So I showed you my veggie/herb garden on Tuesday, and now it's time for the rest of my yard. In some respects, the rest of the yard is even more exciting for me! Why? Well the story of our yard in a nutshell is that we built our house back in 2005, and in 2006 we had the basic landscaping done by professionals. Really, this was the only way it was going to happen for us. We needed someone to come in with big machines to do the basic grading and we needed a retaining wall to be built. And let's not forget, where I live used to actually be IN the Columbia River thousands of years ago or something, so you basically only have to dig a few inches into the ground before you hit gigantic boulders that easily weigh 50-500 lbs. apiece. When we built our house they created this HUGE mound of boulders on the one side of our property just to dig the foundation. And then when they did the landscaping they found more. All in all they took away 4 dump truck loads full of boulders, and yes, the rocks you see in the following pictures all came from our yard. And that was after I put an ad on craigslist advertising FREE boulders to anyone who wanted to come and get them. I think five people showed up, and only 3 of them actually took anything away because once people saw them they realized they were completely unequipped to haul them off.
Once the big work was done, and our financial resources were spent, we didn't have anything left to buy plants (except for a few really cool trees that our landscaper found for us). And then Hub's dad passed away, and we learned we were expecting a slush fund but that we couldn't expect to receive it any time soon due to his dad never writing a will. (Word to the wise, have a will.) So although we knew money was coming, we didn't know when. So no plants.
Then 5 months after all that occurred, we found out we were expecting twins. And I was pretty sick and unable to take care of plants anyway. They were born in June, 2007. And my life has been a whirlwind of diapers and boo boos ever since.
So finally this year I proclaimed THIS IS THE YEAR!! I WILL HAVE PLANTS!!! Because let's face it, after 3 years of having such beautiful beds and the "bones" of my yard sitting right in front of me and being able to do absolutely nothing about it I had developed ideas. LOTS of ideas! And they are just CRYING to get out into reality!
Everything that I am about to show you is a work in progress. Some of these beds are still BARE, and might be for a while. I only have so much time and energy to do things between nap and bedtime.
So this is my perennial bed. It is located directly outside my living room window in the back yard. Hubs has given me "free reign" for this area, which means I do whatever I want here. So far I have a selection of native and non-native plants that should come back each year. I tried to get things that would bloom at different times of the year, so some things don't look like much now but they will be later on.
(As always, click to enlarge if you wish.)
And here are some close ups of things that are currently blooming in that bed.
Not sure what this is, but it's cute and sweet.
Below are coral bells.
If I'm remembering right this is salvia.
This is facing the garden area and the back fence. That perennial bed is behind me when I took this. And those are my brand new lovely lovely coral bark maple trees! I love them SO much already and they're not even in the ground yet. Oh, and there's Rocky too. Turd wouldn't get outta the picture!
I LOVE the red bark on these trees, which means there will be color out there ALL year long! If you live in the PDX area and would like to also get the very best price in town on these trees and more then you should call Dick Alm of Alm Nursery. He'll hook you up. 503-618-0383. CALL HIM TODAY! He's a wholesale nursery grower and right now he's open to the general public but he generally only sells to landscapers and retail. If you need some trees, get over there before the end of this month or it'll be too late.
Moving on, here's a little part of the yard where I actually have plants. Three red hot pokers and some succulents. The pokers got wind whipped last week and haven't looked happy since. But I have hopes that they'll perk up.
Hopefully this will give you some perspective, and also includes my 2 blueberry bushes that I haven't planted yet. I'm pretty sure they're gonna go right where you see them here. Gotta put something in front of those boxes in the ground. And on the other side of the stairs, another tree from Dick's. Seriously, CALL HIM!
And on the other side of the pathway a new pink lace leaf hydrangea and a ground cover called brass buttons.
