Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Walk Around my Yard, 12/13/08

It's been a mild day, with a high in the upper 50s. Cold weather is on its way, so Heidi and I enjoyed spending some time outdoors this morning before Larry and I cleaned the garage out enough for me to be able to put my car in it.

Here's the front of the "corner garden", lovely red fire hydrant and all! I have some planting to do this spring, as the narrow strip next to the curb was just dug up this summer, and I decided I didn't plant enough in it. (Added 8:09 p.m.- Larry asked me if I wanted to plant along the strip to the right of the fire hydrant, the part that makes the shape different from the bed across the way, which I'm not fond of. He said weeds were taking over, and I was tickled that he actually offered me more garden space.)

The bed to the left of the sidewalk was put in around 4 years ago when our neighbor lady across the street had to have her water main replaced, and they had to dig in that section of our yard, too. I wanted to make it bigger, but Larry at the time, wanted it even smaller. The area across the sidewalk was added the next year.

The view from the front, facing south:

There was a bush in the yard that we dug up when we moved in, because of all the suckers it was sending up. We turned it into a circle bed, about 6 to8 feet in diameter, and I planted mostly orange, red, and some yellow flowers in it. There was also a blue star amsonia that bloomed early in the spring. In June of 2008, I was able to convince Larry to extend the flower bed, making it the largest amount of grass reduction we've had (so far?). We rented a sod cutter with a friend and I was so tickled that there was no negotiating the size, as we have usually had to do. We didn't do a professional job, making nice curves, like I had envisioned, but hey, I was just so amazed as Larry was making roll after roll of sod. We were thankful our neighbor hefted it all away and planted it in his yard.

You can see the fence of the new bed on the far right, near the yew bushes that were already planted when we moved in. This maple tree was transplanted from a neighbor's yard when it was quite small, by Larry, when he was a boy, and his dad. I forgot to include the pics of the top part of it. The pots on the left are ours.

This is the front of the house, behind the tree. It gets some west sun, so the raised bed is a bit of a challenge. Sun plants get leggy, shade plants cook. Coral bells are slow growing here, but have survived several winters. The plants in the lower part do better because they don't dry out as much.

This is what you see if you turn around from the front bed previously pictured. The new bed is to the left, east. There is some kind of sweet potato vine that comes back every year, on the light post, and a yellow old fashioned type of clematis that is able share the space with it, because I cut the potato vine back a couple times a season.

Walking to the east, here's the new bed from the north:

I hope the bulbs and many annual seeds in here come up in the spring:

Continuing to walk east, you see the butterfly bush looking brown:

Turning left, to the north, is the east side of the house. When we first moved in, we had the egress window you can see with the plastic covered lattice lid. Larry's mom had a few peonies against the house that I let him talk me into giving away because he didn't like them there. (We kept the 3 in the front, though.) I was thankful I was able to talk Larry into having flowers around the egress window instead of replanting it with grass. The area was originally about 6 to 8 feet wide, and 5 feet from the house, less from the window opening. I can't remember how many seasons of, "Please can we make the area bigger for Mother's Day" digging/tilling
sod out it took to get the beds connected and clear across the house and back yard, but it was at least 3 or 4. Larry's been happy with each change so far, so it's all good. ;o) (I would like it to extend farther out from the house and fence, but it would be where a sidewalk would be, so I probably shouldn't do that.)

Continuing to walk north:

We had our shed repaired this summer, because the city would not let us replace it in the same spot. It's red or dark green in other pictures.

Turning around, facing south:

Going back north, across the driveway, and facing west from the street, here are some flower beds that have been there, the area by the street 2 years, and the one in front of the fence, 3 years. The vegetable garden behind the fence was there when Larry's parents lived here and gardened there. (My mil also gardened across the street to the east in the neighbors' yard.)

You can see the garage, which, unfortunately, is on the south side of the garden, and my lovely compost area in the back:

I've been picking kale, and it continues to hang in there:

Turning left to the south, there is the driveway, which has room for potted plants in the summer, and the shed, which I'm sad no longer has a downspout for catching rain water, and the back yard, and house:

I have a variety of kinds of mints in pots. I hope most of them survive the winter. You can see the deck, and the wrapped up furniture, but you can't see the snow shovels leaning against them. We have to use an S hook in the gate, because Heidi can open it in a flash and run off. She checks it, too, to see if we forgot.

