Batten Down the Hatches!

Today is a Pacific NW stormy kind of day. Lots of wind and rain! When it’s pouring outside, it is an excellent time to see where the water is going (or staying) and plan how to change it, should you need to. Since developers put in new houses on the property behind us, we have noticed considerable more water on our property. Why? The property used to be nature’s sponge, in the form of a forest. Now it’s non-absorptive rooftop and blacktop.

Our ugly rock retaining wall (which I always hated) is beginning to show signs of stress. The previous owners UglyRetainingWallinstalled the wall without a foundation (that we can tell anyway). There is no batter to the wall and no weep holes. The wall stretches about 26 feet and tapers from 48″ high to 24″ high. There are cracks in the mortar joints because there is so much water pressure behind the wall now, that the water needs a place to go. A resident mole has tunneled his way along the base of the wall to the point that we now have mud flowing under the wall. Yesterday I noticed that one part of the wall has moved forward about 3/8″. Not a good sign. We are hoping that we can forestall the replacement of the wall until next spring. At least that way I’ll have time to redesign the wall, get bids, and arrange for a time to install it when contractors aren’t too busy. Generally, you get lower bids that way, too.

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There’s a chill in the air…

Any gardener knows that when crisp autumn air arrives, it’s time to move plants. And I’m no different. This morning I transplanted 2 large Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ to the edge of the Ravine View garden. I have planted others over the past couple of years to define the edge of that garden – one side wild ravine and the other cultivated garden. The faeries live in the wildness, so I have to leave a place for them. 🙂

I also planted some new Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’ along the driveway. This is a brand new cultivar with red-orange flowers – just like tomato soup – really stunning! They are adjacent to a Miscanthus ‘Gold Bar’, Phygelius ‘Passionate’ (with the same color flowers but inky-green foliage), and Carex testacea, which gets even more orange as temperatures drop. My driveway is the “Orange Grove”, so it is all about orange there, with blue-green foliage as accent. This winter I’ll post a photo that shows Cornus ‘Mid-Winter Fire’ twigs and blooming Hamamelis ‘Jelena’ with surrounding blue-green conifers. Begonia boliviensis has been removed from the large pot and is overwintering inside the garage. What a red-orange, hummingbird magnet that is every summer!

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