View Full Version : Gardening. The mostly dull thread.

03-10-2007, 09:29 PM
My house has a tiny garden out front. about nine feet wide and four feet deep. we did some stuff to make it attractive when we moved in here. shoved in a Rhus tree, planted up stuf like bamboo and various flowering plants. trimmed the privet hedge down. grew ivy up both sides of the bay window. shoved a laburnam tree in.

it looked kinda nice. actually the only garden in the street. everyone else has a paved or concreted front. but i got bored of the plantings and the trees wer being wrecked by local kids who would swing on the branches. not to mention the rhus throwing up suckers and the roots threatening to undermine the house foundations. so we decided to start over. do something simpler and more low maintenance.

sitting down to plan this new garden we chatted about stuff we like and what plants don't need much care and what would go and stay of the current garden. at the same time my partner started clearing the space. the trees hve gone. the bamboo has been uprooted and put in temporary pots in the back yard. everything else has been removed and the ground levelled. last thing to go will be the privet hedge.

in the course of deciding how to create the fence we decidd to replace the hedge with we stumbled upon the idea of a wooden fram clad in bamboo as the cheapest option. the gaps betwen the bamboo will aloowthe strong wnds we get here to pass through and be broken so the plants only get hit by breezes. plus most other fence styles look twee or harsh or are made from materials that don't really gel with plants. bamboo was the most organic looking material and the softest look we felt we could achieve.

we then talked about how to arrange the plantings. we'd previously had borders around a gravel path. a bit too hard and old fashioned for me. not to mention that cats like to bury their poop in the gravel. instead we decided to go for odd shaped stone slabs in two patches. to act as stepping stones fro which to access the plants but also to provide a place to put seats in the summer when the sun hits the house front at full power. a place to chill and catch the rays. this will mean around the stone patches are irregular patches of ground. and this in turn suggested specimen planting as a style. what to plant though? the bamboo we had before will go back as a screen at the far side of the garden. another wind barrier. also as there's a bit of a pathway leading to the side gate there where kids like to congregate and hide it'll serve as a barrier to stop them peering in through the bay window.

Now it all sounds kinda tidy and simple. the ideas are good and we're keeping it uncluttered. but it was at that point in the thinking it dawned on me that we were actually creating something vaguely japanese in flavour. looking on the net what we had was on the way to being a japanese tea garden. so with that in mind the obvious thing to plant around the stones was japanese grasses. chief among these is the bamboo (sinarundinaria nitida) but to compliment that pampass grass seemed the only option. put in near the front gate. a bit of height and a nice soft swishy plant. for the main plantings clump forming forest grass hakonechloa macra 'aureola'), blood grass (imperata cylindrica) and although it's cheating, lilly turf (liriope muscari 'big blue'), feather reed grass (calamagrostis x acutiflora).

I wanted some more colour and would have liked cluster amarylis (spider lily) but the conditions here are wrong for it so i've opted for star of the east (crocosmia 'Lucifer') as it has grass like foliage and bright red flowers during late summer.

I would have loved a japanese maple tree (acer palmatum) but with such a small space it would have been too much and as we just took out trees it seemed stupid to put one back in. also the forest grass is a shade loving grass so we may have to substitute that for a carex or phlax. which are New Zealand natives if I'm not mistaken.

for the stone slabs we're debating about black mountain slate or a stone we saw today in a gold with red striations through it. this would take the form of flat stones for stepping/sitting on and odd shaped chunks dotted about in a seemingly chaotic manner but carefully placed.

we considered the bare ground around the stones and plantings and decided to put a heavy gravel over the soil. this in turn could be black or golden with red striations depending on what we choose for the slabs. the usual teahouse statue will be omitted from the scheme because some punk would likely walk off with it. knowing this area as I do. same with the water feature. which is a shame because that would have been really cool. but you can't have everything.

it's not a big garden and it doesn't sound like a big project. but strangely it's precisely because the space is so limited that it's more difficult. there's a couple of tons of stuff come out to clear the space and get it level. working in a tight space makes the job twice as hard. and my partner has done the digging because frankly, I'm crap at that sort of thing. he knows nothing about design or plants so that's my job. visualising the space as it will be. drawing plans, trawling around looking for the right materials. sourcing plants that aren't the standard fare of local tinpot garden supply centres. today i was looking wistfully at tree ferns. wishing britain was warmer. handling various grasses to see how they'd fared with our current crappy weather. it's a pitiful job but someone has to do it. ;)

I'll update with progress reports as and when. possibly with pictures too.

