Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Maple Hill Hop 131

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button above to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

We're taking a look today at how our garden has changed.
Since moving to Central Florida in 2005,
the gardening bug has really hit.
Here is how our yard transformed through the years.  


One of the first changes we made 
was to incorporate rain barrels into our backyard landscape.
Since this picture was taken, 
we've added another barrel here,
as well as moving our front yard barrel 
to the other side of this screened porch in the backyard.
Our HOA does not permit them in the front of the house.
These wonderful vessels keep much of the garden sustained,
especially between all-too-infrequent rainstorms.


Plants were added a little at a time.
Classes through the local Extension Center were attended regularly.
Learning about natives and Florida-friendly plants
has been so helpful.
Our garden is drought-tolerant, needs no fertilizing,
and requires no covering up when winter freezes hit.

native grass


At one point, we added this pathway with stones I found on Craig's List.
The curves really grew on me.
It made it so much easier to push a cart or wheelbarrow
from the backyard to the front.


A few walkways were added through the back bed.
Looking at this picture, 
I can't believe how big the pine to the right
and the avocado tree to the left have grown!

This was originally our square-foot veggie bed.
Sitting right outside the screen porch,
it gave us good access from the kitchen.
It's been transformed many times
and we continue to maintain it now as a butterfly attractor.
We host several types of caterpillars and butterflies,
and are a certified monarch waystation
We have also begun to entice more birds into our yard
by providing plants that serve as food and shelter.


Here's how our garden looks today.
It's still a work in progress,
but it's filled out nicely.

The part I like best is that it's easy to enjoy
without a lot of care.
Most plants are cut back at least once a year,
more, if we are blessed with abundant rains.

 This is one of the areas being tweaked now.
More butterfly and bee-friendly plants are being added.
You can see that the plumbego next to the rain barrels
has done a good job of disguising them from neighbors.
It's a favorite hiding spot for birds, lizards, frogs
and the black snake that frequents our yard (totally harmless!).
This window allows us to study birds
that come to eat at the homemade feeder,
including sandhill cranes.
We get a close-up view of many bird species.

This shady area is next on the project list.
The majority of ferns have already been removed
and the pineapple plants will be redistributed.
We have a maple tree that I would love to transplant to this location,
as it would provide us ample privacy from neighbors.

It would go about here.
We don't have many mature trees
and I think it would be very happy with lots of room to grow.
I'm hoping to pick up some mammoth sunflower seeds soon,
and disperse them all through this bed.
It's just not summer without 'em!

This beautiful pine was given to us in a small pot
by neighbors who didn't want it in their yard.
Isn't it glorious?
It is so grand and rugged.
I'd be happy to have a yard full of them!

With each season, 
a new chance to learn and grow is available.
It's been a wonderful opportunity
for this nature-lover to get acquainted with her inner green thumb.
I still have miles to go in my learning,
but as long as the desire continues,
this gardener will keep workin' toward her personal Eden.

That's what's happening here.
What do you have goin' on?
HOP to it!



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