Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fruits of Our (Non)Labor

First, a confession. I have ceded the care of our lawn to our neighbor, the Experienced Lawncare Professional. Mowing the lawn was never my favorite activity anyway, and there is plenty of other work to do. Plus, he's much better at it and feels some responsibility for it, as he did it for previous owners.

He has also helped with advice for other plants, particularly for the one above. That vine by the shed wasn't doing much when we moved in last year (when that picture was taken), and we had no idea what it was. It had only grown slightly over the winter. But, after we
returned from Bangladesh and were paying ELP for his services, he casually mentioned, "Your grapevine could use some help."

The grapevine has exploded this year, especially with stakes on which to climb. It's amazing how things will grow once you know how to take care of them. Soon, we will be able to sample this:

And related backyard food news, we finally got started on the vegetable garden:

Nothing fancy, just tomatoes, various hot peppers, acorn squash, and the obligatory zucchini. We didn't plant until late June, so we're not expecting miracles.

And in the herb garden:
Clockwise from bottom left: oregano, thyme, parsley, cilantro, Buddha, mint. Everything is doing surprisingly well. After two failed attempts at planting basil, we're now just growing that inside. We've been putting it all to good use, along with the insane amount of rosemary growing in the side yard. But it's tough to find something to do with all that thyme.

A Long Awaited Update

There are those who have told us we need to update this. Well, the few who were still reading.

I admit it had been quite a while. Not that we (a royal we) haven't been doing yardwork, but we haven't been doing much new.

Until recently!

To update to last post, I finally went nuts one week and took out that ugly bush by the front step. And in its place...

After much deliberation, we decided on another hydrangea. We're nothing if not consistent. This one will probably take a while to do much, but I'm hoping for at least a few blooms next year.
You can also see in this picture that the old hydrangea isn't doing so well. It got a too tall for its own good and started drooping. Plus, it's been a bad year for hydrangea all over; most of the ones in the neighborhood are looking dry and droopy. It does mean I will have to trim it back quite a bit in the fall, I'm told it's fine to do this with reckless abandon.

Speaking of hydrangeas...remember that scraggy bush in our tree lawn/devil strip that I complained about? It came back from the dead this spring, and a few weeks ago revealed it's true identity:

Ok, it can stay. This now makes four hydrangeas in our yard.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And Other Suggestions...?

As I set my sights on the perfect front yard:

Rhododendron? Check. Lilac? Check. Picturesque dog? Check (although the vet says chubby has to lose 14 lbs).

The problem is that bush at the corner:

It's ugly. It grows in funny directions. It's hard to trim. And it has no flowers, which is a cardinal sin for yard shrubs in the northwest.

It needs to go.

This may be a summer project. But, does anyone have any suggestions about what to plant instead?
For reference, the blue hydrangea is behind it. The lilac is just out of the picture, to the right. And the English Bluebells below it probably won't last through June. This was also the bush that had the alleged Rose of Sharon bloom underneath it.

Obviously, I'm not expecting something that will get that big right away (that thing is a good 7 feet). But I just want something with a little less boring.

Another Identifier

So we have a cool lilac bush in the front yard:

But next to it is a bush that apparently, years ago, was trimmed back to a stump, only to grow new branches and flowers:

Is this another form of lilac? They oddly have almost no smell.

One Year Later

This weekend, it will be one year since we first saw the house. An arbitrary anniversary, sure, but it made me think about what the garden looked like then. One bush that I remember from out first viewing looks the same this year:

But, I don't remember the side yard looking this full:

This was a pleasant surprise...and, I'm happy to say, did not require much work. I just had to weed below the retaining wall.

But...the base of the retaining wall looks a little spare. There were some nice flowers there last summer, and I never checked to make sure they were perennials. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Indoor Post

In which we flaunt material possessions:

Again, what student loans?

More Eruptions

Someone made a crack about a previous post having "just a flower."
Take this:

And the shrub by the front porch is threatening roses.

Of course, these pictures also show that it's time to mow the lawn, and the house needs to be painted.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Did you know...

...that slugs are attracted to dog poo?


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Perhaps That Groundhog Was Right

The timing of my new job starting in November seemed to coincide perfectly with the garden no longer needing much of my time or effort. More energy could be spent on getting furniture (what student loans?) or doing, well, anything else.

Coming back from my run this morning, I found this in the backyard:

Hmmm....perhaps it's time to get back to work soon.

Our neighbors have daffodils in full bloom, and we have many other yet-to-be-identified bulb plants that have sprouted but not yet revealed their blooms. This should be fun, as I didn't realize those bulbs were in the ground. We may have many new surprises awaiting us.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

And Now Attention to the Indoors

It's too cold to do any landscaping now, so any improvements on the house are indoor ones. Not that we had much to do. Our first task was the fireplace. This is what it looked like before we bought the house:

That door is ugly and needed to go. Apparently it had been there for quite a while, because upon taking it off, it was clear that the brick had been painted around it. Several times.

But, thanks to the Christmas present from my sister, we now have a much better looking screen:

Truman is also a fan:

Friday, December 15, 2006

Alternative Landscaping Techniques

Last night Seattle had a nasty storm, with 8 inches of rain and 60+ mph winds. We slept through most of the it, although the creaking of the house woke us up a few times.

But, when I got up to take Truman for his early morning walk, we discovered this:

That's usually where I park my car! Fortunately last night I felt like going through the back door, so my car was about 15 feet away. One of our neighbors wasn't so lucky:

It's tough to see in this picture, but two trees went down, and caught that car on both ends....but, as another neighbor said, "Eh, it's just an Escort." The trees took two power lines down with them, but oddly enough we are part of the lucky half of Seattle that still has power.

We always admired those trees, and they were the view from our dining room. Now we''l be looking in the neighbor's windows.

Our front yard was also littered with shingles. It looks like our roof held up, but our neighbors on the other side got hit hard:

With power out at work and in most of King County, there's not much to do but hang out in the yard, waiting for the utilities department to come take care of the downed lines and talk with all the people walking by to survey the damage. And be glad that our house held up well, although I suspect our garbage can is somewhere in Lake Washington.