Friday, May 11, 2012

Presenting Pine Green Back to the Neighborhood

We've been working on a lot of things at Pine Green over the past few weeks, mostly in the yard while the weather was still somewhat bearable. March marked the end of Pine Green's last traditional pine tree:

Dead pine behind the playhouse
Most of the pines had either died or been removed over time to protect the house from threat during hurricanes. This last one, upwards of 50 feet tall or more and with a thick trunk, had been looming for a while, standing dead in perhaps one of the worst locations at the southwest property corner, threatening multiple neighboring properties as well as my own. One of our neighbors who is skilled in tree removal did the work for us. It turned out the tree was much more rotten that we had thought, making it unsafe to climb, so he had to use a lift during the removal:

During tree removal 

Pine Gone 
Although best suited for South Florida, we do plan on keeping the one stately Norfolk Island Pine, and perhaps planting a few additional ones to frame the house, so that the namesake "Pine Green" will endure.

Norfolk Island Pine by the garage behind blooming azalea
We also had Zoysia sod installed, and we've planted giant apostle iris, flag iris, coontie, impatiens, sunflowers, philodendrons, perennial peanut, sunshine mimosa (sensitive plant), and more. We've continued to transplant some existing plants to better suited locations, and we've continued to giveaway some that no longer fit the landscape. We also managed to get the most important irrigation zones operable. With the recent drought and all the new plantings and transplantings, we've had to water quite a bit!

Back yard in 2011

Back yard in April 2012

Front yard in 2011
Front yard in April 2012

On a side note, our flag iris plantings were a case of mistaken identity. We had ordered giant apostle iris ("Regina iris") and the supplier ended up sending the wrong species, which turned out to be a type of flag iris (I still haven't identified the precise variety). Turns out it's a fairly common mistake in the industry, although the two types of iris are quite different. So we went out and bought some of the real giant apostle iris as well and planted them to provide some structure to the front yard.

Front yard (northeast side) in 2011

Front yard (northeast side) in April 2012 - giant apostle iris in foreground

The flag irises are more delicate and are struggling a bit now - we're trying to save as many as we can. Both types of irises have such beautiful flowers:

Flag iris
Giant apostle iris (Neomarica caerulea 'Regina')

Most folks we've talked to have loved the fact that we've opened the property up quite a bit and presented it back to the neighborhood. Not everyone of course - some liked the hidden mystery and wilder look. Over time, however, our new plantings will fill in, and we'll continue to add more, still keeping the place open but giving it more character. Maybe we'll win over nearly everyone one day :)

For now however, I anticipate we'll be doing less in the landscape over the summer and instead turning our attention to the house itself, as we still have many projects to work on inside and out.

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