Monday, September 23, 2013

Porch Project

While taking a break from laying patio blocks, we decided to get some stain on the deck boards on the front porch. We were already seeing some grey-ing of the wood along the west edge that gets blasted by sun in the afternoon. So we ordered deck cleaner and stain and went at it:

The little black spots are a million or so Love Bugs that kamikaze'ed into the wet stain. Fortunately, I was able to get them mostly removed after the stain sat overnight. Now if the humidity would get below 100% so the stuff would dry completely, we could move the porch furniture back where it belongs.

We also made some changes to the planting bed in front of the porch. It's gradually becoming un-Simon-and-Garfunkel-ized, first by the Black Swallowtail butterfly larva eating the parsley to the ground and now with the addition of two versions of Croton (Codiaeum variegatum) called Petra and Red Mammey. We'll see how they do. There are quite a few of these around the park and they seem to tolerate a wide variety of lighting conditions. They do add a bit of color:

Oddly, the mostly-red plant in the center is called Petra, while the two on either side that have almost no red in them are called Red Mammey.

It's very hard to see, but while I was scratching around, we also planted new thyme and sage plants we were able to start from the other plants, and we started layering the rosemary so we can have a full hedge across the front of the porch.

We also removed some aloe plants that my parents had given us from the south side of the porch and put them off in a back corner in the shade. They are supposed to do well in any light condition, but the full sun had bleached the leaves completely out and the plants had done absolutely nothing in nearly a year. We really wanted something else there anyway, we had an empty hole, and so we made a command decision and moved them. We're browsing through native plant catalogs looking for a vine or bush that will give the porch some shade and privacy. There are several candidates that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies, assuming I can find a local source.

Yesterday was an indoor day so we could make some progress on the piles of paper that have built up while we were playing around outside all summer, and today I've been trapped indoors by rain of Noachian proportions. Normal rain in Florida is massive amounts of water falling from the sky for five minutes or less, then it's all over until the next day. Today, it started raining around 11am, and as of 6pm, still has not stopped. And it ain't a gentle shower, either. The retention pond across the street is getting alarmingly close to the top and according to the radar, there is plenty more to come. If you see two old people huddled in a row boat go floating by, it's probably us.

Well, time for dinner.

No comments: