Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pictures of the

 As requested, I am posting pictures of the front and back yard. Mind you, these pictures are during a state of flux, there are things sitting around that are not usually cluttering up the area, so imagine them absent.

The back yard, looking over the fence from the driveway. 

The back yard, standing at the far end looking back to the house. The beds to either side will hopefully one day be full of roses (The bed on the right already has 16 babies) and companion plantings. I am thinking cranesbill geranium, daylilies, boxwood, and lime green sweet potato ground cover.

This is the real mess. I just planted the clump of three tea olives seen in the corner of the bed, and a trio of spirea. What I need now is height and fullness, but also a way to bring the landscaping out toward the fence. Ideas?

The house looks so flat without plantings. My ideal effect is a sort of shrubby perennial cottage feeling, with climbers on all three columns...or at least the outside corners. I know this place is in serious need of curb appeal, but I am unsure how to go about it really. I want to plant a flowering tree at the left of the gate to lend some height and a little shade as the house and beds are south facing and get alot of broiling hot sun during the summer. As far as trees I am thinking possibly crepe myrtle?

A better shot of the current bed layout. If anyone could give me a more dynamic suggestion, which must include height and roses, I am open to anything. 


This is looking out my back door. Again, very flat. Imagine however, a wall of roses extending all the way around. Thats what I am going for. I am possibly constructing another arbor mirroring the one to the left, and then adding a swing at the far end of the lawn. Also in the back of my mind is the possibility of swagging or pillaring roses to create height... but again I am at a loss. 

Here's hoping for suggestions,


The plight of the creative gardener.

I was originally going to title this rant "The plight of the creative person", as the conundrum I am about to explain is present in decisions not only in the garden, but also in most of the creative decisions I make regarding our property, but since the weather is great, and the garden is in flux, I decided to focus on that.

Why is it that the creative minded can never make decisions regarding their own habitat? Give me some obscure project for someone else, and I can usually find the one solution that works best. "Sure, just lay the rose beds out like this" I have said to my older sister, or "The perfect color for this space would be _______ because of the light, and it pulls out that elusive tint in your antique photographs" to another friend. Let me loose in my own house or yard however, and I will sit frustrated for hours on which is the best decision for the overall layout. Countless days of backbreaking work creating this layout and then two weeks later I hate it. Over the last 3 years my daylily beds have moved 6 times. Companion plants for my roses? Forget about it. I have no clues. Which rose needs to go where. I am completely blank. Now this isn't because I don't have any garden education. Trust me, I read everything I can get my hands on. Winter months are spent on the Antique Rose Forum, or blogs of people who love them, perusing back issues of Southern Living for images that spark some inspiration, or drafting new garden plans for my DH and myself to kill ourselves excavating. My greatest wish, were I to make one, would be that another rose gardener would wander into my yard, and point out what to plant, where to plant, and how many to plant. Someone to inspire greatness in my humble 10,000 sq. ft. urban lot.  I don't mind the labor...I just need a plan. All of this frustration reared its ugly head when yesterday I decided to attack the front of my house. Fueled by two many morning cappucinos and a couple hours of looking at beautiful cottage front gardens, my barren front palette became my new nemesis. Straight lines, driveways, sidewalks, and an overall odd layout confronts me still. I sat on the sidewalk in front of my house, surely to the curiosity of my neighbors, just staring at the empty front beds, using my pointer finger and imagination to draw in where I needed height, depth, color. Two hours of walking around, putting potted things here and there to judge the layout, staring, scratching my head, muttering curses at the beds, and all I have now in the ground is a grouping of tea olives and a couple transplanted, scraggly spirea. Which roses to go in....not a clue. Companion plants, I think blue salvia (i found a sale and bought 9, and I am going back today for more) daylilies, and underplantings of winter bulbs. But in what layout, not sure. Should I alter the straight lines of it and create a more undulating bed or stick to a more euclidean geometry and let the plants soften the lines? Heck if I know. Three years of working on this yard, this garden. It still looks as if I moved in 6 months ago. Sure, things have radically changed looking at pictures of when we first bought the place. The problem is, they have changed radically more than 12 times. In 3 years. And so on this Sunday morning, I am sending out a prayer for a gardening angel to visit with a piece of graph paper with the perfect garden scheme and some sort of anti-gardening-anxiety medication.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First Blush

So I am sitting here, at the kitchen table, watching the Amaryllis glow a fiery perfect red that shouldn't be found in nature, and wondering how to start this blog. I guess it should start with a story; the tale of why my blog is so named. My partner Jason and I often have long conversations about things, usually over a Sunday morning coffee (or 6), or after finishing a great bottle of red. Lots of times we talk about history (not normally my choice of topics, but he has a degree in it and so I end up sucked into it as well) but also what we want out of life, how wants and needs change and reaffirm themselves through years. One such conversation came about a few weeks ago, and the topic of varied interests came into play. Now I have always been a "varied" kinda guy. I have changed majors 5 times in my life. One ended up in a degree (interior design) and now another is gaining me a Masters in Architecture. This conversation led then to a realization. Perhaps it is not that I am just spastic, but a would-be modern day Renaissance man. My interests all seem to be along a certain line: creation of beauty, creative thinking, and the importance of craft. These are all things one is inundated with in architecture school, and it seems to have become a mantra for living.
The next day, I sat down and made a list (I am constantly making lists) of interests, and found that while some were possibly profitable, most were things I just really have a passion for. This began the quest to actually become the Renaissance man I want to be. Therefore, this blog is going to be a spastic rollercoaster ride journalling multi-faceted interests, which I hopefully will be able to organize into groupings based on interest.( once I figure out how to do that )
Covered in this blog will be (but not limited to)

craft-the making of things by hand
design of any kind

and of course the day to day life which helps to make all of this a bit more personal.

I am trying to remember that this is an experiment, a lifestyle switch, a new leaf to turn over and ponder. Hopefully you, the reader, will find this entertaining, possibly fun, possibly educational, possibly maddening.