This weekend was a yard weekend – among other things, we started the process of collecting estimates to have the backyard fenced in. (Ooft!) It’ll be great to have done, though – Guinness will be able to run, chase balls/bunnies/squirrels/falling leaves to his heart’s content, and we won’t have to worry about him going walkabout to visit all his dog friends up and down the street. It’ll be especially nice when we’d like to sit out on the deck and bring him out with us during the summer months.
We also put in some time on the garden beds around the house. Now that June is here, it’s finally warm enough to start planting without much worry about a cold snap hurting the plants. We pulled up the messy looking bed alongside the garage:
Before: It was ... kind of a disaster.
…and planted 12 tomato seedlings: 4 each of Big Boy, Sunbeam, and Celebrity. August tomatoes, here we come! (Fingers crossed.)
After: Even if tomatoes aren't particularly pretty, it's a whole lot more orderly!
We suspect our neighbors may be relieved at the improvement.
In the front yard, rather than planting, we did some ripping out:
Before: The giant yew (which turned out to be two yew bushes)
The yew bush was probably planted too close to the house to begin with, and was growing unevenly, out and away from the house as a result. That was also crowding out the azaleas, euonymus, day lilies, iris, and everything else planted near it, to their apparent detriment. The euonymus is scraggly at best, and the azaleas barely flowered, and are growing at a 45^ angle to try to get some sun. The yew had also gotten so big that pruning it into a manageable size was getting harder and harder to do with a decent result. So, we ripped it out:
After: no more yew!
Can’t say I miss it. The only thing it was really good for, was serving as an object for covering with Christmas lights in December, and I’m sure I can find another victim candidate for that. As far as what we’ll do with the space, I’m not sure. A lot will depend on how the surrounding plants respond to having the garden overlord yew out of the picture. I’m also not sure whether the big bush on the left will stay or go.
There’s quite a lot of space back there now – I’m thinking of putting in some taller annuals — maybe zinnias — just for this summer, pulling the yew stumps out in the fall, and considering new permanent plantings for next spring. I think the area gets sufficient sunlight, and zinnias are so bright and happy…
In the long run, I’m thinking of keeping (or replacing if necessary) the red azaleas, adding a hydrangea or two (I’m just really fond of them), and I’m not sure what else. I’d like a blue hydrangea, but I honestly don’t know [haven’t checked yet] what our soil’s pH naturally is. If it’s acidic, we could grow blue hydrangeas, but if it’s basic, they’d turn out pink, which would not be a plan with the red trim on our house and the red azaleas. If the soil turns out to be terribly basic, rather than fight it (with aluminum sulfate) I’d probably just do white.
The backyard got some love too, mostly in the form of red and white impatiens to fill in a few places and add some color (eventually; they’re still pretty little).
In a similar theme to the front yard, we’re going the route of planting annuals to look nice for now, while we give some thought to what we’re going to do about these planters (which clearly need replacing). I’d like to replace the wood with stone, but that is likely to be a bigger project than just the planters, since we’re also thinking of doing a patio extension off the deck to reach the glass door in the family room. The patio would give us a place to have a fire pit in the summer without putting it on grass or the wood deck. But that’s for another day.
Herbs and impatiens in the deck railing planter boxes
Last but not least in the plans, the bishop’s weed island in the middle of the yard:We’ve decided its time will come in August – we’ll apply herbicide before we leave for vacation to kill the bishop’s weed, since there’s no way we’d be able to pull it all out otherwise; and when we get back, we’ll pull it out and plant grass at the end of August. The bishop’s weed just gets too big — it’s already had its first haircut of the season — and it takes up too much of the lawn. Also potentially on the chopping block is the evergreen straight behind it. Nothing wrong with the tree, but it’s right in the middle of everything, and doesn’t added much to either back property line privacy or the overall plan for the yard. It’s hard to see, since it blends in with the rest of the trees, but it’s actually probably 5 feet further into the yard than any of the rest in the back row.
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