think it also shows that you don't need a lot of fancy stuff to create a plan.  This is actually on a piece of graph paper and I used our kids crayons for the original.  That didn't show up in the scan, so I did it again in markers.  The plants or pretty close to what their fully grown size will be.  The top photograph above is taken from the gravel.  See, down at the bottom, it says "gravel"?  My handwriting is horrid, but you should be able to make out the "G".  The second photograph is taken from the top of the plan looking back towards the gravel/patio.  We're putting in the following:

  • 1   Fan Palm in the upper left.  That's already there in the background of the top photograph.
  • 2   Catmint.  About 14 to be exact.  That's the row of purple on the right.  It will be up against the lawn.
  • 3   Daylillies.  Behind the catmint will be about 14 or 15 daylillies.  Different species.  Species?  Is that the word?  Types?  Colors?  Kin?
  • 4   Jerusalem Sage.  Moving from another part of the yard.
  • 5   Italian Cypress.  To give some height.
  • 6   Not shown is the Hollywood Juniper.  It's the plant in the two photographs that looks like an Italian Cypress falling over.
  • 7   Monkey Flower.
  • 8   Echinacea.
  • 9   Aster.
  • 10 Coreopsis.  I think I spelled that wrong.
  • 11 Sedum.
  • 12 Lion's Tail.  That's moving from another part of the yard, as well.
This area received full sun, which is why the Jerusalem Sage (4) and Lion's Tail (12) are moving there.  On the other side of the walking path behind our house are two massive Pepper Tree's.  You can see part of one in the upper right corner of the top photograph.  They have in the last couple of years pretty much blocked the sun from the area the Lion's Tail and Jerusalem Sage currently nest.  The backyard is south facing, by the way.

Since buying so many plants will be pricey, we're making an attempt at growing some from seed.  Won't that be a treat????????  The catmint looks like poppy seeds.  I hope the DEA doesn't show up.

In the meantime, I'm off for a pint.  Speaking of pints...stay tuned for the next post.  (That's called a "cliffhanger" by the way.  Let's see if it works.)


  1. Great post! I have attempted to create plans in the past and I've failed every time. I get to the nursery and every idea is shot. I just buy what I like and what works in my conditions and then I play around with it until I find room. Not ideal at all - wish I could come up with a plan like you did. Good luck and look forward to seeing the progress.

  2. ONG, we purposefully picked plants that we knew were available at the nursery or we could easily get the seeds to start from scratch. We haven't taken the plan to the nursery, yet, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

  3. I can completely sympathize with being overwhelmed with a large garden area. It took me over a year to realize that maybe my 'plan' (if you could it that) should only focus on one area at a time. I swear sometimes I have gardener's ADHD. You're fortunate to have a south facing back yard, but I'm sorry about the pepper trees. The catmint, echinacea, coreopsis and aster would probably all be very easy to start from seed. It'll be fun to see your garden evolve. I seem to have missed the orange tree woes though...I'll have to go back and see what you wrote. Have you checked for scale and ants on the branches?

  4. Curbstone, if I were good at this blogging thing, I would have linked back to that story. Basically, the tree was first ravaged by a squirrel, so that set it back. I also don't think it likes its spot. We used to have a huge ficus there that got pelted by frost, so we took it down. I filled the hole with new soil and we plopped the orange into the same spot. I can't help thinking that has something to do with it.

  5. Ah, crap, I said "squirrel, I meant "gopher". Can't keep my vermin straight.

  6. This year will be my third year growing from seed and starting some indoors, and every year I think, "This will never work!" And yet it DOES! I have every confidence yours will, too. And if it doesn't, it's a way cheaper failure than buying and killing plants! :-)

  7. Ah, yes, a plan. I should really get one of those. If only I had some crayons...

    P.S. Love the blog. Very funny.

  8. PQMB, my thinking exactly. It does seem like the speck I dumped into a seed starting tray (and the counter, the floor, my shoes) won't amount to anything, but hopefully it does. Unless, of course, it's the seed that fell into my shoe.

    Elizabeth, thank you for the kind words. I'm really hoping the plan works out.