Monday, June 9, 2008

My World Outside

I love flowers. In my mind, my house is surrounded by gardens blooming with flowers during all seasons. There are trees, shrubs, vines, rose bushes, flowers of varying heights complementing each other in a veritable symphony of a garden.

Unfortunately, the reality leaves much to be desired.

Here, I'll show you what I mean!

First of all, take a look at the tree in my front yard. It is glorious!

The reason I'm showing you this tree, which has obviously been here much longer than I have and looks good in spite of me, is because of the dappled shade in the pictures below. I'm sorry it makes it so hard to see, but you don't mind now that you've seen my tree, right?

Now, here is the walk up to my front door. The plants that were here when we bought the house did not last long. I want a lush border here. I've made many attempts, but the soil is inhospitable and the poor plants don't tend to make it. Right now, I've got a few miniature roses in there that are doing alright, so I plan to go get more and fill in more of the blank spots.

There were solar lights in the border along that walkway up there, but in the 19 months since we moved in, they have, one by one, been kicked over by a running child or my klutzy Hubby. Sorry, walkway lights that are no more!

At the end of the walkway, to the right of the front door, is this bed that I like very much. There are several kind of shrubs, very nicely placed. This was the work of the previous owners (obviously).

Okay, now we really get to it. Now you'll see what happens when I plant a flower bed. It is Oh, So Sad.

This one is particularly bad, because do you see that area under the swing? It gets trampled by the feet of children as they jump on and off the swing, and the plants have completely died there. There's no reason to re-plant; I like that the kids have a tree swing at this house. There'll be time enough for flowers there when they are too old to swing (or out of the house, whichever comes first!)

The picture below is another bed I planted. Again, you can see how pathetic my plants look.

I know, I know, I need to take them out and put in some new plants. But they are still alive! I have a lot of trouble pulling out living plants. In Southern California, we have the nice Mediterranean climate that allows for plants all year long. This means that when the plants would normally be covered in snow and die, instead they get leggy and the blooms go to seed, but the plants stay alive. Ugly, but alive, and I feel for them. I may not look as good as I used to, either!

So what I tend to do is buy new plants and plant them next to the old, ugly ones. Wherever there is space. The bed does not have a good composition that way!

Then whenever I look at it, I think "ugh." But I still can't pull out the older ones!

Okay, so let's move on past those psychological issues.

This is my front doorstep. Sorry about those shadows.

On either side of the steps is a nice pot of giant Impatiens. They were left behind by the previous owners. In the two warm months between their moving out and our moving in, one of the pots died. (This will become a recurring theme.) I went out and bought the closest color I could find for the dead pot.

This is the one that lived (bought by the previous owners). It is leggy! Take a look at those gams! I should prune it back! But I don't like to do that while there are blooms. I'd rather enjoy the color. (Again, here it blooms all year long. I never get around to the pruning.)

That dark blob to the right of the door is a pretty basket I filled with a variety of small potted plants. It looks really nice.

Okay, moving on! Below is the house along that front walkway. We are getting a bench to go under the windows. One of these days. (I'll leave it to you to supply my tone.)

There were matching tree-shrub thingys in both pots (like the one on the right), but one died during the between-owner months. I looked for another one. I took a sprig to the nursery. They had no idea what it was. The pot on the left sat empty for a year and a half, looking very lame. Finally, some beans were planted there on a little climber. At least it is not empty anymore!

Let's go around to the back yard. This is the back porch. It is looking good!

There's the plant I found at IKEA on our nice, new teak table set. There's the two miniature citrus trees flanking the steps. There's the fancy pansies in the white pot that my mom planted for me. Nice. I'd like some kind of climber on that back trellis, and just... more, but it actually looks pretty good.

Here is an interesting spot:

The previous owners had daisy bushes here. I hate daisy bushes. I was not sad when they were ripped out by the termite repairs (part of escrow) to the wall behind the bushes. I made a plan to put an arbor in the middle, with a bench under, roses climbing on the arbor, and a trellis with climbing rose mounted on the wall on either side of the arbor. Then there would be smaller rose bushes planted in front of the trellises and other floral ground cover mixed in as well.

Didn't get around to it, was having a party and wanted something there besides dirt & bought what was on sale to plant there, AND... now they're still alive and blooming and I CAN'T TAKE THEM OUT. It's a sickness, people. They actually look kind of pretty, but I need something vertical there!

And now it seems like there's a gopher or something under there so I've got bigger problems than I thought.

When we bought the house, this pot contained a nice, tall Mexican redbud tree, which is a really beautiful type of tree with variegated bark and reddish buds in the spring-summer. Can you guess what happened? Yes, it was dead by the time we moved in.

Replacing it was not high on my list with all of the moving-in tasks (which are still not finished). After about a year, it sprouted new growth and has come back to life!

That's a great way to end this journey around my "garden." That's a positive note if I've ever heard one!


Sarah O. said...

It looks like we have something in common besides birthdays - we love lush flower gardens but we're not the avid gardners we need to be to make it happen.

My dream garden (yet to be realized) is now native plants and lots and lots of rocks. You know, stuff that takes care of itself!

blackbird said...

Your yard is like ours - big trees, lots of shade.

We ignore it and kill things all the TIME.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

OMG I love your house! One downside to living out here in Stepford is that all of our homes are pretty much identical. No charm.

JCK said...

This was a cool idea - journey around your garden. I, myself, suffer from a BLACK thumb. relate, right? And that tree is lovely, well worth the shadows in photos.

A bench would look great under those windows!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm SoCal too--I've finally learned that as painful as it is pruning is THE key.

Ree said...

Pretty! I love the front porch by the way!