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Garden Photos ~ Page 3

This year things change once again! At the end of 2006 we made the jump and decided to have a pool put in. We only have a very small garden so it would not be anything large, just something to dip into and cool off on a hot summer day, especially after a day of gardening! It did look nice before with the lush green grass but to me, maintaining less grass and more beds is easier, even with a pool. Landscaping around the pool will be fun and challenging!
I have used four photos of the garden from the end of last year, 2006, to make the before and after comparisons easier. I will not put every photo of the construction process on here, but just a few to show the main changes and then ones of how the flower beds develop throughout the year.

shade beds in June '06
Shade bed in June '06

By June the plants had become established and were growing well

Winter Shade beds as of Jan '07!
BIG change! (Compare to the above photo.) It is winter of course so despite the area looking very messy still there are no leaves on many of the shrubs or previous years perenials. However, the pool and decking area basicaly replaces the lawn and is pretty much the same shape as that lawn used to be.
The stone bench in the "before" photos has been moved and may be placed in a different spot when all is finished. The stepping stones we had near the wall of house have temporarily been layed out over the mulch path but the larger of these stones I have decided to keep along the path and will set them into the mulch. The paved patio will easier to maintain with all the falling leaves and acorns and gives a nice shape to the beds.
Shade beds jan '07 with newly dug pool
shade beds '06 different angle
Shade bed, different angle '06
Things were starting to look nice and lush and overhead trees provided welcome shade during mid summer.
Different angle '07
Again, here you can see literally the lawn has been replaced. All the bordering beds are the same size and in some places will be 3 feet wider! (More plants!).
The camelias have fleece blankets at their bases which I pull over them when the temps drop well below freezing. It has also protected them from dirt and the dust of the gunite and patio concrete. The majority of the other plants have died right back but their roots are protected underground despite all the trampling on & construction around them and should have no problem sprouting once the weather warms up. Winter was definately the best time to instal this pool so plant damage could be minimized as much as possible.
Shade beds Jan '07, Different angle
shade beds '06 opposite direction
The shade beds from the opposite direction. '06
The grass you see at the far end is where the pool is to be placed.
Beds from opposite direction '07
What used to look so nice and green is temporarily a mess! However, all the plants still remain along either side of the path, many just sleeping underground until the weather warms up. Here you can see all the flagstones from our old pathways which were layed on this path as it was the best place for us to put them temporarily while the construction was going on. But I ended up liking the look of the stones here & have decided to use the larger slabs, along the left side here, down the center of the mulch path in a single row. This will give us a clean area to walk on and will look pretty leading through the shady beds. The other slabs will be placed in other areas of the garden where needed.
On the far corner of the pool is a small waterfall which, along with lots of natural rock edging the pool, gives the pool a very natural feel which blends well into the rest of the garden. I can't wait to landscape around the pool edges!
Shade beds Jan '07 with newly dug pool, opposite direction.
Under Live Oak tree, '06
Finally, under the Live Oak tree '06
A very dry, shady bed.
Under the Live Oak Tree Jan '07
Its amazing that the majority of this bed will once again grow to look like it did last Summer! The plants are all there, except for a couple that were right by the edge of where the patio is now, which I dug up during construction and will replant in the Spring. Most of the plants in this area are drought tolderant native plants such as Turkscap, Mexican Petunia, Lyre-leaf Sage, Southern Wood Fern and Wavy Oak fern, as well as a Camelia which is in flower right now (Jan).
The bed has been walked on so much and the so soil compacted that some tilling needs to be done to loosen it up. Then, lots of good soil & compost needs to be added to bring the level back up to just below the patio.
Until the pool is finished there is not much more I can do, but it shouldn't be too long now and in February I will be able to work some new compost into all of the beds around the pool and generally start tidying up and re-landscaping this area.