In the meantime feel free to wonder why I start this thread and also chat about your own gardening. :thumbsup:

03-10-2007, 11:53 PM
This thread is stupid. I almost felt like it was a Tycho thread. I thought you could do better, Andy. *shakes head in disappointment*

03-11-2007, 12:03 AM
I've never really been into gardening but I've been thinking that if I ever become a home owner, I wouldn't mind planting some vegetables that I would eat.

I like potatoes. How much room does it take to grow potatoes? I could see myself doing carrots as well. I'm not into fresh beans or peas.

03-11-2007, 10:56 AM
This thread is stupid. I almost felt like it was a Tycho thread. I thought you could do better, Andy. *shakes head in disappointment*Oh ye of little faith.:sleeping:

I like potatoes. How much room does it take to grow potatoes? I could see myself doing carrots as well. I'm not into fresh beans or peas.
you only need about the same sort of space as I have out front. about a foot to eighteen inches between plants. coz you have to mound the soil up around the base of the plant. of course you need to watch out for potato beetles and blight. carrots need less space. salad stuff fresh from the garden is lovely. lettuces and beetroot and red onion, sweet peppers and so on, not forgetting that there are dwarf varieties that take even less space. And herbs can be decorative as well as useful.

if people who have gardens grew their own veg, took up that homestead approach for one they'd save money on grocery bills but also help drive down the cost of living. our ancestors managed to survive by growing their own so no reason why we can't. even window boxes can be utilised as mini veg plots. for those who live in blocks of apartments.

you know, in the netherlands, they have water recycling down the sides of apartment blocks where people grow stuff and the water used by the occupants actually drizzles through the soil and gets filtrated that way. very clever recycling. though obviously not human waste. that would be silly.

03-11-2007, 11:29 AM
My X used to have a green thumb, so my back yard is full of plants. I'm just trying to keep it all alive now. I have mixed feelings about all of it. It's hard to work on the back yard without thinking of her. Maybe I should sell and move. Though I would like to make a Japanese Zen garden, complete with Japanese Maple, Bamboo, and other oriental plants. Complete with a small pond with goldfish and trickling water. This I think would be good to calm the soul........I know one thing. Have you ever tried to get a fresh tomato? From fast food where you get white centered tomatoes, to even the expensive tomatoes on the vine at your local supermarket. Nothing tastes as good as a grow your own tomato, ripe, just picked, and it was alive a few seconds ago. It IS like heaven if you like tomatoes.

03-11-2007, 11:43 AM
Ahhh gardening- I swear I started a thread like this years ago but it died :(

Sounds like a damn cool project, Jargo- might I suggest a mini-bog container with some Sarracenia (North American Pitcher Pkabts) in it?? they can be REAL spectacular and you have some GOOD sources over there, many famous carnivorous plant breeders are from jolly old :D

And have you considered possibly making a "native" Garden?? it's all the rage over here with some types, planting nothing but proper indigenous plants- it's cool cos there's a LOT of pretty fancy plants in most places, they are just not commonly seen in nature..

OH and if you have any wet, shaded spots, I would sugest a perennial from the Philipenes common name "Toad Lily", they bloom in late wet fall and are really small flower but SPECTACULAR, and at that time there's not much else to look at- we got some last year and afte the blooming I was convinced we're gonna get as many as possible (also the plant has maybe the most impressive "provenance" of any species I've ever heard of, look it up, the national geographic angle is golden)

And Blue2th, TOTALLY AGREED- we still have a few tomoatoes in the freezer (we wash them off and freeze them whole for use in sauces, stir frys and stuff like that) and even after a few months of deep freeze, they are like edlible gold- hot peppers and tomatoes are the only things we're gonna grow this year after a disappointing season for a few things last year


03-11-2007, 12:24 PM
I like potatoes. How much room does it take to grow potatoes?

