Our Yard, part 1

I promised about two years ago that I would eventually write up a post about our wonderful yard here. But at that point, the weeds were out of control, I had a new baby, we were travelling all the time that summer for weddings and reunions and whatnot . . . well, it didn’t happen. And then it was winter and the yard wasn’t pretty. And for some reason, I never got around to it last spring/summer either.

Well, I finally remembered to bring the camera outside to take pictures, so here we go! I think I’ll divide it up into three shortish posts rather than one monster one. This one will focus on our front yard because that’s the first part of the yard that I got looking good.

 

Front yard

One thing I think is interesting about gardening is how quickly things change. This picture was taken about two weeks ago, and already things look different: the roses have finished blooming, but the snapdragons and marigolds have started. But yeah, that’s our house. As you can see, there are two rather large flower beds right in front of it that people pass on their way to our front door.

When we moved in, the one on the left was completely covered in morning glory. There was almost no visible dirt. Well, eight months pregnant, I went out there and pulled all the morning glory over the course of about a week or two. I was so proud of myself! Until it started coming back. I’d pull the little baby morning glory plants as they came up, but I found I was spending at least 15 minutes a day fighting it. Something else had to be done. I was going to have a baby soon, and I just didn’t have time for this!

I bought a few bags of mulch and spread it out over the flower beds. That should help keep the weeds under control, I thought. (As if.) It quickly became apparent that the 11 bags of mulch I had bought were nowhere near enough to adequately cover the weeds to even slow them a little. I was out close to $50 of my birthday money and still pulling morning glory every day.

When El Guapo was born, my mom came out to help. I can’t remember why, but we decided going to a few garage sales was a good idea, and at one of them, we found two partial rolls of groundcover cloth. She did most of the work, along with my soon-to-be sister-in-law and some other family members helping, but we got those flowerbeds covered with the cloth and then with mulch. It was a grueling process involving cutting holes in the cloth for existing plants, but it looked pretty darn great when we were done, and, best of all, it mostly controlled the morning glory problem. I still get a few weeds creeping through holes in the cloth where the plants are, but it’s not unmanageable. I did have to buy a few more bags of mulch this year to cover some bare patches of cloth.

After all the mulch, I only had a few dollars to buy some snapdragons and marigolds, and my neighbor across the way gave me some extra dahlias she had. The gardens were weed-free but not all that pretty.

That winter was extremely mild, though, so the snapdragons and dahlias survived it. The next summer, the snapdragons especially were absolutely gorgeous. Some of those snapdragons died in our much colder winter this year, but some didn’t, and they are just lovely. I think there’s one dahlia plant trying to make it despite earwigs eating holes in its leaves. We’ll see what happens.

This year, my mom gave me $25 to spend at a garden center (does she know me well or what?). I bought impatiens, marigolds, and more snapdragons to beautify that garden and a spot in the back yard. Once the unsightly daffodil leaves are gone (they’re folded over and wrapped up, but some strands are escaping, and they’re half brown and half green), I think it’ll look quite pretty indeed.

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I don’t love these roses. Apparently our landlord tried to dig out the roses that were there when she bought the house, but some of the roots survived, and now they’re “wild.” Oh well. Wild roses are better than an empty flowerbed in my book.

There are also two other flowerbeds in the front yard, one just off the driveway and one underneath a tree. Until this spring, both were generally full of weeds because I just didn’t have time to weed the flowerbeds by our front door, the rocks and flowerbeds in the back yard, and the garden in addition to two flowerbeds that were usually blocked from view by the vehicles of our downstairs neighbors anyway. But this spring, everything else was more under control than ever, so I had time. It’s nice to not have weeds anywhere, and it turns out there’s periwinkle and California poppies growing (just a few, to be fair) under the tree and three peony plants and an Easter lily I’ve never seen before in the flowerbed off the driveway. Who knew weeding would reveal such treasures?

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This enormous honeysuckle vine grows over the fence by the driveway flowerbed. It smells amazing.

There are also some beautiful rosebushes along the side of the house:

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Too bad there are also plentiful weeds and Virginia creeper, which until this year, have largely obscured the rosebushes. I finally got around to pruning all of them last fall and this spring, so they look better than ever this year. This picture really doesn’t do them justice.

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I am finding that, despite my missteps, I’m getting better at gardening every year and finding more fulfillment in it. It’s fun to have a yard I can take care of and plant things in. I can see myself becoming a full-fledged gardening buff someday. It’s fun to take a yard full of weeds and turn it into something beautiful.

 

 

 

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