Wednesday, March 31, 2010

After (front of house)

Before (front of house / yard)

....... After



...And here is 'After', 12 years later. The horse shelter is still there, hiding the pool filter and posing as a shed. The only improvements have been to slap some stain on it and install doors. Someday we'll get around to having it sided.

Before And After

We've been in our house for 12 years. When we first moved in, the landscaping was pitifully non-existent. A few daffodils that someone had randomly planted in front of the foundation poked their heads up in the spring, but not a single shrub or flower kept it company. This picture is the view from the deck off the kitchen into the backyard. The building was a horse shelter.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Picture of the Day

This plant sprang up last year after I threw a few of those 'Wildflower Garden' packets of seeds on a bed that I hadn't figured out what to do with yet. I didn't know what it was, but I absoloutely loved it. It bloomed early when many of my perennials weren't yet (I still haven't mastered the art of choosing plants so that something is blooming at all times - most of my plants don't bloom until June).  I still don't know what it is - some type of phlox? 

Monday, March 22, 2010

My favorite perennials so far, in no particular order:

  • Shasta 'Snow Lady': tons of flowers for a long time, they don't flop and the foliage is pretty dark green and full

  • Coreopsis: flowers for a long time

  • Geranium Rozanne: flowers for a long time; sprawls a little and doesn't get as full as other Geraniums, but still love it. Last year it climbed up through the Endless Summer hydrandea like it was vine

  • Rose Campion: tons of flowers over a long period, furry greyish-green foliage. Foliage can look a little ratty but still love the flowers. It self sows like mad and is a biennial so I missed it last year. Can't wait for it to bloom this year

  • Campanula Persicfolia White: these bloomed for the first time last year and they were gorgeous. They bloomed for a very long time with deadheading - worth the effort

  • Campanula Carpatica White Clips: these bloom for a long time with tons of flowers

  • Delphiniums Magic Fountain Mix: they're delphiniums, what else is there to say?

  • Delphiniums Millennium Mix: ditto

  • Clematis Jackmanii: flooded with blooms; it grows up the railing of our front steps and is absolutely gorgeous

  • Sweet Autumn Clematis: Planted this outside our pool fence two years ago and last year it finally bloomed. Absolutely gorgeous, at the end of the season when everything else is dying off. And it smells so good! I want about 20 more to plant around the entire fence.

Spring beginnings

March 21, 2010

A week ago, the backyard was buried in 6" or more of snow. After a monstrous rain storm that flooded our basements and our yard, we spent hours wet-vacing the water and digging trenches for the water to flow away from the house. After two days or rain, we were graced with several days of warm, beautiful 60 degree weather. Ahhh! The snow is almost gone and this weekend we were able to get outside, rake out the flower beds and do some major clean up - cutting down foliage left up for the winter and digging up the problem child rudbeckias who were taking over everywhere. Shorter mildew-resistant rudbeckias will be planted this year instead.

I was ecstatic to see so many plants beginning to emerge already:
  • Autumn Sedum Joy (love these)
  • Delphiniums Magic Fountains (love these)
  • Carpathian Bellflower White Clips (love these)
  • May Night Salvia (love these)
  • Lupines
  • Obedient Plant (not sure if I'm keeping this; will give it one more year)
  • Daylily Stella de Oro
  • Alchemilla Lady's Mantle

Several of my perennials stay green all winter under the snow and just needed the brown, damaged leaves trimmed off:

  • Coral Bells 'Firefly'
  • Rose Campion (love these & missed them last year... biennials)
  • Shasta Daisy 'Snow Lady' (love these)
  • Dianthus 'Ideal Mix' (not normal - they even have buds on them!)

I ordered more plants from Graceful Gardens (I just love them - and their prices - and can not resist ordering at least 2 trays every year). Two years ago I ordered some gorgeous Delphinium Chinensis from GG - short with constant blooms all summer in the most beautiful blue - only one came back last year. They're so pretty, I ordered a full tray (32 plants) to plant in the side garden and around the outside of the pool fence to try and tie the two together. I also ordered some Echinacia 'Baby Pink Swan' and Dianthus Sweet William. My gardens need more pink! I have mostly yellows, purples and white.

I bought several bags of Stargazer Lily bulbs as well as some iris bulbs to plant. The gardens definitely need more spring / early summer blooming flowers. I have Bleeding Hearts and some irises, which I divided and moved along the pool fence and in the side garden. We'll see how things look this spring.

I also bought several packets of seeds - I always get carried away. I'll list them some other time. I collected Rudbeckia seeds from the landscaping at work last fall. I want to grow those from seed as well as the Shasta Daisy 'Snow Lady' from my garden. Guess I better hurry up and get them planted. I'm not sure if either will bloom this year anyway.