Saturday, February 11, 2012


Our fourth garden project for 2011 had been set for the end of April. In addition to some tree pruning, weeding, edging and mulching the front beds, our hostess Annie had a flat area that needed lawn replacement. She arranged a sod delivery for her project day so we could help her with it.

Buffy had a realtor emergency so she missed this delicious breakfast of fruit salad, French toast with almonds & glaze and bacon, but she planned to join us later in the day.Divasofthedirt,april breakfastThe sod-truck had arrived! Divasofthedirt,sod truckDiva-Annie had ordered a full pallet of St Augustine grass for front and side. We have much more experience in digging up lawn to make new borders than in putting it in, but for a variety of reasons lawn was a reasonable choice for this particular area at this particular time. Divasofthedirt,work areaWe went to work getting the ground ready while discussing how best to arrange the pieces so there were few gaps.Divasofthedirt,stack of sodSome Divas tilled the ground Divasofthedirt,tilling flat area
Some worked on getting the squares laid straight and flat and tight, Divasofthedirt,fitting squares of sodSome Divas weeded, fluffed up, composted and mulched the front beds Divasofthedirt,weeded bedWe took time to admire what was in bloom. Those lantanas are doing well!Divasofthedirt,orange red lantanaWe brought our pole pruners to take off bad branches on the Arizona Ash. This electric pruner was perfect for shaping the Chinese Pistache.Divasofthedirt,prune chinese pistache
It made us sad to see the Cassia tree - once a full and beautiful native evergreen - reduced to a few sticks by the previous winter. Austin always gets some freezing weather, but the temperatures usually bounce above freezing sometime during the day. February 2011 brought us 72 straight hours of temperatures below 32°F with most areas dropping into the teens at night. That solid block of freezing cold turned out to be too much for many plants - even native shrubs - to handle. But the Mexican oregano looked good and was in bloomDivasofthedirt,mexican oreganoBuffy arrived in time for lunch. She had saved Diva-Annie a trip to the nursery by stopping on the way to pick up even more mulch & more bags of compost. Lunch was Chipotle-style chicken bowls with beans Divasofthedirt,chicken bowl luncha big bowl of lettuce and a lavish array of toppings. (Does anyone else read the word "Toppings" and imagine it as said by Paul Rodriguez in the wonderful movie "Tortilla Soup"? That scene cracks me up every time. Toppings... heh, heh. )
Divasofthedirt,tortilla toppingsA Diva birthday was on the horizon so Sugar helped us celebrate with this beautiful handmade birthday cake.Divasofthedirt,birthday cakeWe loved the bird theme for Annie's table- from cloth to napkins, to vintage Czechoslovakian bird flower holders. And each place was set with a pair of white ceramic salt & pepper shakers in the form of birds. You can imagine how delighted we were to be told out these were gifts for each of us to take home!Divasofthedirt,bird-theme lunch tableWe went back out for awhile and got more done. The day's temperatures had reached the low 90's by late morning, but a cool front now came in, bringing more seasonal 70°F by late afternoon. Even for Austin this was shaping up to be a hot year and 'Hot Lips' Salvia may soon be our signature plant!Divasofthedirt,Hot Lips Salvia

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