Apr. 10th, 2010 03:38 pm
cifarelli: (Ember)
So I have been researching plants to potentially plant along our backyard fence to add some privacy screening in the back yard. My foray into shrubs that grow 6-10' in height, are hard to kill, and drought tolerant didn't turn up much.

Duranta (golden dewdrop)
Duranta repens

Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 5 to 6 feet
Growth rate: Fast
Flower color: Blue, lavender, purple, white
Light requirements: Full sun to part sun
Soil: Organic with good drainage
Bloom season: April to frost
Ideal planting time: Fall and spring
Cold tolerance: Root hardy and will regrow in spring if top damaged in freeze
Hard to kill: Yes
Special attributes: Attracts birds, attracts butterflies
Uses: Accent, hedge, mixed border, screen
Notes: Nearly continuous blooming. Color varies with variety. Flowers followed by a profusion of golden berries. Can prune into small tree. No pests.
Paulina's note: I found some sites that indicate that parts of this plant are poisonous. For example, see:
Also, from UF/IFAS Okeechobee County Extension Service: "However, be aware that many references state that this plant has poisonous properties. One reference states that the plant contains hydrocyanic acid, while others say it has saponin, which is poisonous to humans. There are no confirmed poisonings in the US but there are some reports of children becoming ill from eating berries in Australia. If curious pets or kids use your yard, teach them this plant is not edible, or avoid planting it as a precaution."

Elaeagnus pungens

Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 8 feet
Growth rate: Fast
Flower color: White
Light requirements: Full sun to part sun
Soil: Can grow in most soils
Bloom season: Fall
Ideal planting time: Fall and spring
Cold tolerance: Hardy and will survive Houston winter without significant damage
Hard to kill: Yes
Special attributes: Disease resistant, drought tolerant
Uses: Hedge, screen

Notes: Tough shrub with gray-green foliage with silvery undersides. Tiny, fragrant blooms. Orange-red fruit. Good screen. Prune to shape, espalier. Several varieties. Some thorny.
Paulina's note: Sounds like flowers are not very visible, and plant can grow up to 3" thorns.

Euonymus japonicus

Height: 6-10 feet
Width: 4 feet
Growth rate: Fast
Flower color: White
Light requirements: Full sun to part sun
Soil: Can grow in most soils
Ideal planting time: Fall and spring
Cold tolerance: Hardy and will survive Houston winter without significant damage
Hard to kill: Yes
Special attributes: Drought tolerant
Uses: Mixed border

Notes: Tough, but prone to pests. Plant in sun to discourage mildew. Golden euonymus, 'Aureomarginatus,' is popular in shade gardens. Box-leaf euonymus, 'Microphyllus,' is 2 feet tall.
Paulina's note: Suspect this is what we have in the front yard that looks like a ligustrum but supposedly isn't. It's okay, but not my favorite plant to look at.

The Duranta (golden dewdrop) sounds the prettiest, but I'd like to stay away from poisonous plants if I can, especially for the back yard. We already have an oleander and holly in the front to worry about keeping kiddos from eating. :P The euonymus sounds like it would serve our purposes the best, but I just don't LIKE its appearance much.

So then I researched loropetalums (Chinese Fringe Flower) and it sounds like there are certain varieties of it that might work for our purposes:

Purple majesty – 6-8’ high, 4-6’ wide
Zhuzhou – 8-10’ high, 6-8’ wide
Sizzling Pink or Burgundy - can grow from six to ten feet high and about the same in width.

I haven't tried to look for small trees yet. But this is what I turned up in shrub research.
cifarelli: (Ember)
What is the plant in your backyard that Andrew and I have admired in the past that you said was low-maintenance? Corwin and I are about to head to the nursery to get some flowers for our pots in the back yard (I am tired of looking at dead periwinkle) and Andrew wanted me to price said plant....but we can't either one of us remember what it was. We're thinking of planting it along the fence in our back yard.

Even if you don't see this right away, we can use the information for later. :)
cifarelli: (Ember)
I have another mystery plant that has taken root in one of my front beds. This is the one that I thought was an ice plant, but I'm pretty sure now that it isn't. While the leaves look similar, they aren't as thick and the flowers on this are different. So, any of my wonderful friends who know about plants want to take a stab at this one? It looks like it will make good, pretty ground cover....but I want to be sure it's not a weed!

