Reconstruction Recap | The 2011 Adventure

NOTE: Daylily Haiku Thursday moved to Saturday this week to celebrate the holiday!

I've been holding on to the last days of 2011, grasping at the months that swirled by in a tornado of black nursery pots, dirt, and concentration.  

This is how the southeast corner of our back yard looked the week after we moved in - bare, dry and flat.  Note the stakes in the ground indicating where the dirt would be dropped.  I changed this configuration about 4 times before I settled on a shape that was both pleasing and functional for a large planting of daylilies for display.  250+ of my potted daylily friends took up residence here in the blistering sun for almost a month while I recovered from pneumonia in our new home.  It was terrible to be stuck inside for weeks designated for gardening.  

But once I recovered, the first call was to a top soil supplier to deliver 30 yards of dirt to raise my island beds.  The trucks came and went, dropping clumpy river-dredged dirt as the drivers shook their heads at my grandiose plans.  One has been back (driving 50 miles one way) to see what became of those dry piles of dirt and dreams.    

I just needed a base to get started; I planned to add yards of compost on top of this.  I needed the top soil for the bones of the bed.  Three big piles of about 10 tons each needed to be spread and shaped.  Steve and I often pushed around dirt by moonlight.  My cough was still pretty bad and the heat was really unbearable through all of August and into September, so it was the only time I could really put some effort into working the dirt.  

Once it was all spread out, I had to re-evaluate the drawings I had planned for the space.  I was pleased to discover that I had about 10 extra feet of gardens than I had planned for, so I was able to pull in more daylilies and a few other perennials from the stock I brought with me from Michigan. Having "stock" to choose from was the most fun element of this reconstruction.  I certainly got to know my daylily collection a lot better during this move. 

I knew I wanted a flowering tree for the corner focal point of this island.  The Eastern Red Bud finally won out and it was the first thing planted.  The shape of the tree is what finally won me over.  It is very symmetrical and I'm very excited to see it next year!  Once the tree was in, I started plugging in daylilies in a large swath across the bed. 

Then the rains came.
And so did "Lake Schmith."  Oh no!  I had created a dam.

So, a little drain installation and lots more top soil later, the renegade lake was mostly conquered.  
We grated the space again and I got back to planting.

I fit in 49 more daylilies than planned for in this bed!  That's awesomeness.  It was even more exciting for my husband who didn't have to remove sod for me to get that much more growing space like in our old yard.    

Each daylily planted was selected just for the spot it got.  I carefully considered all the neighbors before placing any daylily, so the doubles, miniatures, and unusual forms are all sprinkled about the garden in just the right amounts.  My most promising seedlings are placed in with other well-loved cultivars, just to see how they perform and are judged among the proven introductions.  I hope to hear some comments from visitors next summer about the seedlings. Maybe they might even outshine some of their more famous neighbors!

These are some of my seedlings - the hidden gems.  The third one measures 10" consistently.  What do you think?

After it was all said and done, almost 200 daylilies fit in these first two beds, and the grass started to come in wonderfully - all in less than 90 days.  Most of my collection is planted and the rest has been stored for winter under the decks, ready for planting next year. I had a personal goal of getting this one big bed done this season and I DID IT!  It feels great and I have a lot more peace than I thought I would going into our first winter.

2012 will be quite a show.  Although it really is only one island bed (and there are many more to come) I'm not sure my neighbors know what they are in for...
picture taken October 18, 2011- the last official day of planting (when I planted the daylilies I brought home from Atlanta!)



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