I haven't been blogging lately because we're in the middle of a big transition - moving from the prairies of south central Kansas back to the Gulf Coast, this time to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.
John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans," and that sentiment fits this move to a T. Our first grandbaby is due any minute now (literally), and we are moving down here to help with childcare, since both of his parents are active duty in the Air Force.
It's very hard to leave our little bit of prairie...but it's also enjoyable to have a new challenge greeting me. I'll be bouncing back and forth between the two places for a while, but I'll try to be clear which one I'm talking about in my blog posts.
Having arrived in Ft. Walton Beach right as summer really took hold, I'm not doing much more than observing what is growing and living in our new digs. Our new yard is much smaller - a bit less than half an acre backing up to a small, but picturesque, manmade, freshwater lake. The soil in our yard is VERY sandy and there are good-sized trees, giving a rather savannah-like effect.
As far as plant material goes, for starters, we have 6 sand live oaks (Quercus geminata). This species is THE major tree in the local area. Visually, however, it is less important in our yard than in the general area simply because our individual sand live oak trees are rather plain. Here, in contrast, are a couple sand live oak trees in our daughter's yard, about a block away....
For those of you in areas where these plants aren't common, this array of plants is basically an almost complete list of "non-native shrubs every homeowner finds at Lowe's or Home Depot and plants to make their yard look like everybody else's yard." The only plant missing is crepe myrtle.
On the challenge side of the site, did I mention that the soil is VERY sandy?
The neighbor to the west of us has an OLD chainlink fence half hidden with vines and shrubs in a wild area formed from benign neglect. I don't mind wild areas, in general, but this one is full of popcorn trees and other weedy, woody, invasive plants that need to be judiciously removed. Then I'll be able to see more clearly what's worth saving in that region.
The neighbors to the east have a gorgeous BLUE hydrangea right on the property line. Friends in prairie places, eat your hearts out! I'm more than happy to "borrow" this part of their yard, even if it isn't native.
There are lots of seedling sand live oaks and hickories, too; I want to see if there are a couple seedlings I want to "save" to start regenerating the tree canopy, then weed out the rest.
So wish us luck! (And, incidentally, I'd welcome any design ideas or plant suggestions.)