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Author Topic: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome  (Read 2772 times)

Annie Roonie

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Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« on: June 13, 2012, 01:07:38 am »
There's been a community garden in my back yard and this is the last year for it. They've given up on one large circular bed and I hope to turn it into my magical mediation spot.

I have very little money to accomplish this and there is much work to do as you can see form the pic as it is now below. I like the challenge of it.

[attach=CONFIG][/attach]
This is looking east. (Click on it for larger.)

The work I will do on my own and it will serve as a kind of meditation for me. But when I am done weeding, tilling, and scraping the center for a more level pea gravel surface, I will want to begin planning and saving for the plants to encircle the space.  

The north side will need to be a privacy hedge, but the rest is really at the brainstorming stage for me. So if you have any ideas, I sure would love to read them!

The area gets full sun after mid morning and is in a lower spot in the yard, so it gets plenty of moisture most years. Things grow big there. When they first made it, it was fertilized with alpaca dung and a truckload of great compost. I am a little nervous about digging out the prickly weed that has grown taller than I am in just this season. It's a weed tree!

Right now the circle is about 27" in diameter, but with careful tilling I'll try to reduce the size a bit and shape it and the openings more precisely. I am not getting my hopes up that I will be able to plant much this year. I'll need to save. And once I know which plants to use, I can get creative about finding them.

I am unsure how important it might be placing plants at specific direction points, but then I've never tried it. If you have any wisdom regarding that, it would be sweet to read! I'm aiming for all perennials and hopefully some herbs that will winter well in zone 6.

Really, any thoughts anyone has about what to put there or what to avoid would be great! Oh yeah, wild peppermint is growing like mad there too. I may keep that and try to tame it. Thoughts on that? Losing battle or worthy cause?

I have no money to give you, but I did make this collage for you of the many flowering plants that are blooming around this area now:

[attach=CONFIG][/attach]

Clock wise from top left: white baneberry, foxglove beardtongue, birdsfoot trefoil, tiger lilies, hairy winter vetch, purple crown vetch, great or common mullein, moth mullein, ox eye daisy and everlasting pea. And a heron in the middle for good measure.

Thanks for any time you can give helping me brainstorm this project!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 01:08:54 am by Annie Roonie »

Annie Roonie

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 02:19:58 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;59808
magical mediation spot....
 as you can see form the pic


Errors too late spotted to edit. Apologies. And also for responding to my own post.

I also meant to ask if anyone had ideas about the shape or placement of openings.

I'm hoping for eventual blocking of the street and neighbor noise both sound and energy, so I am toying with how I want the openings to work.

LadyBug

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 04:19:00 am »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;59808

Thanks for any time you can give helping me brainstorm this project!

 
OH! I so want to spend hours typing up some kind of helpful information! But its 4 AM and I really must sleep.
I have just a few questions for you though!

  • Do you plan on having a circular bed?
  • Is it a solid bed or will it be open in the middle? (Or possibly have access 'paths' leading to a flat rock or wooden platform on which to meditate?)
  • How tall and/or dense do you want the North privacy hedge to be?
  • Are you going for a formal or informal look?
  • How do you plan on controlling weeds?
  • Do you want to use a ground cover plant?
  • If yes to the above, would you consider using Strawberry as a ground cover? (It is a curiosity thing of mine. I don't see why people don't use it as a functional ground cover more often! :) )
  • On the subject of functional plants, would you consider using vegetables as annual plants to get the most out of your space? (Some veggies are pretty AND delicious!)
  • Do you want to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and such or do you specifically want to avoid plants that do so?
  • Will you possibly use the mint that is already there for anything? (Tea and such possibly?)


Oh wow. I didn't realize how many questions were there. I hope you don't find me nosey for them, but there are probably going to be a few more once I sleep and think it over (that is, if you don't mind an ambitious kid helping you out a bit of course) :) Give the ones I thought up some thought maybe?

~LadyBug

Annie Roonie

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 12:28:39 pm »
Quote from: LadyBug;60424
OH! I so want to spend hours typing up some kind of helpful information! But its 4 AM and I really must sleep.
I have just a few questions for you though!

Shot, this is helpful as is. Answering it has given me some ideas already! Thank you for the input!

