Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spring (official) is fast approaching...

People "up North" might argue that deep in coastal Texas we do not have winter, but various stages of their fall and spring.  That might be true, in a general sense, but I would counter and argue that it only gets 18 F (-8 C) in WINTER, which is what we experienced in January.  We lost some plants, but that is all behind us now.  We are rapidly approaching the first day of Spring, and with it comes preparations for green and growth.

Just for the record, any link I post here is for informational purposes only: I do not profit in any way, and have included the 'nofollow' tag as well.

I have already cleared the beds of the fallen leaves of autumn, and the pre-emergent is down to thwart wild grasses and other unwanted annoyances from taking over the beds.  I have walked around with Grampa's Weeder and plucked scores (if not hundreds) of crabgrass remnants, dandelion, and other center-tap weeds and grasses out by the roots.  This is one of the best and most useful tools in my garage.  I have sharpened my reel mower, guided by the video found here (I have the same mower).  I have re-worked/repaired some of the bullrock in our high-water drain areas, and made adjustments adjacent to to the house.  All of the lantana, irises, and muhly have been cut back and fed to facilitate new growth.  There remains the trimming of the boxwood and dwarf yaupon, which will happen over the next couple of days.

The Texoka buffalograss seed has been ordered, along with some blue grama.  I have a couple of pounds of wildflower seeds arriving in the same order.  I have begun monitoring soil temperature to make sure I do not plant the grass seeds too early.  Warm-weather grass seeds need to be sown when ground temperatures are staying above 60 F (15.5 C).  I am in the process of leveling the ground in our "turf" areas next to the house.  These are the areas of which we want a manicured lawn look as opposed to functional lawn areas or areas simply left native.  In the functional lawn areas, there is a lot of clay and therefore bare spots.  I have ordered (and expect this week) a lawn plug aerator so that I can get soil conditioning treatments and grass seed into the ground.

We have planted eight Pink Muhly plants and one White Cloud Muhly.  The Pink Muhly is planted in a bed adjacent to the garage and lanai; a bed which is still in the design fulfillment stage.  It presently contains the eight Pink Muhly and a large urn containing bougainvillea.  We will add another urn and bougainvillea, and as finances permit, a two-tier fountain.

Our most anticipated project of the spring is putting trails in our forest.  It is still too wet -- about the time we are almost dry enough, it rains again.  But we have a contractor and a bid in-hand.  In addition to making the trails, they will remove some fallen trees and clear a couple of areas we want to use for fire pits.  Our goal is to have our entire property (five acres/two hectares) accessible (while leaving it as natural as possible).  We do have a couple of low areas in the forest which will likely require bridges to maintain ready access.

By the end of this summer, I hope to have the fountain, trails, and bridges in-place, and all the bare areas of the functional lawn covered in grass.  Achieving that end starts now, before official Spring arrives, because it is Spring-enough here in Hockley, Texas.  If I can accomplish these goals, it would imply that year three will be devoted to maintenance and selective adding of ornamentals.  That will be a very good feeling.