Sunday, April 19, 2009

A little Before and After, and The Grand Tour

First, apologies all around. I inadvertently set the privacy setting on the photos I uploaded to Flickr to “No One.” I’ve corrected it to “Anyone” so now when you click on a photo, you should be able to see a larger version.

When I moved into the house, 4 years ago this month, the backyard looked like this.
Sorry for the grainy quality of the photo—it’s a scan from the sales flyer for the house. My husband had lived in the house about a year, so the tree might have been a bit bigger; otherwise it’s a good representation of the, erm, landscaping. The house was built in the 60s. I don’t know who owned it before Jack bought it, but until the last owner planted that little red oak, no one had done one darn thing to the yard in 40+ years.

Today, the backyard looks like this.
Still a work in progress, but a definite improvement. One shovel-ready project that could be easily completed: taking all the potted plants and planting them in two to three galvanized stock tanks.

The first project we tackled, a few months after I moved in, was hiring our friend PJ to build a gazebo. It houses a hot tub I got for a steal. The beds around the gazebo went in the following spring. The Old Blush rose bush was the first rose we planted, a present to me from Jack.

The herb garden went in about the same time.
Alas, after 4 years, it’s completely overgrown. The two rosemary plants have completely taken over. It still serves its purpose, providing plenty of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, chives, oregano, basil and cilantro, though it could use a bit of an overhaul. The beds need raising and the rosemary either needs to be moved, or beat back with a stick and a sharp pair of shears. If anyone wants a prostrate rosemary plant, you can come dig up the one on the right and haul it off. The English ivy came with the house; it covers half the back fence and has grown up into the dead hackberry trees in the neighbor’s yard and the live trees in the yard behind his.

This is the southwest corner of the yard.
The shed was a welcome offering from our friends John and Amy. They were adding on to their house, and wanted to get rid of their shed. The mutabilis rose on the right went in at the same time as the Old Blush rose. We planted the two little lime trees three years ago. Along the fence line are ivy vines and junk trees the birds planted.

This is the south side of the yard, taken from the herb garden looking east.
The little sprig in the middle is a Texas mountain laurel. The main problem here is the view directly into our neighbor’s yard. I’d like to plant some vines along the fence to give us a bit of privacy. Hardy vines, ones that could be chopped down to the ground and bounce back, if we ever found the means to put in a wood fence.

I’m certain our laissez-faire approach to gardening drives our neighbor nuts. He’s a landscaper by profession and seems quite fond of commercial fertilizers and gas-operated lawn equipment. His lawn is always very green and is trimmed 1/16 of an inch every 4 to 5 days (typically around sunrise).

Here’s one reason why we don’t feel the need to mow what little grass we have:
We’d chop off its wittle blue eyes if we did.

This is the east side of the yard. The yard slopes quite a bit on this side.
Not much here but a couple of square-foot gardening boxes and a big plastic pot full of tomato plants. We've talked about putting up a badminton court here.

Now we've come full circle, back to the northwest corner of the yard where the first photos were shot.
Roaming the grounds at the Natural Gardener yesterday, I had to chuckle at the 4 inch pots of horseherb they had on sale for $1.99. The stuff grows naturally in my yard—in fact, it’s all that grows on the west side of the house, given all the shade from the neighbor’s hackberry trees. That’s a passion vine on the fence; it doesn’t get enough sun to bloom. I'd love to plant a shade garden along the side of the house.

As you can see, we have shovel-ready projects galore in our yard.

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