Not all that much the thing with taters is that you have to "mound" them. Which means you keep putting dirt on them which creates... well a mound. :p

I could see myself doing carrots as well. I'm not into fresh beans or peas.

Carrots are super easy, the only thing you have to do is thin them out which isn't a big deal at all.

03-11-2007, 01:47 PM
Mabs, after the front is done we have the back yard. which at the moment is a place for the dog to poop and just a few pots around the edges. would love to deck it all out and have some choice specmen plantings though. but like I said, it gets really windy and cold here being coastal and all. Have to be a bit circumspect about what gets planted. really want a big Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), coz I love pinnate leaved stuff. we have a short palm that's about 20 years old now out there. it's wrapped up still in it's winter protection fleece but once we unwrap it it fans out and gives the yard a sense of life. we have a couple of varieties of Hosta and crocosmia, ground ivy and some lillies of the day lilly type but the lillies don't do too well.

if we didn't have the dog i could put down all kinds but he has a tendency to chew leaves and so the poisonous foliages have to be left outof the equation. aside from a dwarfed laburnam that came from a cutting from my late grandma's garden. been training that for a number of years now. damn thing doesn't want to be trained though.

we had a neighbour til a few years ago who worked in a botanical gardens. she was good for advice, had the most amazing garden herself. fantastic huge calla lillies and rare shrubs. she'd take cuttings from the botanical gardens on the sly and cultivate them. the current people who bought her house just dug it all up and hacked it back to make room for their rugrat kid to play. criminal.

Lord Malakite
03-14-2007, 02:26 AM
so we decided to start over. do something simpler and more low maintenance.

sitting down to plan this new garden we chatted about stuff we like and what plants don't need much care and what would go and stay of the current garden.
So you are looking for simple, low maintenance, plants that don't need much care huh? :cross-eye

I've got the perfect plants for you then. They're called weeds. :love:

08-09-2007, 12:17 PM
I'm digging up this thread (get it digging up?) to tell you guys I managed to grow some things.
I planted corn in my backyard (yes in my backyard) a couple of rows. though they haven't come to fruition. Kinda looks funny and out of place. Guess I need a scarecrow or Jeepers-Creepers character out there. lol There's also some squash plants (I forgot what kind)
Alot of things died like my carrots, and a mouse ate a few things like all my peas (damn cat didn't do her job!)

The cool thing is that my six tomato plants are putting out tomatoes like gangbusters. I've had a tomato everyday for the last two weeks. Either in a salad or on a pastrami sandwich whatever. Like I said before it's like heaven tasting a fresh homegrown tomato.

Any of you guys had any success? Mabs? Jargo?

08-09-2007, 02:22 PM
This thread is stupid. I almost felt like it was a Tycho thread. I thought you could do better, Andy. *shakes head in disappointment*

Belated thanks for your confidence in me, Slicker. :thumbsup:

Please don't share this with anyone else, but I'm secretly working on an expose about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I hope to debut later this month!

08-09-2007, 02:45 PM
Yep, tomatoes going strong, TONS of super-hot horseradish, herbs going real good- only thing kinda suffering is my hot peppers (the MOST important crop)

My Carnivorous plants are lookin great too, the second crop of pitchers is just rising now right on time.
They'll basically be the same as the earlier ones, pics of which are HERE (http://ocps.proboards78.com/index.cgi?board=currentevents&action=display&thread=1180658625&page=7)

My plants are the first grouping, the second group (same post but after the pics of people) are plants grown by a buddy of mine who lives right nearby.

Anyone else having any luck??

OH and congrats on the corn, I always have problems with that stuff, do post a "review" once it's ready :D
:beard: Iso & Baws
KH has a tiny garden in his mind

Lord Malakite
08-09-2007, 07:00 PM
Tons of tomatoes and zuccinis here. Also have some carrots, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, and watermelons growing (though not quite as abundent). Even had a few tiny inedible potatoes going (which the cat decided to fertilize personally). :D

Old Fossil
08-09-2007, 08:56 PM
I don't do vegetable gardens any more. So much work, and our lot is mostly shaded, anyway. But there's nothing like home-grown tomatoes, and tomato sandwiches with lots of salt and pepper!

