Category Archives: Gardens

Our Yard’s Blue + White Theme

It’s starting to look like Fall in our yard,

as some of our + our neighbors’ trees are dropping their leaves

Speaking of  leaves, check out these, on one of our Oak Leaf hydrangeas:

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 If only I’d taken this photo a couple days ago,

when those red leaves were so vivid + gorgeous!

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They already pop nicely against our neighbor’s light wood fence,

so imagine how stunning they will be when all the leaves turn scarlet!

They’ll eventually grow to 8′ – 10′ tall + will provide lots of privacy.

I blogged about them last August when we were planting them.

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They were only about a foot tall.

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They’re now almost 4′ tall.

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This first season, we had only about 6 or 7 total blooms,

but fingers crossed they will look more like this next summer:

hydrangea oak leaf

While I was outside this morning,

I decided to snap a few more photos of my groovies.

There’s my very pretty blue gazing ball on an old hollow stump,

 a vintage Dachshund statue,

+ some velvety Pulmonaria (a.k.a. Lungwort) plants:

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That bit of a fern belongs to our large Boston fern (below),

+ those cobalt blue glass stars are from my favorite garden center,

Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, IL.

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Here’s a better look,

with some companion globe thistle plants, in our last house’s yard:

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So pretty!

And wouldn’t you know it — I got the globe thistle plants at Blumen Gardens, too!

Anyway, it’s easy to see that our yard has a bit of a blue + white theme.

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Some pretty blue Endless Summer hydrangeas

are growing just across the yard from our Oak Leaves.

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We even painted our garden shed blue.

That’s our bee garden that we planted this summer.

The pretty white Coneflowers are the stars right now,

+ yes, we attracted bees!

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That bird bath on a stand is also from Blumen Gardens,

+ how much do I love that mosaic blue + white transferware plate!

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Oops.  I should have tidied it up before taking a photo!

Finally — in closing — next spring

we’ll have all sorts of pretty blue + white spring flowers.

We planted lots of bulbs, about which you can read more, here.

That’s really going to be a much-needed morale boost

when everything’s gloomy + muddy in March

+ I’m so cold I can’t feel my toes.

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Our Pretty, Simple Fall Porch

All the popular kids are posting tours of their Autumnal homes,

so that means I will, too

Here’s a little something from inside our house:

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I’ve had that old lattice for years,

+ this was the first time that we’ve displayed it indoors.

I love the way its colors complement the gray of our walls!

Now, then.  Let’s go outside + see what’s happening on that new porch of ours:

Gone are summer’s hot pink caladiums + vivid green sweet potato vines:

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In their place is this urn filled with ornamental grasses,

which are at their peak in Fall:

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These pretty blue flowers were near the back porch.

They were so pretty, I thought I’d share them out front.

Sadly, I misplaced their tags,

but I do remember that they are some sort of morning glory!

A terra cotta pot is temporarily our mail box,

as the one we chose from amazon is back-ordered:

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So much for the summer plants — the right side of our steps is devoted to Fall!

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G.O. brought home some pumpkins the other day,

+ I popped the 2 white ones into my vintage yellow ware bowls.

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Disclaimer: one of my friends said that I was being “brave”,

having the bowls out front, so I have since moved them indoors.

I’ll share soon!

For now, let’s get back to those steps of ours:

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Another pair of pumpkins are inside our 2 small black urns.

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The sweet mums in a basket

are the tiny ones that Home Depot has every September:

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Well, that’s about it for our Fall décor on the porch.

told you it was simple!

My display at our last house, the brick bungalow, was a bit more “busy”:

fall at the bungalow steps

fall at the bungalow steps with tin bucket

fall at the bungalow trellis box up close

Those pansies + that ornamental kale are so cute!

Who knows?  Maybe I’ll get some if I see them,

+ use them to augment our simple display!

Stay tuned!

 


Chippy Vintage Outdoor Dining

We gave away our old outdoor dining set the other day.

