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The Garden Awakens

Anise 'Woodland Red' ( Illicium floridanum ) A few weeks ago, I thought spring would never arrive, but now the change is astonishing. The nights are still cold (40s and sometimes even 30s) so planting tender annuals and vegetables is unwise although I have already succumbed, but covering and uncovering things gets old quickly. Someone made a wise comment last week and I must agree with them - "Don't plant anything tender until after May 1". Several plants are blooming like never before. One is the Anise shrub (above and below). I don't know if the recent tree pruning, which is allowing more sun into the woodland path, is affecting it or perhaps it is just age, but I've never seen so many blooms. Michael refers to this as "the stinky fish shrub" and I have to admit to smell of the flowers is quite unpleasant. It is so beautiful that I can overlook that. The old pink dogwood tree, which was already here, shades our woodland path and it too is prett

Lawn redo - finishing up

Another unseasonably hot weekend here (I've given up on us having Fall, I just don't think it is in the cards)! I finished redoing the front lawn and am in the process of watering, watering, watering and keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday morning I went to the Home Depot to buy grass seed and was overwhelmed with the choices. I knew I wanted fescue but good grief, they had red fescue, creeping fescue, tall fescue, as well as blends for shade, semi-shade, you name it. I was fairly certain I wanted tall fescue but seeing the red fescue threw me for a loop since I was not familiar with it. I trotted over to the book section and looked it up in a book on lawns and when I read that it preferred cool summers in higher altitudes I knew it wasn't what I wanted. Why are they even selling that here anyway???

The sunny/shade option presented another dilemma. The area I'm doing is mostly shady but one section of gets more sun than the other. I ended up selecting a bag of each and mixing them.

Back at home, I tilled in more compost, spread pelleted limestone by hand, then used my drop spreader to distribute the fertilizer and seed. I topped it off with a thin layer of pine straw and started watering. According to directions on the Scott's bag, I'm supposed to apply their Turf Builder product in about four weeks. That is, assuming that I have grass by then.


  1. Good luck with the lawn, Phillip. At first I wondered why you weren't putting in St Augustine sod, which is what we see in Austin. Then I realized that Florence is zone 7, so the SA would be barely survive and be brown for too much of the year.

    I hope the tall fescue works out for you - you've sure done your best. Our nurseries are also filled with things that will not grow here!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. That's quite a project, Phillip, but I'm sure you're up to the task. Sounds like you've done all the requisite research even if you were thrown for a loop when it came to choosing the grass. So many choices, and as you say, it doesn't help when Home Depot stocks items totally unsuitable for your area! They do that here too.

    I've only ever sown patches in my lawn but you're right that the main ingredient when all is said and done is water, water, water! Good luck with it and be sure to keep us updated.

  3. Phillip, where do you find the will-power and energy to do a major project like this in this awful heat? Y'all must have something extra special in your drinking water over in Alabama that we are lacking here! I have had to put my to-do list on hold until cool fall weather arrives, which might be January the way these crazy weather patterns are going. Best regards, Jon on 10-9-07

  4. Phillip, sounds like you will have fabulous green grass in no time. I have several projects to do but the day light is too short by the time I get home to get much done and the weekends are full of other things to do.
    As far as Home Depot and Lowes goes there are somethings I don't buy there because they don't have a clue. Any plants besides annuals I read the label closely because a perennial to them might be zone 7 to 10 and they are selling it in zone 5 or they don't put a zone on the tag at all just call it perennial. One good thing about Lowes and I don't know what Home Depot policy is but Lowes gives 1 year guarantee and they do honor that.
    Good luck with the grass, Cliff

  5. I used Lowe's grass seed to fill in patches in my lawn too--back when I still had some lawn. It came up well and looked much better than the grass from the sod. It took a couple weeks in my climate. First a few blades, then more, then it was a massive flush of green.


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