Thursday, July 11, 2013

welcome to my home ~ july yard and gardens tour

 Welcome to my home on a perfect summer day!

It's only 80 degrees with 42% humidity. That's low for our area. Feels so cool
and dry after recently having temps near 90 with humidity levels at almost
90%, too. We could've cut that humidity with a knife and served it for dinner.
 I turned off the A/C this morning and opened all the windows and
doors. I spent the morning sweeping the porch and patio, pulling weeds,
deadheading and watering flowers, and hosing down dirt off the siding.

 I pulled this black table out of my kitchen the other day and decided to
use it on the porch. My marigolds on the bottom shelf aren't looking too 
lively lately. I don't think they were getting enough sun.

Pesto, anyone? This pot on the front porch originally held just one basil plant and
 a cilantro plant - but cilantro only does well for so long, and then it gets too long
 and stalky with feathery tops.

I made a seating area in our tiny front yard. See the stepping stones leading
to the side of the house? Let's take a walk...

This bench is in desperate need of some pots of colorful plants on it. However,
it's going to have to wait until we have the neighbor's mulberry tree trimmed.
Her huge mulberry tree hangs over the side of our yard and patio - and over
our roof, too. It drops mulberries by the hundreds every single day. They fall
onto our roof and into the gutters, into my plants, on the walkway, and all over
the patio. Then they rot and ferment, which attracts flies and mosquitoes. Talk
about aggravating! We had a tree trimming service come this morning to write
up an estimate. We'll get a couple of other estimates as well.

 In the meantime, I've had to clear the patio of the glider, ottoman and rug.
The two single rockers are pushed up against the side of the house.
I sweep up the mulberries every single day. You can see how stained
the patio is. It really stinks, because we haven't been able to use this
space for awhile. Although the mosquitoes are so bad right now, we probably
wouldn't be sitting out there that much anyway!

Some of the house plants are loving the shade on the patio.

So here's where I moved the glider and ottoman ~ right off the back of the patio.
How do you like the colorful new pillows on the glider? I scored those at Target
the other day in the outdoor clearance section for only $4.48 each.

Going into the back yard, you'll find my butterfly garden. I know it doesn't look
like much right now because nothing's blooming. Oh - and if you ever decide
to make a wine bottle border, don't be lazy like me and not soak the labels off
first. I thought that all the rain would wash the labels off the bottles. Oops.

The purple coneflower/echinacea is riiight there. Bloom, baby, bloom!

We've had two butterfly bushes in this garden for many years now - one yellow,
one purple. They never bloom until August. I don't think they get enough sun.
Here's one of the bushes...growing just fine, right?

Well, here's the other. I am so sad. I pruned both of these bushes back last winter
so I have no idea what happened. This is the first year that this butterfly bush hasn't
come back. Any ideas as to why, out there?

Against the back of my house are some tomato and pepper plants. I was excited
to see today that I'm finally getting some fruit on the vines. (Yes, tomato is a fruit!)
The pepper plants aren't doing well - they never have in our soil. We thought we'd try
one last time this year.

You all have seen my herb garden, also against the back of the house.
But now this garden has a new member - say hello to Mrs. Hen. Why is she
back there? Because she's broken all the way down the middle of her back.
I glued her back together but the crack down her back is very obvious. I 
couldn't bear to throw her away (aren't we all flawed?), so I found a spot for
her outside. I think she's happy.

 The circular garden in the middle of the back yard is really taking off...the phlox
is starting to bloom, the russian sage is reaching its limbs to the sky, and the
yellow tickseed is turning its face to the sun. See the little round-leafed plant
to the right, underneath the russian sage? When I first saw this photo on my
computer, I thought it was a clump of weeds. So I went outside to pull this so-
called weed, only to discover its rhubarb! Totally forgot that I planted some there.

I am so glad we decided about 10 years ago to plant arborvitaes in the back yard
for privacy from the neighbors, instead of putting up a fence. Trees are so much
prettier, don't you think?

We have such a small back yard with neighbors right behind us, so privacy
is a big issue.

 Come along to the other side of my house and I'll show you the
monster hostas. They're ready to show off their purple blooms any day now.

Uh oh, another plant that didn't come back - this bush. (Forgot what
kind it is.) Again, we have no idea why this happened. Only a few of
the branches have leaves.

 Further along this north side of the house, more hostas are showing off and
the hanging begonia is in all its glory.

Well, looky's Monkey and Clementine looking out the back window!
 They're wondering why they can't be outside, too. Poor kitties.

 Thanks for joining me on my yard tour. I'll leave you with this poem from my
favorite poet - Mary Oliver.

 I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
(From the poem, A Summer Day by Mary Oliver)

Partying this week with Lavender Garden Cottage
                           The Charm of Home
                         Sunny Simple Life


  1. I enjoyed your garden tour. Very nice yard. Sorry about the Mulberry mess though that you are left to deal with! Are the neighbors approachable to consider tree removal options?
    Like your Mary Oliver poem. She is a favorite of mine too . . .

    1. Unfortunately, the neighbor lady with the mulberry tree is not at all approachable. This is the same lady that had the rotted privacy fence that bordered our property.

