I'm working on a big new project at my dad's house in San Antonio, Texas. With his approval, I'm turning a partly dead and difficult to mow grass slope in his front yard to a water retention landscape and pollinator habitat. I also hope to eventually install a small vegetable garden along the sunny North edge of the front yard.
I have apparently inspired the neighbors to the South, who want to install something similar to the xeriscape portion of the garden in order to save $ on irrigation. I have offered to help them and supply some plants.
Are you aware that the city offers free wood chip mulch? Might be useful to y'all. There are two locations but I've only gone to the Nelson Gardens Recycling Center. Only downside is there's often bits of plastic or other trash mixed in
It's not looking that great, but last weekend I finished planting the front yard pollinator garden. Planted lots of Daffodils and Grape Hyacinths which I hope will look good come Spring. I plan to do some decorative stonework over the ugly concrete base of the mailbox post.
Tiny bit of progress. Finished clearing and mulching the corner, and planted tubers of Taro and Turmeric, as well as plants of Lemon Balm and Mint. Also made a little drip fountain for birds and toads.
Here's the next spot I will be redesigning, the bed opposite the shade corner. This unfortunately also has horrible gravel and plastic, which I will remove. I also plan to reduce the size of the boxwoods and try to make them into cute little spheres. This area will be planted as a Cottage Garden with flowers, herbs, and a few vegetables.
I've changed my mind about the North side of my dad's front yard - instead of a vegetable area, I have decided to make it a tiny food forest, about 400 square feet.
The productive trees and shrubs I plan to plant are Mulberry, Fig, Pomegranate, Feijoa, and Moringa. Support plants will include Esperanza, Pride of Barbados, and Goldenball Leadtree, Bluebonnet, and Black-eyed Pea. This area will be maintained as a mixed border with trees trimmed to large shrub size, about 5-6 feet tall so as not to overwhelm the yard.
Impressively quick progress! What kind of rock did you place around the mailbox? It’s quite interesting.
I’m curious about the drip fountain. Is this something good for birds and frogs, but not for mosquitos? I’d love to try to support a frog population here to control slugs, but the mosquitos are crazy here, and I don’t want to make it worse. And there are lots of cats around, so I can’t make it too friendly for birds. My neighbors have the birds in hand.
Clay, shade, neighbor’s Norway maples.....we’ll work it out.
Installed a worm tower in the future dooryard garden vegetable area. This garden will be maintained using no-dig techniques because of established boxwoods, but I do have to scrape off the existing gravel with plastic sheet underneath. The soil is very shallow with a limestone rock layer below, so this will be a raised bed.
I brought soil from my garden at home to top off the poor dirt in this bed. Planted Bearded Iris, Oregano, Thymes, and seeds of Lettuce, Spinach, Beet, Radicchio, Chard, Radish, and Cilantro. Eventually this bed with have a few plants of Tomato, Sweet Pepper, Eggplant, Cucumber, and Summer Squash.
San Antonio Water System has a program in which one can get $ coupons by replacing lawn with low-water plants. I was able to get two $100 coupons for my dad's yard so I could extend the xeriscape and pollinator habitat uphill. I was able to spend lavishly on beautiful flowering plants as well as a couple of edibles. Plants were approximately half off.
I'm building a long stretch of garden beds along the neighbor's fence on the north side of my dad's yard. Beds face south so should get some sun at least part of the time in this very shady yard. These will be a mixture of fruiting shrubs and annual and perennial vegetables. And flowers. Always more flowers!