Come play in my world for awhile!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fun in the Garden

One of the nice things about moving into this new house is the landscaping. We went for a natural, as opposed to manicured look in the yard and garden areas.

In California we spent massive amounts of time in the yard. The yard was a wreck when we bought the house, and Pat and I spent hours upon hours tearing out bushes, reconfiguring landscaping, and wrestling with the sprinkler system. We derived a lot of pleasure from these efforts. When we moved last August the yard was still a work in progress, but it looked pretty darn good - if I don't say so myself.

The bad thing about our house in California was that I went overboard. Even before we knew we would sell the house the yard was becoming a headache. You see, I love plants and I adore puttering around in the yard. So I never thought twice about purchasing plants that were finicky or needed special care. After four years of reckless plant purchasing the yard was becoming a monster (with lots of pretty flowers)!

And now I find myself in North Carolina - essentially with a blank slate. I have been frequenting the garden stores and starting to fill in some gaps. So far I've brought home a blueberry bush and two peach trees plus a fair number of perennials. I am eyeing an area in the backyard behind the retaining wall as a potential vegetable garden. Somebody please stop me if it looks like I am getting out of control!

Here is what I currently have to work on in the front. To date I've added perennials to the large window box and added containers by the front door and on the small patio behind the Japanese Maple.

This is the widow box I just mentioned. It was tricky! The box was built to hold individual pots. Cute idea, but clay pots dry out super fast, and I didn't have any luck finding pots that were tall enough to look appealing in the box, and yet skinny enough to fit inside.

Thank goodness my dad was out to help me figure out a way to make it work, and hack into the irrigation system! I expected the geraniums and petunias would have been bigger by now. We were gone a lot, though, and they still need some occasional hand watering. I think they got a little fried in our absence, but they're rebounding nicely.

I've been working more in the back yard. I love the planter boxes that we built in by the pool. We put some boxwoods in for height, and then I put wave petunias, geraniums, false heather, gerbera daisies, and flat leafed something-or-other (that's the Latin name) around the perimeter. I also added the two rectangular pots on the raised wall. These pots are supposed to deter the kids from jumping. We have two waterfalls that come off that raised wall, and we built in seats underneath. It is a fun idea, but if you jump on top of those seats from the wall it won't be good...

Here is a close-up of the newest addition. I have "Piglet" Pennisteum (anything called piglet is welcome in my garden!) and diascia in the pots. The piglet grass will stay small and weather through the winter. The diascia, well, I have my fingers crossed that it will winter through. I'm trying to avoid buying a truckload of new annuals every Spring.

I just did this pot of lantana. It will be gorgeous in about two weeks when everything begins to weep over the side. I had just set the pot out when a butterfly landed. So I grabbed my camera, and as I finished the picture a hummingbird zoomed right up to me. It was literally two feet from my face. So I got a picture of him, too. Can you spot him?!

And this is my grand finale. When I went to set out the pot of lantana (the one with the butterfly and the hummingbird) this little guy was sitting out on the porch. I think it is a luna moth, but I didn't have time to google it. There are a lot of bugs and animals in this state. Trust me. I won't even tell you what was in my shoe the other day, but it was a reptile. And I didn't find him until I was sitting in the car, with my shoes on my lap (I was running late, okay. I was going to put them on at the traffic light to save some time) getting ready to back out of the garage. Thanks God I found it before I actually put the car in reverse, or this would have been a much more entertaining post! Anyway, I'm getting tired of embarrassing posts about encounters with wildlife. I'll let you fill in the blanks...