Don't do much flower gardening, either, what with the shade from the pine trees and whatnot. I enjoy putting in wood ferns in the deep mulch I've created over the past couple of years in the flower beds around the house, and in the beds around some of the trees. I am very fond of ferns.

I have been experimenting with starting hydrangeas from cuttings, with mixed results. Almost not worth the effort, but I was able to root five plants from about 25 original cuttings.

Much of my "gardening" involves a chainsaw... detritus from Katrina lingers in odd corners of the property. One man + one chainsaw + one uprooted 60 year old water oak = two months.

I did set out four bald cypresses earlier this year. Sneaked them into the far back of the lot, in a reasonably sunny, damp area. I've always loved the look of cypresses -- even those planted in urban areas hint of ancestors rising out of wild, impassable swampland.

08-10-2007, 09:50 AM
woo seeing this thread just brought a smile to my face. well done guys.

We recently dug out our front yard and dumped everything that was growing in it. I say we, it was my partner Pete that did the hard work of shifting all the stuff including tons of topsoil and building a very sturdy fence around the perimeter. hehe. I chose the materials to be used for the new garden and the plantings and where to place stuff and what sort of theme we were going for.

I basically went for a semi japanese feel. cross between a tea garden and a zen garden. chose stuff like a castor oil plant and various ornamental grasses in black and red and gold and green and an acer palmatum (green not bronze) and shoved in a rhubarb plant for decorative difference and pudding power. (tastes sweet too) there a gladioli because Pete mistook the leaves for a crocosmia and of course dwarf bamboos. it looks fantastic after rain or a good watering. and I should say the patch is only nine feet by six hehe but every inch was lovingly prepared and treated. and the stone flags were placed just so that i could take a stool out and sit in there once it's all taken properly next year. still got one side fence and the gate to do. currently it's one of those wrought iron fancy twirly affairs. going to make it all wooden and plain. maybe put a small archway entrance thingy over the gateway. with some sort of welcoming message. in japanese.

we put a membrane over the topsoil to stop weeds and after planting we covered the membrane with chinese polished stone in black white and red and passing through the centre some small white stone flags for walking through the garden on. then placed some larger rougher stones strategicaly, they have nice striations running through them in gold and red.
it's all doing excellently. we've had tons of rain this year interspersed with good strong sun so everything is lush.

In the back yard slugs and snails massacred my hostas and the laburnam tree isn't looking too healthy but the 25 year old spikey palm is doing great. huge spread and tons of new growth. even the dead bamboo we rescued from the front yard has put up baby shoots so I'm nurturing those.

it's only a small garden but it's only a small house. and we're the only house in the street with a real garden. everyone else has concreted over fronts. though our friends across the street have been inspired by our efforts and planted stuff in pots so their front looks ok. Just a shame more people don't see the benefit of having a simple garden to make the houses look more appealing and to brighten up the place. a bit of effort and you can have a no nonsense low maintenance front. compared to the depressing concrete that was here when we moved in our tiny eden has so much power to lift spirits and enchant.

now, next place I live will have a real garden. I'm not living somewhere without a full sized garden again. I'm thinking landscaping and trees and water and a summer house and gunnera and giant ferns and really making an eden. hehe.

08-10-2007, 10:40 AM
Jargo- Sounds pretty dang sweet- if you can find some, a few pieces of copper tape around the hostas (OR Broken eggshells OR broken terra-cotta pieces) will keep the slugs down a bit- it's funny how hostas are pretty much ZERO maintenance growin-wise, but if/when the slugs arrive the plants become a real pain in the butt, lookin all ratty and all.
Sounds like your setup is gonna be SWEET next year (sounds quite fine already) so hopefully you can snap a pic or two of it Bro!