I have no photos of said same, which is just as well.

Meanwhile, one wonders at this point:

what are we to do when we want to dine al fresco?

Luckily, I had a light bulb moment when I spied this table,

languishing unused in our cellar hideaway.

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I thought — wouldn’t it make an unusual + charming outdoor table?

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People.  That very shade of green is crazy in style now.

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And who doesn’t  love the enamel table top?

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Within minutes, G.O. + I carried our table outside

+ set it in front of our garden shed.

Please allow me to point out a couple items.

That DOOR remains in its awful before state, which I hate.

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Fingers crossed we’ll re-do them yet this year.

 And please may I point out our shed’s roof finials?

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I was after a colonial Williamsburg vibe at the time.

But back to the table.

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Soon I started gathering a few things,

hoping that a quaint vignette would ensue.

Check this out.

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It’s one of those weed/cedar trees that are all over the yard!

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I thought it would look great in a pot,

 but shockingly, G.O. predicted it would never live.

So far, so good, but there is winter, looming.

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Next — these vintage folding chairs were languishing unused in our garden shed:

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I have to say that I love a good chair project

+ I’ve done plenty of them.

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For these chairs, I decided that I’d sew some simple cushions,

using my go-to fabric — the blue ticking stripe cotton.

 I had hand-stenciled them with my go-to motif,

the red circle + white plus sign.

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You can just see a peak of the pretty pale blue liner fabric:

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I decided to attach the chair pad with ties

that I’d sewn with the same blue + white ticking stripe.

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I’ll be sure + keep you posted re: our shed doors.

Stay tuned, later this wee, I hope!


Saga Of The Spring Bulbs

By this time, most years, I’m not as enthusiastic

too lazy to spend quality time working in our yard.

 Of course, this problem can be a tad troublesome

if one wishes to greet the following spring with a yard full of flowers.

Flowers like my favorites — Musari or Grape Hyacinths:

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One of the few flowers that are a true (not purple) blue!

My color scheme in spring bulbs is blue (of course), white + soft pinks.

I ordered $80-ish worth of bulbs online,

+ they’re scheduled to ship right about now.  Yay!

Since then, we found some here in town + planted them yesterday.

This first batch is in the stone pathway side of our porch steps,

about which I recently posted.

The bulbs are underneath the mulch in this photo:

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Here’s what we planted:

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I love white Daffodils + had lots of them in our old yard!

Yes, the yellow ones are as cheerful as all get out,

but I like the white ones for being unusual + cheerful, all at once!

Win win!

Next, some Chionodoxa for my blue + white flower obsession:

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I am pretty sure we had some of those cuties at our old house.

And in conclusion, another favorite:

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These are the only iris flowers that I like, + I really, really like them!

Now, then.

My gardening friend told me that we mustn’t forget to add Blood Meal to the soil.

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We found this at Menards.

She said to sprinkle a little on top of each bulb before they’re covered up.

It adds all sorts of nutrients that the bulbs + their roots need,

to get a good jump start.

For the planting, we used this tool that we already owned:

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I’m pretty sure that it was another purchase

from the late, great Martha at K-Mart ‘experiment’.

I MISS HER K-MART MERCH!!

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Meanwhile, I would love to share what bulbs I have coming in the mail,

IF I COULD REMEMBER WHAT THE WHAT I ORDERED!!??

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Looks like we’ll all be surprised when they finally land in our mailbox.

The mailbox which isn’t here yet because it is sadly out of stock.

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Stay tuned — to view our new mailbox

+ to be surprised (along with me) to see what bulbs I ordered!


Our Pretty Stone Pathway

Since I last blogged about the Dutch colonial,

there’s been unbelievable progress, out front!

Let’s remember the sad before, a few weeks after we bought the house:

dutch colonial -- front 'before

Here’s a look at the midway:

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And as it looks today, the ‘almost’ after:

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WOW.

I think I’ll just share bits of it at a time, in small doses.

