Monday, November 16, 2015


Had to mow this weekend, zen machine time is always good.  So I thought I'd share this.  Remember when we asked for advice on what to do with this mess in the backyard left behind from the clearing?  

You all had great suggestions, flower seeds, clover, etc.  Of course, right after I posted that, weeks and weeks and weeks of monsoon rains put a halt to any sort of intentional planting we might be able to do.

Backyard before
What I did instead was, on the few times I was able to mow in between the flooding downpours, I always mowed this area so that the exit chute of the mower would blow the grass cuttings into the cleared area.  My thinking was that maybe seeds would also get blown that direction.  Weeds or grass, it didn't really matter, at least we might get something to fill that in.  

Well it took a few months, but...

Backyard after it is now!  It's completely filled in with grass.  I do need to clear the fence line (next time it's not raining, ha) but hey, the yard is looking nice. 

 It happened much quicker than we imagined.  

Now we just need to decide what to do with all this open space.  I daydreamed while I was mowing and thought I'd ask.  For the wide open yard space, we'll have to wait until next year.  Of course, flowers and flower beds/islands will be there at some point, just can't do that now.  I can put down seeds next Spring but we wanted something more substantial at first.  One idea we tossed around...we still have our muscadine grapevines that we've moved around in various pots in town until we can get them planted in the ground.  They are doing great so we thought about using part of this spot as the grape arbor area.  However, it does face North (the fence line is due North) and that probably wouldn't be good for the grapes.

For now, and the first project, we'd like to have a wind break along that back fence.  Something to block the North winds, especially in Winter.  We thought about fruit trees, but they probably wouldn't be so good in a wintry North wind.  Also, while there are about 300 acres behind us, owned by one person...we have to imagine that while it might just be cattle now, if they or family members ever decide to sell it off, there is a chance that homes could be back there someday.  We'd like to grow something now and let it fill in for a few years in case that ever does happen, for privacy and/or security.

Rose hedge?  (THORNS)

Edible hedge of some sort?  (FOOD SOURCE)
Quick growing but low height trees or bushes? (PRIVACY)

Any suggestions?


Delores said...

sunflowers....bird food, beauty, privacy with the taller ones.

DFW said...

Cedar trees, slow growers or Red Tip shrubs, fast growers - both for privacy. Anything in the open area will do great I'm sure.

Anne in the kitchen said...

My new landscaping theory is only edibles or beautiful things to attract critters to pollinate the edibles. Well that and zinnias and marigolds.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest planting something that will stay green all year; evergreens or holly berry trees are also very nice very wind breakers.

Fast Growing trees for screening

Holly berry trees

Kim said...

Blueberries or other berry shrub. Edible. It will take a few years to fill in. And you will need to make sure that there is enough space between them and the fence to keep the cattle from mowing them down for you.

Texas Rose said...

I have a 6-foot-tall hedge of 'Sandankwa' Viburnum. It is evergreen and has fragrant white blooms in the spring which attract bees. I've had it around my garden and orchard area for about 15 years and it has given me no trouble.
Yaupon holly is also an evergreen and has red berries for the birds.
Bottlebrush is another pretty evergreen.

Margaret said...

Hi from sunny Queensland, the bare patch looks just lovely, all covered and green.
Well y'all how about a nice Magnolia tree..... Miss Scarlet .....something to set growing for the future.

A rose hedge may not do well as they like air circulation to prevent black spot, Gardenias hedge well, are evergreen and the perfume is amazing.
Have fun deciding.

Practical Parsimony said...

Use evergreens for a windbreak. Otherwise, deciduous trees go bare in the winter and provide no windbreak. Don't use red cedar. Lots of people are allergic to that. You don't want company suffering even if you are not allergic.

If you plant deciduous trees, oak or anything like that, plant them as far from the house as they will be tall when mature. In other words, a 40-foot tree should be planted 40 feet from the house. That way, it will never fall on the house in high winds or a tornado. Don't plant a pecan tree where you don't want the sap to ruin the paint and coat all lawn furniture.

Leave the fence line wild. Bunnies and other small animals need the cover. It may be unsightly to you, but it looks like home and feels safe to small critters. You could plant bulbs like iris and daffodil, just make sure the cows cannot reach them. They may like to munch on them. Best of all, these need no care since the re-emerge each year.

The pines on the north side of this house were mature when I moved here in 1974. So, I had an instant windbreak on moving in.

About 20 years ago I planted a cherry laurel that was two feet tall. It is now huge--wide and tall. The foliage is thick and glossy. If I were planting a hedge for a windbreak, cherry laurel is what I would plant. The birds like the berries and bees like the flowers.

You didn't ask, but plant a Stuart pecan tree. Put several on a section far from the house, but in sight.
You will never be sorry. They do need to be planted in the fall for best results. They are probably on sale somewhere right now. I would forego a mowing to get in pecan

FionaG said...

You could try Feijoa's. They are delicious and hardy and make great hedges.

Anonymous said...

a mixed hedge would probably work well, some evergreen and some deciduous, that way you can plant a variety of things that would provide some interest all year and pretty much every species of shrub/tree has flowers -some more showy than others- so the bees will always have forage. If you can get hold of feijoas there, they are definitely worth growing and are quite hardy, the taste of the fruit is difficult to describe, but is quite fragrant- closest thing I can think of is lychee, but not quite. not

1st Man said...

I like that idea, thanks!! Food for us, food for birds, beauty for us and privacy. I could work those in. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Red tip photinias? I think that's what they are called? Yes, those are pretty, and do grow well here (and quickly). maybe we'll do a layered kind of thing. Tall in back, medium, short...thanks!

1st Man said...

I love that philosophy. Edibles and pollinators, nothing wrong with that. And yes, marigolds are going everywhere on our property next year. They do so well.

1st Man said...

Thank you for this info. I definitely think we want some windbreaks of some sort and staying green year round is a good thing, especially for the privacy issue. Thanks again, so much!!!

1st Man said...

Oh yeah, blueberries, never thought about that. I might do something along the fence and fill in with berries. It will protect them from the cattle. Thanks for that!!!

1st Man said...

I've never heard of that. And since you are pretty close to us, that's a good plant then because it likes our weather. I will have to look those up. Thanks so much. And I love the bee attraction too.

1st Man said...

Thank you for stopping by as always!! It IS pretty as it is, and I don't know that we want to fill it all in, but we definitely want something along the fence for now. Then we might just enjoy the back yard as a nice green space. Gardenias, never thought about them and boy they are heavenly smelling aren't they? Thanks!!

1st Man said...

As usual, you have great info. Thank you so much. Great point about evergreens, and I didn't know that about red cedar. We definitely want some pecans but even though it looks far away, I think any one would be too close to the house in the future (height wise). But we have plenty of room in front for that. I might have to look for them in the garden centers. Thank you!!!

1st Man said...

I will look those up, haven't heard of them. That's what we want is some sort of hedge. Thanks!!!

1st Man said...

Another mention of feijoas, I'm definitely going to look them up. Yep, I'm thinking a mixture of things too. I like the idea of some evergreen and some deciduous. Plus some flowers along the front for something low growing. Marigolds probably. Thank you!!!