I haven't even seen a slug all year, the droughts must have killed 'em all off
Old Fossil- hear ya on the vegetable garden- we only grow hot peppers and tomatoes, now- we used to grow all sorts of crap, but it was always a case of putting months of work to end up with 3 eggplants that you could buy at the local farmers market for a damn dollar, and that's IF the fruit even formed/grew correctly- same with plain ol green peppers- overal, I figured it would cost like 4 times as much to grow the things as it would to buy perfect local ones. Tomatoes tho, they're worth the effort as 4everyone here seems to agree

I have a LOT of different flowers and stuff, and like OF mentioned, we have a lot of shafde out back so there's ferns galore (there's a local species we've seen while out hiking a LOT lately, I am hoping to find one somewheres that I can dig up and bring here, it's a realy fancy plant and I've never sen it available commercially to my recollection)

It's fun to have a convo about such an "alien" subject here on SSG, glad to have an outlet like this for such randomness

08-10-2007, 11:32 AM
I heard you can also put down dishes or bowls of beer, and the snails would rather eat (or drink that) then they die of alchohol poisoning. Sounds a little far-fetched, and I haven't tried it yet.
I'm going to try that copper or eggshell thing though. I have alot of bulb flowers my ex planted, when they come up they look like that Van Gogh painting.
Still planing on starting an oriental garden, after I repair my porch. That's all I've been doing for the last month.
Mabs, the green chili (pepper) crop is supposed to be excellent this year in New Mexico. Don't know if you've tried those.
I started groing vegetables because of sudden health problems. (I can relate to Tycho now, though my conditions are not as serious I think) Figured I'd change my eating habits. Like you say though you can get most veggies at the local Farmers Market. Though for some reason because of shelf life or something Tomatoes seem to be the hardest to get fresh off the vine. And they are really good for you.

08-10-2007, 12:06 PM
Yeah, tomatoes oxidize or something, it's best to get tyhem the day they're picked, preferably the second you twist it off the vine- especially the yellow/orange ones, which taste incredibly good but which don't seem to like growing on our property

Blue2th- First off, hope all is well with you, gardening is good for almost any problems tho so you chose wisely :D The beer thing does indeed work- dunno the exact science behind it, but since slugs basicaly absorb stuff through their skin and alcohol is poison, it make sense- only thing that makes it hard is pouring perfectly good beer in a dish and giving it away to slugs- I AM Canadian after all, doing taht is like heresy :D Copper tape definitely works, and it'll last pretty much forever- they can't crawl on it for some reason, and they don't like the eggshells or terracotta too much either (that "look at him crawlin across the razor blade" must be painful for the poor little suckers)

I am growing some kind of pepper with the "trade" name "Dynamite"- to me they look pretty much like a "regular" chile, kind knobbly-like, shiny, starting light green-ish and going fire-engine red after a bit- I've eaten a few of 'em and they're nice- I also have some of them hot Hungarian cherry-peppers- they usualy do well, but this year not so much, still hoping for the next month or two tho. My Habaneros aren't lookin too good at all- next year it's 10 bags of sheep crap in late winter and who knows what else, but it needs a little somethin out there to be sure

Lord Malakite
08-11-2007, 09:45 AM
My Habaneros aren't lookin too good at all- next year it's 10 bags of sheep crap in late winter and who knows what else, but it needs a little somethin out there to be sure
My uncle gave us some of those he grew in his garden some two or three years back. Fettfield ate several of the Habaneros raw on a dare by me and my other siblings. When he was done you should of seen the look of torture on his face.:D Even better, he looked like he had on lipstick for about two weeks.lol

08-11-2007, 07:51 PM
Yeah, tomatoes oxidize or something, it's best to get tyhem the day they're picked, preferably the second you twist it off the vine

Blue2th- First off, hope all is well with you, gardening is good for almost any problems tho so you chose wisely :D
Thanks Mabs.
Yeah, I heard something about eating a plant while it still has a little of it's life force left in it. Though that sounds a little sci-fi. Something Jack Lalane said on his juicer commercial.

Just got a little hyperthyroidism after a chemical incident at work. So I run a little hot on the metabolic thermostat. Though I'm feeling better than I did.

