Monday, July 14, 2014

exciting exterior and gardening changes!

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Now, let's be completely honest here and let me just say that I am not. A gardener. I did not get those genes. I do not have the green thumb skillz, no I realllyyy have more of a black thumb, and have been known to kill a cactus or two in my time (yep).

But our poor house really had no landscaping to speak of when we moved in (except one giant bed of bright red mulch under the front window?), and it was looking a little sad. We do have two ornamental trees (not matching, though?) and two nice big hardy barberry bushes in the front. ALL of that was covered in creeping vines and various giant weeds, including the front porch, when we bought the place. So we really havent done much planting of new plants, just weeding out old vines, trimming trees, removing dead branches and repairing the porch and gutters that have been damaged by all the over-growth thus far. But this summer, when our neighbors mentioned that they plan to rip out a nice sized-chunk of their (gorgeous!) garden to make way for sod and small playset for their grandchildren, we jumped! at the chance to take some free plants off their hands.

So I got to work ripping out the front lawn (above are the before photos from a few weeks back), and installing a modest landscaped garden bed instead (woohoo, no more mowing those awkward triangle-shaped spaces!). We opted for a cedar-esque looking plastic and wood-fiber flexible landscape edging that would match the actual cedar edging we put in the back around the brick patio (more about that in a minute), and free wood mulch from the compost site.

Voila! We ended up with a few different types of hosta, purple stevia, yellow flowering creeping jenny, another type of purple-pink flowering ground cover that I dont know the name of, and small sedum bushes (autumn pink flowering, I think?). The piece-de-restitance are three (!!!) lovely peony bushes that they were so generous to offer us, and that we took and put under the front window. They are looking really sad right now, as you are not supposed to move them in the summer, but we did wait until after they flowered and are hoping they'll get their roots nice and established before they go dormant in the fall. You can see one of the peony bushes in the neighbors yard that had just flowered though (top left of the picture), so beautiful! (That area still needs new edging and mulch, so I havent photographed it yet). In back, around the patio, we added real cedar edging, which will keep the mulch from falling out of the beds every time it rains. And, will allow for some other low flowering bushes to creep over the edge. I cant wait!

To the right of the patio we added some european ground ginger and some more of that pink flowering cover we discovered in our neighbor's yard, though I dont know what it's called. The hostas we planted last year, and were given to me by an aunt. The ferns were transplanted from my mother-in-law's garden, and are perfect for that space. It's super shady back there, and they add a lof of softness to the base of the house and around the brick patio. I think the patio garden beds are coming along nicely, though I have plans to add something low and flowering in with the ferns, and a large bush of some kind at the corner, to give us a little color and privacy from the neighbors (hydrangea? dogwood? recommendations? It would get pretty much full shade and would need to be pretty hardy as the wind picks up in that spot during storms, and kind of tears up my hostas that are there now.)

We'll also finish tearing out the chain-link fence (which, turns out, is not so easy to do when it's all grown into all of yer trees and such! As evidenced but the photo below, which is all we've managed to get out so far!) and replace it with a nice horizontal wood fence (next year, I'm hoping!!) and then possibly some additional landscaping along the fence.


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