Let’s start with our new stone pathway

which transitions between the new brick sidewalk + our side yard.

Here’s a glimpse of it, as one approaches the house:

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We went shopping at a nearby landscaping place + looked at stone,

+ we bought 3 large slabs of limestone.

G.O. brought out his trusty 4″ angle grinder with a masonry blade, as one does,

+ cut the slabs into smaller, stepping stone friendly pieces:

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We had scooped out a shallow trough for the stones.

Once we decided we liked their arrangement,

we put a layer of ordinary play sand underneath each stone:

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Funny story.

He grabbed some bags of said play sand at the garden center,

not realizing until he got home that one of the bags contained purple sand!

Who knew?  Crayola makes colored play sand!

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In his defense, he said he thought the bag was purple!  HA!

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Look!  It’s Chloe the Dachshund!

 

I’m love the gentle curve of the stones,

because I think curves in the landscaping are beautiful + visually pleasing.

Now it’s time to discuss all those beautiful plants!

After weeks + weeks of indecision,

I knew this side of the porch needed a topiary

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I remembered seeing some blue spruce topiaries at Home Depot,

+ since I am a huge fan of the blue spruce any-thing, off we went.

Over G.O.’s very strong objections.  Of course.

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But people.  COME ON.

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Nailed it!!!

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Those spiky, grassy plants underneath are ‘Lucerne’ Blue-Eyed Grass,

which have small, bright purple-blue flowers in Spring through early Summer.

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Nearby, we planted some silvery-white Artemisia,

as I wanted to repeat the silvery blue needles of our topiary.

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Those are going to look great, once they fill in.

Since white flowers also complement silvery foliage,

we planted these cuties along the curve of the stone pathway.

Rapido White Bellflowers:

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We repeated these sweet small rose plants on both sides of the pathway,

as I wanted to visually tie that area together.

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The green + burgundy Purple Palace Coral Bells

are repeated from the opposite side of the porch,

to once again, tie the whole front foundation plantings together,

from 1 side of the house to the other.

The Coral Bells were planted to accent the 2 curves in this bed —

both the stone pathway . . .

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. . . + the curve where this bed meets the lawn (+ the new grass!), out front:

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Disclaimer:  everything is going to look so much better with dark brown mulch!

I ordered nearly $80 worth of Spring-flowering bulbs

a couple weeks ago, + I want to plant them before the mulch goes in.

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Stay tuned!

 

 


Welcome To Hydrangea World!

Our relatively small yard is now home to a whopping 18 hydrangeas!

What I am now calling “Hydrangea World” began last fall,

with this informal hedge of oak leaf hydrangeas planted on our lot line:

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We bought 7 plants, 8′-10’T, @ $11 apiece, from Menards,

+ 4 of them are happily blooming already:

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Next up — the western foundation of our Dutch colonial:

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Once again, we planted a row of hydrangeas —

this time in mixed varieties.

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You guys.

Look at the gorgeous blue of that Twist ‘N Shout, 3’-5’T!

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Once I spied it (at Menards), there was no going home without it! —

which means that there are now 2 of them in our foundation bed:

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There are also 3 Pistachio hydrangeas, with beautiful pink blossoms, 3′-5’T:

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Aren’t the petals beautiful?

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At the window bay, we planted 3 Endless Summer hydrangeas, 3′-5’T:

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Wow oh wow — that blue!

In my last post, I spoke of this fertilizer for acid-loving plants.

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Turns out that hydrangeas love acid soil, + adding acid to said-same soil

results in blue Endless Summer hydrangea flowers.

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That means I will be regularly fertilizing my hydrangeas with it,

as nobody loves the blue flower more than I do!

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I would have happily added even more hydrangeas to our foundation,

but G.O. was insistent that we have a mixed-plant section.

