SPECIAL NOTE: The loading of the pictures may be quite slow, especially if you are using a 56K modem for your internet connection.
Speeding this function up will be the task to be addressed as soon as all writeups and pictures are in place.
SPECIAL NOTE TWO: The picture quality may not be the best, but its all I have right now.
The pictures were taken with an older camera, the films developed and the resulting pictures scanned into the computer.
Then they were touched up etc with a photo editor.
Hopefully the next ones I take will be with a digital camera!
SPECIAL NOTE TWO: The picture quality may not be the best, but its all I have right now. The pictures were taken with an older camera, the films developed and the resulting pictures scanned into the computer. Then they were touched up etc with a photo editor. Hopefully the next ones I take will be with a digital camera!
A QUICK LISTING OF THE PICTURES OF MY YARD: ORIGINAL NATURAL EDGING OF FLOWER BEDS NEW BRICK EDGING THE FRONT ANNUAL BED - JUST PLANTED WITH BOSS ON GUARD THE FRONT ANNUAL BED - EARLY SUMMER THE FRONT ANNUAL BED - MID SUMMER THE FRONT IMPATIENS PLANTER - MID SUMMER FRONT BIG OLD MAPLE TREE IN TREE LAWN EAST SIDE FRONT CORNER - INITIALLY EAST SIDE FRONT CORNER - MID SUMMER EAST SIDE BACK CORNER EAST SIDE ASIAN LILAC EAST SIDE AZALEA BUSH (before it wss planted) EAST SIDE SHRUB ROSES - INITIAL PLANTING EAST SIDE SHRUB ROSES - MID SUMMER BACK PERENNIAL BED - JONQUILS AND DAFFODILS BACK PERENNIAL BED - FRENCH IRIS BACK PERENNIAL BED - ORNAMENTS OVERALL BACK PERENNIAL BED - SOME ORNAMENT FAVORITES BACK WEST CORNER - PERENNIAL BED BACK WEST CORNER - RE-SEEDING FLOWERS WEST - PEONIES BACK - WHITE PEONIES BACK - RED PEONIES BACK - DOUBLE PINK PEONIES INDOORS - PEONIES ON DISPLAY BACK MAIN - DAFFODILS, AGERETUM, VINCA BACK MAIN - BEGONIAS JUST PLANTED BACK MAIN - FRONT PART JUST PLANTED BACK MAIN - SPECIALTY PLANT PINKS(?) BACK MAIN - SNAPDRAGONS JUST PLANTED BACK MAIN - PLANTERS BACK MAIN - MAIN ATTRACTION - DA TOILET - INITIALLY BACK MAIN - MAIN ATTRACTION - DA TOILET - MID SUMMER BACK MAIN - EARLY SUMMER BACK MAIN - MID SUMMER - PART 1 BACK MAIN - MID SUMMER - PART 2 BACK MAIN PLANTERS - MID SUMMERINTRODUCTION
I have always been quite interested in gardening, especially flowers. I believe I got that interest from my Dad who was an avid gardener among many things. His first love was roses. But somehow that part never rubbed off on me although roses are perhaps the prettiest flower around.
Before this year I had a garden; but because I was still gainfully employed and often worked long hours and week-ends I did not have the time to really do justice to my efforts. But I retired in 2003 and hence the spring and summer of 2004 was my first real chance to go full blast at doing something in the wonderful world of flowers.
This narrative and these photos hopefully will relate my huge feeling of pride in a job pretty well done.
The manner I will follow to introduce you to my garden is to describe from whence I started in the spring, describe and show you what I did through the early summer, and finally show you the results.
I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed making them a reality!
THE STARTING POINT - EARLY SPRING 2004
My family moved into our house in 1974. Since I did not have a lot of free time I basically took what was there and kept it alive and looking pretty good. At that time my main source of pride was the grass - I would (jokingly) offer $1.00 for each and every weed you could find in the grass. I recollect my pay outs would have been mighty small! I would plant some annual flowers and a few vegetables, but the emphasis was the grass.
But as time progressed I got away from the vegetables as we could buy them at farmers markets as cheap as what I would have paid to grow them myself. Also my neighbors would grow so much they were giving it away. And the last reason for abandoning vegetables was that they often became ripe just when we were going away for a vacation. Hence I moved more and more into the world of flowers only.