Quote from: LadyBug;60424
  • Do you plan on having a circular bed?
  • Is it a solid bed or will it be open in the middle? (Or possibly have access 'paths' leading to a flat rock or wooden platform on which to meditate?)
  • How tall and/or dense do you want the North privacy hedge to be?
  • Are you going for a formal or informal look?
  • How do you plan on controlling weeds?
  • Do you want to use a ground cover plant?
  • If yes to the above, would you consider using Strawberry as a ground cover? (It is a curiosity thing of mine. I don't see why people don't use it as a functional ground cover more often! :) )
  • On the subject of functional plants, would you consider using vegetables as annual plants to get the most out of your space? (Some veggies are pretty AND delicious!)
  • Do you want to attract butterflies, hummingbirds and such or do you specifically want to avoid plants that do so?
  • Will you possibly use the mint that is already there for anything? (Tea and such possibly?)

There will be two beds actually. Two crescents encircling an open middle. That is the way it is now in general, but I can work it into a more precise shape.

The center will be dug and leveled more and smoothed. Then weed prevention netting of some sort & pea gravel. It should be a nice 19-20' diameter open space.

The space between the crescents will be the openings to the center, but I can do different things with that.

I'd like the north privacy hedge to be 6 ft tall in a year.

I am going informal but with precision. I'd like to have an interesting and meaningful (at least to me) variety of plants, but I'd also like to be able to enter the circle and spend an hour or two maintaining them, not five. :)

I plant to keep the weeds down by being a madwoman to start and eradicating what is there and then keeping up with it. For at least two more years, I'll also have A, the eight year old next door who I can pay 10$ a week to weed for me. (He'd pay me. He gets so bored in summer. He begged to help.) I am putting news papers and netting down for the center, and I may also use something like this for the south crescent raised bed.

I DO want to use ground cover. The peppermint is there I will use that and transplant/spread it to the south end. Maybe it can flow through and over the little retaining wall I'll build.

I do have wild strawberries going mad and they crack me up. So yeah! I'll use those. I think they'll like it. Neat idea. They can go on the eastern edge. I wonder if they will over take things or if they'll act as they do on the trail with tree and just chill at the base. Hmm.

I've got too much backyard. That's why I let the community gardens have it for 5 years. So for veggies and the like, I have plenty of other beds and space to use.

I DO like the idea of butterfly and bird friendly plants very much! There are many native to this area and I hope to be able to find some of them. There is an insanely good smelling viburnum variety that grows nearby on a trail. I am going to stop a range the next time I see one to find out what it is.


Quote from: LadyBug;60424
Oh wow. I didn't realize how many questions were there. I hope you don't find me nosey for them, but there are probably going to be a few more once I sleep and think it over (that is, if you don't mind an ambitious kid helping you out a bit of course) :) Give the ones I thought up some thought maybe?

~LadyBug

I am totally giving them thought! Thank you so much! I do not find you nosey in the slightest. Once I decided to do this and began thinking about it, I realized that I was going to need some help with the ideas and planning of plants.

I have some pics I was going to use to blog about the spot that describe it more. I decided not to blog about it until I finished painting the fence and can begin work on it. One outside project at a time is all I can handle physically. If they give you any ideas and you feel like hollering back, awesome.


         


         
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 12:31:42 pm by Annie Roonie »

Erinnightwalker

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2012, 05:52:19 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;59808



 
I have a few different types of mint, if you want a groundcover you can walk on that is ridiculously hardy. The pineapple mint is varigated cream and green (little smell), the chocolate mint is delicious and likes to hug the ground (so does the orange mint). Lemon balm is super invasive but hardy and tasty. It does prefer to go tall though. (All these mints are invasive, as a matter of fact.)

You can get self-seeding violas (johnny jump ups spring to mind). Chamomile also self-seeds and smells good when crushed. Narcissus is good if you like the smell. Naked lady lilies are also good (so named because they generally bloom once all the leaves have died. During the summer they are a mound of long blade-leaves.) Most you'll have to do with these is weed, collect dead leaves in the fall, and occasionally thin them.

I don't know if they'll grow out there but holly hocks and tree peonies grow tall and make good screens, and come in several colors. If nothing else you can build a trellis or a wall and plant morning glories all over it (which also self seed. We had them on the fence for years until we forgot to water them one summer >.>). Morning glories also come in lots of colors, and you can get the related moonflower for nighttime garden enjoyment.

