If you watch HGTV or DIY Network as much as I do, then you’d vouch for us this weekend…we were Yard Crashers. While the last minute idea of buying 2 truckloads of mulch and gravel to re-scape the front beds of our house before we’d even pulled out the first old shrub or even bought a new one, somehow didn’t seem to phase us. Apparently neither did the mid-afternoon start time. But by the time the sun had gone down and the spotlights and vehicle headlights were appropriately focused, we were hauling away old shrubs left and right. And by 10:30 pm when the last spotlight turned off and everything was planted and cleared away, I couldn’t wait to wake up Sunday morning and see the newly finished beds in morning light!
Sadly, I never remember before pictures. I dug back in my phone pics and found this one taken from the street so not tons of details—except for our little black dog who kept thinking I needed pictures of him. So here’s from before last summer…
I do not doubt I will have critics in this point of thought, but considering we were the ones getting our hands dirty, I don’t care. When removing larger, established shrubs (e.g. our crazy camellias that refuse to bloom), tying them to a hitch with a rope and gently pulling them out amazingly leaves you with a much healthier and way larger root ball than you’d ever get digging them out with a shovel and breaking roots as you go. I was so surprised and seriously thought, “Well, if it works it works but it not, it’ll be ok,” but was so happily surprised when they just leaned over with every bit of root imaginable. So one transplanted camellia and gardenia, and one removed camellia and several weird, random, ugly shrubs later; that part was finished!
LEFT FRONT BED
In place of all the overgrown and odd shrubs along the front of our house, we scaled back to a bed about half the depth and spaced some lovely—and my personal favorite—tea olives. We also transplanted several of the day lilies that randomly grow in our yard to a small cluster around the bend of the house. I plan to group some more day lilies and plant them around the base of the crepe myrtle. I love that our yard had so many random day lilies and they were super fun last spring to find new ones sprouting everywhere and to see what color they would be, but at the end of they day, they make such little impact spread out every which way in all directions. I can’t wait to see them all blooming together instead.
Then came the dreaded dead zone. Dead zone refers to this odd cut out that was designed between our garage and living room and backs up to our dining room window. Dead zone has happily housed dead tree and I-wish-they-would-die dandelions and assortment of other weeds since we moved in last May. Because of the way the cut out is situated absolutely no sun can get in here (hence dead tree) and so it stays moist and damp (hence happy weeds) there’s really no advantageous planting to this space. So we graveled it in. And man is a gravel pile deceptive! After about 45 minutes of shovel, place, rake, and repeat we finally got it how we wanted it. Now our newly planned Water Resource Center will house our soon to come rain barrel. And we have a perfect nook hidden behind where the fireplace juts out, to house a little work table for buckets, extra hose line, etc…to accompany our new rain barrel. We’ll keep you posted on this project as it comes along because we will definitely be working with my father-in-law to make our barrel. So pictures and details to follow.
RIGHT FRONT to GARDEN SIDE
I promise we didn’t commit so-called crepe murder to our crepe myrtle, but as you’ll see in that before pic, it was literally growing into our house. And made this section so dark and dismal, it was a shade garden if anything and a snake bed at that. There’s all kinds of new growth on this puppy so she’ll pull through just fine.
To the right of our house, we recently transplanted our very mature and super growing roses that were bombarding our front door. We also transplanted a third traditional red roses and a rose that’s never bloomed when hidden by our back porch (I don’t really know roses, just pretend to) so that they’re now all centered along the side of the house. For someone who knows nothing about roses, I now have a 6 rose garden that will hopefully begin to frame the house alongside the vegetable garden. Currently the larger two transplants are suffering some but I think they’re gonna pull through. From what I’ve learned, it’s the whole balance between their super new growth and they’re smaller root ball. (These were moved prior to us learning our tie-it-to-the-truck moving method.) But we’re watering a lot, twice a day, with weekly rose feedings, and gradually pruning back until we meet the right root to growth ratio. And I think we’re almost there. I’ve got 4 buds on one of them, so something right has to be working.
I know I have to have neighbors that drive by when I’m out at 7:00 am each morning pruning and coddling and babying these rosees that think, “Does she know she’s working every morning on dying roses?” but I have faith. Plus it’s a challenge. And as much as these definitely aren’t 4th generation, state-fair winning roses, dang if they aren’t getting treated like it. And anything that gets that kind of attention has to pull around if you ask me. And when they do pull around, don’t think I won’t tell the doubters that they are the 4th generation, state-fair winners from ’75, and ’82. I’ll just make sure to tell those that clearly know less about roses than me…
Definitely feeling much better about the front yard now. Still working on trying to grow grass along the front of our newly receded beds while keeping the dogs from peeing on everything. Any tips there would be great!