May 08, 2006

 oh my gosh my days are getting longer


the island got updated with a lawn chair and a house this weekend in honor of the historic home tour that was going on in old north durham.

again, apologies for the lack of substantive blogging. i'm just not feeling all that inspired lately, i guess. what i HAVE been is busy... i've been pulling some double-shifts on-air to help out a co-worker. i've also been busy shoe-shopping (check out this discount site i just discovered!), trying to find shoes to match a dress i'll be wearing to a wedding in july. i've also been knitting a gift for this wedding. and doing yard work... which, surprisingly enough, i'm enjoying. i've spent so much time loathing yard work that it's rather stunning to find myself enjoying it.

the trick is to do only as much as is interesting. in other words, i'm not knocking myself out to get any one project done. i'll go piddle around a bit, maybe lay a bag of mulch or two, then quit... and not feel guilty about it. because these short spurts are rather easy and pleasant, i find myself enjoying the sunshine and the birds chirping in the trees, and am actually seeing more progress than before, when i dreaded it all. back then, i would go out of my way to find reasons to not do yard work and consequently not get much done.

so, this weekend i uncovered even more brick border (as i did last year), and before that i spread newspaper and mulch over some really overgrown beds in the back yard. i really want to get to work on the landscaping in the front of the house, too, but i'm so ignorant about plants that i have no idea what to put in the ground. i want something that will soften the look of the house, but i don't really want shrubs. i'm going to have to start tivoing some gardening shows for ideas, i guess. (here's what the front of the house has looked like over the past year or so, if you have any suggestions. note that currently the landscaping is most like the bottom photo... cut-back, bare and dead. it's lovely.)

i also foolishly told the locopops lady that i would build her a website, and suddenly i'm feeling less than excited about that. i finally have the ambition to work in the yard and on the house, and the last thing i want to do is sit indoors and build a website. b'oh.

Posted by xta at May 8, 2006 03:32 PM | TrackBack

if you want to go tour some of the local gardens, like at duke, wral, etc, to get planting ideas, i'd be up for stuff like that too.

Posted by: lisa at May 8, 2006 03:56 PM

we just started watching this show on HGTV called "city gardener" -- it's from the UK and the projects (at least the few we've seen) tend to be insanely elaborate. but with good design sense and ideas that seem like they could be taken and applied to smaller scale projects.

Posted by: georg at May 8, 2006 04:09 PM

if you want a plant that will fill in and grow like crazy, go for hostas. they're leafy plant thing that come with some variegated leaves. we had some at our house in west virginia and they were amazingly hardy.

i love grassy plants like sage and heather, too - they have a way of softening up landscapes without being prissy.

for flowers, i'm a big fan of black-eyed susans. the seeds are inexpensive, they grow like weeds, and they make great cut flowers.

man. i wish i had a yard i could put a garden in.

Posted by: elsacapuntas at May 8, 2006 05:07 PM

Yeah, hostas are cool! My new favorite yard plant. They come in so many neat varieties.

And you don't have deer, do you? The lady at Durham Garden Center asked me that immediately because, you know, the other name for hostas are Deer Snacks. They (the hostas, not the deer) also like it shadier, though, or they will use a lot of water. Plantings under trees would work... Yeah, I could see some hostas and/or other foliage mixed in with perennials in the front of your house. A variety of bulbs are also an option (thinking of low maintenance, here).

Looking at other people's yards is what I like to do for inspirations and ideas. Watts Hillandale/Old West Durham neighborhoods are good for that kind of thing. You could run through there on your way to Locopops. :)

I should try your method of yard work, and maybe my place wouldn't look like such a jungle.

Posted by: erthsister at May 8, 2006 05:40 PM

I third the Hosta love. Easy, pretty, spreads but only horizontally. I also planted some Shasta daisies a few years and I really like those too.

Posted by: Marianne at May 8, 2006 08:18 PM

Oh, I miss NC gardening. Here I already feel like I am in a cooker and I have to water my poor geraniums on the balcony every day. (But at night it's cold!)

Xta, I LOVE the progress over perfection Zen zone you're in with the gardening - I think that's the right attitude about a lot of things!

Posted by: John Boy at May 8, 2006 11:17 PM

Looks like your yard is a bit shady ... is it like that all day? There are so many lovely shade plants you could try. There's a vendor at the state farmers market that specializes in shade plants and is very helpful.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I've got liriope to spare if you want some. And if you want a nice part-sun groundcover, I love ajuga reptans. And of course, hostas are good. They're virtually care-free, too.

I could probably come up with some ideas by walking around your yard and aeeing how the sunlight falls sometime ... sometimes that's the best way. I also have several big books about plants you can borrow, as well as a book about gardening in NC.

Posted by: Lisa B at May 9, 2006 10:25 AM

I LOVE shade plants, but unfortunatly, My yard is full sun most of the time.

It looks like your front yard would be perfect for azaleas or rhododendrons. They are softer looking that other landscape plants like hollies or boxwoods. They are also beautiful in the Spring.

There is an evergreen variety that has white blooms that would be pretty with your house. They would also looke well with hostas. You could also put in some hydrangeas for summer color. They need a shady/moist area. They are deciduous though, so they would look like dead sticks in the witer (which looks like what you have now). Mixed in with evergreen plants though, they may look quite nice.

Accuba is another nice looking plant if your yard isn't too dry. They are very hardy and easy to grow. There come in different varities.

Maybe you could plant jasmine to grow up the side of your porch and accross the top?

I would try adding a stone border to planting area around your house. It would help separate it from the yard and blend in with your walkway.

If you had the basic evergreen plant thing going on, you could add the hostas and maybe some impatients in the summer for more color and interest. Just be sure all your colors coordinate with each other and with your house. You don't want more than three colors going on I wouldn't think.

Of course there is always the option I have seen used here in Alabama - just go to Michael's or Hobby Lobby and buy some artificial flowers and stick in the ground. Instant results and low maintenance.

Posted by: Matt at May 9, 2006 03:41 PM

Impaitens are a nice annual that really spread and add color.

As for perrenials, Daylillies, lillies (field-grade), hydrandea, black eyed susans (they love the NC clay), shasta daisy, forsythia.

All are easy and forgiving to grow, have stood the test of time, and require little attention.

Hostas, of course, are nice, but they do bring the slugs.

Posted by: Becky at May 10, 2006 12:42 PM

goodness... hosta hosta hosta! i'll definitely have to give that some serious thought.

the front of the house gets nice morning sun and it continues to be pretty sunny until mid-day. it's an eastern exposure.

there are tons of pine needles everywhere (actually using pine needle mulch in those beds right now)... there are about a dozen pine trees in the front yard.

the beds right now have a lot of clay... i added that recently in an attempt to re-grade around the house. maybe not the best idea.

finally, since there is *so much brick*, i'm leaning towards hefty window boxes. they'll eat up some of that empty space. i saw some plans in a magazine for building them myself... but i don't currently have a very operable workshop. i need to get my garage in order.

Posted by: christa at May 10, 2006 11:21 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?