Monday, June 15, 2009

Green thumb, sore body

Welcome to the Jungle - Continuing our landscaping efforts this weekend, we wanted to plant the majority of the trees this weekend. I say majority because we are undecided whether we want another tree in the front of the house and we have room for some more along the fence lines in the back, but are undecided as what to plant. At this point in the season, its getting too late to plant and expect things to survive the summer heat. A cool trend over the area recently pushed us to get it done this weekend. Plus there is room for one more tree in the retaining wall, but that area is completely overtaken by the squash/zucchini already planted. Literally, it is Jurassic Park back there with leaves as big as your head!! We will certainly need to spread it out more next year.

Check it out - the leaves are almost as tall as the 3.5 foot peach tree planted in the middle!!

The tomato plants aren't much better, growing like gangbusters. I can't wait for bruscetta this summer - slurp!

But those were planted much earlier in the season, let's get to Saturday's plantings (which correspondingly made for Sunday's pain/misery). All the trees we got from Central Wholesale Nursery, which has incredible prices and definitely a good find for plants/trees.

First up is a purple grassy little thing which I can't remember the name of. We had this small little triangle at the front of the walkway that wouldn't really match with a front border plant, so this goes there. Depending on how big it gets I might repeat the plant up the walkway.

Next is a Prunus cerasifera (Krauter Vesuvius Cherry Plum). There was an empty whole cut in the concrete next to our house, so we decided to fill it with a decorative tree with beautiful foliage. This tree is upright and rounded and will get to 20-25 feet tall. In the springtime, light pink flowers appear before the leaves, which are deep purple. Quite heat tolerant and it does not bear fruit. It was a royal pain to dig this hole deep enough because of the concrete and took the shovel pick ax, post hole digger and digging pole to work down deep enough.

Moving to the backyard, two of the easier trees were the Lemon and Lime trees, as the soil in the retaining wall is only compacted for 6 months and they were 5 gallon trees as opposed to the rest which were 15 gallon trees.


Key Lime (Mexican Lime)

Next up in the retaining wall is a Bacon Avocado tree. I don't know why its called that but we've been told the fruit has hints of bacon flavor and is one of the best tasting avocado trees available for our area. We have one little tiny fruit on the tree so hopefully we'll have a sample at harvest time. The avocado is next to the fuji apple we planted early this spring and will help cover the shed in our neighbor's backyard.

Last up in the retaining wall is two 10-foot Italian cypresses (the spires behind the tomato farm). These will maintain the same overall shape, but grow 3 feet wide and 30 feet tall. Our hope is that they will eventually obscure the utility pole and junction wires, as they grow a couple of feet per year. I really wish I had put these in before the tomatoes, as they were 15 gallons each and there was a very very limited space to dig and plant these two.

Getting tired yet, I know I am...

Last of the fruit bearing trees is the fuyu persimmon tree. This one had to be replanted twice because I mistakenly planted it too close to the fenceline. This one will sit next to the orange tree. we might have to move it once more in the future depending on how big it gets. I don't want to block the sunlight to the tomato area. The fuyu is smaller though and we can control the height so we'll see.

Now for the decorative trees - We chose two different types of Japanese maples. The first is an emperor maple, which grows to about 15 feet and has distinctive red foliage. This one occupies half of the planter area right outside the living room window and is a showcase tree for the living room and serves to bifurcate the two patios.

The second japanese maple is of the green variety, but with a twist. It is called a coral bark maple, which has bright red bark as a contrast to its green leaves. This one is planted on the other side of the master bedroom patio and is stunning to look at.

Thats it for the planting. We left the house at 9:30 am and by 8:00 pm all those trees were planted - whew... Sunday was a ball of pain from all the digging and lifting, but the results are great. I leave this post with pictures of the Q that we purchased from Costco about a month ago. We opted not to make an outdoor island for two reasons. 1)BBQ's fail - its a fact of life that things aren't made the way they used to be made and if a bbq ever failed and it was a built in, there would be no guarantee that a same size would be available, costing lots more to replace. 2) The winter ranis would accelerate the againg and with a portable one I can roll it under the eaves for the winter and just cover the gass.electric connections. We piped natural gas/electric to it so no running out of propane mid cooking. It has a separate searing burner which is really cool as you can sear your meats and then cook on low heat - delish!! Also has a mini frig for parties. Don't know how useful that is but whatever, it will be turned off 90% of the time.

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