March 19, 2006

Hope springs... in springtime

Spring in a new place is exciting, but can also be a little disappointing. Last spring we had just moved in here and saw a few daffodils coming up.

That filled us with hope for other plants, but what appeared was cheery as far as it went, but all in all a little disappointing.

    This is what we found:
  • An attractive, flourishing dogwood-like shrub with square (4-petalled) white flowers
  • Two small forsythias
  • A couple of rather meager lilacs
  • One hosta way at the back by the stone wall
  • A straggly bit of rose beside the front porch with something of the pea family intertwined in it
  • Out front, a perfectly symmetrical pair of round evergreen bushes two large for their location
  • A huge bleeding heart that threatened the evergreen next to it -- I removed it when it finished blooming
  • a daylily clump at the corner of the garage that did well and another on the south wall of the house that was meager and bloomed not at all

It was surprising, for we had heard that a prior owner (but not the two immediately prior owners) had been a wonderful gardener and the place looked wonderful when she lived here. It appears the garden suffered some neglect in the 4-6 years of her absence and the two intervening owners.

What was lacking ? Flower beds. There was no sign of a flower bed anywhere but the two little squares out front with the round evergreens in them. These evergreens, being artless and surrounded by an orange woodchip mulch that clashed with the pale lavender-white they had painted the house must have been the work of the more recent, non-gardening owner.

Perhpas it was the Home Handyman owner, who thought a southwest theme would work well in this 1930s cottage-style house. So he removed all the old woodwork from around the doors and windows, replacing them with dark brown-painted unsanded 1x3 trim ("barnboards"); added fake stucco to the ceilings along with dark brown "beams" (also 1x3s); and hung a cowboy style wagon wheel "chandelier" in the dining area. In addition to being impossible to clean with that rough texture, it was, to my eye, really ugly.

This guy was busy in the basement, too -- my electrician nearly fainted when he saw all the wires running into one junction. But, I digress!

While there are no flower beds, there are many young maple trees circling the property -- and shading it -- so the one thing that grows the best and covers the lawn, is violets. They are everywhere. Luckily I like violets, though this seems a bit much. I guess it is indicative of the slight amount of full sun the lawn area gets. It does get quite a bit of dappled sun and full sun in nearly every spot for a few hours a day.

Part of my lack of sun is due to the neighbors on the south side following that typical advice to plant everygreens on the northside to protect the house from cold winter winds. They have gotten very tall and "protect" my house from the warm winter sun!

The place that has the most sun: the driveway on the north side of the house. We are thinking of tearing it out and planting vegetables there. But I doubt I will actually do that; I am loath to make big changes.


Blogger lucygreene76259365 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Kate A. Shorey said...

Perhaps your marvelous gardners of yore planted a huge bed of annuals in the front that started these rumors. The beds are just small enough that with the giant bleeding heart it would have looked VERY prosperous all spring and much of summer!

Yet, annuals, alas...

p.s. Kudos to your composting efforts

10:53 AM  

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