Houston back yard
Our new back yard in our Houston-area home. When we moved into the house,
the yard was all fenced in, carpeted with St. Augustine grass sod.
For various reasons we were a bit slow to start on gardening (for one, it was
in the middle of Houston's steamy summer; for another, being run over by a car
while riding my bike didn't help my mobility), but by the fall of 2016 we had
established a few planting pockets to break the monotony of grass and fence.
A January freeze did in some of the plantings (nurseries around here thrive on
zone optimism, it seems), but we added a few more plantings the next spring.
Things didn't really get started, though, until we commissioned a waterfall pond
to be installed in April 2017. The extra soil available from pond excavation
helped in the building of lots of new borders along that back fence, and the
constant clatter of the waterfall and the antics of our goldfish gaggle draw
us out into the garden a lot more. Even though it started out looking pretty
sparse, the creative horticultural juices are flowing once again, and things
are starting to fill in. I look
forward to establishing a back-yard reprieve from the formal front-yard
landscaping dictated by the home-owners association, and have been encouraged
by the variety of wildlife that has found our outdoor space: lots of butterflies
and dragonflies, some lizards, and hummingbirds too.
By the end of the first full year of gardening, several areas have come
into focus: besides the waterfall pond and its surroundings, there's the back fence border, which now runs along the
entire length of the back of our lot, a mixed border filled with small
trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals; the right fence border that offers a
little more shade, and is home to blueberries, blackberries, a jujube tree,
and various other shrubs and perennials; the sunny left fence border with figs, a Texas persimmon,
a huisache tree, and random other plantings; and the foundation border that hugs our home, deriving
some precious shade from its roof overhangs and accommodating various
generally well-behaved plantings. Those separate areas should all get their
own pages, eventually, but the ones that don't yet are combined on this one
Tucked in along the back fence is a small rock garden. Unlike its predecessor
in Pennsylvania, which featured many alpines and other small tufted plants,
this one contains mostly succulents (sedum, aloe, gasteria, aeonium), along with
muehlenbeckia and annual talinum. It's still very much a work in progress
– I hope to enlarge it and fill it with drought-tolerant plants suited
to Houston's climate in years to come.
Currently growing in our back yard (main area)
Currently growing in our back yard (right fence border)
November 26, 2017