Friday, June 6, 2014

front and back yard tour

The weather here continues to be "perfect" - in the 70's and 80's with low humidity.
We had one rainy day this week, but we really needed it. I worked in the yard for a 
little while this morning, went to physical therapy, came home and worked in the
yard for a few more hours. It feels so good to be outside on days like today.

This little area in front of our house has always been my "sore spot". It's right there 
when you're walking up to our house and is against the garage. It only gets partial sun,
 so the plants and bushes that we've tried along the years have never thrived. 
We had hydrangeas for a couple of years, but that's as long as they lasted. We've tried 
growing clematis up the "trellises" - fail.  These "trellises" are actually the side
pieces to an iron arbor that we used to have. Until one harsh winter where it fell over
and broke into pieces. Instead of putting the two side pieces in the trash, we decided
to upcycle and use them as trellises.  The two green plants in front are some kind of
native prairie plant. Can't remember their name. In July, they produce the most 
beautiful flowers. Anyway, for now I'm sticking with some potted flowers instead
of sticking more bushes in the ground.

 So here's what it looks like as you're walking up to my house. The walkway to the
patio is on the left.

 In the back yard, the butterfly garden is really starting to take shape. Nothing is
blooming yet except for the columbine (back, left) and that's so short-lived. I tried
to fill in some bare spots today with a few zinnias - they add such a beautiful
pop of color, too. Looks like I need to find something else to plant in the bare spot
in front, but I don't want to spend anymore money on annuals. I'd love to plant some
bee balm, but that really spreads. I'll think of something! Oh - one mistake we made
when making the border out of wine bottles, was to not soak the labels off the bottles.
We thought that the rain and snow would soak them off naturally. Not so! Stuck on
forever. We'll have to replace those ugly labeled bottles with ones where we've soaked
the labels off. I've seen other garden borders where people have used glass jars
and have even glued marbles and stones on top of the jars.

Speaking of columbine, I got a good close-up shot the other day. I just love these
flowers.This one had a cottonwood seed stuck to it, too. Those suckers have been
blowing all over the place lately.

 This little circle garden in the back yard has two plants that were divided from
the butterfly garden (the two tall ones - and of course, I can't remember the name -
they will have beautiful purple flowers on them soon), straw flowers, rhubarb, and a
new rose bush (thanks to my mom!). I still need a few more rocks to complete 
the border.

About 13 years ago, Brian and Phil planted these arborvitae trees when they were only
three feet tall. I'm so glad we chose to do this instead of installing a privacy fence. The
trees are much prettier! And give a lot more privacy than a fence, too. We're trying to
 disguise the compost barrel...Brian transplanted day lilies around the barrel last fall. We 
also put down grass seed a couple of times last month, but there's still some bare
patches in that area that needed tending to.

My little veggie garden against the back of the house...tomatoes, zucchini, 
Brussels sprouts, (half dead/live hydrangea in the middle), and peas
climbing up the upcycled crib springs trellis that aren't doing so well.

I didn't get a photo of my entire herb garden...I planted two small rosemary
plants today. But I got a photo of how the lemon balm and mint are taking
over. I always have to dig some out every year, otherwise it would consume
the entire herb garden.

Have a great weekend!


  1. What a lovely garden you have. It was a pleasure to take your tour :)

  2. Your garden is progressing really well. Don't you love it when everything starts growing and filling out?


    1. Definitely, Judy! Especially since we have such a short growing season here.

  3. Everything is looking lovely. Cats don't seem to bother plants like my Lulu does. I keep hoping she will outgrow her digging so my garden can thrive.

    Happy Weekend!

    1. Sometimes cats will use outdoor space as their litter box! But we don't let our cats outside.

  4. Those repurposed trellis pieces are really pretty. I think that a leafy vine would completely cover it and you wouldn't see the design in the metal.There are a couple of Clematis that don't leaf out as much....a more delicate plant but they do well with a more sun.I've found that narrow places like yours in between walks, driveways, buildings and such are so hard to deal with. Those places really need to have the soil enriched. I like the wreath hanging and the pots. That might be an area for some garden sculpture and not plant a vine at all. With all your thrift shopping, I'm sure you will come up with something. Instead of being a trouble might end up being something really pretty. Your plants are just starting...once they start to grow more...It will look so pretty.
    I love having a spot to work on like yours. That's what gardening is all about....trial and error.