This is a little herb garden next to the driveway on the west side of the lot. It's fenced in so Heidi can't jump into the neighbor's yard. I just made some cream cheese spread with chives, sage, and some of the Madeline Hill rosemary, which is supposed to survive in our zone. It's doing fine so far. This is facing south:

Facing north:

Facing west from the south end of the herb garden:

Turning to the east, reveals the deck my fil built, and we made even "lovelier" with lattice for clematis, morning glories, and moon flower vines to grow on.

The Sweet Autumn clematis is still holding its grip:

Walking past the grill, to the other side of the deck gets you to our small back yard. We put the gravel in ourselves when we couldn't get grass, sod or seeds to grow there. This is the east side of the deck. You can see the driveway to the north. We had pots lined up against the shed, thinking we would be replacing the shed. There is another small goldenrod not visible in the pic that got trampled by the guy who repaired the shed. I had moved part of it, so at least one if not both will come up in the spring. I want to plant more goldenrod, (not the invasive kind) some coneflowers and asters along the side and back of the shed.

This is looking to the east. There had been a 10 foot square dog kennel in this area that we took out in July for the shed repair. Hopefully Heidi has outgrown digging, because we do not plan on putting it back.

Larry added more picket fencing to keep Heidi from jumping over the fence.

Facing east and south, you can see the side yard and empty bird feeder Larry is going out to fill right now, with the seed in the ice cream bucket he had to bring inside because a squirrel had chewed through it.

Wow! This was supposed to be a simple tour, and I turned it into a history lesson! If you just looked at the pictures, you have taken a tour of my "Corner Garden" without commentary, and have seen how much grass my husband has been talked out of. I hope to have you back in the spring when plants are growing and blooming! If you want to see how the front yard looked the first part of July, click on this: Front Yard Pics


  1. OMG! You have a lot of things going on inside and out. I cannot wait to see it in full bloom! You and (hubby) have done a wonderful job!

  2. It was quite a history tour. A really fun one for me. You did such a good job I felt I was on a garden tour. I saw lots of really good bones, love for the garden and home, history, and family. I saw a beautiful lab walking with her Mom, and totally a garden that will one day be without grass. I especially like that maple tree the husband transplanted, and I like the nice curving lines (you did well) and lucky you to have a good neighbor to take it all away. I'd say your MIL was/is a fine gardener and how wonderful it is that she gardened in the neighbor's yard too. I do have one question, why did you put the left sidewalk garden in when the lady across the street had her main replaced? did it dig up your yard too? And if so-great-no negotiating there. My husband and I are the same way. I have to get his permission with new gardens. So now I just widen them and hope he doesn't notice:) Have a great night, didn't mean to write a book but the post begged for it and anyone who knows me from the blogs, knows I talk a bit, good thing I am a fast typist.

  3. Hi Darla and Tina! Thanks for the friendly comments. I am excited for spring, too, because I have some plants that I just added last year, and they should bloom more next year than they did this year.

    Tina, I'm glad you noticed that I forgot to say they had to dig in our yard. We're thinking we should have had ours checked while the hole was there. I will have to dig plants out if they need to get back in there.

    My mother-in-law, Donna, died due to Multiple Myaloma the day before our daughter turned 10, so that would have been almost 17 years ago. Denzel, Larry's dad died in 1997, and we bought the house from the estate. I thought we were going to host holiday gatherings, but the siblings live in bigger houses and don't have as many collections, so Larry doesn't want to invite them We do have both sides over every July 4th, though.

    Donna grew corn, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, etc at the neighbors. The family that has lived in that house for the last 13 or so years just bought a house, and the guy who owns it is in the process of a major remodel inside and out. The area she gardened is full of trees that were planted by nature. Some have come down. I'm curious to see what else they do.

    I enjoyed reading what you wrote, Tina. Of all the beds, the two by the curb bug me sometimes. I really don't like the shape of them. I do like it better now that we extended the one on the right side of the sidewalk. It was because weeds were taking over, and Larry actually offered that to me. I may go back and add that. I did add that they had to dig in our yard. LOL Another long comment!

  4. Sue, I think the long comments are fine. It is the way bloggers can get to know one another, rather than cursory comments at times that we all sometimes do. I was going to tell you that in your July picture post of the front yard you did say why you made that bed, that your yard had to be dug up too. So it was there, I should've looked there first. Sorry about your in-laws, sounds to me that you all keep them very close though. I thoroughly enjoyed the long post, the history and the response!

