Monday, June 30, 2014

Transplanting Existing Plants to a New Yard

With the building of a new house, we are trying to save money in every corner possible. Of course, we are not trying to cut corners structurally, but there are some things that we can take with us to save on cost. Appliances are where we are saving the most money. Our kitchen appliances and washer and dryer are all coming with us. They are five years old and we love them.

When I moved to Alabama, my parents brought some plants from the home I grew up in in Florida. And some of those plants came from my grandparents' homes in Mississippi. One of those plants was the Cast Iron Plant. My mom calls it Ironwood.

We had it outside the dining room in Florida, and I had it outside my dining room in the last house.

It was the green in between my purple loropetalum. I took the clump at the back of the grouping because it would be less noticeable. They don't like the cold, so this winter killed them down to the ground, but they came back! I just cut down the freezer burned leaves and it shot up new growth.

The other plant that came from Mississippi / Florida, is my Border Grass. It was outside the Master Bedroom.

In the winter, it dies to the ground (in Alabama, not Florida). If you trim the old leaves off, it will send up new growth faster. Keeping the old leaves attached, only makes it harder and longer to come back, but it does.

This plant is easy to make babies from. It shoots off babies everywhere. It's how it fills in gaps so easily. I just dug up the babies that were spreading beyond where I wanted them and potted them.

These babies don't really die after being transplanted. They thrive! However, I think it does help that they are in pots. When I thinned out my border grass two years ago and placed them in another area, they acted hurt and didn't look great the first year. But after the winter, they came back great!

Having them in pots, will encourage them to thicken up in the pot and I will have nice full plants by the time I have a yard to put them in.

The daylilies were another plant I made smaller plants with.

You couldn't even tell I took some.

The daylilies have already started shooting up new leaves where I removed some just two weeks ago. These plants do like to be thinned out and improve the health. Overcrowding can become damaging to the plants.

We were able to make 25 daylilies out of the clumps I dug up!

However, it can be easy to become discouraged. When I transplanted my iris's years ago, I cut them down to 5-6 inch leaves so that the plant can focus on new roots and spend less energy on the long leaves. I dug up all my iris's to take to the new house and did the same cutting technique.

I used the same cutting technique on the daylilies. I didn't capture pictures of them right after they were potted, but they were green! And then they turned brown, quickly.

I didn't cut them at first, but after they turned brown, I started to remove the dead leaves and cut them down just a little. They were starting to look bad.

I cut them down three times, before I was as low as I wanted to go. Sure enough, new green leaves started sprouting up!

They aren't large now, but they will fill those containers up by the time they go dormant for Winter.

It's just enough to keep me encouraged.

They are growing at different rates, but they can all count as having new growth. That's 25 new daylilies for free! When they can be bought at a store for no less than $3.99, I just saved $100! And yes, I do plan to use them all in the new yard. They will be everywhere!

Cast Iron Plants and Iris's aren't cheap. You pay more for very little. However, they expand and fill in over time. Border Grass can be cheap, but dividing my own probably saved me $100 as well.

If you've got the time and space, I would definitely encourage you to use your own plants to make more before buying from a store. I was able to fill in gaps at the old house this way, and now I am going to be able to fill my new yard with transplants! The only thing we'll have to buy are sod, trees and some foundation shrubs. I'm really excited!

And I've already acquired some new plants from old friends thinning out their yards. And the neighborhood I live in is holding a perennial swap in September, and hopefully I can acquire some new-to-me plants.

"To Plant A Garden Is To Have Hope In Tomorrow" - Audrey Hepburn

Friday, June 27, 2014

Chapter Closed - Key Turn Over Day

Today is the day. We hand over the keys to our house.

Last night we went and took a few photos of us as a family at the house. I wanted to remember what age the boys were when we moved.

We spent almost six great years in this house. I look back and smile at all the hard work.

Just within weeks, the Crape Myrtles decided to bloom.

Yuma Crape Myrtle
June 2, 2014

Yuma Crape Myrtle
June 24, 2014

The yard I am really going to miss. It just started getting easy and at the same time, was pleasant to look at.

Me being the sentimental type, I think of all the memories in the house.

Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter

Mr. JCrew came home from his Air Force service to this first house of ours. My parents lived in this house with us. Bailey is buried in the back yard. Colby and Kates were new puppies in this house. We brought home both of our babies to this house straight from the hospital. We had memorable birthday celebrations here and a lot of other moments we shared as a family.

I look at the curtains I made with pride.

Mr. Brigglesworth's curtains, you never could see until the furniture was removed.