Here ’tis

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Upper left: Stirfry hosta 20″T x 36″W — Upper right: Ostrich fern 3′-5’T — Lower left: Younique Pink astilbe 16″-20″ — Lower right: Firefly coral bells 30″T-12″W

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Coral bells

That’s going to look great, once the plants fill out, don’t you think?

And finally, in closing, here’s our climbing hydrangea (who knew?),

which was originally planted to grow up this trellis

on our garden shed . . .

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. . . but which has since been transplanted to here,

underneath our pretty maple tree:

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Wait.  What?

There’s an interesting story here; I’ll share soon.

As always, stay tuned!

 


Happily Fertilizing In The Garden

My friend in Florida suggested I use SUPERthrive vitamin plant brew,

. . . so I just fed it to everything in our garden . . .

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. . . one watering can at a time!

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It was quite a job, since we have lots of new plants in our yard,

but I love gardening so much, it’s not work for me!

Anything for my plants!

The instructions say that SUPERthrive can be used

in addition to other types of fertilizer.

That’s a good thing, considering all the “brews” that I add to my plants!

When anything new gets planted, we always add root stimulator,

a.k.a. Quick Start, by Miracle Grow.

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As the season progresses, about once a week, I add fertilizer,

each one formulated for different sorts of plants.

My ferns + hydrangeas apparently grow best in acid soil,

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so they are fed with this:

hydrangea food

 Fun fact:

Endless Summer hydrangea flowers turn blue if their soil is acidic,

which means they’ll coordinate nicely with all my blue garden accesories.

Here’s one of three** we just planted, with my beloved bird bath,

made with a blue + white transfer ware plate:

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The birdbath is resting on an old hollow tree stump,

+ the silvery green plants in the background are pulmonaria,

more commonly known as lungwort.

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My pretty blue gazing ball usually rests nearby on a white iron stand.

This morning I was moving stuff around, so I just snapped its photo on the lawn:

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Here is one of my most favorite garden accessories —

my cobalt blue glass star!

We have three** of them hanging from a branch of a tree,

where they manage to catch the sun in both morning + late afternoon.

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** Why groups of three, you ask?

Design professionals insist that odd numbers

are more pleasing to the eye than even.

I do this in my interiors, too.

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Finally, in my quest for beautiful flowers + lots of ’em,

I add Bloom Booster to my flowering plants:

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We planted an informal hedge of oak leaf hydrangeas last fall,

+ most of them are flowering already:

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You may notice that the oak leaf hydrangea’s flowers are elongated

+ consist of hundreds of tiny, white petals . . .

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. . . whereas the Endless Summers’ flowers are round-ish,

with larger petals.

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What the hey — I have never met a hydrangea that I didn’t love!

We’ll probably add more to our garden as the summer progresses.

Stay tuned!

(If you’re interested in my post

about the front foundation bed of our Dutch colonial, go here.)

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Front Yard Pinspiration

People.  Are we all suffering from Spring fever?

I know I AM, + in fact, just a few days ago,

I went online shopping for something to hang on our front door.

This is what I want, from this etsy shop:

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OMiGosh, though.  It’s still only February,

+ yet, I am beyond ready to get outside + plant something!

It’s past time for us to ramp up our houses’s curb appeal!

Right now it’s so plain Jane + incomplete,

+ I fear that the neighbors are grumbling,

“When will they ever finish that house?”

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It may be a bit of a blank slate right now,

but here’s how the front of our house looked on the realtor listing:

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I think we can all agree that those overgrown shrubs had to go,

as did the errant enclosed front porch:

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porch

But I just can’t come up with a design!  The humanity!

I swear, it’s got to be that off-center porch that’s throwing me off.

How on earth am I going to be able to tie each side together?

Then this happened.

A beautiful front yard of a house with a porch on one side:

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I’m sorry — I found this on Pinterest but didn’t get the source.

Thank goodness for Pinterest, is all I can say.

I don’t know how we would have managed our re-do without it.

So.  What makes my new favorite front yard so swoon-worthy?

