Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Finished Front Yard

I finished removing sod, edging, mulching and cleaning up the front yard in the brutal heat last night.  It seemed as if this project would never end, what with the constant rain showers and heat and humidity.  I took the photographs before I weedwacked because I knew the grass would land in the beds.  How do people prevent that sort of thing?  I just never seem to be able to keep things picture perfect like you see on garden tours.  I've met my goal of having less lawn to mow.  I think it looks okay.  The walkways are perfectly straight but I curved the beds so it might look a little funny, but it's good enough.  The Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea is doing really well this year, so many blooms.  Last year it was really tiny.


 
 
The light gets all misty at this time of day.
 






The backyard got all out of control in my neglect.  I spent some time deadheading, weeding and plotting where the rhododendron, azalea, deutzia, spirea, and hydrangea will go.  On to my next new garden area!  You can catch me out back in the "alleyway" working around the hollies to create a mixed shrub border.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Front Yard Re-Do

I finally managed to get out early this morning to beat the heat.  I wanted to finish edging and mulching one of the new garden beds in front.
Before.
 



I messed up the curves a little.  This garden has a Lovely Fairy rose, Easy Does It rose, Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea and a rose my brother yanked out of his yard for me.  It's already got new growth, and I'm thinking I might see blooms this year.  I want to try to keep things considerably less crowded than I normally do, especially since it's front and center.

Do you pick flowers from your gardens?  I don't like to; I like to see them in the yard.  My grandfather was like that, too, I'm told.  These two blooms accidentally came off from this morning's pruning session.  Is there anything more beautiful than baby blue and baby pink?  (I can't stop taking pictures of the huge blue hydrangea in the front yard; forgive me.)

 
 I've got a lot of gardening ahead of me this summer.  I also decided to plant the "alleyway" this year.  My back garden sits on top of a stone wall, and there's a strip of land below it, like an alley, which sits on top of my neighbor's stone wall, neighboring our properties.  I plan on raiding more of my mother's abandoned garden and planting a rhododendron, azalea, spirea and hydrangea.  I'll also transplant the deutzia that self-seeded in the front border garden last year.  It looks like I'll be transplanting the pink hydrangea from the front as well.  It got huge and blocks the pathway.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  I realize I've spent many months now complaining about the weather.  I need to be more flexible and creative with my time.

Independence Day 2013

Hope you're having a great Independence Weekend, and are giving thanks for the vast freedom and security we have, especially in comparison to places like the Middle East.  (I choose to ignore the NSA temporarily.)

I attempted more pictures using the fireworks setting, but I'm not sure I'm any better at it than last year, but at least they're interesting shapes.





  I decided this year that we would celebrate holidays with a cookout on my sister's fabulous deck, which her husband built.  It's been brutally hot and humid the past few days but we managed to pull it off on Thursday.  Since I love to bake I'm always assigned the desserts.  Please make this raspberry rhubarb pie.  You'll thank me later.  It's from Martha's Pies and Tarts cookbook, which I love.  The crust is glazed with an egg/heavy cream mixture.  The linked recipe is a tad different than in the book.



Stay cool!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Litchfield County/Garden Redesign

I've decided my front cottage garden is a little too cottagey--wild and impassable.  So I'll be relocating some things, like I did last fall.  Also I ran out of room in the gardens last year for a rose my friend had given me so I started digging up part of the front lawn.  I've been working on it steadily but it's slow-going due to the extreme heat, humidity and daily rain showers.

I was too exhausted from Friday's gardening to continue Saturday so I took my mother and sister up on their invitation to go to Litchfield County.  We went as far as Sharon and the Cornwall area.  It is so beautiful, like Vermont but with more money.  We went to a garden center where my niece fed the chickens and we got a load of free annuals that should have been given last rites.  We're hoping they can be resuscitated.

Here is a beautiful container of succulents.  My mother really wants one like this ever since I pointed her towards a blog that Martha did on all her succulent containers.
 
On the way home I saw a really unusual cloud formation.  It's been another weird weather year.  There was a tornado not far from here yesterday.



 Here is the mayhem that is my front lawn.  That's eight bags of mulch lying about.  Now I'm thinking maybe I should have created a fan shape where the two walkways intersect.  They're not equal sizes, though.  Any ideas?



 I'm already concerned about dragging the hose over the mulched bed on the left.  The spigot is behind that large bush to the right of the porch entrance.  The idea was to minimize the amount of lawn to be mowed.  I have to store the mower in the shed which is underneath the deck in the back.  I have to drag it up stairs on the right of the house, where the driveway is located.

The sad-looking, droopy plant on the right in the last picture is a ginormous hydrangea I transplanted from my mother's garden.  It was so heavy I needed my brother's help in loading it into my Escape and my niece's help unloading.  I'm so thrilled to have her back from college, by the way.  She did super, super well there (UCONN), which is a difficult school.  We're all so proud of her and how she's matured.  She may be following in her aunt's footsteps now that she's changed from a French major.  Darn.  I had planned on visiting her in France next spring.

I guess that's enough for this random post!