October 13, 2011

What Came Up

Many of you may remember that when we moved into The Lodge back in April, we gave ourselves a Hall Pass on the yard.  The reality was that there was so much to do inside, we couldn't even begin to start work on the outside.  Besides, as anyone who has moved to a new home can attest, often it can take a full season of living in a space just to figure out "what will come up."  So that's what we did.  Sure, we cleaned up 2 years worth of clipping and debris, we mowed the lawn, and even planted a small garden, but for the most part we sat back and took a lot of photos so that we could account for and remember what we've got growing.

Our #1 mistake when moving into this house, was assuming that the small back yard meant less maintenance.  With lots of parks and a nature preserve within walking distance, we'd prefer lots of deck and patio space to grass in our backyard.  (You don't have to mow a deck.)  What we didn't take into account was the huge undertaking that would be the retaining wall.

Listing Photo- April 2010

Listing Photo- April 2010

Listing Photo- April 2010

When we moved in in April 2011, the house had been abandoned for quite some time, so it took us hours and hours to remove all the old, dead plants, leaves and weeds from the retaining wall.  These are surprisingly the after photos after all my hard work. 
April 2011

April 2011

I was content to leave it all gray and dreary for a year, but come May I was shocked that plants started popping up.

By early June things were starting to look pretty green, and I was excited to see what as going to bloom from all those perennials. 

I was especially excited to see what these lilies would look like:

There were definitely some areas that would need some work though, like this rock wall side of the yard, over grown, and I have no idea what to do with it.

Super Dad was a big help and planted a small garden for me of tomatoes, herbs and peppers.  Next year I hope to use this big 20' x 10' space for my own little Farmer's Market.

And then early July- the lilies popped.  Beautiful.

And the shrubs in the retaining wall above my garden really came in.
By the end of July the vegetation in the land behind our fence (still our land) was getting down right hostel.  I had to fight hanging and creeping poison ivy with a hedge trimmer. 

But for the most part, our most visible planting area was pretty bare.  A few green things, but very little flowers.
Which is why I was pretty shocked in August and September when this area finally bloomed. I mean in Minnesota, late August, early September, usually the only thing blooming is mums.  I couldn't believe my spring like garden.  It was a double rainbow.  Magical.

It wasn't all pretty though.  See that ugly guy in the back ground?  Here's a close up.

 There were three of these in the backyard, and they grew to be literally 6 feet tall.  I was curious all summer to see what they would be, and in the end I was super disappointed.  It just looked sort of sick and dead.  Large, imposing, sick and dead.  I'm definitely pulling these guys up next season.
 In the end I'm glad I took the summer to stop and smell the roses, because it gave me an excuse to be lazy allowed me the chance to see what this yard has to offer.  And now that I have a little road map of sorts to know what is blooming and when, I can do a little transplanting and adding of additional plants so that next year everything comes up a little more even. Hopefully by next summer we'll be done with some of the bigger projects around here (two more bathrooms...ugh!) and I can take the time to work on the yard.  Not that we'll be done in the house by any means, we've still got dozens of items on The List and more inspiration projects on Pinterest than I know what to do with.  But I'm crossing my fingers that we will at least feel a little more settled on the inside, so that we have a chance to spruce up the outside.

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