Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Stroll

by Leigh

It's not officially summer quite yet, but it sure feels like it in my neck of the woods!  The cooler days of spring have past and anytime spent outside now is either early in the morning or late in the evening.  If you dare go out in the middle of the day you better be near a pool to cool off!  I've found myself waking up earlier in the morning so I can spend more time outside before the afternoon heat forces me back in.  The other morning I took a stroll through one of my favorite yards....where I grew up.  My parents have lived here since I was six and the backyard was a dream for my six year old self.  Even now at forty-something the backyard is still one of my favorite places to be and it has become my own test garden for various landscape design ideas.  I pretty much have free reign back there and I'm always trying new and different things.  Landscapes are ever evolving.  I don't think you're ever *finished* with your yard.  No sooner than you think it's right where you want it....an ice storm comes through and takes out mature trees.  The areas that were always perfectly shaded nooks are now full sun exposure so I move some plants around, create new areas and planting perennials that I was never able to before.  Beds become mature and some plants thrive while others just peter out allowing for new design, new ideas, new plants.  Along the sidewalk above we ended up with an area that stayed very wet.  The Boxwoods and Roses quickly died from having "wet feet".  Then I decided to try a decorative gravel and some containers, but it was kind of blah.  Then I remembered one of my favorite plants....Horsetail Reed Grass.  It can be tricky because it likes to spread...quickly and is considered invasive.  It also likes to stay wet and will grow in ponds.  This particular area is bordered by concrete on all sides and stays wet....Horsetail Reed ended up being the perfect solution and looks super cool around the curved sidewalk.

A boring, old shed needed to be dressed up a bit.  A simple wrought iron window basket was the thing to give it a pop of color and bring it back to life.  Virginia Creeper climbs up the sides and helps the shed to blend in a bit more.

Soft Mexican Feather Grass is planted along a back sidewalk.  Even from the patio the grass offers a nice visual with it's gentle movement in the wind.  It's one of those plants that begs to be touched and I can't pass by it without running my fingers through the soft blades.

The shady areas are full of perennials such as Hydrangeas, Hostas and these dainty Autumn Ferns.  They thrive in the understory of the mature trees and really show off in the late afternoon when the sun shines through them.  They continue to grow and spread and even pop up in areas that I didn't intend for them to be, but at some point you have to let go of the reigns and see where the plants lead you.  I can design and plan all I want...but the ultimate plan is designed by mother nature herself.


Carol said...

I learn something from every one of your posts. I really didn't (and don't) know much about plants. Every year I planted things and expected them to be there forever.It took me years to realize that things change -I just thought they died because I did something wrong! Recently, I realized I had to reorganize my front yard where a tree has died and the shade is gone! How wonderful for your parents to have a landscaping daughter!! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful knowledge!

Cathy H. said...

What a beautiful backyard! I'm a lazy gardener. If it gets planted it must be hardy and forgiving of my neglect. Think hostas and lantana!

Dotti said...

Location, location, location. Whether you're a home buyer, a photographer or a plant, it's all about location. Put in the right place, a plant will thrive; in the wrong place, uh, not so much. As longtime but very amateur gardeners, my husband and I have learned this again and again.

I love your posts about landscaping and gardening and it must be such a blessing to you in your work to be able to not only use your parents' home as your test garden but to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor anytime you wish.


heyjudephotography said...

Love learning from you Leigh. And I love that you experiment at your parents house!! Beautiful photos too!

terriporter said...

Areas of your yard that stay wet all the time? What? Around here we have the opposite problem. Things have to be pretty drought tolerant to make it through an Arizona summer. Even my cactus are needing regular watering right now. But these photos definitely demonstrate your talents as a landscape architect. I'm in love with that wrought iron window basket on the shed! What a brilliant idea! And that Horsetail Reed Grass was the perfect solution and looks great! Yes, your parents are quite lucky to have you experimenting in their yard!

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