Last Christmas, my mom and step dad gifted us a new mailbox for the house. Spring was too wet and Summer was too hot. Fall temps were just right and my step dad and husband worked together to get the new mailbox installed. I completely forgot to photograph the before shots, but here’s a little screenshot from Google street view…it’s not great, but you can see we had your basic metal box on wooden post. Behind the old mailbox we had some small Nandina shrubs, which I wasn’t too trilled with for two reasons. 1, we had a tree growing within the mailbox and Nandinas and 2, we have this annoying weed vine growing in and choking the shrubs. There was no easy way to get to the source of this vine. When the old mailbox came out, so did the shrubs and the little rogue tree. I told my husband that I had Liriope in mind for this area.
The mailbox has been installed for about two weeks now and we have allowed the soil to to settle. This past weekend we bought a tray of Lilyturf ‘Big Blue’, Liriope muscari, which included 18 4-inch plants. This grassy plant will reach 18-24″ in height and 18″ in width, hardy in zones 5-10. Liriope prefers part sun, but can tolerate full sun as well. The characteristics that I like about this plant is its tolerance to heat, humidity, and drought. This is perfect since we’re in the zone 8 Texas heat and since the sprinklers do not reach this area when we water. For now, I’m watering every two days until established. Liriope is also evergreen, which means it offers year round interest. It does spread easily in the garden, but enclosed in this spot, between sidewalk and road, I happily look forward to this space filling in with Liriope. By next summer we will be greeted by lilac-purple flowers resembling grape hyacinths. In Fall, these blooms fade into black berries that birds will feast on.
Gardening in this spot was not easy! Our fist task was to clean the area of weeds and that pesky vine. The source runs deep on a very thick root system. We dug around these areas and sliced the vine with a spade as far down as we could. I imagine it will continue to re-surface, but we’ll be able to keep it in control now. With a pick mattock, my husband and I took turns breaking into the clay soil, about 4-6″ deep. The result, large balls of clay, which we then pierced with the spade and shovel to break down into more manageable planting media. Next, we added 3 bags of organic soil amendment with added gypsum to improve and soften clay soils. After we mixed the amendment within the existing soil, we evened out the surface and layed the Liriope plants out where we wanted. The plants are spaced 12-18″ apart. My husband and I worked as a team, he dug the holes and I followed behind him planting the grassy plants. I added a handful of expanded shale under each plant for better drainage. Finally we topped the bed with hardwood mulch for insulation and moisture retention. Mulch also helps keep weeds at bay! We only had one bag and will need to add one more to get the desired 2-3″ of mulch. The plants are looking good so far. I enjoy looking out the window and seeing the grassy foliage waving in the wind 🙂
Will keep you updated on the growth!