Mystery plant is behind the cut )
cifarelli: (Ember)
We had designated today as "work in the yard day" here at our house. We have pulled lots and lots of weeds and Andrew mowed and put weed and feed on it. However, a frank and honest look at the back and side yards convinced me that we need to call a lawn/landscape service to really get our yard back to resembling a yard and not a weed patch. Basically, the St. Augustine grass we put in the backyard never took except right up next to the house, so the rest of the yard is full of pretty much just weeds, and dead stems and foliage that is a couple inches deep in places. So I have called, and someone will be coming out Wednesday morning to take a look and give me an estimate. Our realtor keeps telling us we need to plant a crepe myrtle or other tree in the backyard to make it "look like we use it." I figure the landscape service can handle that as part of the redoing our yard process.

I also pulled lots and lots of weeds in the bed in the front, and pruned a bit in there. That is doing pretty well, except for the tall ruellia which I have never managed to remove more than a little bit of. At this point, I'm tempted to just let the next homeowner deal with it, and just keep cutting it back so it doesn't overflow the bed or expand further than it already has. I'd like to prune some more, and probably put some mulch down tomorrow (no work at the library for me as it is Easter weekend and the library is closed!).

Irony -- the plant we got some cuttings of from [ profile] mahtab a while back finally gave up the ghost in the spot where we planted them (what was that plant called again, Jamie?). However, it seems to have taken in the corner by the garage behind the begonias and the Mexican something or other whose name I can't conjure up at the moment. Plant names seem to be a weak spot of mine. Silly plants not growing where intended!


Mar. 9th, 2008 01:31 pm
cifarelli: (Ember)
Corwin and I made it back to Houston on Friday without too much trouble. He got a bit whiny about an hour and a half or so into the drive, but fell asleep around the two hour mark and I was able to get us the rest of the way home without incident. We were on Richmond when he woke up from his doze, so really close to home.

There was one really cute incident at my parents' house before we headed home. He's not allowed in the kitchen at our house, but he was at my parents'. He discovered the fridge magnets, and was absolutely fascinated by them. At one point, he grabbed his favorite magnet off the fridge and started going around the kitchen attempting to make it stick to other things -- the oven, the door to the hallway, etc. It was really neat to watch him go around testing what the magnet would or wouldn't stick to, and nifty to see the thought process of "if this sticks to the fridge, it should stick to other things, too!" even if it wasn't an accurate idea.

I've been working this weekend, as per usual. I got quite a bit done this morning at home before coming to work, also, so I'm feeling accomplished this afternoon. I slept in 'til 10:00 or so (yay Andrew for getting up with Corwin!), had a shower, had breakfast, unloaded/reloaded dishwasher and handwashed dishes, made tea, put away some odds and ends, and worked in the flower bed out front for half an hour before it was time for me to have lunch and head out the door for work. In that half hour, I pruned back most of the Mexican Heather to close to the ground and pulled out all the weeds in that area. I still have a couple of Mexican Heather plants to do, though, and LOTS more weeding and pruning in general. But I made a start. And I'll probably have a sore butt and thighs tomorrow from all the squatting -- as I was avoiding sitting or kneeling so as not to get my pants dirty before work.

Nothing else really to report.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Behind the cut are two pictures of the ugly mystery plant that is taking over the front bed at my house. I plan to remove it completely (a LARGE job) and hopefully plant something more attractive in its place. However, I have NO IDEA what this plant is, and while the information has no impact on whether or not I remove it, I just would like to know for my own edification. So....please take a look and let me know if you can identify it. I also vaguely wonder if knowing what it is would help in figuring out how best to remove it so that it doesn't grow back.

Mystery plant )

This plant behaves rather like a weed, but I don't know if it is technically a weed or not. We bought our house new 4ish years ago, and this plant was something that the builder put in the flower beds. So it was intentionally introduced. I'm going to be really annoyed if it is a weed.
cifarelli: (Ember)
Life lately has been fairly mundane -- thus, my lack of much posting over the last few weeks. But there are a few things I'd like to update about.

Last week on Friday we had professional pictures taken, both of us as a family and of Corwin by himself. Thursday morning Corwin and I went back to see the proofs, and we'll be placing our order on Monday. We got some good pictures.

