Allow me to catch you up... It has been awhile since I posted.
September 2010 we moved out of my mother's house into our own place. A new gardening adventure begins!
With boxes yet to unpack, I immediately started work on the flower beds. This dark foliaged evergreen is Chinese fringe flower (Loropetulum chinense 'Plum Delight'). Hopefully, it won't eventually seem too monstrously large. I perhaps should have held out for the more compact variety — 'Purple Diamond,' which is more expensive and wasn't in stock at the time, but I couldn't wait. I think I have the space for it to get to mature size (6-8 feet), but we'll see.
Our landlord grew up in this house and his garden-loving mother lived here in until she died so there are some nice things already here like a flowering quince (Chaenomeles sp.) which looks like sticks here. Adding evergreen plants for winter interest seems like the best way to begin. 3 little boxwoods (Buxus microphylla 'Baby Gem') will stay small and tolerate this somewhat shady north-facing bed.
The ugly black plastic cover of our water meter box was in plain view in the bed by the front door. I used this cement tile to cover it. Still not happy about the faucet in the same place, but I'll have to live with it until I come up with a solution.
On the other side of the walk is a big old holly, (Ilex sp.) rounded off into the typical suburban meatball shape. I'm guessing maybe 'Burford' or 'Nelly Stevens,' both of which get much too large for this spot by the door. I would love to take it out, but that's a major project. I'm going to try cutting out some of the lower branches to see if I can make it look more natural and then planting underneath it.
Pansies bloom through the winter here so I planted a few along with some Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule 'Champagne Bubbles').
My father chipped up some cedar branches which I used as a mulch in this bed. I'm adding any and every kind of organic matter I can to these beds to slowly improve the gummy clay soil.
This long border is full of weedy trees (self sown elms, hackberries, oaks, privets and honeysuckle) which I spent some time cutting down and attempting to kill with a stump killer. It's not an organic method, but the chemical is targeted only on these specific stumps so I can clear them out to plant some flowering shrubs, perennials and maybe even a few vegetables in spring.
This is only the front yard. Unlike our little 360 square foot garden in Brooklyn, which was all contained in a little fence there are possibilities (and messes to clean up) on every side of this house. There is lots of work to do, but I think we are in a very good place.
February 18th, 2011 marked my 4 year blog-iversary! Thanks for tolerating my infrequent posts!