Darn storm window. Darn genetics. See, the storm window is tall and heavy and I, like my birth mom, am short and not burly. I can take the storm window off the house by myself. I can even lean it back up there by myself. But I'm not quite tall enough or strong enough to hold the window exactly in place with one hand while lining up the screw holes and re-attaching the window to the house. Another little project for which I could use WTB's help. So the back of the house looks like this for now:
Speaking of WTB, I promised to share his (our) vision for my yard. First I'll tell you the vision: cottage garden. Think roses, hydrangea, lilies, ferns, maybe some herbs here and there, all growing cheek-to-jowl in a very informal garden with grassy paths winding through it. Sounds pretty, right? Now I'll show you what's here now. It helps, as you're looking at these photos, to have a goodly amount of imagination. And optimism.
This first photo was taken on the west side of the house looking from the side yard into the back yard. We're looking to the north. The chain link fence is the neighbor's, so I can't do anything about that other than possibly putting a willow screen up next to it to hide it. Along that fence Esther (the last previous owner) planted lots and lots of yellow iris (which bloom on stalks taller than that fence!), daffodils and surprise lilies. All good, although I wish they weren't planted in straight lines. I will fix that. Along the house I planted daylilies that my mom gave me and more iris, also from Mom's yard. I want to put some bushes or bigger plants here and there along both the fence and the side of the house. Looking into the back yard, the back fence is covered with honeysuckle. Very cottage-y. Smells nice, too. In front of the fence is an old-fashioned rose that my mom hated and dug up out of her yard. She hated it because it was big and grew wild. Since that's exactly what I'm looking for, I took it—after we chopped it down to an easily transportable size. It has pink blooms that Libbi likes to eat. There's another one just like it on the other side of the back yard, not visible in this photo. Smack in the middle of this half of the yard is a 6'x6' concrete pad that caps the old cistern. I put that black archway in front of it and am training passionvine up it. The eventual plan is to fill the little patio with container plants and either a bench or a couple of chairs and a table. Right now there's junk piled on it. This part of the yard needs a lot of work. A lot. Not necessarily to be accomplished in the next three months.
For years and years Mom's had a gorgeous back yard with several raised beds, but as she's getting older she's moving a lot of the plants out so her gardens require less maintenance. I am the lucky beneficiary of the stuff she moves out. Next spring I'll divide some of the hosta and lilies and spread them out all along this side of the house. Add in a couple of bushes (I'm thinking hydrangea or the Blue Chip butterfly bush I fell in love with at the greenhouse last week) and some annuals to fill in here and there, edge the beds, and it'll look pretty good. Incidentally, my neighbor has hosta and columbine planted all along her house, so once I get mine established this side yard will be really pretty.
You've all seen the front of the house before, but the yard looks a little bit different this year. Last fall WTB and I removed the railing (made of pipe) next to the front steps and planted lilies on either side of the steps.
Over on the east side of the house things are looking somewhat barren at the moment. It's crying out for a couple of bushes and some attention to get rid of all the plaintains and dandelions. When the Kellys lived here there was a brick walkway from the front sidewalk all the way down the side of the house and back to the alley. I'm fairly sure it's gone, but additional prodding about with a piece of rebar is needed. There was also a really pretty wooden fence with an iron gate which I sorely wish had been preserved. All that remains of it is the stub of one of the gateposts near the back porch steps. Sigh.
So...you can see that I have a lot of work to do, but I'm in no rush to get it done. The time and patience needed for gardening is a nice contrast to the tearing hurry that makes up much of the rest of my life. Half of my week is lived by the clock—chute times, heart rates, dispatch times, the golden hour—so the other half of the week it's good to slow down and take the time to literally smell the flowers.