Embracing the Crazy

Remember last year when I told you our bushes were looking obscene? They had random branches growing out in all directions making rude gestures. (If you want to wander down memory lane, check out Trees with Attitude.)

Now, scraggly bushes may be commonplace at your house, but not at mine. The MR goes into this zen mode when he gets home from work caring for his yard. So I knew something was up when the shrubs where looking a little off.

The MR was aiming for another tier of growth on our decorative plants, and he urged me to be patient.

Well a year has gone by, and I do believe his little experiment is working. All that new growth appears to be rounding things out. I’ll have to admit; that guy of mine knows a thing or two.

The smoke bushes are responding even better—at least two out of the three are. 

Here’s hoping the next step requires a little trim.

Has your yard responded to the advent of summer?



Filling in the Holes

A couple weeks ago, I went to the plant sale up at the high school. I always supported the FFA club when the girls were members and wanted to do my part now that they’ve moved on.

I was out of town the first week of the sale, so I ended up at the tail end with two-for-one bargains. I bought broccoli, onions, and a cucumber plant for the garden and was determined to fill in some of the holes in the upper flower beds. I came home with the back of the car full of plants after a nice chat with the FFA advisor.

I know last year, we hired landscapers to put in a lawn and deck out the beds with ornamental rocks, trees, and flowers. Unfortunately, some of the plants didn’t make it over the winter, and some were annuals so they’d have to be replaced, and some proved to be too tasty of a treat for the local wildlife. So when I was shopping, I looked for hairy stems and fuzzy leaves to try to keep the deer away.

I’d noticed that heuchera was doing well, so I picked up a few in a lovely apricot-orange in sharp contrast to the deep purply-black of the plants from last year. These perrenials should fill in and add color for years to come.

C Heuchera

To replace last years New Guinea impatiens, which added mounds of beautiful color that the deer totally ate up, I bought geraniums and begonias. They’re still annuals, but I’m hoping they’re not as palatable and will thrive over the summer.

C Flower Bed

I like being able to change things up a little each year. I went for tone-on-tone this time with more pink and pink, but I could buy white to brighten things up or an exotic black to bring some depth, or purple to blend with the chives and sage. If you look carefully, you’ll see we also added some sweet alyssum. I love how they spread and make a carpet of tiny flowers.

If you look closely, you’ll see the new deck furniture the MR bought. I have plans for some throw pillows to add a little color, and I need to get out the outdoor carpet, if only the sunshine would return.

I also bought some hens and chicks for the planting area under the portico. It’s just so dry that we’ve struggled to find anything that will do well in that spot. We had hens and chicks under the living room window at my parents’ house in Renton. It was one of the first plants I ever learned the name of, so I picked up a few partly for nostalgia and partly because succulents can survive in all sorts of difficult growing conditions.

What are you planting in your flowerbeds? Any deer-resistant favorites?

Making a Statement

Remember way back in March when I talked about things Piling Up? That’s when our landscaping project began.

Pallet Piles & House 3And a month or so went by and I told you about The Wall that was in progress and I knew one day it was going to happen. Well, for quite a while, our view was blocks and some piles of dirt.

Yes, I am up at the crack of dawn to take pictures for you guys--be thankful.

We had part of a wall and some nice steps, but progress was at a standstill.

StepsThen the MR reminded his buddy about Baby Girl’s graduation party and that June deadline, and everyone got busy. The guys had talked about rocks, but I had no idea they’d be giant, craggy rocks that look amazing.


Or that they had plans for beautiful plants along the edge along with really good sod from Oregon.


Maybe it was the time passing or it could have been a couple men getting their wires crossed, but our extra parking area turned into a green and lovely oasis.

yard & house

I can’t say I’m disappointed; it’s a beautiful sight as you turn the corner and drive up to our home. Lillies, maples, a beech, and some rhodies fill out the planting beds.

yard & house 3


I thought the steps would be simple and utilitarian, but they’re lined by smoke trees and other decorative plants.

steps 2


Cocoa is trying to hide your view or maybe just trying to figure out what I find so interesting. Here’s a better look at the steps.

steps from below


We had cannas like this at our last house with vibrant, yellow flowers. I can’t wait to see what they look like in bloom.

Along with all the added plants, I set out one of the MR’s Christmas presents from his folks. They show at art exhibitions and meet the most interesting people. A friend of theirs made this wrought iron hummingbird feeder.

new hummingbird feeder

I have it on good authority that the birds have already found it.

The old and new retaining walls look quite impressive from below.

both retaining walls

Living on a steep slope comes with built-in problems, but we’re very excited about the presence the new landscaping gives to our home.

Yard Collage  

It took awhile, and now with the heat of summer upon us, the new grass is struggling to get established, but we’re happy to be looking at beautiful plants and a peaceful setting instead of piles of dirt.

yard from driveway

Little Buddy is checking the grass for rollability.

We’ve always had a lovely view; now the foreground matches the background. Maybe we’ll be moving over to the meadow next.

How’s your yard looking? Any projects this summer?