Tuesday, April 20, 2010

dahlias, peonies, and mulch

The last three weekends have afforded beautiful weather to toil in the yard. Last year, I simply maintained the yard I inherited when Brad and I bought the house, and tried to keep it looking neat and clean. This year, I have vision, especially in the backyard. I declared March as art month; I hereby declare April and May as gardening months here on Dr. Blondie. I'm excited to show you what I've been up to.

I'll focus on the front yard today. My full vision will not be realized until I hire someone to cut down our maple tree, which I've finally decided MUST. BE. DONE. ASAP. Fern misses her sunshine. I long for ample natural light indoors. I am determined to plant flowers in the front yard that require sun. Until I get rid of the tree though, I'll have to make do with excessive shade, so I implemented a minimalist version of my grand vision. I refuse to spend any more money on landscaping the front yard until the tree is gone.

Here is the BEFORE picture of the front yard. Notice the old mulch, haphazardly placed bushes, and random daffodils by the fence.

Three feet of snow at once really wreaks havoc on bushes! The bush on the left looks like someone sat on it!

Below is the AFTER picture. You already know that I broke down and bought colorful pansies for my planters very early--too early--in the season. I uprooted both bushes, intending to throw them away. But then the guilt of already destroying one perfectly healthy living being (the tree) overwhelmed me and I decided to prune the bushes and replant them closer to the house. They look much better framing our basement window. I planted three peony bushes--two white and one red--in the front of the yard, with four shade-tolerant, red and yellow dahlias staggered in front of them. I planted four more dahlias along the sidewalk on the right side, near the fence. Then Brad and I covered the yard in fresh, black mulch. I adore black mulch.

Can you tell I like symmetry?

Here's a closer picture of the front of the yard. The peony bushes are small now, but they will grow much larger. Peonies remind me of childhood. I used to gather the fragrant, puffy white blooms into pretend wedding bouquets.

I discovered dahlias this spring. What bright, perky, happy little flowers! I smile every time I look at them. They make my yard pop.

Brad and I still have three main projects in the front of the house:
  • Remove the maple tree (hopefully in the next few months) and landscape the yard the way I want to (probably next spring)
  • Build a planting box for our postage stamp patch of land between the sidewalk and curb (hopefully in the next month or two)
  • Tear up our old, crumbly, cement sidewalk and replace it with a brick walk (probably 2011)
Happy gardening!

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