Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Email about Sophia's garden day flew back & forth in the Merrie Month of May.
On Tuesday before the big day we heard from Sophia:
Let's first start out with a weather report. I am hearing we have a small chance of that wet substance coming down. I haven't seen it for so long that I'm questioning if we will ever get some.
We will be working in the backyard (no more pulling of the asiatic jasmine in the front-ha) expanding the beds where the grass dies every year.
General composting, mulching, etc...
Come by at 8 am-breakfast will be served at 8:30. I am thinking we could get started earlier taking advantage of the cooler morning and avoid some of the heat later.

I would like your opinions on a bay laurel tree I just purchased-should it go in the ground or keep it in the pot for now?
Whoa-thunder just now! maybe there is hope...
See you all Saturday

Weather reports came in reply on Thursday

Glinda: Yay! We should be digging in nice soft soil on Saturday ... think my yard had about 1.3" of rain today and heard that some parts of Austin got 3". And right now the predictions are low 80's so Sophia's workday will be different from our last few hot & dry projects.

Mattie: You said it! I swear that I feel how happy the plants are. I know my yard was parched and all the buckets I left around are now filled with rainwater. Sounds like a great day at Sophia's house.

Sugar: YAY Rain!!! I’m in Houston & it poured for about 3 hrs yesterday here....I called my neighbor & she said we did get it pretty good. Wonderful. Hopefully it’ll make things much easier at Sophia’s when we start digging in the dirt! See you all then.

Annie: Yipee! I got rain here too, think about 2 inches. It really made all that grass sod you laid soooo happy! Me too! See everyone in the morning.

Mindy: Well, my rain gauge in SW Austin only has a half inch in it but that is better than none!!! Guess the rain dancing finally paid off ..sweet dreams!!!

Before going inside on Saturday morning we checked out the raised vegetable beds that were our project last April.
- the tomato plants were looking bouncyDivasofthedirt,raised tomato bedand look at this cucumber plant mixed in with the peppers..Divasofthedirt,peppers & cukes raised bedCloser - here's a cuke!Divasofthedirt,cuke closeThe dining room looked dreamy -Divasofthedirt,breakfast tableSophia and Roger started this summery day with a trio of melons- Watermelon, Honeydew and Cantaloupe, with Juice & coffee to ready us for the day ahead while an egg bake with asparagus & mushrooms, banana bread and chicken-apple sausage patties were just plain delicious.Divasofthedirt,asparagus egg bake, sausageOn the patio we found that Sophia had collected lots of stuff to pretty up the garden - annual flowers and some small shrubs. The hope is they'll soften the wooden fence now, their roots will catch hold and eventually they'll give some screening and privacy to the back yard.Divasofthedirt,things to plantA large area along the back house wall was once a sort of banana plantation, but they had not survived. Sophia wanted it to be a larger bed with shrubs and trees - she hoped the Bay Laurel could be planted as the anchor of the border.Divasofthedirt,the no-grow spotThe beds along the side and back fence were too narrow and undefined - enlarging & edging would give space for the shrubs.Divasofthedirt,border needs helpThis corner looks OK in summer when the burgundy-leaved cannas are tall, but it looks barren for months when the cannas go dormant in cold weather.Divasofthedirt,burgundy canna cornerDo you think Sophia has gathered enough mulch & compost? How much do you want to bet that we will use it all?Divasofthedirt,compost and mulch bagsThe Divas fanned out and started making a difference. Over the next few hours they will weed, divide, scavenge rocks, move around plants and ornaments, and compost and mulch everything that can't run.Divasofthedirt,tasks for everyoneNow there's an evergreen shrub behind the cannas. This is a division of an old-fashioned Lindley's Butterfly Bush - a passalong from Roger's mom. It looks a bit exotic, attracts bees and butterflies and has done remarkably well even in heat and drought.Divasofthedirt,buddleya behind cannasThe bay laurel bed is coming along - liriope divided from another part of the yard and some passalong Bengal Tiger cannas are now in.Divasofthedirt,bay laurel bed afterThe canna corner is now edged with rock, planted and mulched against the heat.Divasofthedirt,canna bed afterAnd the side fence bed is also composted, planted, edged with rock and mulched... and we Divas amused ourselves by reorganizing and redistributing Sophia's garden ornaments to go with the new plants.Divasofthedirt,fence bed after

Lunch was Spectacular!
Bowls of Gazpacho were perfect (the Ina Garten Food Network version ). Two kinds of "Not your usual Grilled cheese sandwiches" offered creamy, melted hearts of either Smoked Cheese with Pear Slices or Cheddar with Apple Slices on nut bread. A fun touch was Sophia's huge bowl filled with kettle chips, served with slotted spoon, and a Chess Pie was the perfect ending.Divasofthedirt,special grilled sandwiches
That was the end of the feasting, but that wasn't the end of the garden day. Sophia had shrubs for the back fence: a Xylosma (often recommended by John Dromgoole), a Southern Wax Myrtle and a shrub she'd found on sale called Leucothose axillaris or Coastal leucothoe - this one was an experiment.Divasofthedirt,Xylosma on back fenceThe Bay laurel bed is edged and mulched, tooDivasofthedirt,mulched bay laurel bedAnd after its grooming session the oft-worked-upon seating area is once again a star!Divasofthedirt,seating area after
We always have a good time at Sophia's house and we liked her reaction:
Happy good-morning-day-after diva day to you all! I am sure you all are pretty sore after yesterday...but what a marvelous job.
Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart for the superb garden help I had yesterday. WOW! WOW! and WOW!It looks beyond fabulous!
You all added your special touches and your unique personalities really show in the garden. I watered again later yesterday afternoon and everything looks so perky this morning. I think I'll go work a little more today. I also see a road trip for more flat rocks.
...can't wait until our next date at your house Glinda!

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