Which brings me to a question- when are you going to be meditating in this garden? If you're doing it at midday I hope you have sunscreen XD But it's something to consider- if you'll be going out to meditate in the morning, you'll probably want some flowers that bloom early (like morning glories, for example). If you'll be going out more towards the evening, find some flowers that open later or stay open all day. If you don't know when, maybe plant some tall things for shade around where you'll be sitting. Stuff like that.
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Annie Roonie

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 06:17:25 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60551

Which brings me to a question- when are you going to be meditating in this garden? If you're doing it at midday I hope you have sunscreen XD But it's something to consider- if you'll be going out to meditate in the morning, you'll probably want some flowers that bloom early (like morning glories, for example). If you'll be going out more towards the evening, find some flowers that open later or stay open all day. If you don't know when, maybe plant some tall things for shade around where you'll be sitting. Stuff like that.

 
Good gravy Mavie! You have given me so much to think about!

I am going to keep the mint that is there, but that doesn't meant I can't expand in years to come. Lemon balm sounds perfect actually. There's a saint I'd like to plant something for and he likes the lemon scent according to one book (St. Clement). I am so keeping my eyes open for it!

When I read chamomile I went a bit bonkers and squealed! I can plant tea! Holy majoly I did not think of that! An article says it is hardy to zone 8 so I should be all good here in 6. :happy dance::monkey:

I had thought that my stubborn morning glory vine was almost spiteful. I have had no use for it and I cannot get rid of it. It does bloom at night when I let it grow enough to get a bloom. Hmm. I may have to make friends with it. Gods know I've mended enough fences due to their subtle persistent pulls. But looking at the holly hocks and the tree peonies has me wide eyed. I have not seen many of them in person around here. How lovely they are! The list to research gets longer. Sweet!

Meditation in summers will likely happen in the mid morning or in the wee hours of the morning. Sun block is a staple here, but I was hoping that eventually the hedge would provide some shade too.

Oh thank you so much! These ideas were exactly the kind of brainstorming I was hoping for both yours and LadyBug's. I will be surfing quite a bit this week to investigate these things.

Now I cannot wait to finish the fence and get to weeding those crescents! I think with this kind of inspiration, I will not fear the prickly weed tree as much.

Erinnightwalker

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2012, 11:25:52 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;60554


 
Thenk yew, I'll be here all week! *bows* :D:

If you want lemon balm I can send you some seeds, or better yet a clipping. I got my start from a half-dead clipping in water and now it has taken over the yard XD It does tend to exhaust the ground fairly quickly; if you want to keep it at a dull roar plant it somewhere with medium to poor soil and trim off the flowers as soon as you can. Its ridiculous how far the damn stuff spreads from seed :eek: Generally the first year will be a big flush (mine made leaves 4 inches long, no lie) and the following years more restrained as it eats up the soil.

When you buy the chamomile make sure you buy the edible kind. I'm drawing a blank on what kind I planted. I know there is german and roman. The kind I got makes a big wispy bush and smells like sweet apple when you crush the flowers and greenery. Delicious.

If you get two posts and drive them into the ground and string some scrap hog wire or cyclone fencing between them, then train morning glories up them you have an instant and very good screen that no one thinks of as a screen. Around here the flowers seem to react more to heat than time; they'd open in the morning when it was cool then close until evening. Another interesting thing about morning glory is that it's related to High John the Conqueror root (the actual root is from wild morning glories, also known as bindweed).

Tree peonies I can't help you with, but holly hocks I can- we have one that is a dusty pink deepening to red pink in the center, and a purpley-maroon-black one. I also have seeds for four o' clocks, another pretty and ridiculously easy to grow plant that reseeds fairly well. The ones we have here are yellow and a bright pink-maroon, either solidly one color or a marbling of the two.

I'm glad to have helped ^_^ I even have some advice about the weed tree, since I think I recognize it-lop it off about a foot up from the ground (so it doesn't flop around and get you with the stickers while you're pulling), then grab a hold of the stub in the heaviest gloves you have and pull. You can whack it off at the ground with a hoe, too, if you don't mind leaving the root in. If you really want to get it all out and you have hard soil, water around it an hour or so before you weed. It may be a bit muddy but it helps the root to release the dirt. If its the same kind I think it is it will bleed white latex-sticky-sap from any cut or wound, so if you are sensitive to such stuff, beware.
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yewberry

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2012, 01:05:22 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60578
When you buy the chamomile make sure you buy the edible kind. I'm drawing a blank on what kind I planted. I know there is german and roman. The kind I got makes a big wispy bush and smells like sweet apple when you crush the flowers and greenery. Delicious.