  5. What a lovely way to get to know your garden from a distance. You have so much space! (at least from my perspective as a city-centre, Scottish gardener). And so many interesting features which to me are essentially American - the flagpole, the picket fences, the fire hydrant! I have to tell you that when we were on holiday in British Columbia last year we took quite a collection of fire hydrant photos. Not quite the usual tourist shots of mountains and lakes! We don't have hydrants like that in Scotland, so they're a great curiosity. I will post a photo on my blog for you to compare!
    I'll look forward to seeing your garden evolve - you have so much good raw material to work with that it must be exciting to plan ahead.

  6. Sue, I love postings that provide the "big picture," and you've done a wonderful job. How great to have that full grown maple that your husband remembers planting--the longest I've lived in a house is about 10 years, though we're going on 9 in this one, and we do now have a couple of small trees that grew from seed. Anyway, a wonderful posting.

  7. You certainly have taken over lots of the yard and made lots of gardens. I can hardly wait to see the garden in the spring and summer.
    Your collections are impressive, I like the frogs and tea towels in particular. I will be back to visit your interesting blog.
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. Sue a gardeners work is never done!
    Quite the tour! Thanks for sharing and the sweet comment made at my blog! Happy Spring!

  9. That was a lovely walk around your winter garden. I helps me a little to see that without the snow a winter garden does suffer and is not the romantic ideal we who do not have snow have of it all.
    We have been blessed with the most rain in one day for 3 years...after a flood from the roof 13 months ago I was a little more anxious than I should have been but it is lovely to see some green grass in our summer drought conditions. I must go and take some photos of it.
    I am looking forward to seeing your garden come back to full life in spring. I think I may have to give up on some lawn also...but I love the green grass. I shall wait (probably all next year) for the footpath that was to start in October. Then I can see better how to reshape the front. Maybe plant something like Japonica as a hedge so that the prickles keep children off the garden and chasing balls, or the other extreme is to plant a row of fruit trees in the front and let people pick from one side if they must.

  10. Sue would you consider a blossom tree in the centre of the beds by the curb. Would it give them more focus?
    Just a thought. I have magnolia and Nigra and Magnolia Stellata down the side front fence and a couple more down the narrow side of a house which is the continuation (over a brick fence) of that bed..have another Nigra, think it survived the drought and a Magnolia soulangia which I should prune now as it grows to tall to prune when in flower, my favorite way to prune as I bring the blossoms inside.

  11. Sue I enjoyed the garden tour. You have done a great job!

  12. Hey there, Sue! This was a really fun garden tour! You have a lot of garden space! I'm glad you showed them from the various angles; it was interesting. One thing we share in common: I have garden areas at the base of either side of our driveway, too. One year, we had to have the whole garden dug up due to plumbing problems. I tried to transplant all of my perennials...because the digging, and the repairing, all took several weeks to complete:( (My son was about 4 so he loved taking his trucks and playing in the huge pile of dirt...a hole was dug 18 ft. deep! Finally it was filled again, and I transferred what I could back into the original garden area. I hope we never have that problem again because my back is too messed up to do that kind of work again...Have a good night. Jan

  13. Sue, I found your post very interesting. It's nice to be able to get the whole picture of a person's outdoor space. So often we see only a picture of a plants or a little area and it's difficult to put it all in perspective. Now when you talk abouy front bed or beside the shed, we will know exactly where you mean.

    You seem to have accomplishes a lot in the short time you have been there. Takes a lot of energy !

    Thanks again for a great garden tour!

  14. Stopped by for GBBD and got caught by your red fire hydrant. We have one in our front garden, too. And now the city has changed the hydrant trim color from white to yellow!l

  15. Sue,

    What an wonderful tour...and as Tina said history of how a garden evolves. We all have reasons why one bed gets expanded or another shrinks.

    I will never understand America's love affair with grass! It is a nice foil for our gardens but really, it's all about the garden! My spouse doesn't care at all about what I do 'out there'! Of course I get to do all the work that way!

    Take care nd keep warm in those single digit temps.


  16. What a great tour. You know, I love your red fire hydrant! You could have so much fun with plant choices near that great bright red :)

  17. Thanks for all the great comments. I have been reading GBBD posts and messing with my template. How silly of me to do that today! Anyway, I plan on answering in more detail soon.

  18. Thanks Sue for showing me what Kale is. I love your garden and all those awesome pictures you have. Hoping to see many more as i have added myself in your list of followers.
    Thanks for visiting my blog too.


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