Which is in this bed on the north side of the house. The other plants there are helibores which need very little sun. This bed is actually where I first started getting ideas for my yard. I'm also planning to put different varieties of ferns in this bed. Which will hopefully counter balance the fact that I planted the helibores crooked.
Don't know what a helibore is? Well, we're all in luck because although I wasn't expecting to see any blooms this year I actually do have one that's blooming. Each one of mine is a different color. They come in a huge variety of shapes and colors and I think they're totally gorgeous!
Across from that bed is our large brick patio, the retaining wall, and our water feature. We've been trying to grow scotch moss around the water feature pretty much since 2006. It was one of the very first things I planted knowing it would take a while to spread and look the way I want it to. So here's how it looks now.
And here's the retaining wall. In the bed on top of it I'm thinking about a combo of 3-5 rose bushes, some lavender, maybe peonies, and decorative grasses. If you look closely you can kind of see something green in that corner bed by the water feature.
It's my new baby lilac tree! I got it for $2 at a garden club fund raising plant sale. It's nothing fancy yet, but someday it'll have nice pretty lavender blossoms!
So that's my back yard. Now we're headed in to the front.
This is the bed that leads to the back gate. Since I took this picture I planted my coolio dwarf clamatis at the base of that tree. It's a ground cover rather than a vine, which I think is awesome! And it'll have spring blooms. I also have some lily bulbs in that same bed which are summer bloomers. So I'm hoping there will be lots of interesting stuff going on in that lower bed. On the upper part? I'm not 100% sure. Heather? ummm... more decorative grasses? An azalea? What do you think?
(PS: That's the first of our 4 super gnarled stinted trees that our landscaper found at a nursery in Bend, OR. Apparently they're really old trees that grew up in the mountains and therefore won't get very big. I think they're really cool looking!)
On the other side of that path we have... nothing. And I have no ideas for this spot. At all.
In front of that spot we have this cool tree.
And next to that tree we have this one. And yup, that's our front door. My mom has some cool native irises that I'm planning to plant along the front walkway. Other than that I don't have any other plans.
And on the other side of the walkway is this little bed. So far I have some dwarf bearded irises planted there. I'm thinkin' that might be all that this bed needs. Except maybe a ground cover of some sort? And yes, that is hunks of moss you see scattered willy nilly on the pathway! A robin family has decided to build their nest on that pillar there. It's officially spring!
This is another tree from Dick's! I don't think we're gonna plant it right where it's sitting though, it's just propped up against the rocks so it won't fall over. The point of planting this tree will be to somewhat disguise that ugly utility box out front.
See that line of orange flags? Those are there so that people won't park on our yard. It's been a problem. Anyway, I'm planning to plant some sort of dwarf shrubbery along there, preferably one with white blooms and year round seasonal interest. Anyone have a recommendation? I'm all ears! In between said bushes I'll plant the tulips that I ordered which will be delivered this fall. They'll be so pretty next spring!
And this is the last and final bed. So far there's just rocks, lots of rocks. A smoke tree (which in a way memorializes my grandma), and 1 blooming succulent. I want all the other plants in this bed to be drought resistant, hearty, sun loving, plants, plus they also have to be able to survive our spring/fall deluge of rain. I anticipate this bed to be the most neglected part of my yard and it is not fed by our sprinkler system. I kind of see it looking sort of like a field of wildflowers or even more like a mountain hillside. Not sure if that makes since but that's the best description of what I have in my mind. Something flowery that goes with our stunted pine trees.
The flowering succulent.
And the smoke tree. I'm SO glad it survived the winter. I planted it just days before that awful snow storm we had. If you don't know what a smoke tree is you should google it. They're very cool trees that get these "blooms" in the summer that look like smoke. And oh yeah, Dick has these too if you're interested. He has everything. Call him.
PS: Dick doesn't even know I have a blog, but if you do call him tell him I sent ya!
So that's it! That's my yard! Like I said, it's a work in progress. But it feels good to actually make progress after years of doing nothing. :)
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