Tornados, Inspiration Photos & Update

What a storm yesterday!  I got home from work just in time to make it inside before it started pouring.  It got so dark so suddenly, and then the wind picked up out of nowhere and blew so hard I thought it was going to tear our screen door right off when I opened it to head out to the porch to check on my plants.  I literally had to use all of my weight and force it back to a closed position.

I have several plants in various pots and containers along the ledge of our porch and I wanted to get them down onto the porch floor for protection – just in the short time it took me to get outside and close the door, one or two had already fallen.  Luckily they were okay.  I was a little worried about getting hit on the head by any number of large terra cotta pots, but I made it, and so did all of the plants!

There are trees down all over the neighborhood, though.  One tree fell over the subway tracks where the train goes above ground in a nearby neighborhood and the passengers were stuck for a while – bad time to be on a train.

It was kind of scary and a little exciting, and just a good reminder of what a powerful force wind is.  Wow.

Everything else in the ground is faring pretty well – at least nothing appears to be shriveling up and dying, so that’s good!  The hostas and the lamb’s ears  in particular seem to be happy to be in the ground and are thriving.

On Monday the wood will be cleared from the sides of the driveway and I’ll soon be able to plant the rest of the goods in there.  Last week I put at least a dozen (if not more) pieces of paper all around the yard in various areas where I’d like to plant, weighed them each down with a stone, and as of 8:30am began recording – every hour on the hour – what the light conditions were in that area.

I have a little map drawn of the yard and the driveway, so once my experiment was done I was able to write down on the map the number of hours of sunlight each location truly receives (in mid September, anyway) as well as what kind of shade – full shade, dappled, etc.

The driveway is shady!  I knew that, but it was still a little shocking to look at the  information and discover wow – only 2 to 3 solid hours of sunlight over here!  Some sections received only 1 to 2.

The yard is pretty varied – the most sunlight in any given spot was about 5 hours – and that’s really 3 1/2 hours of full sun and then partial sun / dappled shade for the remaining 1 1/2 hours.  It’s good to know.

I like having a shadier yard.  I prefer it to sitting in the full sun, and all of the trees provide interesting foliage and height and texture – it all makes it feel a little more cozy and enclosed – like a hidden place you stumble upon in Prospect Park.

I’ve been looking at a lot of seed sites, garden blogs, and gardening forums and have saved several pictures that made me look twice.  If I don’t write it down or save a photo, I’ll forget!  In no particular order, here are several that inspired me this week:

the colors in this photo above are a little bright / hot for my taste, but I love the feel and the height – everything seems so un-contained…which I like.

This is probably a little more picture-perfect than I’ll ever strive to be, but I do love this combination of textures and heights.  I adore the foxgloves, and those dark red asiatic lilies behind the roses are stunning.  I love the roses too, although I’m not sure I’d ever be able to grow them where I am – maybe in a container on the sunny concrete “patio,” which actually does receive full sun nearly all day.

I like this layout and combination.  Again with the foxgloves.  I like that there’s nothing uniform about the placement of the tall plants – it just looks more natural to me.  The birdhouse is sweet and the thing I might like the most is the stack of containers they’ve used to add some more height and let some color spill out.  Note to self:  use containers and pots in and among the other planted / growing plants!

How much do I love this little bowl of deliciousness?  A whole lot.  Everything from the blue pot to the different colors and textures of the succulents – love the little red-tipped one in the center.

More scrumptious succulents…love this arrangment.

Okay.  Now how does one do THIS?  Where are the pots? Where is the soil?  Are these plants going to literally weigh on each other and kill those underneath?  I love this idea and I think it’s really lovely how they look like they are spilling right out of the box, but I wonder how long something like this could last?

My new favorite, Ruby Crystal Grass.  So, so lovely.  It seems a little hard to find.  I don’t know if I’d have an appropriate place for this anyway – maybe at the end of the driveway?  It sure is a beauty, though.

I kind of like plain old terra cotta myself and must confess that none of my socks are this funky and cool, but I sure do appreciate the spirit of this idea.  Why the heck not?

Ahhh….this photo just makes me relax.  It’s one of my favorites.  I kind of love that it’s mostly green with the natural brown of the trees and fence.  The little splash of lavender and blue down in the bottom right corner is very simple and sweet.  I appreciate the space left between the stones for the ground covers to fill in.

We hope to do something similar to this in our yard in a shady patch where grass won’t grow (and who wants to mow more grass than you have to anyway?)  The previous tenants left behind 20 large square reddish-colored concrete blocks – each is about 2 inches high and about 12″ x 12″.  We aren’t sure why all of these blocks were left arranged in a rectangle right over the grass  under a fig tree…maybe it was where they set up the grill?  It seems an odd place to us and we’ve decided to take the blocks and use them as “stepping stones” to create a path through one section of the yard.  We’ll fill the area around and among the stones with various ground covers and hope that it takes on the look / feeling of this photo.  It will be nice for people to be able to stand in / walk through / explore more of the yard without too much concern that the ground covers will get destroyed.  At least this is the plan.

The red square stones we have aren’t as nice looking as the ones in this photo, but they are there and they are free and they will serve the purpose.  We’re looking forward to this project one day soon!

That’s all  for now – updates coming soon!