His pallet wall remains up.

I have gotten use to seeing the rooms empty, that now it is weird to look back at pictures just three months ago.

June 2014
March 2014

The new owner is very very excited and you can tell. He loves the yard, but we'll see if he has a green thumb. I tried to make the yard as low maintenance as possible.

And I did take some plants with me. I'll write a post over the weekend about that.

This chapter has now closed! We had the next chapter overlapping, but now we can focus on it. I'm actually really excited to have no more little projects over there. I was making sure everything was PERFECT and I'd always find a new thing to fix or make better. Now my evenings and weekends can be spent doing other things, like soaking up more time with my boys!

Happy Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Townhome Living

Well, we are all moved in to Mom's place and settled. We've been here a week and I love it. Mr. JCrew says we should have done this a long time ago.

It is a 1600 square foot townhome with one car garage. We are able to fit all three cars in her driveway without having to park in the street (against neighborhood covenants to park on street overnight)

I really do enjoy the small space. It forces you to be organized and clean up after yourself. If you don't pick up, the mess leaves you no where to walk or sit.

The kids share a bathroom and closet with Mr. JCrew and me. I like this arrangement. It is easy to get us all ready in the morning. Although I say this now as they are small children; I'm sure once they are pre-teen age and older, I will appreciate not having to share a closet or bathroom with my children.

The house is lined with our extra furniture, but it still doesn't feel cramped.

We all hang out in the living room and it's great.

I am so thankful for my mom for taking us in. I think we made her a little nervous when we first moved in, but we are settled in now and I think she is great. We even brought all of our outdoor toys.

We've always had a lot of people in the house, so I think it is what she is used to.

I mentioned we divided our porch furniture among my mom's neighbors to borrow. She still has our glider along with the kids' bikes, our grill and some plants I potted that I removed from our old house. (We will plant them at the new house.)

From a distance, it doesn't look bad. Even when you walk up, I'm trying to keep it from looking so red-neck!

This new adventure is off to an awesome start. We don't know our timeline or the exact plan, and shockingly, I am okay with that. I am open to whatever the future holds!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Toilet Plumbing

I have an update I never wrote about. I upgraded the plumbing in the toilet.

This came after an incident when my cousin, sister and nieces came into town back in January the toilet broke! Literally, right as they walked in the door.

It was Mr. JCrew’s fault. I’m throwing him under the bus. He doesn’t know his own strength.

All the toilets have old plumbing mechanics. It’s the ball-wand thing. The ball helps gauge when the tank is full of water. The way our flap was positioned, the flap would get stuck open and the tank would just keep running. This only happened if you held the flush lever down too long; long enough for the flap to lift up high enough to get stuck open.

I’d always listen for the running toilet. If it was still running after a minute, I would go in there, lift the lid and get the flap back down. It would stop running almost immediately.

Well, Mr. JCrew went to fix the running toilet and he broke the wand the ball is attached to!

Didn’t see that happening. So, we had our visitors use the other two bathrooms while we all got situated and then I took one of my nieces with me to get a replacement part. I thought I could just buy a new wand… no such thing. The technology has changed to these:

I bought two. I didn’t know which I needed. One was $9 the other was $11. They stated they were an upgrade to new technology, saved water, ran quieter and an overall improvement.

I installed the $11 one into the hall bath. It said it would be quiet, and oh is it! I purposefully used that toilet over the others. It was quick to fill the toilet tank and it did so in a quiet way.

Awesome stuff! The $9 unit I put in the master toilet. It’s not as quiet, but very similar to the other unit. If I had to choose, I’d choose the $11 over and over.

Now I mentioned we replaced the flaps in the toilet tanks first. This was a few years back. It came after our neighbor had a flood while he was out of town. He came back to a flooded house. The plumber discovered the toilet flaps had warped! This was common. The warp allowed the seal to not be very good and the flooding occurred. The plumber endorsed the use of red toilet flappers. They were less prone to warp. If you do not have red toilet flappers, he recommended checking on or totally replacing the toilet flappers once a year.

Our neighbor told us all this information and I went out that weekend and bought red toilet flappers. I even put it in my Google Calendar to check the flappers once a year. I am glad to say that after four years, our red flappers are still great! When we took off the white flappers, they were already warped. That was after being in the house for one year! We had a flood waiting to happen.

That was a little hidden update that not many people know about. I get giddy thinking about my new toilet insides. And no one knows what my smile is about! I love them so much, that I will make sure the toilets in the new house have good insides! Whether I buy the inexpensive kits or have toilets that come with them; somehow the insides will be good!
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