Monday, May 07, 2007

My adventures in gardening

In her charming book, Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden (by Emily Whaley, in Conversation with William Baldwin), Mrs. Whaley brings up an expression I've never heard before when talking about landscaping. That is the concept of "borrowed landscaping", which is what is in your view of neighboring houses as well as the roofs, church steeples, etc. of buildings within the line of sight.

I thought of that as I began my lawn and gardening work where the wooden fence starts that separates us and our neighbors, a two career couple whose yard is professionally landscaped. Yes, as in gardening professionals who do this for a living!

I will confess that pride was very much an issue in me wanting this part of my yard and fence line looking better than any other area! For the only thing separating our two properties is that one, shabby chic looking wooden fence. Since I have drop dead gorgeous "borrowed landscaping" from their property, I was determined my side of the fence would also be pretty this year. Actually, I already had done a lot of pruning of bushes and such when we had that warm spell in early Spring (followed by two weeks of freezing temps!).

All I had to do was get rid of the greenery left by the daffodils in that area and put lots of mulch around the bushes. My husband and I purchased a couple of perennials for that area, both a type of which stays close to the ground and another that has lots of interesting spikes. We plan to eventually add two hydrangeas near the fence, too. I think our neighbors will like what we've done as it will all blend nicely with their yard.

Don't get me wrong, our property has the benefit of previous owners who have created a beautiful outdoor living space but anyone who has a yard knows the constant battle with nature attempting to take back what was originally wild spaces. As much as I was able to finish in the front yard last week, I still have all the back section of the "side fence" and all the back fence to work on this week. As I've said before...smallish house...big yard! It isn't hard work but I'm developing that patience (long suffering?) part of the Fruit of the Spirit. My husband has a much more difficult job with the actual lawn so I can't complain...much. :)

We not only live at the edge of a forest (lots of trees) but there are a couple newer trees in the back yard planted by previous owners, one is our gorgeous dogwood (in bloom right now) and the other is a newer planting (not certain what it is) that is still staked down. My husband wants to leave it staked throughout this Summer. I'm not surprised previous owners placed more trees in that location for the "borrowed landscaping" there is the only unattractive spot in our view. Let's just say the owners of that house aren't too particular about the upkeep of the back of their house and property. If you can't fight it, hide it!

I love the area around our front porch now. It makes me smile just to sit in the rocking chair and look at the efforts of this last week. Even though I love the English Garden look and utilize some of it in my backyard, I make certain the flowers and greenery in the front porch area are easier on the eye as my husband does not share my affection for such gardens. (He was an engineer...need I say more.) Instead, I planted several different types of coleus in front of my porch with simple, white alyssum bordering the area.

I have herbs growing in a couple of containers on my porch, a hanging basket filled with a simple, green spider plant hanging on a corner of the porch, and a basket filled with beautiful impatiens on a shepherd's hook near the porch. It took awhile to get it just like I wanted before actually planting but the results are so peaceful and pretty. I think I'm going to add a Boston fern in June. I have always liked greenery, my wedding bouquet was mostly different kinds of greenery with yellow roses added.

I have two pots of other herbs on our back deck, which needed full sun. They are lemon balm and basil. (I may add more herbs soon.) My basil didn't do well last year but this year I planted all my herbs and flowers in the new Miracle Grow Organic mixture (only slightly higher than their regular mix). Last year I used plain soil to save money and not only did my plants not grow well but the regular soil I purchased was full of weeds. The money saved was not enough for the outcome.

So...this week I'm looking forward to mostly "gardening by puttering" as I continue to pull weeds and twist off the greenery left from bulbs. We still have to plant two azaleas, two lilac colored day lilies, and two kinds of mint (once I figure out where it is safe to plant the mint) and then we're finished for awhile. I'm hoping to take advantage of sales on perennials in late Spring.

My peony plant looks like it will bloom soon and I will cut some of my favorite flower tomorrow...the sweet little Lilly of the Valley. I was SO happy to see them here last Spring. I'll put them in the little vintage milk (cream?) bottle on my kitchen windowsill and enjoy that delightful fragrance.

I hope I haven't completely bored you but I love talking gardens!


Sheila said...

Not boring at all! I love to talk gardening and hear what others are doing. A gardener's work is NEVER done! :)

Heather said...

We live in a neighbourhood of million dollar homes - professionally landscaped all! Lovely to look at and not have to pay for! We have been busy inside the house, so we need to get busy outside too! We have much to do! I love to hear about your gardening efforts - it inspires me to get out there and dig in!

Lallee said...

Brenda, I enjoyed reading about your garden and *picturing* it in my mind. Enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Betty @ She's Sew Pretty said...

You didn't bore me at all. The borrowed landscaping around here is all professionally done and I love that my garden with all the blooming roses is cared for by two unprofessional gardeners. My husband and I! We are prejudiced but, we think we have the prettiest yard on the street.

smilnsigh said...

Bored us?!? No way!!! Especially me, who can't plant anything but perennials yet.

But husband did plant 3 now one, today. Mmm, forgot the name now... Can you tell, I'm not the main gardener in this house? -smile-

And now I suppose I'll have to see if my library has that book... "Mrs. Whaley and Her Charleston Garden." Eeeek! I just got 3 out today and have more coming. -giggles-


Anonymous said...

Me too! Thanks for the 'shop talk'! er, garden passion!
Loved reading all the details!