Monday, May 27, 2013

Tour of our garden

Happy Memorial Day! How has your weekend been so far? We’ve had a great one and I’m looking forward to more of the same today. I’m hoping to get my vegetable garden planted if the rain holds off – I’m planting late this year so I hope it does well this year!

Speaking of gardens, I have to tell you, I’m SO excited about our backyard right now. We’ve had a ton of rain, the temps have been really mild and the plants are just BOOMING. I love this time of year – I actually love taking the dog out because I’ll take a walk around the backyard to see the progress of the plants. ;)

The older I get the more I truly love gardening, I just have so much to learn. The potential in our backyard gets me excited -- I pour over magazines with gorgeous gardens, trying to figure out what to do with ours. Part of me wants it done right now so we can just enjoy it, the other part of me is excited to do it bit by bit and watch it grow slowly. The latter wins out, mostly because of the pocket book, but I also like to take it slow and enjoy the process.

I thought I’d share how it looks now and hopefully by the end of the summer we’ll see some progress! :)

Our backyard is NOT big – we are in a suburban neighborhood where most of the yards are huge, but we chose a lot that backs up against a field, creek and some woods and the trade off was a small yard. Now before the deck and patio were installed it wasn’t bad as far as size really – it just has such a deep pitch to it, it wasn’t much fun to use just as a yard.

All of the changes we’ve made have made it smaller but much more usable. Does that make sense? We love it -- I would not change this spot for the world!

A couple of years ago we added the patio in the backyard, so we have very little actual grass left back there, compared to how it used to look. But it always cracks me up that our backyard is where the kids on the street come to play so often and they love it – even without a lot of grass and tons of space to run.

Anyway, the tour! I’ve got lost of pics so bear with me! We’ll start around the side of the house and move around the back. Welcome to my backyard! :)

I think this is one of my favorite shots of the back – I just love this view:

backyard garden

You can see my vegetable garden tucked in on the side there (I think I may move it over a bit next year but for now it’s staying). Next to that is my limelight hydrangea that still. won’t. bloom. It is bigger than ever, but no sign of flowers still. Grrrr.

The line of burning bushes on the left wrap around two trees – maples I think? They were actually planted in the front of the house and were growing all umpa-loompaish. Tall but spindly and lots of leaves at the top, but not growing out. We replaced them and replanted them on the side of the house about seven years ago. I babied them for a year or two and now they are HUGE. They still aren’t wide but for being so young they are SO tall now. I love them.

I love the bushes wrapping around the trees and the simplicity of it, but I want to bring in some more color there too. I’m coming up with a plan to add something else, just not sure what all will be there yet.

On the right past the deck stairs is one of my peony plants – I’ve been on “bloom watch” for weeks. Every morning I go out to see if today is the day and…NO. Seriously, slowest dang flowers EVER:

peony

They are so close now though, I think tomorrow may be the day! (I say that every day.)

This area gets morning sun and I’m guessing the peony loves it because this one in particular is doing great.

Remember my hydrangea drama last year? Well, the plants I moved did much better last year, just not fantastic. I trimmed the stalks down last week (just the dead wood) and they are busting out now! One even has blooms on it…I have hope people!:

hydrangea

They are loving all the rain lately – I’ve only had to water them once so far this year.

Just past the hydrangea is my awesome knock out Knockout Rose bush. ;) This one in particular is doing SO well:

knockout roses

Again, morning sun, a bit of afternoon sun and it loves it. I’ve had this one for years and moved it to this spot a couple years ago and it’s doing fantastic:

knockout roses

If you don’t have a green thumb I highly recommend these knock out roses – they are so easy to grow. I do very little and they thrive. I don’t even trim them – are you supposed to? This one hasn’t ever been touched and it’s blooming like mad.

Across from that bush are a couple arborvitaes we had planted for some privacy:

arborvitae

Again, we’re in a neighborhood, so we wanted some “natural” screens. I do have to say though, I LOVE all of the backyards down the street on our side. Nobody has even put up fences because it’s so private and beautiful back there. I love love LOVE our backyard.

Straight ahead is an area I’m totally stoked about – a little spot where we had all the brush cleared away last year:

It’s a mess right now, we still need to mulch it all again and get the hammock put back in (the base is there) – but someday it will be an amazing little shade garden. It could be so cool and I’ve been dreaming it up for years now. I’m kind of obsessed with hostas so I’ve already put two back there, and I plan to add a bunch more.

I don’t know if the hammock will stay or not – I can’t decide if I want that there, or chairs, or a big umbrella or what. Things get…ahem…dirty back there, so I need something easy to clean.

