Spring Struck

So here I am drawing one of my lovely Mouse Artz, and realizing Spring has sprung. Would you look at that flower! I think I would pay a pretty hefty price for a flower that blooms like that. What an oddity!

But seriously, some spring’s I do go pretty crazy. I just love my plants, and improving the yard every spring. This Spring I’m not sure where I’m heading with the yard, just that it is going to be different.

I have cut my thousands of Purple Ruellia low, vowing to keep them that way as long as I can until the end of June. When July hits, let em go. By Aug. 1st, the flowers just BURST into tens of thousands of purple flowers, and I get this HUGE swarm of yellow butterflies and bumblebee’s.

I have also, just today in fact, potted about 240 sunflower seeds – which I line behind the Purple Ruellia ‘hedge’ . This will bloom and look just spectacular from the road in mid-May thru the end of June. I get the kind with the branching flowers – they are spectacular from June 1st. to the 30th. I actually get pedestrian compliments.

Behind the sunflowers I have three large Crepe Myrtles, which I’m about to prune back. These will burst in just LOADS of pink flowers at a height of late April, early May.

So you see, from April thru to Sept., I’m a blaze of one color or another.

Then there are the potted spring flowers. These I will start in a week or so. They consist of about 30-40 pots of flowers I hang and place all over the yard. I’m anxious to get this going. I have already a HUGE pot of impatiens from last year. In the winter I keep it under the porch roof – they live thru the winter and never get frost. You don’t fertilize from Nov. thru to Feb., they will turn a little yellow and get real stalky and lose their leaves – you end up with yellow green stalks with pale sickly flower’s on the end. Then in Jan I cut the stalks down to nubbs and start hitting it with strong hits of Miracle Grow. Its so wonderful the watch them just BURST to life in a month or so. Then you slow down on the fertilizer and let em mellow. You get such a large load of flowers bursting with color.

In the other pots I plant just a medley of different spring flowers, laid out in groups all about the front AND the back yards. I’ll have several groups of hanging pots from the porches and tree’s. I purchase lengths of cheap plastic chain to obtain the various hanging heights. Some pots sit on stone in the beds and I hide the pot with a layer of mulch. These I’m particularly looking forward to, as this year I’ve decided to refresh every plant bed and fence and house line and around the shed lines with a fresh, 2-2 and a half ft. layer of mulch. This is a special kind of mulch that I get from the excellent mulching facility near my home, completely free. It is second grinds, filtered out of the first grind, and it is the consistency of a course dirt and is looking awesome around the house.

The mulch is a big job. I use my 96 Nissan pickup XE lite truck for the job. Its consists of driving (thank God, thru the country with only 2 stop lights over 18 miles) in the old truck with bald tires and its 225,000 mile battered frame to the mulch hard, where they pile the mulch in huge piles according to grind. I then pitch or sometimes they will load for me a little under a dozer bucket of mulch, rattle my way home, and pitch it into plastic trash barrels that I wheel around the lot to where I need it. My lot is large, and my beds are everywhere. The second grinds go fast, and to make sure I had enough, I actually started mulching everything in Dec. I’ve done nearly 12 truck loads, and still have 6 or 7 to go to get it done, but they ran out of second grinds. This is actually a blessing. The 6 or 7 loads go to areas I have not yet prepped, and between all the other things I’m doing, I could take up to a month break on the mulch. Just by that time it is pretty friggin hot to be shoveling mulch. Glad I’m almost done with it. I have two large bed area’s to finish, various fill in area’s that have already been mulched and just need patching, and several house lines to do.

I’ve sodded the garden in the back with Bermuda grass, which I also got for free from the local ballpark, the largest in the county, where they were cutting several seasons of growth off the yard lines with sod cutters. This stuff is pretty leggy and needs to be cut closer than the other grass, which I have been learning to do over the last couple of years. I now have almost half the lot area mulched, and the grass that remains is of different blends of wild grasses and strands of St. Augustine grass survived from my original St. Augustine sod, which I destroyed one year with an experimental scalp. Needless to say, I skalp no more.

My other alternative for grass is sod. When I was younger I used to purchase pallets of sod from a sod company and haul it in the Nissan half a pallet at a time, hand loaded and hand removed at destination. That didn’t last too long and I ordered it by pallets of three to five next until it was done. With so much mulched in this year I wouldn’t need half as many pallets, but even just field grass has gotten HUGELY expensive.

So my plan for this year is to bomb it with fertilizer and pesticide. I am not sure what type of pesticide to use, but it makes all the difference in the world in your yard. Ant hills disappear and the grass-root-eater’s are at least very, very minimal. Them fuckers will eat your new spring lawn in a month.

I had a bit of dilemma choosing a fertilizer this year. Finding a universal blend strong enough to make a difference in my grass medley was difficult. I also wanted an iron supplement for greening. I narrowed my choices down to Scotts Extreme Green and Milorganite, the Chicago shit (literally, as I understand it). I think its Chicago. Its somewhere. Regardless, it has a decent enough iron content, and is what I chose. Milorganite is cheap, and one of my friends uses it. Nice results. I’m gonna try it.

So I wanted the iron supplement, but I also wanted a weed killer. Not sure what to do about this. There are weed killer blends of fertilizer, but they look rough. Weed killer makes a difference, and gives the grass a chance to fill in. Yet I could never figure out how to use it, and I let it go – ending up with a lovely lush green grass with a medley of different weeds and no bugs. Looks like shit during the winter month’s, but lovely in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

I’ve also got to pressure wash the home, walkway’s, and porches. Granted all this stuff needs to be done by the end of April. And in the middle of it all I have to transplant those sunflowers into a 65 foot bed and I’m doing a short one around 12 ft also.

If I get everything done by the end of April, I’ve decided to go with a pool this year starting May 1st. I get the Intext Easy Set 18×4 ft. pool. I love these. They are cheap and last 3-4 seasons, if properly stored each season. But keeping them up is expensive, especially in electricity, since I pump my water from a well. You also need about 150.00 worth of chemical’s for the season. It’ll keep me chilling May, June, July, and August. Also, sometime early summer I need to get another well drilled, this one is getting shot. Its 25 years old. That’s a little over 2 grand. Ugh.

So, yea, Spring is hitting us fast, and getting good rain so far too. Its going to be an unusually green year, and I’m going all out this year. Not sure how many more years I can do all this, but I try to keep up.

I shoveled mulch today, along fence and hedge lines along the road, with the heavy first cuts, which are a pain in the butt to pitch. My body hurts, but in a pleasant way. The night is warm, late 60’s upper 70’s Farenheight. I can always tell Spring Fever when it comes. I talk and plan incessantly about the yard, and draw funny flowers with my mouse pad. I’m in a green haze. That flower is kinda of cute in it’s crudeness, don’t you think?



About respectfullywritten

I live in Central Florida and love it!!
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