Monday, May 22, 2017

Getting outside

Last summer we redid the majority of our landscaping in the front and sides of the house. 
I wasn't sure what to do to the back of the house, since we planned to get a new deck, and possibly a shed...and I wasn't about to plant things before that happened.  However, there was this area in the back corner (behind my soaked hubby) that was fair game.  It had a pretty boring shrub that was overgrown, and a bunch of random lilies we had brought from Minnesota and planted in haste when we moved in. 
Last fall, I got my annual hoard of catalogs from Brecks, White Flower farm, and all kinds of other bulb peddlers.  I decided to make this a lovely sun garden area, with the huge shrub removed, a nice mix of smaller shrubs, perennials, and bulbs.
The back has a tall maiden grass, flanked by two silver reed grasses.  Pink phlox in the middle, a trio of dwarf fountain grasses in front, orange lilies on either side, then a golden barberry on the left, and a blue star juniper on the right.  All the rest of this area is filled with around 45 lily bulbs in varying heights.  I was so pumped for this area because I LOVE lilies.  I even bought fresh mulch to protect it all, and sprayed pest spray all over everything to deter the horrible little squirrels from digging it all up. 
WELL.
Everything was fine until the stuff started coming up this spring. 
YOU GUYS.  I forgot there were a bunch of random tulips and hyacinths and other spring flowers the previous owners had planted here.  Even though they are clearly visible in the photo I added above. 
Check out these stupid tulips completely surrounding my poor grasses!  And, I couldn't even get them out without removing everything I planted, that is how deep they are.  That makes sense, since I didn't even see them when I dug the holes last fall.  The final insult is that the single tulip shown is the ONLY one to survive the horrible rabbits that ate absolutely everything in this area.
I mean, I came out as soon as I could and sprayed everything with Repels All, but it didn't do a thing.  Literally, 90% of the bulbs and phlox I planted are gone.  Everything marked in red is gone, and this is just a part of this area:
So, I've noticed that the phlox is coming back, but the bulbs are done.  I know they will come back ok next year, but in the meantime, this whole area looks terrible!  At least the transplanted lilacs are doing great.
They obviously need to be trimmed and reshaped, but the blooms are great, and all three shrubs lived through being moved!  I love walking past here and smelling them.
The rest of the landscaping fared well.  All the hydrangeas are looking great.  We added a skyrocket juniper to the front corner of the house to block the view of the ugly gas meter, and keep some color during the winter on this side. 
Our big leaf hydrangea is so special to us, we've brought it all the way from our Russet street home, and it is still looking awesome!  I also added four new 'Angelina' stonecrop at the end to add more color.

The center planting area is still my favorite, with the pom pom in the middle, and all the creeping phlox and yellow sedum surrounding it.  The phlox was amazing a few weeks ago!
We also added this honeysuckle vine last fall, in an attempt to cover as much of the ugly railing as we can.  I've already scraped and primed it, just need to paint it black again before the vine really takes over!  Side note - why is 'rusty metal' primer the color of rusty metal? 
The other sides of the house are mostly unchanged, we added a few new perennials and a mid century style metal art above the large pot.  Yes, it's for indoors and it's from Target!  It's gold and mostly blends in to the brick, so I'm considering changing the color...not sure what I will do yet. 


So far, we only lost two plants.  A perennial that didn't come back, and one golden arborvitae that basically disintegrated.  What a goner!
One major change to the front of the house since last year occurred a few weeks ago.  I finally picked out new lights, and got them installed.  I couldn't be happier!
It's exactly the simple modern style I was looking for.  The lights I purchased are Progress Lighting cylinders, I decided to go big (18 inches!) on the main porch light, because it was directly behind the railing.  I am very happy with the purchase, even though the only option for the garage was much smaller.  I love the difference from last May! 
Now I just need to finish painting the railing, and make a decision on a mailbox and house numbers to complete the makeover.   We are also awaiting our delivery of mulch, and excited to buy some new tropicals for our pots this year. 
I hope you are all enjoying the return of warm weather, we definitely are!