Monday, April 11, 2016

The Back Bedroom Bed, Part 1

As the River of Rocks curves around the house and to the back sidewalk, it creates a bed between the River of Rocks and the back bedroom.  We want to excavate it, so that the plants will grow well, and extend the Zone 9 irrigation from the beds along the West side of the house (outside the computer room and the guest bedroom) into this additional bed.

So we start by digging a hole.

Then we expand and deepen that hole.

Notice that we are uncovering the main sprinkler water supply line, and the wiring that controls the various irrigation valves for Zones 6 to 11 (and the ground).  We have to dig carefully to avoid breaking this water supply line.

Digging on the other side of the water supply line, right up to the house, and the wall for the Iris bed.

We hit a solid layer of rock, about 16 to 20 inches down.  That seems almost deep enough.  Using the jackhammer, we create a hole near the Iris bed that goes thru this layer of rock to the next level.  That is another 12 inches.

So we could take out another 12 inches of rock to get to 32 inches deep.  But this rock is very solid limestone; it does not break easily.  And it is 12 inches thick.  And we are hemmed in by the house on one side and the River of Rocks on the other, so we can't really work freely in this narrow slice of the backyard.  Although it is 34 feet long, it is at most 80 inches wide, and most of it is half that width.  So we will just stay at the 16 to 20 inch level.

Keep digging, mixing the soil with leaves, and filling in the bottom half of what has already been dug out.

And keep digging.  We come across a big rock.

but using the jackhammer, we can break it into smaller pieces and pull it out, leaving more digging to do.

With more digging, we find more rock,

which is then broken up

and taken out.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Wooly Stemodia for the Retention Wall

It's not clear to me how the Retention Wall will look once both the upper and lower West Lawn areas are finished and all the plants are in place.  But it might be nice to soften it by some plants.  Maybe something that runs along the top of the wall, and cascades down it.

So I planted a Wooly Stemodia ($6.99 from Barton Springs Nursery) at the top of the Retention Wall.

It is perennial, semi-evergreen, low moisture.  The main issue will be that is likes full to partial sun.  In this spot, it should get sun in the morning, but in the afternoon it will be shaded by the big Oak tree, and the Jungle and Bamboo Grove.  We'll see how it does here.

Follow-up note:  Apparently it wants full sun.  Over a couple of weeks, it withered and died.

Monkey Grass for the River of Rocks

The River of Rocks is in place and had some time to settle.  We have the main upper West Lawn area filled with dirt and planted, so we should not have reason to be running the wheelbarrow over the River of Rocks much (well, except for excavating the last bed).

So we are transplanting the Monkey Grass that we kept over around the greenhouse into the spaces between the rocks in the River of Rocks.  We start with just dirt.

And after a couple of days of scraping the dirt out between the rocks, putting the Monkey grass down in and putting the dirt back, we have Monkey grass between the rocks.

We've continued this on around the house, but not on the section next to the last bed that needs excavating.

We will finish this last section after we excavate the last bed.