My birthday was last Sunday. Andrew threw me a small party on Saturday afternoon/evening, during which I had a blast. Folks stayed around after Corwin went to bed, so I actually got to play games and socialize with adults for a while without having to devote 3/4 of my attention to baby-wrangling. I SOOO needed that. I love being a parent, but once in a while I just need a break. My actually birthday itself was kinda anticlimactic, since I had to work all afternoon, and we had the usual grocery shopping to do in the morning. Andrew got me a nice necklace, and I got a few birthday cards (we'd skipped getting the mail on Friday and Saturday, so the cards were there on Sunday) and phone calls from family which were nice also.

I have been working on cleaning the house and getting the front beds outside whipped into shape during Corwin's naps this week. On Monday, I finally got outside to chop back the Mexican Heather that was overgrowing the neighbor's yard. It was chilly and drizzly and generally an icky afternoon to be working outside, but Corwin was taking a good nap and since it wasn't pouring, I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity, especially since I'd been looking for one for close to two weeks. I spent enough time out there that the backs of my thighs were excruciatingly sore for the next two days. Yay for gardening workout! :P Yesterday I got back outside during Corwin's nap and pulled a substantial number of weeds. This week's goal is going to be to work on chopping back/removing the really ugly mystery plant that is trying to take over the entire front bed. Ultimately, I'd like to plant something else there...but just having the ugly thing gone will be nice.

Thursday afternoon, Andrew unexpectedly got to come home from work early (it was "teambuilding" day, and their activities finished up earlier than expected). He played with Corwin for a few hours while I did some badly needed vacuuming downstairs and mopped the kitchen floor. Unfortunately, I think the self-propel belt on the vacuum cleaner is loose or otherwise non-functional, as the vacuum was REALLY hard to push on the rug, and by the time I finished vacuuming the rug, there was a strong burnt-rubber smell in the air. The vacuum cleaner worked fine on the hard floor, though, so I'm pretty sure it's the self-propel that's the problem and not the motor itself. Unfortunately, that needs to be fixed before I can do any more vacuuming of the rug or the carpet on the upper floors. So that's on my agenda for the coming week also. Hopefully it's a simple belt replacement issue, and not something that will require me to take the vacuum somewhere for servicing or buy a new one. :P

It may be mundane, but I do feel satisified that I'm starting to be able to get my house back to some semblance of order again!


Sep. 20th, 2005 11:25 am
cifarelli: (Ember)
Had a busy weekend this weekend just past. Sunday evening Andrew and I went dancing at HavoK, since I was working late last night to teach classes and thus didn't have to be at work 'til noon yesterday. We'd hoped to meet some folks there, but they either didn't show at all, or were there before or after we were (we were there from about 10 to midnight). We caught the end of the listening party for KMFDM's new album, Hau Ruck, and for the most part we liked what we heard. I, of course, preferred the tracks where Lucia is singing, but I'm strange like that. ;) So yeah...we might have to pick that album up. Lucia has a solo album also, which I'm interested in hearing. Dunno if I'm brave enough to pick it up unheard, though.

Last night I worked 11:45 to 8:15, teaching two library instruction classes at 5:30 and 7:00. The classes went well, and I had nice commutes in both directions. If it wouldn't mean not getting to see Andrew much, I'd try to adopt something like that as a regular schedule. I could definitely do with less stressful commuting.

It's looking like my plan to work on the front flower bed this Saturday may not be happening, as it looks like it may be rather windy and wet outside right about then*. I love it when I finally make up my mind to do something and then get thwarted.

*Hurricane Rita is heading in our direction, currently expected to make landfall near Galveston sometime Saturday morning. Of course, there's still time between now and then for a change of course.
cifarelli: (Ember)
We sold the Saturn Friday evening after work. The check we got is now in an envelope to be mailed off to the credit union tomorrow. I'm putting it back in the same account we took the money out of to buy the Toyota.

My rubber plant is growing. The plant food spikes I put in the pot a month or so ago appear to actually be helpful. :) Now if only I remembered exactly when I put them in, so I'd know when the two months are up and it's time to put more in. Guess I should have marked it on a calendar somewhere.

This weekend has been mostly relaxing. Cleaned up around the downstairs yesterday, and Andrew got his hair cut. Last night, we went to Joan's going-away party. Two friends leaving in the same weekend, makes me sad. :( [ profile] min_phoenix left yesterday to go to Maryland for training for her new job. She and Joan both will be missed.

Today we lazed about the house, did laundry, and spend way too much time playing World of Warcraft. Lalonde, my night elf hunter on Alleria, is level 20 now, and my right hand isn't very happy with me. Yay for the beginnings of carpal tunnel. :P


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