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Clothesline guild: plants to keep the laundry out of the dirt!  RSS feed

 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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I planted my rotary clothesline in a good spot for sun, wind, access and not having it be the FIRST thing you see when you arrive at the homestead. The understory, if you will, is currently the pasture grasses that were already here. The laundry line mounts in a sleeve in the ground and lifts out for mowing and parties. But the grass doesn't get watered there, so it doesn't cover the ground. And mowing is a pain. We can do better.

Let's brainstorm some plants that will work for this spot: deer and drought tolerant, walkable at least around the edges, makes laundry hanging more pleasant (scent? flowers?), can find the dropped clothes pins and if a sock falls out of the basket, it stands a chance of not getting dirty, does not completely die back in the winter to reveal mud. Some stepping stones might be in order too.

So far lavender right around the ground sleeve and mother of thyme come to mind. And crocus for spring.
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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My first go-to for this would be white clover - hardy, thick-growing but not tall, takes a beating...but I like the idea of fragrant plants too!
 
Burra Maluca
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Lavender!

With enough lavender you don't even need the clothes-line, just spread your clothes over the lavender bushes and let them dry there. It makes them smell lovely, too.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
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Burra Maluca wrote:
With enough lavender you don't even need the clothes-line, just spread your clothes over the lavender bushes and let them dry there. It makes them smell lovely, too.

LOL, and then I can collect them in the next county. Did I mention the wind blows here? Like non-stop? Like a continuous training program for learning the Beaufort Scale? Like, never set anything down without a weight on it? Luckily we aren't short on rocks. At least the clothes dry fast, sometimes in minutes, even in the winter. Sometimes I'm worried the wind will uproot the rotary clothesline when it's loaded. A lavender patch would be lovely though.

I just thought of cinquefoil (potentilla). Yellow and purple would look awesome with some of our native red sandstone for pavers.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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My first thought was lavender as well!

Now that you've mentioned your wind issues - is there a place on your property to plant one or more strategic windbreaks? Or even have the clothes carousel be enclosed/partially enclosed in a ring of wind buffer trees/shrubs? (I envision it looking something like a hedge maze in my mind...)
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:My first thought was lavender as well!

Now that you've mentioned your wind issues - is there a place on your property to plant one or more strategic windbreaks? Or even have the clothes carousel be enclosed/partially enclosed in a ring of wind buffer trees/shrubs? (I envision it looking something like a hedge maze in my mind...)

That would be cool. I really hate to say "yeah but"

In the long range plan, we need to renovate the 70 year old cottonwood windbreak into something that is more protective and doesn't suck water like a straw. We are planting a 200' fedge on the other parcel (I really should post an overview on the projects page) as a test run. Torrey's cottonwoods are part of the historic identity of the town, and while they aren't sustainable for the future, shotguns have been pointed at people threatening to cut them down. I am not kidding. Luckily ours are not on the main highway. Unluckily, they fall down at regular intervals. Add to the Mollison sector categories, "tree falling sector" and don't build there. I should start a thread on that topic too, but we are treading carefully (both socially and when working on that part of the property).

In the medium range plan, we are living in the guesthouse while we gather the wits and finances to build the (shrinking) dream house. The guest house becomes a cider making/teaching space/artist retreat/employee housing/home for aging relations/home for caretaker in my decrepitude/space. I firmly believe long-term guests belong in zone 2. It's designed to shut down over winter if we want, pretty efficient but not what I want for my forever home in terms of greenness. The second structure may or may not happen, but the laundry area would move to a true zone 1 where the hoop house provides shelter and privacy for my flapping unmentionables. If we don't end up building the other structure, I have really messed up my zones, because the hoop house, garden, etc is all laid out for the imaginary back-door that is OVER THERE and not for the guesthouse. I try not to think about this, because the septic drain field (and future petanque court) sits outside the current front door and what should be zone 1 if we don't do the second structure.

In the short range plan, we dry clothes faster and get more exercise. But I am tired of tracking mud and washing stuff twice and since I look out at this from my current porch, a few plants would be worth doing.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Ann - you paint quite the vivid picture! Please do start a post in "projects" so we can follow along. This will keep you busy in your copious free time - you know, that time when you are not chasing down rogue unmentionables.
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 203
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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Rosemary is what first came to mind even though I could never grow a bush big enough for what I envision here. You might be able to pin your clothes directly to the bushes instead of just on the line.
 
Dayna Williams
Posts: 79
Location: Zone 8, Western Oregon
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I firmly believe long-term guests belong in zone 2.


Wise words.

I too like the idea of pinning clothes directly to nice-smelling shrubby plants.
 
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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I think what we are going to do is pull a permit to collect some sandstone (BLM land nearby, famous Utah red rock). Or see if my friend who has a permit wants to get us some.
Put lavender in the middle around the ground sleeve, then a mix of thyme and dwarf potentilla with flagstones around the margin where the most foot traffic is.
I might wrap some chicken wire loosely around the post (so it can still come out of the sleeve) and run a morning glory or some sweet peas upward. We'll see how energetic I get.
I have enough cardboard stockpiled to sheet mulch a swath around here. Now that I have a plan, I just need the ground to defrost.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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What a great thread! I'm curious if your flagstone with lavender went in and if there might be any pictures? (Hope, hope.)

Our laundry line plateau can be a bit on the barren side, too; and we've worn paths into the dirt walking along the clotheslines. Scattering more clover seed, yarrow, grasses, chamomile (pineapple weed here) is a great idea!

I struggle a bit getting lavender to grow here, but might finally be having success with some transplants.

This picture from three years ago sort of shows the terrain (with Paul's huge shirts on the line!). There are probably less grasses now, due to lots of traffic; and it has some tiny wild nodding onions, a few spring flowers, plus shrubs around the edges of ninebark, saskatoon, and the low-growing Oregon grape.

laundry-line-base-camp.jpg
[Thumbnail for laundry-line-base-camp.jpg]
the laundry line at base camp
 
Sarah Houlihan
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Location: Central Maine
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What a great idea! I will be planting the clover seefs I have under my clothes line tomorrow!
 
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