If you turn around you’ll see the back of the fireplace, and I have grand ideas in my head for this area too:

outdoor fireplace

For now there’s my pee gee hydrangea trees, which I love. I got the tiny little boxwoods for like a buck on clearance a couple years ago, and for boxwood standards they’re growing pretty fast. I do want something more substantial there though, so those may move. The tree rose in the middle did great for a couple of years and now it’s almost toast. I have realized I’m not good with a rose that requires much care. ;)

I’m also determined to get some natural coverage going on the back of the fireplace – I planted some ivy and a climbing hydrangea last year and both did nothing. Now they’re both taking off, finally!:

I wondered if the ivy would even grow, with all the morning sun, but it’s doing great now! It’s grown more in a month than it has all of last summer.

One thing I love SO much about the back is all of the huge rocks and pavers we had installed:

They put them in in a really organic way – not perfect, no equal spacing, and I love how they look. I also love the moss that grows on some of them. :)

The back of the patio is looking kind of sad. I got a few more hydrangea last year and they did pretty great at first, but they are slooooow going this year:

hydrangea

I think the one on the left is a goner. I’ve not had a ton of luck with them but I’ve never killed one, till now. :) We planted a version of a birch on the left last year hoping to give those guys some afternoon shade, but the “tree” is still very much a bush – waiting for that one to move upward.

We’re planting a few river birch back here soon and that back area is where I really want one for some shade on the patio.

Here’s another shot as you keep going around, I love the stones as a walkway:

path with stones in garden

I was a little concerned they would be slick when wet but they aren’t bad at all.

We also had big ones installed as steps off the patio:

stone patio

And when I say “we” I mean our brilliant landscaper friend who had the idea. ;) He did the patio and hardscaping for us a couple of years ago.

Here’s that same spot from the patio – I’m DYING to get some kind of arbor for over this space:

stone patio

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

To the side of that area are a couple more peonies:

peony

These aren’t doing nearly as well as the other one. I’m guessing the hot afternoon sun is too much? I don’t know, I thought they loved sun! These only have a few small blooms so far so you know it will be August before they bloom. ;) For real – but everything is blooming late this year here.

Around that corner are three more knock outs:

knockout roses

I just planted them last year so they are small, but doing great.

I planted a few new annuals on the patio and deck already in preparation for the Home Depot shoot – these were just a hanging mixture from HD and they are taking off:

container flowers

And I can’t remember what these plants are by the fireplace, but they are awesome!:

outdoor fireplace

I thought they were annuals when I planted them last year but they are actually perennials – they lasted all winter. Any idea what these are?

I want to get more to plant in the landscaping:

This spot gets sun all day long so they are great for a sunny yard! I love all the colors in there – I’m going with a red, yellow and a little bit of purple theme on the patio (stealing it from the pillows) and they fit in perfectly. ;)

So there you go, a tour of our garden as it is now. I have grand plans for the space – I want it to be lush and English garden feeling, but not too busy. I think coming up with a plan for the outdoors takes as much finesse as decorating the inside, don’t you think? It takes time and some thought for sure!

What do you have growing that you love? I’m looking for lower ground cover and taller plants as well. I’d love some more color too!

65 comments:

  1. That is really lovely. Come to my house would you?

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  2. pretty sure the plants by the fireplace are heuchera, known as coral bells.

    love what you've done!

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  3. You can get other colors of the heuchera like a lime color and a rust color. I love them planted with my hostas. Love your landscaping and your blog. Emily (jeslabaugh@frontier.com)

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  4. I love the backyard garden! I am so jealous! How do you make sure there are no weeds growing around the flowers/bushes;or where mulch is? I have tried weeding and putting fabric and then the mulch but year after year I end up weeding all the time. Any suggestions? My main culprit are the dandelions. Any suggestions, guys would be appreciated!

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  5. I can see why the neighborhood kids want to play in your yard- I want to, too! I kind of want to roll around in the luscious grass. I'm terrible with plants, so they all have to be low-maintenance in our yard. Now I want some of those plants by your fireplace, will be checking those out! We have Indian Hawthornes, which were covered in blooms a week ago, love them!

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  6. Would you mind if I curled up on your patio with a good book? What an amazing place to relax!

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  7. Your garden is beautiful, Sarah! I love your peonies! Our roses barely started blooming, and I love it!

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  8. I don't know why you think your yard is small! That is twice the size of mine! :) Beautiful plants Sarah! Happy Memorial Day!
    -Kristi

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  9. Those are definitely Coral Bells by the fireplace. Your peonies that aren't blooming but have nice foliage--those are probably planted too deeply. You'll just get foliage and no blooms if the plant's growing "eyes" are more than 2" from the top of the soil (and mulch.) They are healthy otherwise. Leave them go for the summer, then this Fall replant them a bit shallower.

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  10. Ditto to what Dorothy just said. I have peonies that I love and discovered that planting too deeply thwarts the blooming of an otherwise healthy plant. Thanks for sharing your lovely yard!

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  11. Yikes....that is stunning. Do you want a lodger?
    Peonies are my all time favourite flowers. your garden must smell divine.

