Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dad Gum Alley

Every time I think about this side yard of mine, I think Turk's Cap Alley.

That, in turn, leads me to think, Daigon Alley from Harry Potter.

That, in turn, leads me to think Dad Gum Alley.

And so on.

My brain.  It walks! It talks! It crawls on its belly like a reptile!

(You would only know what I'm talking about if you have been to an old-fashioned carnival circa pre-1970s, I think.)

Anyway, what the hell was I saying?

Oh! Side yard.

I have two of them, like most people, and they both thwart the livings shit out of me.

East side, west side, hell.  Hell, I tell you.

I have so many gorgeous side yards pinned on Pinterest.

You can see my Side Yard Board HERE.

It's only got 42 pins on it, but that doesn't count the 230 pins I have in GARDEN which also has tons of side yard ideas pinned on it.

But, alas, my side yards will probably never look like any of those because I can't work up enough umpf to work that hard.

Plus, my yard on the east side is blocked by the duplex from hell and 10,000 trash trees and my yard on the west side is blocked by the big fence and 10,000 trash trees so they both get weird ass light that is not conducive to growing anything much.

East side gets hammered hard for about 4 hours a day, then shade.

West side gets only filtered harsh late afternoon sun.


But then, but then!, I planted a Turk's Cap on that west side one time and POW.

That was the ticket.

Well, now, I just looooooooooove Turk's Cap.  A lot.   Super a lot.  

And guess what they like?  Sun or shade.  Dry or wet, but mostly dry.

You know what else I love?  Single species clusters of plants.

I do. I really like that when I see a giant patch of something.

So I lugged those 12,000 lbs cement rings (that used to be around my poor oak trees) back up to the front and made myself a wabi-sabi border.

Then I lugged 14 wheelbarrows full of mulch then dirt into those beds.

Then I went to Barton Springs Nursery (the best best best place for 4" plants) and put in a shitload of Turk's Caps.

Now, they look all sparse right now and it looks kind of sad and dreary, but it won't for long.

Next spring and summer those babies will do their thing and I'll have a cute little Turk's Cap Alley to call my own.

Now, see, I know it looks a little wonky, but it won't for long.

That's the lovely nature of nature.  It grows and grows and grows. 

You can't tell so much for this photo, but those concrete rounds are tall.  Probably around 6 or 7 inches so the beds are pretty deep.

Since I don't have that much dirt just laying around in my yard, I do a kind of Hugelkultur thing.

I go around the yard and pick up sticks and tree shrapnel and fill up most of the bed first with it.

Then I put in a bunch of mulch.

(Why, yes, that is the pile of mulch that was dumped in my yard several months ago.  Why do you ask?)

Then I just need a few inches of soil to top it off.

I don't know if this would work for all plants, but these little 4 inchers of Turk's Cap will go just about anywhere cuz they're not fussy.

While I was at it, I went ahead and made another little border for The Squirrel King who sorely needed something!



Those are some shade salvias.

I think.  I got the damn things home and completely forgot what I had bought.

Here's a bloom.  Maybe someone can tell me?

And is that the damn luck of the Irish, or WHUT? Because that little bloom looks soooo much like a Turk's Cap bloom and I am going for the same look, you know.


Wait. Crap. They're not the same are they?  Do I have my pictures mixed up?

I am hopeless.

So, yea, well, I've still got stuff to do.

More Turk's to plant on the opposite bed.

I planted these last fall without knowing I was going to do a border or the other side, so they're close to the house.

I'll plant another 5 or so closer to the concrete and they will all fill in nicely.  (Or else.)

I need to finish up the butterflies that I painted, oh, 2 years ago.

There are still pencil outlines of about 3 more, I think.

I'd really like to paint that ugly stucco skirting too, but that may be just overkill silly.

I know what I am doing for sure.

Making a new "door" to The Nether.

That's the little panel that covers the entrance to under the house.


(I call it The Nether cuz that is what they call the hell spot in Minecraft.)

I'm gonna make cute door and put a silhouette of something on it.

Skull and crossbones, perhaps?

A big rat?

I need to cut this down too...

Naughty Nandina.

I've got a big Turk's in the back that I need to move and it will go well here.

I've not moved this thing because the sparrows love this spot and I feel bad taking away their play space, but, well.

(Don't my killer lamps looks swanky through the window?  Say yes.)

I wanna get a couple more of these to put on the fence.

Those are supposed to hold planters in them, but I just put bowls in and use them for bird water.  The birds loooooove these things!  I put a rock or two in the bottom so they have a good place to stand.  The squirrels love them too, also, too.