    1. Thanks for the idea about garden sculpture, but I don't like that sort of thing. I'll come up with something one day, I'm sure!

  5. I love the whole look including the trees in the back. Makes your yard look really peaceful.

    1. Thanks, Mom! It is a peaceful place - minus the mosquitoes. ;-)

  6. It's all looking great, Melanie. I love the idea of using crib springs as a trellis. Was it your boys' crib? Our crib was so shot by the time my two finished using it because it was a very cheap crib. The wood was in bad shape but the springs were fine. I would definitely have saved them if I'd realized I could use them like this! I love all of your flowers. Butterfly bushes are really popular here and they grow huuuuuge, I really enjoy them.

    1. Yes, those springs are from the boy's crib! The wood was actually "OK" after the two used it, but Tim had left some teeth marks in the headboard part, plus we know safety things change so much over the years so that by the time we had a grandchild, the crib would probably be deemed dangerous by then.

  7. Hi Melanie, nothing compares to the satisfaction we get after a good day's work in the garden. It completes our day. I like your idea of re-purposing things. We used a roadside find single bed spring as trellis for my climbing beans. I never really thought of using wine glasses though, I might give them a try. I love your cottage style garden. Just wondering about the pine bark in your veggie patch, would it be better if you use pea straw or Lucerne (alfalfa) hay for mulch? As this will help put nitrogen into the soil and it breaks down easily (didn't mean to intervene, just a friendly advise) ( - ;
    Thank your for stopping by and for your lovely message. I will add your blog to my side bar too as "Blogs I follow. Hope you are enjoying the rest of your weekend.

    1. The mulch/bark isn't pine...I forgot what kind it is. But I always wondered if perhaps it's not good for the veggies either. I don't know where we'd get straw or hay, but it does sound like it'd be healthier for the plants. Thanks for the advice - I will look into this!

  8. Your gardens look like they're thriving, Melanie! I think we've all got spots where nothing seems to grow. I just dug out a new shade garden under a giant shrub where the grass never grows. I hope all the plants I transplanted decide they like it under the shrub! Have a great day!

    1. A lot of gardening is trial and error, isn't it?

  9. I love your upcycled trellises!! Such good use of things that you would otherwise have got rid of. With regards the bottle edging, there is nothing for it, you will just have to drink more wine to get new bottles with no labels!! xx

    1. I agree! And this time, I'll soak the labels off first!

  10. It is green and thriving Melanie. I grow my mint in a pot as I already have a flower garden full of invasives.

    1. Great idea about growing mint in a pot - unless, of course, you want an invasive plant. ;-) I think it looks lush and lovely...I don't mind digging a bit out every season.

  11. I think it all looks great! I'm just starting to get the hang of this gardening thing myself, but it looks like you have well in hand. It's all very serene!

  12. Lovely garden you have. I love your butterfly garden! We've had great success with hostas in our narrow shady side yard. I wonder if they would grow against your garage. (They also don't require too much water.)

    1. Yes, hostas will grow against a garage! I have a bunch of them right against a fence.

  13. The repurposed trellis pieces are fab! I've found that clematis grows well for me if I have something growing in front of it. In the backyard I have a Knockout Rose and behind it a clematis and in the front yard I have a dwarf gardenia with a clematis behind that. I think they like their roots shady but their tops with some sun.

  14. The walk up to your house looks lovely and so inviting, Melanie. I would love to have a porch like that. Your veggie garden is coming along nicely. We have a few things growing in ours but we have a real battle with slugs at the moment. I have put some copper around the box to try and keep them out, I am not sure if it will work though! I really enjoyed the tour. :)

    1. Thank you so much for visiting, Sarah Louise, and for your lovely comments.


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