The making of a unique landscape quilt

I am perhaps the worst photographer known to man; I must ask your forgiveness at my  poor quality of pictures!

I wanted to document the process of creating a landscape quilt.

In the Texas Panhandle putting in flower beds is problematic at best, you can count on half the plants you pray over to survive. It is just the way it is in this region. In fact, after several failures Royce and I nearly gave up any hope of creating a lovely landscape here. But we are of the prescient sort he and I, or we are just plain glutton for punishment because when it comes to having a nice yard we won’t and can’t give up so easily. I began to think outside the box of what I was use to doing as a gardener. In other words I began to accept the arid and dusty landscape, to embrace it, to allow it to be what it is and stop fighting it. This meant a change in plant materials that will work here and trust me, those plants I am in love with and that will grow like weeds in North Carolina and Ohio aren’t the ones that like it here! I have to fall in love with grasses and other drought loving plants that will take this dry, windy, never-wet!, hot-sunny-land.

When I began to consider using less plant material and more ‘hard-scape’ material to create our beds my spirits lifted. The first thought that came to me was to do a hard-scape landscape quilt. I chose to do my first one in the shape of a tree — (although my mother-in-law Ms. Ruth thinks it looks more like an arrow) — Either one, tree or arrow, works for me as long as the few low growing plants I used live to see fall! I first began by raking out the area and was surprised to find that the grass came up easily. So much said for grass having deep roots in this yard, I guess. Poor Royce is working diligently on making a lush green lawn a reality.  I vote for easing his frustration and using pea gravel and lots of it! But, I know the suggestion will fall on deaf ears so . . . . he plants and I pray.

I was so delighted with this first attempt at a landscape quilt that I have two more areas planned for next year. I do believe this is the way to rock this yard!

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I had to deal with sand storms at first before I could even lay out my design. As you can see, the sand is plentiful where Royce tilled up the soil in this bed. First we laid down landscape fabric and then I used a few tiles we had laying around to give me a visual idea and them used some old wooden yardsticks to build the form.

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Next was to lay down some play sand to level out the area and plant the plants I wanted inside each of the four sections. Hens & Chicks in the lower section; creeping thyme in the top section; two more drought tolerant ground covers in the two middle sections. And then I began to play with rocks I had on hand. In this picture I settled on the tree trunk made out of medium sized black pebbles.

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When Royce bought 1/2 yard of pea gravel for this and other beds we are doing I decided to use only pea gravel around the tree form and 86 the other stones in that area; instead I placed the larger stones inside the tree form and around the plants. I know this picture doesn’t do it justice but it is really lovely. We have a frog on a stick that waves hello to  you.  I put Mr. Frog at the top of the tree. He has one hand up waving as a welcome to those who approach our front steps. I think he is happy to live there. Every tree needs a topper!

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A better view……….like I wrote I am the worst photographer know to man — or woman or beast for that matter!