  2. I don't know why the butterfly bush didn't come back, sometimes plants are just done. But they do need full sun and lots of it. The bush with just a few leaves looks like a spirea. If it is, feel free to cut it way back and it might return stronger than before. Love the arborvitea fence, we use them a lot around here.

    1. Waah on the butterfly bush! It was so beautiful. I don't think my other bush is a spirea - I just looked on google images. But you know what, couldn't hurt to cut it back...cut all those dead limbs off. I'm going to do that tomorrow. Thanks, Robin!

  3. Melanie - Your yard is just beautiful. Our pretty things have already come and gone due to the 100+ degree heat we've already had. Your hostas and begonias are so huge and gorgeous. Thanks for taking us on the tour.


  4. Oh, so many comments:
    1. Lovely poem - a new one to me
    2. A wine bottle border - we could definitely do that one - my husband is the wino, not me - just kidding about him being a wino
    3. I never knew what hostas were until I began blogging.
    4. A butterfly garden - how sweet
    5. I love the black table outside and all 3 of the vases on top - I never have much luck with marigolds
    6. I love the window - I just bought my first old window and have it outside.

    You are probably tired of reading this long list by now so I will stop

    Thanks for the garden tour

    1. Hi Carol ~ oh, you must acquaint yourself with Mary Oliver! Her poems are simple - a lot about nature and animals - but cut right to the heart. Wine bottles...I love wine, but I don't drink it often. I've collected most of those bottles from other people. :-) The window was a roadside discard from a rehabbed house down the street a few years ago. Definitely not tired of reading your list - love it!

  5. Thanks for letting me peek into your garden Melanie. Wish I could stop by for a real peek. :-)

    Butterfly bushes are very prone to being killed by frost and cold winter winds. And if you prune it too soon. I lost one that way. I stuck too much to prune in March and it was too cold so it died. I now let the weather tell me when to prune instead of following rules too rigidly.

    Hugs from Holland ~

    1. Come back to visit in the States and I would gladly welcome you into my home, Heidi! Wouldn't that be awesome if that could really happen one day? Oh no, maybe I pruned my poor butterfly bush too soon. I can't remember what month I did it; maybe it wasn't cold enough here yet. :-(

  6. Loved the tour! I wish I had your small yard. I so miss my gardens in TX. I just can't get out there and do what I use to be able to do, and it is frustrating. As for the plants that don't come back, who knows? My coneflower, which I love, did not come back. Some of my ornamental grasses didn't come back, and I thought they were hardy. The coneflower as well. Who knows?

    1. I wish someone knew, Brenda! Glad you liked the tour. I googled about my butterfly bush and it looks like I pruned it back at the wrong time. :-(

  7. I love garden tours. My favorite kind. Love the black table.

    1. Thank you, Elaine! That was just a cheap haphazard unfinished table that someone built years ago and it sat in my garage with stuff all over it. I painted it black and used it in my kitchen for awhile, but I think it looks better outside.

  8. Lots of lovely things growing and going on in your sweet summer garden!


  9. I love Mary Oliver too. /we have mulberry trees too...but they are out in our woods and not a problem for anybody. Your yard is so pretty...I love seeing summer gardens in different parts of the country. We have the AC off today too. A beautiful day here,

    1. It would be nice to have the mulberry trees in the woods and not on private property! Thank you for saying my yard is pretty; I really appreciate the compliment!

  10. Mrs. Hen looks very happy in your lovely yard :)

    1. I think she is...but I'd rather have "real" hens. ;-)

  11. Hi Mel, The garden looks great. I think the weird weather we had this spring was hard on some plants. Have you seen any butterflies? I think they were hurt by the hot cold wet dry whatever spring we had...
    Anyway, thanks for the tour! Love, Penny

    1. I've only seen a couple of those small, white butterflies around here. No monarchs this year, which is unusual.

  12. Hi Melanie. Your yard is just lovely! I've never seen a wine bottle border before - what a neat idea! I was up in your neck of the woods last week - visiting in Milwaukee and Chicago and was totally unprepared for how chilly the breeze coming off of Lake Michigan was. Had to borrow someone's winter coat to wear at night during the weekend prior to the 4th. You live in a beautiful part of the country.

  13. Thank you for the compliments on my yard, Suzy! I saw a wine bottle border at a shop up in Muskegon, Michigan and knew I wanted to do that at home...but like I said, be sure to soak the labels off the bottle first! :-) The breeze coming off Lake Michigan is definitely chilly. I was at the Lake yesterday and even though the air temp was in the 80's, the breeze was very cool. Felt wonderful!

  14. Your garden is lovely. Summer was so late in France this year that I don't have a tomato or a pepper yet, so I'm a bit jealous! Your kitties are cute.

    1. Thank you, Magali! Sorry to hear you don't have any tomatoes or peppers yet. My tomatoes are doing great, but the peppers are another story!

  15. Your garden looks great! I know you'll be happy to have that mulberry trimmed so you don't have to deal with the mess!

    What a great arborvitae border!

    1. We have just one more estimate to go, and then that tree is getting trimmed...I can't wait!

  16. Love, love your gardens! Beautiful outdoor space!

  17. Very pretty! I love the private patio! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

  18. Such a nice tour and I enjoyed the ending ! :) Pretty kitties...:)


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