The Great Plant Experiment of 2012

For once, this was not my idea.  It was Brad’s idea.  I take no blame for the outcome of whatever happens to these poor, helpless beings.

Since 4th of July was on a Wednesday this year, it seemed as though no one really had plans.  Even as I’m back at work today, asking everyone what they did on their 4th of July has seemed pretty lackluster.  It was almost like having an additional Sunday in the middle of the week.  (Are you guys finding this as well?)  Not that I’m complaining, I love Sundays in the middle of the week.  And, you know what I like to do on Sundays?  Home improvement things!  Yay!

We have a tiny area in our atrium that’s a mound of dirt right now, but I have big plans for it.  The first part of the plan is to put some sod in the mound of dirt so that Piper can come in and out and use it as a restroom if we’re gone for the day.  She’s so little that she can sneak under both of our side gates, so we can’t put in a doggie door to the outside.  Plus, I just don’t feel good about having a doggie door.  Too many people can get in through them.  It freaks me out.

Anyway, we went to Lowes to buy sod, and they didn’t have any.  Apparently their shipment comes in on Fridays.  Lame sauce.  But, we’re standing in the garden department.  With all of the pretty, green, easily killable things around us.  And then we had a conversation that kind of sounded like this:

Brad: We should get some plants for the side yard.
Me: No. No plants. You remember what happened last time. (Reference to the Daisy Incident of 2011 where they lived for less than 5 days after planting.)
Brad: But, we can get different plants. Desert plants.
Me: We’re going to kill them.
Brad: But, look at this one.  Isn’t it nice?
Me: Ooh, I like that one…

And that’s how I got shanghaied into buying more plants that we will probably kill.  And, in no time, our cart looked like this:

I can just see them quivering with fear.

We made sure that the plants were “tolerant”, which I took to mean “tolerant of our negligence”, so we shall see what happens.  But, anything is an improvement to our current side yard.  When people come over, I hope they don’t look out our living room windows and see it.  It is an abyss of dead weeds and home to the ugliest retaining wall ever.

Believe it or not, this is after we “cleaned out” the side yard.  We had some 6 foot weeds in there.  (At least we can keep those alive easily!)  The other problem is that we previously threw a ton of wildflower seeds back there hoping they would grow.  It looked like a flowery mess for about a month, but then they all died, leaving us with a hoard of dead plants.  We filled up our green trash can with weeds and dead plants no problem last Sunday.  This is the only (half) living plant left from that endeavor about a year ago:

So, in went the Kangaroo Paw (our personal favorite and the one with the most chance for survival due to its desert, low maintenance nature).  We also put in some “ground cover”, hoping that it will slowly take over.  Once again, not sure if that’ll work or not, but, hey, worth a try.

We also planted a Dwarf Lime Tree.  (Skinny Margaritas at my place in a few summers?)

And this fancy tropical plant that was a total impulse buy.  It was 50% off and just looked sad.  So, I decided to take it home.  It is probably the most likely to die first.

And, here’s what they all looked like planted so far:

Still looks pretty terrible, I’m not going to lie.  But, this is more of an experiment than anything.  We’ve vowed that if they stay alive for 2-3 weeks we can buy a few more and slowly fill up the space.  We also have to put rocks down on the ground to get rid of that miserable space below the retaining wall.  I also have thoughts of painting the shorter retaining wall.  Maybe something fun and colorful and crazy.  Red?  Yellow?  Grellow?  Thoughts are happening.

In the meantime, I woke up this morning and they were all still alive.  They have survived the first 24 hours, so that’s a good sign.

How did you guys spend your 4th?  Any BBQs?  Poolside lounging?  Or, is anyone else crazy like us and took on an unexpected project?

5 Comments

Filed under A Very Strickman Holiday

5 Responses to The Great Plant Experiment of 2012

  1. Kelly

    omg. Can I just say THANK YOU for showing your yard and making me realize that there is another couple out there in this world that has a hard time with their yard as much as my husband and I do! We have a scary back yard right now that I desperately want to do something with but just haven’t had the time or energy yet. Today I woke up to 4 stray cats having a conference in our backyard. I’m guessing because they felt safe that no one would come out and bother them. hahah I told my husband that we officially HAVE to get out there and clean it up (waist high weeds, pine needles in piles, etc.) Thanks for the inspiration and again making me know that real life happens to other people too. :) Sometimes the blogs I follow just seem so “perfect” and honestly it’s impossible to live that way all the time! (on and a tip to keep things from dying – MULCH. :) It helps keep the water that the plants do get from evaporating! ) :)

    • Hi Kelly! Thanks for reading! You can’t have an “after” without a “before”, right? (Or, in my case, an “in progress”, haha.) Keep me posted on how your yard project goes. I don’t know about you, but it feels so daunting to me to go out there and think “where to start?”! And, thanks for the tip on the mulch! I’ll do anything to keep those suckers alive!

  2. No 4th of July for me as I’m based in the UK, but I can sympathise with the plants issue – my wife and I joke that we have black fingers, rather than green fingers, as all the plants we keep tend to die!

  3. Amber

    Have you considered staining your retaining wall? I have seen many amazing examples of stained concrete recently that I think it could work. I have even seen some stained and then sealed with a clear coat that end up looking like marble! Might be worth a try, just a thought :)

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