Sunday, February 21, 2010


Well, not only is the sun shining, the temps moderate, but Blotanical is back!  All is going right with this weekend.

The soil amending process is continuing.  I've taken the time to actually dig down 6-8 inches into the garden, pulling out roots, and more roots of plants I don't have (this is a mystery to me where these are coming from!), old bricks, pieces of plastic, cigarette butts, a tennis ball, some wire, and a heck of a lot of pieces of cement.    Oh, and I found a lot of pecans from 3 yards over, which the neighborhood squirrels have placed every 6 inches square throughout the garden.

The mystery of why my soil drains so incredibly fast in such a flood prone area and looks decidedly whitish is becoming clear.  At some point I think my garden had been cemented over, and then jackhammered (for the most part) out.  The amount of cement pieces from nailhead sized through small dinner plate size just can't be explained any other way.    My dirt, I have a feeling, has a large dose of cement in it.  I'm thinking this can't be too good.  That said, I have a feeling I will never have trouble, EVER, with standing water.

Here's a little before and after soil work.   Doesn't it look a bit more ready to plant and grow some great stuff, 250 pounds of compost manure, and 2 bags of topsoil later?  I planted only a very few things in October when I moved in, and all of them, save for a very frozen Mandevilla, seems to be coming back just fine.  Some of the little 'tufts' are beebalm, agapanthas, sedum, and a straggly butterfly bush, who none-the-less looks a lot better than he did about 3 weeks ago.


  1. Ah, yes. The joys of cement in the garden. I have a good deal of construction backfill in my front yard's soil. Plenty of nails and other assorted bits as well. Anything that survives amongst the cement and clay is a bonafide survivor in my book. I wish you luck in you planting adventures.

    Christine in Alaska

  2. Looks and sounds like you have been very busy getting things ready to plant. When we first moved in our house, I found all sorts of stuff, too. I found whole bricks, trash, wire, sock, etc. Looks like you have a great space to work with. Your fence makes a great backdrop for plantings.
    I have a butterfly bush that I love. It grows really fast and is carefree. I'm in zone 8, too. I hope you like the book ... Plant Combinations. I thought it had a lot of great ideas. ~Amy

  3. Christine B. - yes cement is fun. Its like digging for buried treasure. Hows it going up in Alaska about now? still warmer than usual?

    Amy - I do like the book. I'm going to have an entire collection, so at least I'll sounds like I know what I'm talking about. :) I've got your blog on my blogroll and I'm very looking forward to all us southern people getting out in our gardens soon with some good tales to tell!

  4. Hello Jess! I can relate to concrete in the garden too, along with the bricks etc. The strangest thing we found was a whole pile of buried shoes next to the lemon tree. I'm still half expecting to find a gardening tip somewhere one day that suggests an old leather shoe will result in better lemons :D
    Can't wait to see pictures of your garden taking off in the coming months!

  5. It is so difficult to make the soil ready for planting, as in your case. But you will certainly feel so gifted, compared to if you will do all that here in the tropics, very humid, full sun, and 34 degrees Celsius! Whew, very tiring and after 30 min you will not be able to go on. HOw i wish i can garden in cold climes.

  6. Dirt! Beautiful beautiful dirt! I remain jealous of your new space.