 Let’s break it down:

First up, they’ve added a bit of symmetry

by flanking the front steps with a pair*of my absolute faves,

lollipop shrubs (as they say in the UK), a.k.a. topiaries*.

*Pairs = good.  *Topiaries = good

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Notice how they’ve tied everything together

by repeating the same plants from one side to the other.

And who doesn’t love that sweeping curve* of the edges of the beds?

*Curves = good.

+ + + + +

Now, then.  All I have to do is decide what plants to buy,

get that porch all tricked out,

 see about installing a brick sidewalk,

+ maybe get 3 window boxes for our bay!

Stay tuned!


Finally! Our Informal Hedge!

From the minute we closed on our Dutch colonial,

I have been trying (but failing) to design our lot line landscaping.

Then this happened.

Just last weekend, I found (my favorites!) Oak Leaf hydrangeas

at Menards, a Midwestern home improvement store:

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$11 each for one gallon size plants!

Can you believe it?

Yesterday we drove to a Menards about an hour away,

to find enough plants (7 total) to  make our informal hedge.

Like this, hopefully:

oak leaf hydrangea big hedge

Back to NOW — here we have our new plants,

marching along our lot line, at left (below).

Imagine, if you will, what our hedge will look like, in a few years:

Good things come to those who wait!

Oak Leaf hydrangeas grow to 6′-8′ tall by 6′ x 8′ wide.

This means our backyard will be less of a fish bowl.

Our hedge will begin + end  between 2 large existing trees —

a huge walnut (L) + a gorgeous maple (R):

Oak Leaf hydrangeas have cone-shaped white flowers

which turn a pretty, faded pink as the blooming season progresses.

Yes, those flowers are gorgeous,

but in my opinion, their leaves are the all stars.

Look at what happens in the Fall:

Is it any wonder that Fall is our favorite season?

Anyway, I am so relieved + happy,

after suffering through all those months of indecision.

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It’s hard to believe I found one of my favorites,

+ at such an affordable price!

Fingers crossed we’ll find the time to plant them THIS week.

Stay tuned!



She Said She Shed

Today’s perfect weather left me no choice.

It was a great day to work outside, so I (we) did!

First thing, I mowed — on the diagonal, like at the ballpark.

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Oh, how long have I waited for a re-do of that porch of ours

+ for the chance pop a few (dozen) plants into the ground!

Today’s project, however, was to turn our garden shed into a she shed.

Yeah.  That’s a thing.  She sheds.

Here’s what it looks like now:

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Here’s what it looked like when we bought our house:

garden shed before

OMiGosh!  How nasty!

First up in the re-do — a new roof:

To charm things up a bit, I ordered a pair of metal finials

from architecturaldepot.com:

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Ta da!

garden shed 2 finials

Much better, am I right?

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Yes, they’re just what that shed roof needed!

Oh, + I forgot to mention — at some point, we painted the exterior

Benjamin Moore’s Blue Spruce.

Those hiddy original doors still await their makeover,

but I know what I want, + I will share soon, promise.

So.  Today we worked inside.

Exhibit A:

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HORRIBLE!

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These shelves held (just a fraction of) G.O.’s “valuables”

+ if I was to have myself a she shed, they had to move to the garage.

He offered to give me one of those Rubbermaid masterpieces,

but I said I couldn’t possibly take one!

Given the choice, don’t we always go with something vintage?

Yes, we do, + here we have it —

some really swell old shelves from my old booth space.

Got ’em from the curb!  Score!

Check out the chippy white metal shelves!

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Here ’tis, sporting some of my gardening supplies.

Disclaimer: It doesn’t look like this now, as I’ve tweaked it a bit.

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Updated photos in the a.m., promise.

My next storage item is made from yet more vintage happiness —

these wonderful yellow metal saw horses:

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Aren’t they great?

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Disclaimer, the sequel:  it’s all been redone a couple times.

That’s how I roll!

See you in the a.m. for some updated snappies!

 


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