Under Liv Oak tree, Jan'07 with newly dug pool.
Newly filled pool
New Pool, March '07
The pool has now been filled. beds around it still have the original shrubs but many are still under ground awaiting Spring. A lot of planting will be done around the pool and in the shade beds.
Shade bed views now with pool, March '07
The next four photos are off the same angles taken above but now with some plants and shrubs. Finally, plants are begining to grow again and some more "green" being put back!
Shade beds again, different angle, March '07
Gardenias have been replanted and a Varigated Ginger Lily adds some color to the right of the path.
Newly laid path, opposite direction, March '07
Now looking much better than the messy path of a few months ago, shown above! I used the largest flagstones and placed mulch under and around them to form a soft path through these beds.
Under the Live Oak Tree, March '07
Although hard to see in this photo, the majority of the plants that remained in this bed during contruction are now sprouting new growth. Assorted potted plants still await planting. Another month and most of this bed should be growing. A small path was also placed through this bed as there were so many times I'd just walk through it to get to the other side! I had plenty of flagstone so picked out a few smaller pieces to do the job.
New fence April '07
We istalled a fence around our deck to keep our dog away from the pool when necessary. It also defines the deck area more and added a little charm to the shady garden around it.
The vine growing up the post in this photo is a coral honeysuckle, a favorite of Hummingbirds. I used to have a trumpet vine here many years ago but something killed it off so had to replac it. It was also a little too large for our deck area and kept growing too close to our roof. I miss it but replaced with the honeysuckle, which is native to our area, so the hummingbirds would still be attracted to our deck.
New fence, towards the pool, April '07
Looking from the deck to the pool our new fence keeps our small dog safe and sound when we're not outside with her. As the photo shows, all the plants are growning quickly and everything is greening up once again. Most plants are already in flower, but I still have a few more to add.
Fence from the outside, April '07
Looking back at the deck the new fence really defines the deck and adds a backdrop to some of the shady beds.
Under live oak tree, Aug '07
Under the live oak tree, August '07
A lot has grown since April! The shade beds here are now very lush and full, consisting of lots of turks cap, camelia, gardenia, ferns, mexican petunias, day lilly's and huge Elephant ears! These grew huge but also give a nice backdrop to the pool, as well as shading some of the other plants from the morning sun. It also gives our deck area a very cool appearance which is welcome in our Texas summers.
Pool and landscaping, August '07
This is the pool and beds in its summer glory. The addition of Bananna palms and Elephant ears give a tropical feel to the poolside & will return each Spring. The local Green Anoles love these plants as they blend right in with them! Then there are Mexican fan palm, Esperanza, more Turkscap, hardy hibiscus, Althea, Mexican petunia, assorted Day Lilly, Lirope, Salvias, Lantanas, Spirea, Cannas, Sweet olive, and more. Tropical annuals, such as hibiscus, plumbago, purslane, portulica & mandevilla fill in any gaps and give lots of color.
Pool and landscaping, Aug '07
Pool and south facing beds, Aug '07
Pool and south facing beds. August '07
This is a view of the back beds which are south facing and contain the palms, esperanza, lantana, hibiscus and assorted annuals and backed by the althea and crepe myrtle.
Full grown shade beds, August '07!
Looking back toward the shade beds and the deck the giant elephant ears take the center stage! Behind them and filling in much of the bed are the turks cap, cannas, camelia, ferns, ginger lilly, mexican petunias and salvia coccinea. This bed and the surrounding shade beds containing similar plants are a magnet for the hummingbirds! The small bird bath saucer and statue on the ground in the center of this bed is now hidden from view, but the birds still know where it is, as do the squirells and they visit it often.
All the beds have done extremely well this year and established quickly, due in part to the wet summer we've had which has allowed them to get their roots in. It was a lot of planting and it is never done; some plants will be moved, some removed, some more added. Every year is a little different. Approximately 210 plants were added to the beds around this pool. It was a lot of digging and my back let me know it, but it was all worth it! :-)

Continued on Garden Photos Page - 4

Full grown shade beds, Aug '07

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