The Garden View From Inside

Monday, March 14, 2016

Nothing really exciting going on around here today.  It's Monday, and that usually means a clean-up day from the weekend.  I've been going outside, in between the rain showers, to sit and admire the bit of work that's been done.  It's funny how just a little bit of 'green and clean' can be so inviting.  I'm also enjoying the clearer and cleaner view from inside.  Those half-dead shrubs were really dragging the yard down.

Loving how the dark grey of the birds on the pillow ties into the color of the retaining walls and fence.

I forgot to mention that I transplanted two shrubs from the retaining wall above into two of the holes where I removed shrubs.  They're called 'Goldmound Spirea', and already coming back to life.  I have at least six more of them in the yard.  They're virtually foolproof.  I'm loving the chartreuse color of the new leaves against the dark backdrop of the wall.

A little outdoor rearranging...

I've also been moving houseplants outside that don't seem to be doing too well inside.  I've only had these maidenhair ferns for about two weeks, and check them almost daily, and they still don't seem happy.  So one is outside for a little sunlight therapy. 

A closeup of the little plants I put in last week, so far so good. 

So that's my Monday morning.  Is anyone else feeling the effects of the daylights saving time shift?  I said I was excited about it, but I forgot about how it feels in the morning. 
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Pre-Spring Garden Clean Up {Hardscape & Shrubs}

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Oh this is the bain of my existence every year.  I really love gardens and flowers, but I feel like the love doesn't translate into my yard.  I will say it has been seven years since we planted this garden.  It was originally a full-sun landscape, but as trees and shrubs have matured, it has become a mostly shade garden.  But my plants and my grass aren't really shade tolerant, so it has not done well the last couple of years.   On top of that, several of my favorite shrubs got nearly twice as tall as the tag said they would, so they were very over grown.

I attempted to hire my neighbor's landscaper, but he didn't come back for the appointment.  So I decided to copy some of what they did next door.  I noticed his crew did a deep cleanup of the planting beds, removing all of the old mulch and leaves that had blown into them over the winter.  So I did a deep cleanup of all of my planting beds and collected 13 bags of yard debris.  They also removed some shrubs not doing well next door, so I cut down and pulled up four overgrown, half-dead shrubs.  I thought it would be really difficult, and it was hard.  But once I got one up, I figured I could do the rest of them.

I also have retaining walls that had peeling paint, so I cleaned them as best I could with both a wire and regular brush, then pressure-washed and repainted them.

after scrubbing and pressure washing

with a new coat of paint

 Now the patio floor...I mean, it just looked dirty no matter how much I cleaned it.   We have put in french drains on both sides of the patio to alleviate the water that runs across it to no avail.  So I cleaned and pressure-washed it and gave it a fresh new coat of paint.

I used the same color as what is on the pergola, but unfortunately it reads a lot cooler on a horizontal surface, so I feel tempted to repaint.  I also planted a few new plants (that will hopefully cover the ground and prevent the soil from washing out) and put new mulch down around the patio and along the tops of the retaining walls.

In other news, I have finally ceded that, in Georgia, grass will not look good without the help of professional weed control services.  I still want to have new sod put down, replace the shrubs I pulled (with hydrangeas depending on the light), add more new plants along the top of the retaining walls (I'm thinking dwarf lorapetalum, creeping jenny, and lantana/verbena!), and finish mulching the planting beds... but that will have to wait until later in the spring.  (Thank goodness because this week's worth of work nearly killed me!)  The house needs to be painted badly and I don't want a paint crew stepping all over freshly laid sod and mulch.   I also want to let the trees fill in so that I can get a feel for what the light will be like, since I had one of the larger trees limbed up last fall.  So that is next on the (never-ending) list of home maintenance.  What spring projects are you up to?

Psst..if you want to see the garden in its (semi-)glory days, 

check out these previous garden posts!  I'm feeling more hopeful already!

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Pillows, Plants, and Purging the Past

Friday, March 4, 2016

First, I wanted to thank Andrea over at The Cottage Market Blog for including me in her round-up of Ikea Hacks with Pottery Barn style.  I thought it was quite the compliment that my Tarva nightstand hack has Pottery Barn style!

I can tell spring is near because the days are getting longer, the cherry trees are blooming, and we are  having some warmer days.  Not to mention, my allergies are starting up! I can't tell you how excited I am about Daylight Saving Time approaching.

There's been a lot on my mind lately, but one thing I am aspiring to do is stop shopping.  I've sort of unintentionally stopped buying.  Lately if I go to the store and see something I like, I ask myself, "Do I need this, or do I have anywhere to put this?"  And I usually walk out without it.  One blogger that inspired me is Cait over at Blonde on a Budget.  She's on a two year shopping ban after going thru a serious purge over a year ago getting rid of things she didn't need.  She inspired me to clear out my guest room and clean out my closet.   I also started going thru things in my attic, and got rid of a lot of clothes I had put up over the years with the hope I would one day fit back into them.

I also love reading Janet over at The Gardener's Cottage.  I love that she lives in a small 970 sf home, has also cut back on her possessions, and lives simply yet beautifully.  We live in an area where it would be almost impossible to find a house that small, but she inspires me to appreciate the abundance of space that I do live in.  The conversation has come up in our home of moving, and I can honestly say, I don't want any more space.  To me it's just more to clean, heat and cool, and maintain.

With spring approaching, instead of shopping, I've been swapping.  Since we had been sick, I did a major house clean yesterday, washing all of the pillow covers and bedding, cleaning bathrooms, and mopping the floors.  It felt like a bit of spring cleaning.  In the process, I swapped out the pillow covers for my sofa back to my spring/summer set.  (I love blues for the summer and warm colors for the winter.)  I also have been picking up some houseplants that to me enliven my home.  And with just those few changes, plus the amazing sunlight we're having, things feel fresh and ready to welcome spring!

Of course, I still have quite a bit of actual spring cleaning to do, plus the outside of the house needs quite a bit of work, including some landscaping (with the tree we took down last year), and house painting.  I can't figure out which one needs to be done the most, but we are hoping to get around to both of them this year.  I'll be back to share more of what I am doing to prep for spring.

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