Lowly Bantha Cleaner
09-02-2007, 11:47 PM
My dad dedicated about a 20 by 5 feet section of our backyard to put in a vegetable garden. I don't know why he does it, he waters the heck out of the thing, and half of the offerings get eaten by the local rabbits or end up rotting away anyway. Just to save 2.49 when we go to the supermarket I guess.

Anyway, what is the best colored light to use in order to grow champion cannabis?

09-03-2007, 08:59 AM
*chokes on mouthful of tea and hacks up nasty greebly thingy*

I have no idea. i just assumed it had to be bright and include ultraviolet and heat. replicate sunlight. or you just grow it outdoors in your garden hidden among other similarly pinnate leaved plants. maybe i'm wrong. never grown any. i just buy the results of cropping. for medicinal purposes you understand......

05-11-2008, 08:00 AM
With food prices up (well everything is up) this "dull" thread could be a smart thread. Anybody growing any produce this season?
I've already planted:

Tomatoes (mostly)
numerous spices in a dedicated spice garden

Haven't yet but fixin' to put in:


05-11-2008, 10:42 AM
When I get a house someday I'd love to take up this hobby and do my part to live off the land.

05-11-2008, 02:38 PM
who would have thought that grain crops could become such a rare and expensive commodity. the land can only provide so many crops before the soil is exhausted and now they're growing the stuff to turn into fuel rather than food. makes me want to go buy a farm and grow wheat and build a mill/bakery on site and sell expensive handmade bread to people with more money than sense..

To be honest i think I'd rather buy a farm and grow a forest on it. do some landscaping on the flat fields and build up hillocks and gulleys and maybe throw in a lake and raised walkways and put little round huts here and there for rain shelter. then charge people to walk their dogs in a safe environment. make it a gated forest and electrify the perimeter fence. give the place designated dog pooping and water bowl areas. employ a warden to sit in a hut watching CCTV making sure the forest is safe. put in an adventure playground for the kids and kidults and have that covered by a forest ranger specialising in splinter removal and sticking plaster application. have a section of forest turned into a camp site for boyscouts and so on. a good clearing where they could light a fire and sit around singing those stupid songs and telling ghost stories and do all that male bonding stuff they do...

Ban certain breeds of dog from the place. turn a couple of fields over to natural meadow to encourage wildlife like bees and butterflies and small rodent like mammals. build a fake ancient stone circle out of massive chunks of rock and create a myth about it having to do with summer solstice and pagan sacrifice. and build a wooden house on the edge of it all. half underground, low profile roofline. blend it in with the landscape. have the lake bend round to come up to the house and have a little boathouse with kayaks in it. I like kayaking.

See i always think you should think grand and then you can compromise. i'll never have the fundage to own land let alone landscape and plant a forest. but if I move somewhere that has a decent sized garden i can still employ the basic idea to that. trees and water and plants that attract wildlife. light and shade and shelter from rain. somewhere hidden for the dog to poop on.

05-11-2008, 04:06 PM
I live in the Desert, well upper senora "high" desert, and water is an exploited commodity here. So i would rather water the food than the front lawn.

My brother, who got me started on gardening in the first place, and wisely told me not to use the pesticides and fertilizers from the petro-chemical companies, moved to Oklahoma. That state is so depressed economically, he said nobody has or knows anything about growing food or starting a co-op. He said the soil is so rich and under used, he's already started a huge vegetable garden. He's also going to raise chickens, because eggs (and the grain to feed them) are going up and up.
He said the land there is very cheap, waters itself. Very humid though.

05-12-2008, 09:26 AM
sustainable eco gardens are the way to go really. vegetables are attractive as regular garden plants and planting flowers near crops can help the crops grow better. in some cases. the last food crisis we had in the UK was in the 70's and lots of people started growing their own produce. until the 80's when the economy boomed. I anticipate a lot more kitchen gardens sprouting up as the cost of living increases. only this morning Centrica who supply the country with natural gas for cooking and heating announced another major price increase. The homogenous masses will blame the government as usual and completely miss the fact that it's not controlled by the government but by the global financial slump. the same slump affecting property and vehicle fuel prices.
I'm not big on politics and don't pretend to understand the ins and outs but even a dim witted fool like me can see the bigger picture.