The next big change occurred in the 90s. I decided to re-do all (or most) of the shrubbery. I got estimates from landscapers; they were outrageous. But I got their ideas and ran with them doing my own design. I hired a crew to rip out all the old (or most of it) and ready the beds for the new shrubs. I spent quite a few hours shopping around for what we wanted and finally got them all delivered. My friend Harold (not my brother) helped me do the planting. All went quite well and the new setup is still the basis for much of what I have today.
Over the years my family decided we needed more shade in the back yard. We had one large maple in the front and one large one in the back when we moved into the place. A neighbor gave me a 10 foot seedling tree he had grown; I put that in the back to give a little shade to the patio. I then grew 5 more tree seedlings over the next few years. Four of these are in the back yard and one in the front. We now had the shade we desired, in fact - too much shade in the back. The grass under the trees started dying. So in the summer of 2001 I had a landscaper re-do the back grass under the trees to start the recovery process. That work got some results, but much more was needed. So in the spring of 2004 I personally re-did that grassy area. It is now about 75% covered. From a distance it does not look too bad (no picture yet) but its thin - but growing.
Another area that has been troublesome and needs to be figured out is in that same portion of the yard as the grass spot. Under the large maple tree I built up a 10 foot diameter raised flower bed. There are still many tree roots that cause problems in the bed. The problem I am having is getting flowers to grow in that pretty dense shade. I have tried lots of stuff; this year its wild flowers from seed. But nothing has worked well thats also economical. My next try (next year) will be perennials like false spirea. I don't have a picture of this area.
The basic layout of my yard is seen in front and back. When I re-did the shrubs I assumed the use of a natural border around the beds would work quite nicely. By "natural border" I mean a small trench which would allow me to use the mower to cut the grass up close and hence eliminate the need for weekly trimming. Well, so much for those ideas - it didn't work out too well. So the main emphasis at the start was to brick the edgings of the beds. Hence in the photos you will see some pictures with bricks, others without. The bricked ones are the latest ones, except for the main bed of annuals in the back yard. That is still lined with bricks pushed into the soil to ground level as edging.
I also had input from my wife that the small bed for annuals in the front was kind of shabby, and many of the hostas were flat out ugly in late summer due to excessive sun and heat. So these things needed changing.
THE FRONT ANNUAL BED
The front annual bed was my first endeavor for the year. I ripped out the whole thing, moving the mums to the back yard. The tulip bulbs which never did anything for some reason were saved for later usage perhaps. I then installed the first bricks of the many I was to lay this spring. I then searched for pink geraniums - they were extremely hard to find this year. But I found some pretty good ones and planted them and added the red mulch.
By the way - that little guy in the picture - THE BIG MEAN BOSS! He will kiss you to death if you mess with him!
This bed grew very well as seen in early summer.
THE FRONT TREES
The three trees in the front merely needed to be bricked and mulched. The old one in the tree lawn was the most difficult as the roots got in the way. The big old maple was easier as the hostas were in place and the dirt "mounded". The little one in the tree lawn was easy - just set the bricks.
THE EAST SIDE FRONT CORNER
This spot was originally planted with a pine tree and some type of spreading bush. The pine tree lasted a few years before it got some kind of disease and died. Soon after the bush also got infected with at least a "rust" fungus, likely other things too. So it all had to go. I took it all out and turned it into a perennial spot. I did leave space in front of the boxwoods to have a pot of flowers.
THE EAST SIDE BACK CORNER
This spot originally was planted with a pine tree and some type of spreading bush. It also included a russian olive tree that did not fair well in that spot. The pine got too big and after a severe pruning it lasted only a few years. The bushes also got large and really became an eyesore. So it all had be replaced. With the help of a tree expert firm I took it all out and turned it into another mostly perennial spot. There is the spirea bush fronted with annuals (usually medium height red salvia). There other end of this corner spot has a asian lilac bush. In the middle is some free space, the first part now being home to an azalea bush that my wife got on Mothers Day 2004.
THE EAST SIDE ROSE BED
The east side of the house had a bed of hostas that looked very nice in spring and early summer. But they grew very large and turned brown as the heat came in mid summer. So it was time to replace them.
My wife liked roses she had seen in the shopping malls and suggested we might try them. I had a concern - would there be enough sun in that spot as it gets mostly morning and early afternoon sun only. I got a GREAT price (2 for price of 1) on some shrub roses. Re-doing the bed went much smoother than I had anticipated. I was very pleased with the way the bed turned out. And the first mid-summer indications are - WOW (picture to be supplied)!
THE BACK - EAST SIDE
This bed is my "perennial flowering" bed. In spring there are jonquils and daffodils. These are followed by french iris. During the summer there is mostly pots of annuals. Then in fall the sedum come alive. All of this supplemented with ornaments of various sizes and designs.
