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Garden Photos ~ Page 2

Over the past couple of years the garden has changed even more due to increasing shade from our maturing trees. Extra beds have been created where lawn was no longer growing, instead using the dappled shade to grow shade loving perenials and natives. This also reduces lawn maintainance and creates more wildlife diversity.

Prickly-Pear Cactus in flower
Prickly Pear Cactus

2005 was the first year my Prickly Pear Cactus flowered.

Shade area before...
By the end of Summer 2005 this part of the garden had become mostly shade due to the Live oak tree which we had planted for shade. The lawn no longer grew so I took this opportunity to expand the flower beds, making lawn maintenance in this area much lower. I began by marking the edge of where I wanted the bed to be with a hose then started to remove the grass.
Shade area before new beds
Shade area after beds and path have been added & some shrubs have been planted
Shade area after...
Here the grass has been removed and the beds filled with a mix of compost and lots of organic soil amendments. I placed a path through the middle which here is ready to be topped with cedar mulch. Some native and hardy plants such as Mahonias, Dwarf Wax Myrtle, American Beautyberry, Coral Berry, Southern Wood Ferns and Turkscap were added at this point but more perenials will be added in the Spring.
The other direction, before.
Here is the same bed looking from the other direction.
Shade area before, from other direction
Shade bed after first digging, partially completed, from other direction.
The other direction, after.
This has not been finished completely and I will be expanding this bed a little more, making the path longer with the flower bed extending either side also.
Fall leaves
The same area with its covering of Fall leaves. I keep the leaves down throughout the winter in my garden and do not cut back any of the seasons growth until the following Spring. The birds appreciate this and enjoy kicking up the leaves in search of bugs which it attracts. Small ground snakes and Lizards will also use the leaves as cover. It provides a good, natural mulch for the new plants and encourages lots of worm activity.
Shade beds covered in Fall leaves
Shade bed in June 06
Shade bed in June '06

Things certainly have greened up by this point and plants are growing well. It took until May before all the leaves started to break down and then the leaves off the Live Oak tree began to fall! Some leaves are raked to the back of the beds where birds can pick through them for insects. The rest were mulched with the mower and either spread onto other beds or put into the compost bin.

Shade bed, different angle...
Shade bed in June 06
Shade bed in June 06
Shade bed, opposite direction
Here the path was extended another 10 foot approximately with a narrow bed alongside the deck. This are is filled with ferns and hibiscus. (Also a soft landing if one falls off the hammock!)
Under the Oak tree...
This bed is filled mostly with Ferns, Turks cap and Lyre-leaf sage. A small bird bath on the ground in the middle (only just visible in this photo) is very popular.
Shade bed in June 06
Rain Lilly, (Zephyranthes candida)
Rain Lilly (Now September)
After some much needed rain in early September, my rain lillies, which had been moved several times around the beds suddenly began to flower! The ground is still very dry, most of the moisture being taken up by the two large trees. A couple of plants actually died probably due to some very heavy rain we had and they just rotted out very quickly. Several places in the beds are still empty and I wanted to see what did well and what didn't. I now have a better idea as to what plants to fill in with. Even though it is a shade bed, it is a dry shade and the plants must be picked accordingly. Lots of organic matter tilled in this Fall will help.

Continued on Garden Photos - Page 3

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