Garden plans!

So, back to the whole getting the grounds at the house fixed up thing.

This rose is called Laura -- this color spread is actually
my favorite.
Once upon a time, this house was owned by people who enjoyed doing garden stuff. I can tell this, because the things they did were really quite expansive and required a decent amount of money to do. Unfortunately, they got old/died/sold off the house, and no one after that has cared quite so much, and now it's over a decade later and I'm excavating the garden, essentially, to find what they did and whether I want to/care to recreate it.

I really like old-fashioned roses, and this one's hardy.
This year, my sons are old enough and big enough to handle and even subversively enjoy some light manual labor stuff. I have therefore put them to work in the garden to help me with some of the heavier lifting. In the last week they're here, I'll have them help me with planting, perhaps -- we'll see, but at least we can get the beds somewhat ready.

These are called Gold Band lilies, and I think they have a nice
balance with roses. 
So, the first part of my plan has been to scale back my ambitions somewhat: I can't tackle all of the huge bed by the driveway. There's still too much landscaping fabric to pull up, although my younger son likes digging enough that I may set him at it and help me get the rest of it out this year. I can, however, tackle the front of the house facing the road, as that's arguably the biggest "eyesore" portion. In those halcyon days of yore, there was a raised bricked flowerbed along the front of the house. I know this, because I've seen pictures. It was torn out, though, leaving just its foundations and a gap between the sidewalk and the house that filled in with weeds and grasses. I've had the kids working on pulling the big, obnoxious weeds and digging up the sod, as well as finding where the foundation bricks are. I'm not having them dig the suckers out -- that's more than I actually want them to do, and I've no idea what I'd do with that space anyway. But it tells me where my plantable area is, and that's helpful.

This one's as close to a white as I'd likely put in -- very pretty.
In that area, I'm looking at planting a series of 3-4 shrub roses and some lilies -- it should nicely screen the house and the roses will keep the deer out of the lilies. It won't do anything about bunnies, but one thing at a time. If I discover I need something closer to the ground... maybe some hostas? Maybe something that takes up less space? We'll see. I don't feel the need to put more flowers out there if I've got lilies and roses. Enough is enough, right? It's also the only garden space I have that gets enough full sun to support these efforts, so go big and floral or go home, I suppose. The other question, of course, is what roses to plant? I can only afford about three bushes right now, so I should plan so they look nice together -- or just plant random stuff and hope it all comes together in the end. :)

This sweet little rose is called April. It's pretty cute.
 I've also given some thought to putting some shade-tolerant lilies up next to the porch, on the side that is such a pain. Deer aren't likely to come quite that close to the house, and they'd be pretty when they bloomed. I could put some ferns down in front of them, and they'd be really nice together. But then, that's part of the whole "biting off more than I can chew" problem that I have.

This rose is called Portlandia, and yes, it grows in clusters.
This is pachysandra. 
If I'm going to go whole hog, mind you, then I'm going to do the following: I've got some Japanese pachysandra already growing from a patch started back in the day. I want to put it in the small flowerbed next to the huge maple tree -- it's too root bound to grow much, but pachy doesn't care and loves shade. It also need edging to keep it in check, so that rock-surrounded garden should be fine. I'll also just need to watch it to make sure it doesn't escape into the grass. If it starts surmounting the rocks, I'll put some edging in at the bottom. I may even install pachysandra around the maple tree itself, if I feel like raking out all the rocks and putting them somewhere else -- (rocks around the tree over landscape fabric, that's now been buried with dirt under rocks over landscape fabric... and so weeds grow between the rocks anyway. Ugh).

These are maidenhair ferns. Aren't they pretty? 
So with that done, I'd need to concentrate on the front bed, which has thus far been my undoing. I like tulips and tried them there this year, but it was too weedbound to really make a show, and I didn't get around to pulling things when I should have. With that, I may try bulbs again, but not until I have done a bit of working on the ground as a whole to tame it. Again, once the landscape fabric is up, I'll be able to do some planting. I'm looking at ferns -- I actually really love ferns, and given how shady the front is, I won't be able to do a lot of flowery stuff anyway -- maybe some hostas. Ferns have the advantage of being native (if you buy the right stuff) and deer resistant, so even if I plant a couple of hostas and the deer nibble them to nubs, the ferns should make it through. My big question then is, will I still need to mulch? These are the horrible thoughts gardening makes you have, friends. It's a wonder I'm halfway sane with working on this.

Lady ferns.
Here's the irony: I don't like gardening. I have this weird leftover plant phobia from when I was 4 and I saw a show about a man-eating office plant (thanks, Tim Conway) and so certain plants can twig me still -- which is an improvement over when all plants did it, but I've gotten better at handling it. But I also hate it when the yard looks abandoned. I don't want to stamp "People Live Here!" all over the yard -- we have a woods that extends into our yard, and I really like the natural landscape. But up next to the house it helps keep critters at bay and makes it look like we care about the house and the place we live, which we do. It also makes guests feel welcome. I might also just be weird.

A nice blue hosta that makes mauve flowers. It only looks
a little like an alien life form. 
In addition, I only have so much bandwidth to devote to gardening. Seriously, I don't like it that much and it wears me out, and I can only keep up with so many things. In addition addition, Matt hates yard work, so whatever I'm doing, I'm doing myself. I need to get a section to be largely self-sufficient barring some weeding and watering. I want to plant things on purpose to crowd out weeds that still look nice, that I can keep up with. Once I get the house squared away, I can move out to the barn and the old deck and the place the grapevine arbor used to be but is now just a huge pile of overgrown viney stuff. Sigh. Talk about a need for manpower.

 I have to say, though, just looking at this post with all the pictures gives me hope.





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