German and Roman chamomile are two different genus (Matricaria recutita, an annual, and Anthemis nobilis, a perennial, respectively).  Both have the distinctive chamomile scent and flavor, though, which is why the common name is used for both.  There's also the weedy but delicious pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea), a common resident of compacted soils all over the US.

Brina

veggiewolf

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 10:34:20 am »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60578
...Another interesting thing about morning glory is that it's related to High John the Conqueror root (the actual root is from wild morning glories, also known as bindweed).
...

 
Holy cow - bindweed (my nemesis) has some use???  I may now be sorry I sicced raspberries on it.

Berry canes 1, bindweed 0.
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Erinnightwalker

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 01:41:26 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;60627
Holy cow - bindweed (my nemesis) has some use???  I may now be sorry I sicced raspberries on it.

Berry canes 1, bindweed 0.

 
Oh yeah. I about shat myself when I realized I'm basically sitting in an epicenter for High John roots. It grows everywhere here :eek:
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Annie Roonie

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2012, 07:24:11 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60578
Thenk yew, I'll be here all week! *bows* :D:

If you want lemon balm I can send you some seeds, or better yet a clipping. I got my start from a half-dead clipping in water and now it has taken over the yard XD It does tend to exhaust the ground fairly quickly; if you want to keep it at a dull roar plant it somewhere with medium to poor soil and trim off the flowers as soon as you can. Its ridiculous how far the damn stuff spreads from seed :eek: Generally the first year will be a big flush (mine made leaves 4 inches long, no lie) and the following years more restrained as it eats up the soil.


I will be in touch about this! I do want to get the ground tilled and formed first, but it sounds very good.

And good to know about the chamomile. I'm going to look into some other teas as well.


Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60578
If you get two posts and drive them into the ground and string some scrap hog wire or cyclone fencing between them, then train morning glories up them you have an instant and very good screen that no one thinks of as a screen. Around here the flowers seem to react more to heat than time; they'd open in the morning when it was cool then close until evening. Another interesting thing about morning glory is that it's related to High John the Conqueror root (the actual root is from wild morning glories, also known as bindweed).


There is bindweed and low bindweed that grows on the trail here (I may have misidentified it in the trail photo linked). Also, giant trillium, or Low John. Whenever I buy the High John dried it is always so huge. Much bigger than the roots I have seen in the wild around here. They must grow so much bigger wherever they get them from.

I do not think I will try to plant bindweed (it grows in a difficult to reach spot and nicking plants is technically not permitted - I think the park patrol would spot me in waders and with a shovel :whis:), but I am totally rethinking my attempts at eradicating the morning glories now. Your idea to train them up a structure has given me another idea to solve a problem.

I want to be able to close off the circle to block noise/energies from outside of it but still be able to get in to it. So I could construct gates for the entrances and train the vines to grow on those. That would complete the circle and they've already demonstrated that they are willing to do this. I will just have to use metal instead of wood. This idea is probably going to bring about some awesome. Thank you!

Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60578
I'm glad to have helped ^_^ I even have some advice about the weed tree


Excellent advice! I am going to take it, and by this time next week I will have that thing up and out. Rain has caused fence painting delays, but... HEY, I can try to dig that booger up tomorrow after visitors head home, the ground will still be wet. Ooh. Time to find the hardcore gloves!

Sigh. There is the sun out again. Will be eyeballing that thing as I salvage pickets and clean up paint scrapings for the rest of the evening.

Thank you again!  I will be in touch, and will hopefully have something to trade for lemon balm seeds!

Annie Roonie

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 07:33:53 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;60627
Holy cow - bindweed (my nemesis) has some use???  I may now be sorry I sicced raspberries on it.

Berry canes 1, bindweed 0.


I sicced wild strawberries on my morning glories. It has been effective in reduction but not eradication. And now I may be glad for it.

Plant Wars 2012 Leaderboard:

Berry Canes 1
Morning Glory .5
Wild strawberries .5
Bindweed 0

If Bunny the cat could be included he'd have 1 too since his pee is now of value. ha!

