A year of not building anything: 2007

After the huge projects of 2006, 2007 was relatively quiet. I didn't need to excavate any giant holes, move any rocks or build any structures. There was some digging involved though, because I planted a few more trees and prepared a few new planting beds.

This is one of the trees that was planted in the front yard. It's 'Shaina' Japanese Maple, and I really love this tree -- it made such a bold statement here between the house and the driveway.


I planted another Japanese Maple in the front yard in 2007:


This is Acer palmatum dissectum 'Red Dragon', and it will eventually be spectacular here near the front door. I planted a couple of 'Blue Rug' junipers underneath it too, only because I didn't have anywhere else to put them and wanted to get them into the ground. They want full sun so won't do very well here.

Japanese Maples are relatively expensive trees, probably because they're quite slow-growing. Including the three that I planted in the back around the patio, there are now 5 Japanese Maples in my yard, and although I love every one of them, the price tag makes adding more a hard decision. So I was glad to find a couple of small (1 gallon pots) varieties for $20 each at local "big-box" garden centers (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, etc.) this year. I potted those up, put them on the patio, and will nurture them for a few years until they need to be planted somewhere.

In addition to planting trees, I also had to remove a few trees in 2007. There are two dead elms and one dead locust in the back corner of my yard:

Since there was nothing around them except bare lawn, my neighbor and I were able to remove them ourselves.

I had thought that both of the elms were in my neighbor's yard, as I knew the property line was somewhere in that area. I only found out around this time (after a real estate survey) that the property line went between the two elms, so one of them was actually mine!

After removing this tree I spent a lot of time stacking the elm logs (too hard to split) and splitting the locust, then in the fall I planted an almost-too-big-to-move 12' tall bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) back here:

That was it for the tree planting this year, but I also did some other kinds of digging, as I prepared a few new planting beds. I created a groundcover thyme bed near the Miscanthus grass (which I believe has reached its full, mature size by this time):

I also created a couple of beds on the hill between the driveway and the veggie garden. Unfortunately and unbelievably, I didn't take any photos of the process so this is all I have:

The beds curve down the hill, with a strip of lawn between them. This is almost the worst possible angle from which to view them.

This second photo of those beds was taken in the fall from a bit closer, and you can see that there is now no lawn between the beds:

That's because we had a terrible drought during the summer of 2007 and my lawn really took a beating. You can see a bit of it in the foreground of this photo:

2007 was the year that my lawn turned from "turf grass with some weeds in it" to "weeds with some turf grass in it". (I'm not really a water-the-lawn type of gardener.)

That drought also caused some big problems with at least one of my Japanese Maples. Take a look at this photo:

Focus on the area with the curved retaining wall, below the pergola. Notice that there is no tree there? My beautiful 'Seiryu' Japanese Maple did not survive the summer! I am to blame for that, since I think I didn't give it enough supplemental water during the dry period. It was an expensive and painful mistake, but I learned my lesson: you must "baby" plants a bit until they are established, which can take a couple of years.

Note: In 2007 we had a very warm late winter which caused everything to "wake up" a few weeks early, then in April had an uncharacteristic hard freeze (down into the mid-20's F) for 2-3 nights in a row. This caused all of the Japanese Maples to suffer: their leaves and tender new growth was frozen and fell off. Most of them in the St. Louis area had a large amount of die-back -- where the ends of all of the branches died, and there were a few beautiful Japanese Maples in my neighborhood that were removed that summer because of this. It may be another reason my 'Seiryu' didn't survive the summer.

At the end of yesterday's post I wrote that 2007 was "the year of bamboo". I was getting ahead of myself, because 2008 was the year of bamboo. That's up next.

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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (December 23, 2010 at 12:03 PM)  

I "rescued" an Acer palmatum dissectum 'Red Dragon' from the Lowe's bargain rack a couple of years ago. It's been in a large pot since then but hasn't been doing much. I hope it will one day be as beautiful as yours!

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