I have discovered a love of gardening. Or rather, I like ripping stuff out, shopping for new plants, putting them in and forgetting about whatever maintenance they require.
I suppose if we weren't also renovating this whole house I'd have time for fussy plants, but I don't. So I go to the nursery, find a knowledgeable sales person, tell them what I'm looking for and that it has to be a plant that can handle neglect.
They generally have just the thing.
In this instance, I heard a lot about the evergreen plants our nursery had on hand, but it wasn't so much the lush feel that we were going for. I wanted something that was lush and vibrant in the spring. I also wanted evergreen, but that didn't really happen. Oh well. It's what, 2-3 months that it'll all look like sticks? I can hack that. So I did my own thing.
Our yard has been neglected for many years. Things are overgrown or have disease, so we are pretty much just keeping the key players (trees) and going to town on the rest of it.
In the front yard I ripped out an entire row of sword ferns (which are STILL trying to grow back. Good grief plants! Give it up!) along a short retaining wall, ripped out a lot of weeds, whacked back the boxwoods by the garage, put in some grass seed in the dirt patch between the house and the street and around the edge of our lawn (still working on that), pulled out 2 sickly-looking cedars, an andromeda that was probably as old as the house and had roots to reflect that, a sickly azalea, another bush that I couldn't identify but was pitiful, and 3 very robust rhodis that I did have a twinge of regret about removing, but they were just too big. Michael had no such twinge. Rhodis are not his favorite. We kept the beautiful camellia and Michael shaped it and removed all of the dead undergrowth. It looks amazing!
To replace the plants we removed, we tried to stick to things that would feel lush in the summer. And hydrangeas. I love those. We planted 6 of the ones that bloom all summer!
Here is the comparison:
Before. Overgrown bushes obscured the view of the (lovely avocado green) house. You can see the ferns sticking up from behind the retaining wall. There really is a house back there - I promise!
After. You can see the (lovely avocado green) house! The plants are small, but given a few years they will fill in and be beautiful. It's hard to see, but there is a green laceleaf Japanese maple in there.
And again. Before:
And after. Hydrangeas under the pine! I have to figure out what else will grow under there, since grass obviously doesn't. Pine trees make the soil underneath them very dry.
I also lugged a birdbath that was sitting in the back yard buried under some ivy to the front. It gave the bed that added pizazz I was going for, since everything in that bed has to be 18 inches or lower to accommodate the view from the living room and it was feeling kind of boring.
I've been working on the back yard too, while Michael does a lot of the interior work. The back yard is a whole other beast. I'm primarily focusing on ripping out invasive species back there for now. Ivy, Oregon grape, bamboo, sword fern, wild mint (not edible, unfortunately), blackberries, violets and baby plum trees are the worst of it. Once I have that more pulled together I'll post that too.
In the meantime, we picked up an awesome Craigslist find that we are working on this week!