Monday, August 25, 2008

xeriscape gardening

R and I have never lived anywhere that allowed us to experiment with landscaping. But, now that we have our own house, we can do what we want! Yay! We don't have a very big yard, so our philosophy is that everything we do should be beautiful and good quality (we feel that way about the house, too). We decided to start out by landscaping one of our boulevards - we live on a corner, so we have two. The one in front of our house has grass, and we decided not to mess with it because it looks fine. I personally think grass on the boulevard is a huge waste of water. I've spend many hours watering it this summer, and the grass still turned brown by July! Anyway, the other boulevard was just dirt. Except for some gravel and potentilla, that side of the house was all dirt, too. Here's a picture taken in early spring - the aspen trees are alive, they just don't have leaves yet. Pretty bleak, huh?

The purpose of xeriscape gardening is to conserve water, and it is much more beautiful and easier to maintain than grass (or dirt). I found the xeriscaping overview on eartheasy to be very helpful when I started planning my landscaping project. One of the principles of xeriscaping is to choose plants that are native to your region. I don't live in Colorado, but Colorado Springs Utility has a website that lists plants according to how much water and sunlight they need, how tall they will grow, and what color their blossoms will be. Although it's not really kept up to date, Raven's Nest, a blog written by a landscaper out of Helena, Montana provides some great ideas and inspiration.

Okay! On to my project! I am so happy with the results!

Here's a picture of the boulevard. R and I collected all the flat rocks ourselves! As, you'll probably find out, I am a serious rock hound! We dug up the sagebrush the from the side of a road (at the landscaping store they were $10 a plant). We also planted fescue, feather reed grass, some kind of purple, spikey mint, and two kinds of spirea. I really like the mulched mounds around the aspen trees. They're supposed to be good for the aspens, and I think they make the boulevard look more interesting.

Rosie and her pheasant (not real) - she loves laying on the sidewalk while I weed.

This little garden is on the side of the house.

The zinnias are blooming like crazy. They look so sweet in a bouquet! And, they attract bees! I really wanted to plant flowers that bees would like. Save the bees!

The silvery-green plant is called snow-in-summer. It's a perennial from my mom's garden, and it had tiny white blooms earlier in the summer. The pink flowers are on a succulent called sedum - I'm not sure what kind of sedum. The purple flowers are lavender, and the big green leaves are on an echinacea plant. I'm going to move it to the back of the garden next year because it is so much taller than the plants around it!

This sedum (pink flowers) is called Variegatum. You can barely tell in the picture, but it has beautiful green, white, and pink variegated leaves. It is my favorite, and it only cost $2.95! The little purple flowers behind it are alyssum. I planted them from seed, and they grew like crazy this year. I've heard that they reseed themselves, so we'll see next year.

One last picture. This little shrub is a mock orange. The boulevard gets that intense southern sunlight, so I hope the mock orange provides a little shade someday. I can't wait for it to bloom next year!

I would love to hear about or see pictures of anyone else's gardening adventures, so send some my way! Oh yeah, the picture at the top of this post is of my coleus - a shade and water loving, very spoiled annual that I started from seed.


  1. I can't wait to read about YOUR Montessori journey. It sounds like we have really similar backgrounds (professionally, at least). Your landscaping looks GREAT!

  2. Anne,

    This is truly amazing..I'll send you some pics from our has been quite an adventure to remodel it. I could definitely use some suggestions on other things to plan in our yard.
    Love you!

  3. Hey, thanks for the link from your blog! I love your photos and the glimpses of your life, very very nice!

    Ironically looking for an awesome Montessori for Bodhi, as our teacher (wait list for 3 years) went on sabbatical this year! AHHH!

    Have a great school year, and thanks again for the link!


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