Twat else?

Oh!  My birdbath succulent planter is finito!

Nice, huh?

Once it gets filled in, it will be.


I tomed you!

And, for the record, I am not proofreading this post either.  My cut-off for getting off this glowing box is 10 am and I'm 3 minutes late already.  So, cringe as you will, Missy.

MORE RAIN here today!!!

I, we, are all giddy.

Rain in JULY!!!

Later, tater.


  1. Keep that rain coming! I'll be there Saturday for two weeks. WOOT!

    1. Can't believe I'll miss you, dammit! I'll be at the beach. Poor me!

  2. you sure are one busy bee! and the swanky lamps in the window? yes, yes, yes!

    1. whew! I was busy as all get out. Thanks for noticing the lamps, lovey!

  3. Love it all. Especially the silhouette on the divider. We've been debating all summer about a divider-thingy we want to make. I love yours more than either of our ideas.

    As for side yards, yeah, well--first I need to get the front and back in better order. THEN we can talk side yard!

    1. OH, I would love for y'all to make a wabi-sabi screen divider! Woot!!!

  4. Turks Cap Alleys. I like them! And that red sage in front of the Squirrel King, which I adore, looks a lot like pineapple sage to me. Does it smell like pineapple? If so, that's it!

    1. Oooo, going to smell now. They like sun though, right? That's a way shady spot. SO glad the Turk's are approved! I just love them.

    2. Pineapple sage likes more sun than tropical sage ... I know, sounds wonky, but I've grown both and the tropical sage got only a little morning sun. The pineapple sage got a full half day sun, maybe more. I'm thinking yours might be okay as long as it gets a couple or 3 hrs, or at least several hrs. of mottled sun/bright shade. Also, if that turns out to be pineapple sage, it multiples with runners so will fill that bed up fast and you'll still have some to share. A friend used to come cut mine to stuff in his baked chickens to infuse the pineapple elements, then removed after cooking. Never ate it; don't know about the results. (He also cut leaves off my rose geranium to line the cake pans before pouring in white cake batter. Said they infused the cakes with the most heavenly rose aroma and a slight rose petal taste. Now THAT sounds good!)

  5. This is another episode of "You Are There!". I love the tour. I had to harden my heart as I passed by the waif fifty cent poor poor plants at the grocery store today. I told them I'd be back. I am racked with guilt now. I love to adopt those wilted things because loads of them have taken off in my back yard. I don't know their names but they don't care.
    ms mdd

    1. Oh lordy, I KNOW! I always feel so sorry for the poor, sale plants.

      That is soooo cute that you said they don't care if you don't know their names. They really don't, they just wanna be loved.


  6. Turk's Cap is an edible plant by the way. The little flowers are pretty and tasty in salads. I use them for pasta salads some times. The leaves (I haven't tried these) are gummy like okra and you can steam and eat them. the little round fruits are seedy but you can eat those. they have a nice little flavor. (Spit out the seeds). They also are easy to grow from seed. Throw chile pepins into that area as well and they will grow. Plus they are perennials and I love watching the blue jays pick the chiles off the plants and eat them. I have a great plant that is wild in my back yard called pigeon berry.... you could have some. I will dig it up this winter and throw it over your fence.

    1. HOLY cow! Look at you. You know SO much, lady! I'm so glad to hear from you and I am going to put some flowers in my salad tonight in YOUR honor, Missy. I just LOVE knowing all this!

  7. Turk's Cap makes my heart go pitty-pat. And I second the notion - I think that is a tropical sage with the similarly red bloom. I let it get to a certain size, bloom, and then trim it ruthlessly which bothers it not a whit. It simply keeps coming back for more. But what is really making my skirt fly up is that succulent arrangement in the bird bath. That is going to be a real show-stopper! I'm hoping you'll share another shot when it fills in. If I can't have one here I at least want to enjoy yours! Deal? Deal!

    1. SEE? We are just two peas in a pod, aren't we?

      I'm gonna take your advice then and whack those puppies when they're unruly. I've got some others that are similar that need a good whack too so now I'm inspired.

      Girl, let me throw that skirt up even higher by making you one of those! Find you a birdbath on craigslist, bring it by and I'll make you one on the spot. Course, we'll need a truck to lift it, but between the two of us ... ! I've got so many little succs to spare these days. If you're patient, that is cuz they do take some time to grow in.

  8. You are a woman on a mission. Just like me.
    I have SOOO much I want to do, so many plans for the outside.
    Buck by buck and plant by plant...


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