Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Don't Fence Me In

But if I must be fenced in, I'm glad it is decorated with some of Lloyd's artwork! Here are some of the decorations, both ceramic and wooden. Click on a picture to enlarge it.
The sign and plaques in the next three photos are ceramic. They are painted on tiles leftover from our basement floor. Isn't Lloyd clever? He painted them in Missouri and fired them at Shadyside Pottery in New Orleans. Shadyside is owned and operated by Charlie Bohn, one of Lloyd's former students.

The next three plaques are wood, carved, stained and waxed.

Somehow I managed to miss my favorite plaque. Next time!

A Year and a Week Later . . .

It's hard to believe all of last summer passed without an update here. Lots of dead things got pulled up and lots of new plants added, and that about sums it up. We went south just before Thanksgiving for what turned out to be a very mild winter here and all around the country. By the time we got back -- last week -- most of the spring flowers had come and gone. Azaleas and columbines are in bloom now, and some hellebores.
Today I found a summer helper for yard work, which pleases me no end. I do believe the surprise lilies will at last be banished or at least severely thinned.
I walked around the yard and snapped some photos of the current state of things. Someone is coming to blow the remaining leaves out of the flower beds, and then I can get down to sprucing up the gardens for the summer.
The Japanese maple has little bright red winged seeds for the first time.

The lily garden is choked with leaves but the plants seem to be doing fine. The fence has aged to a lovely silvery gray. It was the same color as the lattice when it was new.

 The azaleas are blooming! These are the kind that are supposed to bloom 3 times a year. Last year they didn't bloom at all. I figured it was because it was too shady where they're planted, and I believe I'm right. With the warm, warm early spring, they got a lot of sun. They're going to be moved to the front yard soon.
 The spring flowers under the big pin oak are coming along. The mayapples (the umbrella-shaped plants) are one of my favorites. I looked for them each spring in the woods near our house and the forest preserve when I was a child.  Each plant makes one lovely white blossom, which becomes an "apple". I don't know if they're edible.

This is the kidney-shaped flower bed at the back of the yard. I never finished weeding and mulching it last summer. Here's what's interesting: at the far end, weeded and mulched, the coral bells all seem to  have died out entirely or are very small. The coral bells in the neglected part are healthy and large. This tells me that maybe the coral bells don't like the mulch.

There is a nice mix of flowers and weeds around Precious. I'll pull out the sprouts of grass and the dandelions, but some of the other volunteers may have found a home.

 The mosaic needs a dose of 20-Mule Team Borax and a little sand to top it off.
This is the peonie bush that struggled against shade and wild lawn mowers -- "Huh? That was a flower?" -- when it grew along the back fence when we moved here five years ago. I moved it to this sunny location on the south side of the house, where it seems quite grateful. It's loaded with buds.
 Also along the south side of the house is the rose bush. It will be pruned way back and keep on blooming all summer long.
 The blue bottle marks the lilac bush. This little guy is in its third year. The first year an eager mower chopped it off, and then last summer I thought it had died from lack of water, but it's still hanging in there. The ornamental grasses need to have lastl year's foliage removed to make room for the new blades. The little foot bridge, like the fence, has weathered to a lovely silvery gray. We put the footbridge in to span the soggy part where the sump pump drains into the grass at the front corner of the yard.

 The Japanese quince had just two blooms left on it last week, and now it is finished for the season. The mums all need to have last year's twigs removed.

 I can't for the life of me remember what this is called. I planted it in front of the gas meter. It's not supposed to get much taller, so it won't block the meter reader's line of sight.
The baptisia bush that I thought I'd killed when I moved it last year is coming back. Silly me didn't know they put out incredibly strong horizontal tap roots, which I chopped when I dug it out. The top of the bush died out completely, and I thought it was a goner. Apparently it was busy concentrating on restoring the root system and jettisoned the above-ground bits to conserve energy. Smart plant; ignorant gardener. I moved it just about 18 inches, so it would be better positioned to overhang the outside sump basin.

The mound of leaves may be hiding new shoots of the Russian sage or it may have smothered them. We'll find out when the leaves are removed. The feathery growth in front of the sage is yarrow. It's coming back strong on both sides of the walk way.
The azaleas I put in last summer are blooming well on the left side of the front stairs. The tall dry stalks in front are some kind of tall white flower that will be blooming when the azaleas are finished.

The hollyhocks are coming in strong. I've forgotten the name of the plant to the right of the clump of grass, but it will have lovely flowers.
 The magnolia in the northwest corner of the yard bloomed long before we got home. I've tried to grow pachysandra at its base, but they all seem to have died out.
The crape myrtle that was but a twig a couple of summers ago is thriving. Look at all of the surprise lilies along the fence. They'll be for a surprise themselves. :)

 This dank corner is on the north side of the house. There's a hosta trying to come back. There used to be lilies of the valley, but they got mowed a few times and . . . A neighbor has offered more lilies of the valley. I may try again.

 This is the long view into the back yard with daylilies along the fence and bushy green surprise lilies paralleling them to the right. the Japanese maple, where this soujourn began, is at the far end of the row of surprise lilies. (You do know you can click on a photo to enlarge it, don't you?)

Didn't mean to post quite so many photos, but this does complete the circuit of the yard. I didn't show you the strawberries, which are in bloom and a few other details. I want to show you the artwork on the fence, thanks to my dear husband but will save it for the next post.