Wednesday, September 16, 2009

garden woes


last night i planted grass seed. again. we do this every spring and fall and we can't seem to get grass to stick around long enough to establish itself.

while i was toiling i came to the conclusion i would like a lantana bush. my friend caroline has one in front of her house and it says WELCOME. we are people who CULTIVATE our land and make things look INVITING. do come in!

my front yard says things are dying slowly here. welcome?

18 comments:

Kate F. said...

I'm crossing my fingers for your new grass (and hiding my blackthumb from view). I am terrified that when I eventually have a house all visitors will be greeted by spindly, dying plants outside. This summer I got ambitious and planted moonflowers and nasturtiums in pots on my porch. Yesterday I got my first blossom, one single flower on a total of 11 nasturtium plants and 5 moonflower vines. So sad. I thought being domestic/crafty/a good cook would naturally translate to being good with plants, but no, I've killed everything from easter lilies to orchids!

my favorite and my best said...

i don't have much of a green thumb. i try. some things work. like impatients. they are hardy 'round here. shade and humidity is really all they need to thrive. our neighbors have lantana too and it looks like that picture. big, full and so pretty with the yellow and pink blossoms. i think they love lots of sun.

pamwares said...

We can't grow grass in our back yard - oak trees shade it too much. We put hay down this summer. It is awesome. Smells good. Fun to sit in. And with dogs it keeps the dirt under control from all their running. I have a pic on my blog with the dogs sitting in it - you might like. And it is cheap and with hardly any labor.

paula said...

we had problems with our yard too. Finally we ended up hiring out. Now it's gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

i love the idea of some kind of ground cover...or the lantana. it's much more environmentally friendly to grow something that is local to the area and needs little upkeep (versus tons of water, fertilizer, time, etc).

best of luck!

ps there is a great movie named "lantana" with anothy lapaglia - check it out!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0259393/

Anonymous said...

This made me smile - Lantana is an introduced noxious pest in Australia and hundreds of people are involved in unsuccessfully removing it from wilderness areas. Anyone planting it here would be considered mad. :-)

I second the recommendation for Anthony LaPaglia's movie - "Lantana" is a great film!

Sarah said...

Jamie,
Lantana does very well in NC. We planted one perennial variety and it grew exponentially in one season. And it wasn't fussy in the drought and humidity.
Grass is another story.

Simon and Ruby said...

"my front yard says things are dying slowly here..."
That's what my yard screamed, until a month ago. I had 4 sad trees that only certain limbs would produce leaves. Somewhat similar to Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but normal leaves, not needles. We had an arborist come out for an estimate... and he said they were all dead or dying. As much as I fought it, we had to have them cut. The nice thing is, it cleaned up the yard, inspired me to plant in the flower beds, and looks so much more inviting. I planted boxwoods, lily turf, echinacea, and mums. My house says "hi! now I am ready for you to visit." It definitely used to say "My owners have a black thumb and are scared of me." Good luck!

Sara@hipE said...

Have you tried putting a good sprinkling of compost in with the grass seed? It has really helped in our yard. Plus some lime and major heavy watering until it sprouts and starts establishing. Hope you have better luck!

Jennifer said...

I can't get grass to grow, either. My lantana is thriving though! It's the most low-maintenance thing I've ever planted, and actually seems to like it when it gets extra-dry and hot (which it often does in AL).

It's supposed to be a perennial in these parts, but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do at the end of summer? cut it back?

Charlotte said...

DO it! Lantana is dead easy to grow and keep alive, and it's so lovely. Way less maintenance than grass. Kate's comment about nasturtium makes me wonder if that's harder to grow over in your neck of the woods, but it practically grows itself for us in CA and is an eager re-seeder for next year. We've decided that life is too short and tough to plant anything that isn't determined enough to come back on its own next time.

Rachel said...

I have lantana just like the one pictured in some pots by my mailbox. Come this fall (okay, here in Texas that means October) I'll transplant it back into my back flowerbed to see if it comes back next year. Mine is a hardy grower, although it didn't put out showy blooms that much unless I kept it watered well.

You could also try Yarrow. That stuff literally grows like a weed. It has unusual foliage texture - really fluffy looking - and it grows quickly and seeds itself. Plus, it too is drought tolerant.

As far as your yard goes, have you tried using sod?? We could never get the grass we seeded to last all season either. I think becuase the stuff you buy at garden centers is so generic. But if you put out the money and use sod, it does take off easier. Look in the yellow pages (or online) for a grass center and you will find a place that sells sod.

suZen said...

I absolutely love your blog - it is so creative and fun. If you are ever in Atlanta, let me know so that I can hire you to come by and give me some design advice!

I am an amateur gardener, transplanted from the north, now living in north Atlanta suburbs. You have to choose the right grass for the spot, so if it is shady, probably fescue would be a good choice and it should be seeded in the fall. It will require you to do some prep work if you want the seeds to florish - needs good soil with organic material, some water, but too much can literally wash the seeds away! If full sun, you need something else, and it would probably do better with sod, which you can also do yourself (such as bermuda or zoysia, don't know about the zones up where you are - but your local nursery can advise). And that might work better in the spring.

Or you can definitely plant groundcovers, again, need to talk to the experts based on sun/shade, soil quality, irrigation, etc. You might want to do a little rock garden with succulents or grasses. . . so many possibilities. But you are correct - your design skills indoors should carry through to outdoors, just get some advice on the tactics.

Good luck!

Gini said...

We planted a tiny cutting of lantana a few years ago- now it is three plants, each of which grow to about 4ft across and 3ft high every summer. We're in zone 7b and have to chop them down to about 6 inches tall every winter or they'd take over the entire yard. I love the lantana because of the butterflies it attracts. It's the easiest plant in my garden besides the echinaceas!

Anonymous said...

We had lots of dirt patches in our backyard and frontyard so we bought some grass seed from Lowes - nothing fancy - and sprinkled it on mixed with compost in early summer. It took about 3 weeks and boom it sprouted a fine beautiful blanket of green. We are in the lower eastern section of PA - mostly sunny part of the yard, no shade. Good luck!

Amy said...

I am a lawn dumdum. My flower beds look great, and my grass looks gross. I just bought some Scot's EZ Seed. It is foolproof, and in the patches I cleared, I now have pretty green grass growing (we are in RI). It is a seed/mulch/fertilizer mix that even changes color when it's time to water it. (lord, I feel like I'm writing ad copy for them). That being said, it's kind of $$$$. Maybe buy a small container and try it out?

Anonymous said...

Be sure you plant the 'Miss Huff' variety of lantana - it will come back year after year in NC, other varieties won't. It likes sun. Great choice.

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