03 September 2009

It's A Jungle, Finally

The deck that took a lifetime is finally done, well, with the latest construction still needing a good coat of wood finish. The actual deck off the back of the house was completed last fall along with some of the platform steps at the side yard. These platforms create a more gentle, relaxed way to descend the slope than a straight run stair does. A few additional platform steps not in the original plan were added this week to finish off the path.

The side yard hillside was nothing but clay around the platform steps. This spring, soil was amended with peat, sand, gypsum, and organic materials. Several plants were planted with a "Get something planted to fill up the space" Plan. Transplants, volunteers, seedlings, and plants from the plant swap were added, along with a tomato plant or two. In horror, I watched each heavy rain wash more things down the hill. I spent the spring and summer tending to the plants, getting them rooted and established. Now, the side yard has grown into what I envisioned, so I could attend to the "last steps" construction project.

The biggest surprise were the Castor Bean (ricinus communis) [11.9.2008] plants now at 8-feet tall (2.5m) and still growing. They loved this new location and filled in beyond expectations to form a full mini jungle. They create a living visual barrier that cuts down the view into the back yard from the front, providing privacy and framing the entrance to the back yard.

Other residents of the side yard:
  • Mexican Zinnias
  • Geranium
  • Nasturtiums
  • Spiderwort
  • Canna
  • Nicotianna
  • Cosmos
  • Coreopsis
  • Amaranthus
  • Bunny Tails
Along with creeping oregano, the zinnias spill over onto the platforms to create the informal semi-wild look. Check out the cool deck lights made by Kichler, and the cable rail that allows views to the back yard. Regular wood railings would be too bulky and block the view.

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil
  • Gypsum, humus, sand, peat soil amendments
  • Full sun

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: nicotiana, cosmos, canna, castor, basil, cleome, zinnia, calendula
  • Harvested: 1 pepper, 2 tomatoes, 2 cucumber


Flowers said...
I love garden art and the way you have shown it, it is my biggest passion.
James Missier said...
I just visited your lovely blog on gardening & plants. It is truly very nice to see all your beautiful flowers - especially the sunflower & zinnia and my most favourite - the chocolate Cosmos.

Love your deck design - its so beautiful.
Lisa said...
those leaves of the castor plant are beautiful, I might just have to plant some next year. Thank you for showing us.