Sunday, January 26, 2014


In March we Divas of the Dirt met at Karla's - we already knew what her garden project would be. On the way in we admired Sophia's brand new car (what a beautiful blue!) with a detour to check out the crater from the fallen hackberry tree... that hole still looked huge.
Equally impressive was the stack of supplies in Karla's driveway. We could see she was serious about repairing the front landscaping.

In the dining room, deep apricot tulips spoke of spring.

Rabbits added whimsy to another beautiful bouquet in the breakfast room.

Buffy had a family emergency and could not join us, but seven of us were ready to visit & work, and once everyone had arrived... ready to tuck in.

Karla set out a beautiful fruit salad with mixed berries, pineapple & Kiwi fruit and two delicious baked dishes.

The Cheesy Amish Breakfast Casserole earned its name, a mix of eggs, bacon, onions, hash brown potatoes and 3 kinds of cheese. The second pan held Sopapilla Cheese cake, a combination of refrigerator crescent rolls, cinnamon, sugar, cream cheese and almonds.

We had a lovely, chatty breakfast - sharing funny stories and catching up on each other's lives.
Soon we were outside emptying and mixing the bags of soil and amendments. We could fill the huge hole in the ground, but as you can see in this photo from 2009, the tree had taken up a lot of vertical space, too. And when the tree disappeared, the shade cast by its trunk, branches and leaves also disappeared.

We advised Karla to watch and see how the surrounding shrubs and plants responded to the increased light. There might also be a difference because the tree's roots were no longer competing with the shrubs for water and nutrients.

Filling that hole was Karla's main request for the day - once it was done, she thought anything else we did was gravy!  

Although Karla didn't buy new plants, her large tropical plants, like this Hibiscus, needed a staging area.

Karla had existing plants that needed better spots. She told us that the Setcreasia pallida 'Purple Heart' in the front door bed had died. Since my house is just a few blocks from Karla's, I ran home to get starts of Purple Heart, some 'Amethyst Flame' iris, a Gulf-Brazon Penstemon tenuis, some purple oxalis/Oxalis regnellii 'Triangularis' and some burgundy-leaved Cannas. The Purple Heart, (also seen as Setcreasea purpurea 'Purple Heart', Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea', or Tradescantia pallida 'Purple Heart') was soon planted.

 We composted and snipped, weeded and transplanted, mulched - then stood the pots in place, restoring order to the front border

The iris was planted with some passalong yarrow in the adjoining border, with compost added, the edges sharpened and the whole thing mulched.

We continued tidying and mulching the border right down to the corner. Out of camera range is the refreshed parkway.

The front looked great - time to break for lunch.

The serving table stood ready with pulled pork and crusty onion rolls, juicy watermelon and broccoli salad.

Let's take a closer look at that Coconut Cream Cake on the far side of the table.

What a pretty combination of colors on the floral plates.

Karla made the Coconut Cream Cake from the recipe on a can of Lucky Leaf coconut cream pie filling. The cake was really rich and delicious, but I couldn't find the recipe on the Lucky Leaf website... guess it will have to remain a sweet memory.

After lunch we worked on the back borders - weeding, edging and mulching.

The Graptopetalum paraguayense/Ghost Plant really likes living on Karla's patio - and look - the iris have made buds. 

January & February 2013 were milder than usual so the leaves on Karla's decorative Ginger plants look good and the Justicia spicigera/Mexican Honeysuckle has continued to bloom.

Karla's grab bag gift from the January Holidiva day was a Talavera-style pottery orb... we moved it around to different beds, looking for the right spot. 

It had been a good project day but the daylight faded before we could finish everything. Barbie-dog came to visit while Mattie worked on Karla's yard. DivaAnnie gave Barbie a farewell pat and the Divas of the Dirt headed home..

 See you in April!

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