THE BACK - WEST SIDE
This bed is perennials with a try at selecting flowers on the hillside which will re-seed. On the one end is a few perennials - spirea, eunonymous, boxwood, and potentialla mixed with a few ornamental statues. On the hillside are the re-seeding wink-pink diascia. This bed has been troublesome due to seemingly poor soil and the water runoff on the hillside. But I am making progress as perennials have been there now a couple years and seem to be doing well.
THE WEST SIDE
These beds currently have hostas, a bayberry bush, some deep red day lillies, and two white 20+ year old peony bushes that I got from my dad. These two peonies still produce an abundance of blooms yearly. I will likely replace the hostas next spring as they "burn out" in the summer heat.
THE BACK - MAIN BED
This bed was the first one I created after we moved into the house in 1974. I started with some annuals and vegetables. The vegetables option was discarded in late 1980s as they would ripen at the same time the local stores and farm markets had an abundance and many would die when we went on vacation. So I decided I did not need that frustration and the excess of veggies.
The replacements for the veggies were some perennials and annuals. The perennials are mostly white peonies that I got from my dad, some double pinks that I bought, and some reds that I got from a a friend. To see the real fruits of these plants, here is a sample of the cuttings from this year.
The pictures from here on out are from the early plantings, like April and May. I hope to get mid-late summer pictures developed and added in the near future.
I also have a mixture of daffodils and jonquils in one end of this bed. This end also has blue ageretum and white vinca in it. On the other end there are four mums - deep red, white, purple and yellow.
The best "annual" I ever had in my life was in this bed and was a geranium I kept alive in the house over the winter. The second year when I planted it outside it first looked as though it would not make it. My sister who visited us even said I should deep six it. But being a stubborn German I carried on. And what a great result! I don't have a web picture of it but at its peak it was about three feet high, three feet in diameter, and had more than 50 flowers on it.
When I design the layout for my annuals, I try to setup and follow a plan, the plan differing from year to year. Last year I went patriotic - one big section each in red, white and blue with the remaining portions multi-colored. This year I opted for "splotches" - I take several plants usually of the same variety but definitely the same color and plant them together. The splotches are placed so contrasting colors are next to each other. The plants used for splotching the front end are red, white and pink begonias,red salvia, violet, red and white vinca, and blue agertum and white vinca(as noted and shown above). I did allow for some multi-colored small snapdragons.
I created or bought a couple of planters to locate in sections where the daffodils come up in the spring. I also bought one, violet double impatiens, which I placed in the "seat" of the toilet. I hope to add more washroom fixtures in the future!
I have one or two specialty plants in this bed, a pinks(?) a and a tall rose that never seems to bloom and that I cant kill!
I have a few plastic animals in this bed along with my bird feeders and birdbath.
Here is an overall picture taken in early summer.
MID SUMMER BEAUTY
This was the first summer in the last few years that I had time to really attend to the needs of the yard. A lot of TLC went into it, and it shows. Things like check for water every day, feed the plants regularly, dead head the flowers, weed, trim, etc - it was all done this year. And now to see it...
The front geraniums were one of the real highlights. I saw many other yards where the geraniums were struggling, but mine ...!
The front planters also did well. I lost a vinning geranium planter; the drain holes got plugged and the plant drowned. But I replaced it with a begonnia planter I put together. The new guinea impatiens did well most of the time; some "too wet" conditions due to heavy rains did slow it down once in a while.
The east side roses did very well for the first year. Most of the time there were an abundance of blooms on all six plants. Now to see how they last the rest of the summer and over the winter.
The number one highlight in the back yard, the toilet, did very well. Impatiens that were tended too daily were a topic of comments from visitors and viewers alike.
The perennial bed in back (no pictures) did OK. The west side (again no pictures) was also ok, but the low flowering re-seeding annuals struggled. I may have to rethink that bed.
The main annual bed was gorgeous. The planters did amazinly well. The north end of begonnias and mums and vinca were great! And the south end with begonnias, ageretum and vinca got rave reviews from the neighbors.
All in all it was a very good year. I just hope it lasts for the rest of the summer and fall, and that the perennials make it through the winter.
It was a fun year so far and I sure enjoyed it and the rewards of beauty. I wish everyone could reap the same benefits.
PS - In my continuing battle with the squirrels at the bird feeder, I believe I have finally won. I added a new baffle and have not seen them on the feeder per se since. I see then trying, but each time they give up. YEAH!!!!!