I finished thirteen straight days of yardwork yesterday. Holy shit, that was so much fun. It was also more physical labor than I've ever done in my life.
Tomorrow I go back to work, so today I treated my weary self to a classic Austin weekday off: sleep late, drink too much coffee, take a dip in Big Stacy pool, and eat a late lunch of enchiladas and avocado margaritas at Curra's.
Anyway, I think--I hope--it was worth the time, money, and vacation hours spent. I finally like my front yard now, and I'll like it a lot more once the plants start growing and filling in that expanse of decomposed granite.
Speaking of which, I'm hoping the big storm that's predicted for tomorrow dumps a ton of rain right over Lake Travis and gives us a more modest amount over here. The plants and granite are not settled yet, so I worry that too much rain could wash our hard work away.
A little about the plants: I tried to pick things that are either native or well adapted to the area and that are drought resistant but will also flourish with some rainfall. Most of what I planted I have grown before, so I know it's all okay with the conditions around our house.
One exception is the ocotillo, which my friend Katherine and I had to build a gravelly mound for so it can drain properly. They hate wet soil, and we are on the very eastern edge of where they will grow at all. They're not really suited for Austin's climate and soils, but I love them so much when we go out to West Texas that I really wanted to try one for my yard.
I was also originally going to go for a lusher look, not quite so desert-y, but we had so many nice agave pups and underappreciated cacti in the backyard that it would have been silly not to incorporate them. I'll see how everything does over the winter and fill in any gaps in the spring.
I bought most of the plants at Great Outdoors, which is my favorite all-purpose nursery in Austin: lovely and inspiring grounds, quality plants, nice people. (Natural Gardener would be a close contender if it weren't practically a day trip from my house.)
A plant list, for the curious:
Monterey Oak tree
Pride of Barbados (Some friends gave us seedlings. We like those people.)
Something that kind of looks like P of B but has larger leaves; I think it might be a candlebush but I don't remember. (From the same friends; they rock.)
Henry Duelberg sage (I like the backstory at this link.)
A dark-green agave that I don't know the actual species of, but it's beautiful and sharp and grows aggressively so we gave it a corner with lots of room.
Well, damn, I guess that's it for the big yard project--except of course the real "after" picture won't be available until two or three years from now, when we see what plants made it and what plants weren't quite up to hanging out in our front yard.
Anyway, this was fun. Maybe I'll blog some more soon.