Friday, February 27, 2015

Progress in the Corner Garden

Our main focus for the last few months has been the corner garden, a spot at the back of our property that has been used for staging over the last few years.
Here is the view of  that corner, as seen from our neighbors yard, in December of 2011 when our house was under construction.

The large tree in the center is a bumelia (Gum Bumelia, Sideroxylon lanuginosum), a native to Texas, and one that we very much wanted to save because it's big and shady, and birds love the tiny sweet fruits.
In the spring the scissor-tailed flycatchers nest in its branches.

Visible in the right hand corner is the green "Save-Me" ribbon around its trunk.
The tree is growing in a spot below the grade of the house.
And it's the place that ended up being home to the geothermal installation, the pool equipment, the irrigation equipment, and the gas. 

 Here's the garden house going up. 
Poor tree - lots of digging and compacting around its roots!

Next came the decking and the trenching.
Notice how the shady spot under the tree has become a work area?

The photo below was taken in the fall of 2013.
Finally the decking is done and the raised beds for the herb garden are complete.
That's as far as we got on this part of the property until this winter.

Now here is the view from my studio balcony!
My in-house path maker laid a beautiful stone foot way connecting the sidewalk that runs along the seawall to the walk leading to the pool equipment.

Then he built a curved,  raised wall to protect the bumelia tree.  
The tree did not look good this past summer.  I think too much soil accumulated around its roots (along with all the other stresses).  Also, when the gas tank was put in, the builder failed to protect the tree, and a big chunk of bark was scraped from its side (see the white scar?).

I've started planting the raised area with a variety of shrubs in the hopes of creating a dense and woody cover for birds.  And of course, when the shrubs grow up they will create more  privacy and shade for us.

The lower part of the garden will have a small grassy area, and one of these days a garden swing!
I'm using sticks and twigs to hold the mulch and to discourage the dog from dashing through here until the plants take root.

The stones mark where the sprinkler heads are hiding.  It's so easy to lose track of them!


  1. Wow. What a view!!!! And wow, what a lot of work has been done.

    In looking at your tree, it appears from the photo that a retaining wall was built and additional soil was added--was that within the root zone of the tree? The reason I ask is that roots are used to a certain level in the soil--the amount of soil above the root affects the amount of oxygen in the soil (which roots need as much as they need water) --that would affect the tree and could cause root loss in that now deeper area. Depends on the tree, the soil, etc, but just something to consider.

  2. Thank you, Hoover Boo! Yes, that has been my concern here. Since this post I have trenched it to drain off a small pond of rain water, and we are about to lay a drainage pipe. I removed some soil out from the trunk about six feet - it's been saturated, just too heavy to lift, but I plan to take more by digging aeration holes and filling them with expanded shale. Fingers crossed!