May 2014 Landscaping Report

We have some new landscaping volunteers this year:  Bill Humble, Christopher Dorsey, and Sylvia Myers.  How wonderful is that!  Welcome!  So I thought it would be nice to update everyone regarding where we are with our tasks.

We have been allocated $3,000 this year for landscaping. This money is to be spent on flowers, dirt, mulch, sedge poison, lawn bags, hoses, etc.  New drip systems and displays for the autumn and winter come from a different budget.

The three corner beds have all been raked, bushes have been trimmed and dead wood removed from bushes, etc.  I think they look great!  They are groomed and well established.  The grass has also been cut by our lawn caretakers.  I don’t think we need to change anything about those 3 beds this year except that the ‘Sun’ corner (Columbia/15th) might be a candidate for a drip installation.  I am researching people/companies to do that work and the board should be able to make some decisions soon.

Dave Nichols, PCNHA President, has looked at the corner sprinkler controllers and they are all working.  Also, I discovered that we have a manhole with a faucet for attaching a hose in the NE (Columbia/Park) corner garden (good to know if we go to stage 4 watering or plant something that needs hand watering while getting established).  The NW corner has no faucet but does have a place in the ground we can install one.  I will be pricing that.  I did not look at the SE corner (Columbia/15th) to see if there is a faucet but will do that soon.

The 4 entry gardens have been groomed, new mulch and red rubber have been put down and they have been planted with seasonal color.  The problem we had with nut sedge seems to be under control where we put the red rubber and mulch.  Perhaps we will be able to try cautiously planting some perennials there this year.  The controllers for the drips are all being regularly monitored and we are trying to learn how to run them so the water is totally absorbed and there is no run off (not quite there yet).

Last year Dave Nichols installed a new controller for the north center entry bed and the battery kept dying; and, in general, it never did work right and always needed maintenance.  So he has now purchased a new Hunter system that is less expensive than the other one but is also supposed to be more reliable.  It should be in soon and he will install it.  At the same time, we are working with a way to divert the runoff water from that bed so that when it rains, the manhole holding the controller is protected from being flooded.

So far we have spent $940 for dirt, mulch and seasonal color.  About $540 of that has been for plants and the rest has been for dirt and mulch.

The north circular bed that is in the center of Columbia looks good and most likely we will only trim the bushes this year.

The south circular bed on Columbia (the one with the red yuccas) has been plowed through once again by a vehicle(s) and this time they hit one of the rocks as it is pushed into the dirt pretty far . . . mostly likely it was muddy when they did it.   This bed is a sorry sight but I think we can deal with it.  We need to rearrange the boulders to find a way to get a larger one on the west edge which is where it was run over this last time.

There is a manhole with a hose in it that we can use to water this bed.   The red yuccas did well last year with only occasional hand watering.  The drips were destroyed last year during one of the vandalisms and we need to remove the unused hoses.  We have used the controller from that bed to replace a bad one that controlled the entry bed on the main entrance corner (east side).  If we ever do install drips in this bed we need to move the PVC connector to the center of the bed vs. the edge of the bed because the current position of it puts it in the drive path for anyone who runs over the edge of this bed on the east side.  In the last couple years, we paid at least 5 times to have repairs made to this connector pipe.  We can potential upgrade this bed a bit by adding dirt and planting some colorful annual seeds.  If it gets run over again it won’t cost us a lot.  Next year if people seem to be doing better with this circle, we can think about further upgrades perhaps with perennials or bushes.

I have planted corn at the Blakley country property and plan to dry the stalks for our autumn display.  I will also be planting pumpkins and squash that will be donated to the subdivision if I get enough of a crop.  For winter we will also be able to use cedar boughs from the farm for the display.  The more impact these free things have the less we will need to spend budget on annual color to support them, so I believe we can spend another $500 or so on some perennials in the entry area or perhaps in the sun garden area if we decide to put in drips there.   I don’t want to plant in the corner gardens unless we are sure they will get regular water.  That does not look likely this year.

Thanks so much to all our landscape volunteers.  I’ve really enjoy working with you and I think we have made a difference!

Vicki Blakley, PCNHA Landscaping Chair