Taming the Wild

We love a manicured lawn with beautiful flowers and trees, ornamental plantings and a well-tended vegetable garden off to the side. When you have 1/3 of an acre, this is totally doable, relaxing, a hobby.

With over 20 acres, the idea of a pristine lawn becomes laughable. Most of our property is forested and very steep. Just keeping the wild at bay is a huge task.

Our plan for the moment is to maintain the planters around the front door, and the beds around the east side of the deck and the driveway. The Mister will mow the lawn by the helicopter pad and the meadow below the house.

In order to make this a little easier, the Mister got a new toy. It was delivered on Monday, and he wasn’t home more than five minutes before he took it out for a spin.

Mowing next to the helicopter pad.

While this small patch of lawn was fairly easy to keep up with a regular mower, he was able to cover this area much more quickly with his new toy.

As you can see some of the area is too steep for a riding mower. My Sweet, Handsome Man says he has a weed eater and he’s not afraid to use it. We’ve also talked about planting a slope of lavender–beautiful, easy to maintain, and the added bonus of sweet-scented dreams.

After mowing this small patch of lawn, it was time to take on the meadow. Getting the riding lawn mower down to it was a challenge. The route from the garage side of the house is quire steep. It’s where the girls went sledding this winter.

On the opposite side, the tennis court sits between the driveway and the meadow. So the Mister blazed this trail to get where he wanted to go.

Yes, that’s a mountain of blackberries below the tennis court. We are going to be eating lots of cobbler this summer.

And then he was off to the meadow.

The Mister is the farthest black dot, Bogart is the other one. He tries to be in as many photo as possible.

A few hours later, it looked more like this.

Some spots will require a weed eater to keep trimmed up, or maybe we’ll add some more retention walls and even out the slope. For now I’m excited that it’s mown.

While the planters around the entry are looking nice, everything else is a hot mess. Many of the bushes along the driveway have died. We’re giving them a chance, but it’s May I don’t think they’ll make it.

At least the barberry and candytuft are filling in nicely.

We’ll have to pull the dead bushes and keep the blackberries from overtaking this area and add some annuals. I just got some seeds from a friend. This could be the perfect spot for some zinnias.

Next to the master deck, the Mister transplanted a golden chain from our old house. It’s been fun to discover all the tulips and daffodils that have returned this spring, but weeds have totally taken over this area. I may end up growing my broccoli from the FFA plant sale here, since we don’t have a place for my garden just yet.

Another pleasant surprise has been the camelia hedge. It was quite overgrown and required heavy pruning, but next year I can imagine it covered in blooms. For now, I’ll enjoy these lovely blossoms.

I’ve had a vegetable garden for longer than I’ve had children. I remember Sweet Miss sitting on the floor eating freshly picked peas, while I made dinner. It’s something I miss having this spring. We’ve talked about putting in a garden in the flat area next to the tennis courts. It gets full sun and would be protected on at least one side from deer and other critters.

Maybe next year. For now, the tomato plants I bought are going into pots on the deck. They should love all that reflected sun as long as I can keep them watered.

We also brought the blueberry and currant bushes from our old house. They are on the hill above the tennis court and look like they’re going to be overrun with weeds.

I’d like to see the area above the retention walls turned into a seating area or planting beds. We could plant creeping jenny on the edge of the wall to soften all that gray concrete. And how fun to sit and drink something nice and cold as you watch a battle on the court.

Speaking of tennis; we don’t really play tennis. If we’re going to be eating all those blackberries and cobbler I was talking about, we probably should. On the other hand, both the girls have played volleyball competitively for years. The Mister with his long arms and legs has a killer hit.

We’re looking into how to convert our tennis court into a volleyball court. Not for always; just for sometimes. Because who knows, maybe I’ll turn into an amazing tennis player. Someone suggested putting together a ladies’ tennis club; now that sounds like fun.

Writing it all down, the to-do list never ends, and we’re not even trying to add to what’s already cleared. We plan to leave most of the property as is.

One of the strange things about this house, is the lack of paths. The former owners had a beautiful home, a tennis court, and all this property with no easy way to get from one to the other. The staircase off the deck leads to the mechanical room not to the tennis courts or a cozy outdoor bonfire area.

Things are going to change; but right now, I’m going to enjoy what I have. A freshly mown meadow, some lovely plants flanking my front door, the promise of blueberries, blackberries and currants this summer, and my Mister smiling as he rides around on his new toy.


4 thoughts on “Taming the Wild

  1. This was the very best blog! It was full of sun and plants and plans and beauty and family. Thank you for all the fantastic pictures. Hope, I forgot hope, all is well in the Birum Family.

  2. Thanks Mary Kay. I know in a few years, we’ll look back and see how far we’ve come. Just before the old house closed, we stopped by after church to say farewell. Even with months of neglect, the backyard looked beautiful. We’ve just traded our little retreat for a new one with exciting possibilities.

  3. Pingback: A Look Back–April & May « bigwhitehouseonthehill

  4. Pingback: Cleaning Up the Outdoors | big white house on the hill

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