Monday, May 16, 2016

Making the Backyard Our Own While Conserving Water

Our backyard was just a plain expanse of green grass when we first moved in. 

Since then, we've added the chicken coop and run, some new raised beds, a fence to divide off a section from the dogs, and a border for flowers. 

Because a single seeding of hollyhocks has flourished and self-propagated in our front yard (shown above), I've moved some of the resulting little seedlings out back...

... where they've shot upwards of eight or nine feet, almost overpowering the flamboyant desert bird of paradise trees that are planted nearby--look closely for the yellow and red flowers to the left in the photo above. 

In this planting along the side fence, the bird of paradise looks to be winning the competition. 

Elsewhere in the garden (not shown) there is a blue vitex (Texas lilac) that is co-existing with some other pink hollyhocks. Together, they will make a lovely color combination once the vitex gets taller than the hollyhocks. 

We are so lucky to be surrounded by a pecan orchard that gives us a continual cool green backdrop in the summer.

For the second year now, this sweet apricot-colored native globe mallow has volunteered its blossoms in among the other plants. With very little water and a bit of pruning it will rebloom later in the season. 

And for the very first time, this Beverly Sills iris has bloomed after I moved it to a better spot. For some reason, I've had little success with irises, but this beauty has made me want a field trip to the Hondo Iris Farm near Ruidoso, New Mexico. I hope to bring back a few irises in pots and a catalog to order some more. Ruby colors! Blues! Yellows!

Everything that has been planted so far requires just a minimum of water, a good thing in this desert climate. While the long-range plan is to leave a bit of grass for dog romps, we are slowly reducing the size of the lawn in favor of xeriscape-type (drought-tolerant) plants. 


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You already have the most beautiful Xeriscape yard I've ever seen -- and makes so much sense. You definitely are the Queen of hollyhocks for sure!! And how lucky you are to have Iris -- that's another Spring plant that we don't see here in hot (but not dry) Florida -- not much in the way of traditional spring.

Nan said...

Oh, I LOVE your hollyhocks (as I may have mentioned before!), and that iris is very special. How long will they bloom? We've started some again this year after not having them for a while. We had that one good year and I'm hoping for another one. Funny, I think of them as New England flowers. I wonder why?

clairz said...

Sallie, we're a long way from true xeriscape. Lucky for us that the hollyhocks thrive here in the dry climate.

Nan, the hollyhocks go on for a month anyway, then some of the older ones start looking leggy and need to be cut back, and will even bloom a second time later in the season. The newer plants seem to bloom later and are a lot bushier looking. I would have loved having hollyhocks when we lived in New Hampshire, but didn't seem to ever get the conditions right. Please let me know if you do well with them.