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2012, 08:04:06 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;60690
Plant Wars 2012 Leaderboard:

Berry Canes 1
Morning Glory .5
Wild strawberries .5
Bindweed 0

If Bunny the cat could be included he'd have 1 too since his pee is now of value. ha!

Hahaha that made my day :P

Hello there! I might be able to be of some help for some more plant ideas, considering I happen to also live in a 5-6 zone (depending on the map you're looking at). If you want a coverage flowering vine that can grow incredibly tall, Trumpet Vines are lovely. I currently have one completely covering one of my standard 5-foot-tall chain-link fences, and also another going ALL the way up my chimney o.O (I'm not sure the height, but its tall; easily over 50 feet) and peonies, which were mentioned before, do lovely in our zone, and smell wonderful.

I am a total lover of lilies, and daylilies, Naked Lady lilies, tigerlilies, and many more species do great here. The only ones I would watch for is a few kinds of oriental lilies, but if you pay close attention to them the first year, they should be fine.

Another thing to think about are the large non-coverage vines. I love them, and have both a grapevine and a wisteria at my house. It could be idea to have a small arbor and grow one or the other. Grapes produce fruit in abundance (though sometimes you have to spray them to prevent disease, but this is easily done). Wisteria however, is one of my favorite plants. Even after a few years, its woody vines manage to look ancient in a majestic sort of way, and has clusters of pale purple flowers that smell simply wonderful.  

As for herbs, I recommend any kind of basil (I didn't think it would come up again after one season, but the little things proved me wrong for quite a few seasons now ^.^) and lemon thyme is particularly lovely (it also blooms pretty little purple flowers). I am also under the impression rosemary would work well too, but don't quote me on that; I haven't tried it myself. Basil can be a little invasive, but a nice piece of wood blocking it out from other herbs have proved to be an easy and effective deterrent. And thyme isn't to bad either. They are really quite easy to control.

I hoped I helped out a little bit, and if you want more suggestions just let me know! I can go outside and find more types than the ones off the top of my head :P
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 08:06:32 pm by GoldenSiren »
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Erinnightwalker

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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2012, 08:13:33 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;60688

There is bindweed and low bindweed that grows on the trail here (I may have misidentified it in the trail photo linked). Also, giant trillium, or Low John. Whenever I buy the High John dried it is always so huge. Much bigger than the roots I have seen in the wild around here. They must grow so much bigger wherever they get them from.


My guess is they grow it in optimum conditions with a fairly loose soil. Out here it has to grow in adobe so the roots are small.

Quote from: Annie Roonie;60688
I do not think I will try to plant bindweed (it grows in a difficult to reach spot and nicking plants is technically not permitted - I think the park patrol would spot me in waders and with a shovel :whis:), but I am totally rethinking my attempts at eradicating the morning glories now. Your idea to train them up a structure has given me another idea to solve a problem.

I want to be able to close off the circle to block noise/energies from outside of it but still be able to get in to it. So I could construct gates for the entrances and train the vines to grow on those. That would complete the circle and they've already demonstrated that they are willing to do this. I will just have to use metal instead of wood. This idea is probably going to bring about some awesome. Thank you!

 
When you make a gate, give it pretty simple, sturdy, and robust hinges (or, be willing to train feelers and tendrils away from them pretty regularly). Domesticated morning glories come in all sorts of colors (the Ipomoea, at least. I know less about the Covolualus[sp?]) so you could get some color symbolism going, if you want ;) If you feel up to it you can construct an overhang and have a living sunshade, as well. water them well and watch 'em shoot off like rockets XD

Also, if you feel like taking the time with it or want a huge green behemoth that attracts birds, hummingbirds, bees, and small children, I have a trumpet vine. You can train it into a single stem (ours used to be that way, until gophers ate it) or let it be a structure-eating goliath (the way ours is now after it resurrected.)
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Re: Summer Project - Input Very Welcome
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2012, 09:29:06 pm »
Quote from: Erinnightwalker;60701
My guess is they grow it in optimum conditions with a fairly loose soil. Out here it has to grow in adobe so the roots are small.

 
I take it back. The STEM is 2 foot and going. I dug and dug and still didn't hit root. Holy sheeeYIT.
The Nightwalking Hedgehog
I make ceramic art and am currently taking commissions. Have dream altar ware you\'ve always wanted, or a statue for a deity or spirit that you could never find? PM or email me and I\'ll see what I can do ;)

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