Category Archives: Gardening

Progress Report: Front Porch Bed

I have plans to work on the shrub beds at the front porch this fall, but I ended up working on the left side last month after I found a good deal on the type of shrubs I am planning to use throughout the bed.  Pike had Eternal Fragrance Daphnes marked down by 40%, so I picked up five.  It took several days to wrestle the old shrubs out of the bed – I’m not sure what kind they are, but I know they are too tall for my taste.  These Daphnes average 2-3′ tall and wide with a compact, rounded habit.  From what I’ve read, they are evergreen unless it gets below zero.

Here is what the bed looked like before I worked on it:

And the right side of the bed that we’ll work on this fall:

Progress Report: Flower Bed Overhaul

There is an interestingly shaped bed surrounded by our driveway, walkways and deck.  When we moved in, it held some Christmas ferns and boxwoods that were crowded up against the deck.  I initially put my Japanese Maple tree in and moved the Christmas ferns to the front yard.  This week, I felt inspired to kick this bed into shape.  Luckily, the timing coincided with Pike’s red tag sale.  I scored three “Frances Williams” hostas, three “Marvelous Marble” Heucheras, and an Origami Pink and White Columbine.

I started by breaking out my measuring tape.  I always look at the mature size on the label to figure out my spacing.  In this bed, I am wanting a full, overlapping, but not messy look, so I shaved a few inches off each projected size when I marked for my holes.  Everything is tiny and very spread out right now, but if I can keep everything alive, it will look perfect when they are full grown.  Check out my inspiration here, here, and here.

It took me three afternoons to get the five boxwoods pulled out and all of the new plants in the ground, which also included moving some Creeping Jenny (Goldi Lysimachia) from a planter for ground cover, a small fern that popped up in the front yard and the Bergenias I had brought from the old house in February.  I still have some room in the back of the bed by the deck stairs, and I’m considering a small azalea for that spot.  My inspiration for adding that to the mix came from here.

Now that the boxwoods are out, I can see that I should have planted the Japanese Maple a little further back in the bed for good symmetry, but they are so slow growing, that I figure I have time to shift it in the future if I feel so inclined.  And yes, we need to install more railing and a permanent gate on the deck, of course that would require money and/or expertise that we do not currently possess, so the baby-gating stays for now.

Here is a before shot from April:


Progress Report: Yard

I know it is the wrong time of the year to transplant things, but the move necessitated a few transplants all the same.  I had a couple of things at our old house that I knew exactly where I wanted them at the new house, and I needed to get them moved before we find renters.  First was the weeping Japanese maple tree – it seemed perfect for the little fan shaped bed between the garage and the deck.

I also decided to take the two Bergenias I had in the courtyard at the old house.  Everything else there will be easy to get more of from my mom’s yard later down the road.  I placed them at the back corner of the turnaround, next to our new fence.  There was no fence before, but we needed one for Buddy.  Because the property is over 3 acres, we knew we didn’t need a wooden privacy fence, but I told Bradley I would only be okay with chainlink if it was black.  So black it is, and I think it looks great (for a fence).

I can’t even really think about the yard too much or I break into a sweat.  I have no vision or plan for this much space.  All I know is we have got to get the ivy under control.  And we have about five or six trees that need to come down.  Thankfully, my mom has had a vision for the yard since the first time she laid eyes on it.  I am just waiting for spring to get here, so that I can start to figure out what we even have in the yard already.

And as a sign to our neighbors that we want to make this home beautiful and our own, I put in a couple of flats of annuals around the mailbox to spruce it up and add a little life at the street.

Things to address in the yard include:

  • Killing/Removing as much ivy as humanly possible from front, side and back yard
  • Have two or three dying sweet gum trees removed and three pine trees along the driveway removed. (Spring 2015)
  • Remove two crepe myrtles that were planted WAY too close to the garage. (Summer 2014)
  • Repair and repave section of the driveway buckled by tree roots.
  • Replace shrubs in bed along front porch and in front of garage once I figure out the sun patterns and what will work in that spot.
  • Add more hydrangeas beside the deck stairs in the back yard. (May 2015)
  • Figure out what plants we have, which ones are good to keep and which need to be removed.
  • Have a gate built for the opening on the deck that leads to the driveway.