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Old 10-07-2017, 11:28 PM   #11
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Default First plantings!

It's been a long hard road, but we finally moved in on July 29th. I've waited 'til the rains started (mid-September) to begin planting, and now, at least, here I go.

The first picture is before planting, taken in May before the rain stopped for the summer. The yard (which is mostly the septic drainfield, no trees allowed) was a mud-bowl in the spring, then became a dust bowl all summer. I had a constant film of dust in the house. Several northern flickers were regular dust bathers -- at least someone liked the dust. Watching the dust baths was a thrill -- they are the coolest birds.

So, dust. Too much dust. I didn't want lawn, and the soil was like iron interspersed with gravel and rocks. I can't afford to get topsoil, so I spread 10 yards of shredded bark mulch. I'll have the flower gardens where the mulch is. Currently there's only Rudbeckia Goldstrum (black-eyed Susan) and a few roses.

I've planted grass seeds (not natives) in the middle non-mulched area (Pro-Time fleur de blanch lawn seed, mix of grasses, clover, sweet alyssum, and daisy) because my husband wanted a little bit of lawn, and I wanted something short that didn't need frequent mowing. In the more open areas in the back, I'm planning to plant some taller bunch grasses.

On the right and left sides and back I've planted my native bushes and trees from the list in the start of this thread, mostly Douglas fir, western red cedar, serviceberry, Indian plum, bitter cherry, western crabapple, vine maple, Douglas maple, blue elderberry, red flowering current, Pacific madrona, kinnikinnick, and red osier dogwood. I planted the baby bushes and trees pretty close together, but at this point they're just 1-2' sticks in the ground. It seems like it'll be forever before they'll fill in. I'm torn between taking some out, or waiting to see what survives and grows and then eventually having to thin them.

I have a lot left to plant, but at least it's started. Once the rains started, the ground softened up, so I enjoyed planting them. I can't wait to see them grow!

I've also set up my bird feeders, and have regular Northern flickers, Stellers in the yard several times, and I'm hoping they'll come to the suet feeder, too. I already love my yard!
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:27 PM   #12
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I'm happy that you're experiencing the thrill of establishing a landscape from scratch. Many never have the opportunity; indeed, it's actually a rare experience. I too enjoyed good fortune when I purchased my home, which was a cow field previously and was without even a shrub or a vine.

Choose your plantings with great attention to how they will develop into the future. I made many irreversible mistakes, and I lament not having had more ecological awareness when I first began planting. Though most of what I planted were attractors of wildlife, some were aliens and some, for the purpose of blocking off a home being built that overlooked my back yard, were fast growing hybrid poplars and willows.

They accomplished sequestering my yard from neighbors, but now my tallest, most dominant trees are alien hybrids... Some day the understory trees I have long since planted will overwhelm these alien giants, but my best years in the garden will have gone by.

Nevertheless, I was fortunate enough to establish the landscape on my own, so I know how exhilarating the feeling is, and how excited you must be!!!
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:40 AM   #13
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Congratulations, Leslie.

Great response, Jack.

I love that the birds have a spot for their dust baths. I am actually trying to create snall sections for butterflies to ouddle in when wet, and birds to use for dust baths when dry. Hopefully, you can figure out a way to incorporate them into your design.

I have to admit that, when we moved to our place, I was at a loss as to where to start. I wasn't quite starting from scratch, but there were few trees or landscaping around the house. I had grown up adding to my parents' landscape; that was much easier than designing from scratch.

I, too, have dealt with trying to imagine mature heights of bare root seedlings. That was another landscaping challenge. They will fill in. It is hard to be patient.

Nature plants things closer than gardening guidlines--I think leaving everything in to fend for themselves makes sense. If you don't like the end result, transplant some or thin them as you have said.

Keep us posted on your project.
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Old 10-15-2017, 12:00 AM   #14
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Good suggestion, Jack. All of the trees and shrubs I've planted so far are native to this area, that I've obtained from county native plant sales.

I do need two quick-growing evergreen shrubs to use as screens along the back fence, and can't find a native option. They need to grow fairly quickly to about 5' high and wide. Any ideas? I'm in the Pacific NW in Washington state.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie View Post
Good suggestion, Jack. All of the trees and shrubs I've planted so far are native to this area, that I've obtained from county native plant sales.

I do need two quick-growing evergreen shrubs to use as screens along the back fence, and can't find a native option. They need to grow fairly quickly to about 5' high and wide. Any ideas? I'm in the Pacific NW in Washington state.
Everything I looked up that I would now use is native to the Northeast. I am quite in the dark about what would be a good choice in your section of the country, but I'll be interested to know what you choose, when you do...
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