I've spent several more hours hacking through various portions of the upstairs bed. I've got everything cleared and then some.
First, can I just mention my lack of enthusiasm for Turk's cap. I actually love the little swirled flowers but, in my garden at least, Turk's cap runs rampant. When I'm at the garden store and see Turk's cap for sale I find myself rolling my eyes. When I moved into this house I was mildly excited to find the various outcroppings of the plant. Now, 13 years later, I'm considering Round Up. I've cut it back, tried to dig it up. Nothing works. It spreads, it doubles in size every year. It dies to the ground and comes back at twice the size. The flowers look good for a while and then the leaves go all crinkly and half dead and it quits blooming and all I'm left with are straggly, six foot tall stalks that lean every which a way. Okay, I'll stop babbling.
Today I chopped — and chopped and choppped — down the eight or so major clumps of Turk's cap in the upstairs yard. And found even more spots where it's doing its best to spring up. And then just for good measure I chopped down most of the misbegotten yucca from the corner of the long bed. I left a couple of pups in the far back but I opened up some serious space for something new. In the picture you can see the two trunks of yucca that I sawed off (as well as piles of various other debris waiting to be bundled up).
The space is backed by the wisteria (which is on the arbor in the downstairs yard but which tries its best to creep into the upstairs bed) so whatever I put in there needs to be able to fight that off or cohabitate politely. I have a Pride of Barbados volunteer seedling in the front yard that I may try to move. And then there's the question of the monster hamelia just to the right of the new bare spot (well, in three months it will be a monster; right now it's a few bare sticks poking up out of the ground).
On a happier — or at least less agressive note:
Here's the manfreda "Macho Mocha" that I bought late last summer. It's grown enormously and has now taken on its characteristic spotted coloration. And it's got at least three pups growing under the bottom fronds. The pot stayed out during the cold weather; we might have been able to move it but I decided to take the chance. I covered it during the ice storm and on a couple of other cold nights but the cold didn't seem to bother it at all. I'll give it a bit longer and then I'll try to remove the pups and repot them.