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  12. Absolutely lovely Sarah!! I don't know how you ever get anything done inside the house during the summer months-- we'd be outside All.The.Time!! So, so pretty! =)

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  13. Do you always cut down the dead wood on your hydrangea's? My stinkin' hydrangea's NEVER bloomed...til I looked up and found that my type of plant only blooms from the dead wood of the previous year. I don't trim and now they bloom beautifully!

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  14. I love your yard! I agree with what other have said as well about your peonies..they can be finicky little buggers about how they're planted but if you get the sweet spot they love? look out. ;0) Also, I read a bit about your hydrangea problems and I see you got a ton of advice. I'll add that most hydrangea bloom on second year wood, so if your pruning them down..that's why they're not blooming. You have to be pretty careful about pruning them. Your yard is beautiful!

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  15. Yours look great already!!! I have yet to un-made nature's weed magic in mine!~ hope your having a great holiday Sarah!

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  16. Beautiful! Just stunning! I just did a post about our blooms too! Love this time of year! I think we have the same pergola as you. We've had it for three years and just had to buy a replacement cover. I have knock out roses too. I don't do anything but prune them in February. I don't even remove the spent blooms. :) I love your patio furniture. When my kids outgrew the wooden playset, my hubby took it down and repurposed the wood into adirondack chairs. :)

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  17. What a lovely garden, and I love the fireplace. I totally agree about the knockout roses but be prepared they grow like weeds ! Mine are huge and I keep cutting them back all the time, thousands of flowers tho' so worth it !

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  18. It looks great! What an awesome backyard oasis you are creating!

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  19. What a beautiful yard! My mom has a saying about plants that I'm learning to agree with - the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap. It helps keep me patient when I think my new plants are growing too slow.

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    1. So true Shannon, I was thinking to mention it too.

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  20. the coral bells (heuchera) also come in a green version - the foliage iis boring but they have beautiful pink sprays of tiny flowers that work nicely in summer bouquets. your garden is lovely. definitely more hostas in the shade garden! and the only thing I think you are missing is a lilac, unless you are too warm for them in your area. i live in canada and they are a staple in gardens here. :)

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    1. I found a Lilac version that grows here in Texas, I have had three blooms so far this year, I love Lilacs, I missed having them from when I was in So. Dakota, so when I saw this one (Jo-Lee Lilacs, from Springhill gardens), I jump on them!

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  21. the coral bells (heuchera) also come in a green version - the foliage iis boring but they have beautiful pink sprays of tiny flowers that work nicely in summer bouquets. your garden is lovely. definitely more hostas in the shade garden! and the only thing I think you are missing is a lilac, unless you are too warm for them in your area. i live in canada and they are a staple in gardens here. :)

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  22. Beautiful yard!! Our peonies bloomed a few weeks ago and I was beyond thrilled because we had to transplant them late last season due to some changes in the yard. Hydrangeas bloom off of the dead wood. You will get a lush green plant if you trim them, but probably not many blooms if any.

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  23. You have a good start to what could be great gardens/landscaping.
    We love to garden and plant for the beauty and the fresh food, but I like making sure that birds/bees have a habitat they enjoy as well-good for us, good for them , good for the earth.

    No matter where we have lived( NY, TX, OR right now and next CA), I always buy the landscape book for my area from "Creative Homeowner."
    We get ours at Lowe's :)

    What I like is that there are lots of pictures AND a detailed list of what/how many items to buy; they also separate areas by sunny and shady sites. It's a no-brainer kind of help.

    Here's the link to their page-
    http://www.creativehomeowner.com/category/landscaping

    ( Oh and ditto to what the others said about your non-blooming peonies-they need to be planted more shallow in order to bloom;
    they LOVE sun and are very hardy plants no matter where you put 'em-but the planting depth really matters...)

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  24. A beautiful walk through your gardens~ I love every curve & corner! Stunning! Hope your day is wonderful!

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  25. What a beautiful tour! Love your gardens and the fireplace is awesome! :)

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  26. Awesome tour! Your gardens are gorgeous. I love peonies.

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  27. Beautiful! I just want to hang out on your patio with some wine and good friends! I think the perennials are Coral Bells.

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  28. Your yard is gorgeous!!! Love it. One thing about the knock out roses is that they may be starting to get problems. I saw that in a magazine and also from a nursery here. Check in your area before you get more. Same with impatients. I read that their are major fungal problems right now. Your coral bells are huge. Hopefully some day ours will be that big! Of course ours are just coming back from a hard winter. A few weeks late, but at least they are growing! Take us on more tours as you add more plants and hardscape, etc. I LOVE garden tours.

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  29. Such a pretty garden! You did a great job on it...hopefully we will have a garden like that someday!

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  30. Your Heuchera's are gorgeous,however, as they are a perennial you may want to root trip them and change out your container soil. I grow these in pots with a lime Sweet Flag grass and blueish larger sedum. The blue, lime and red compliment each other and then I add some annual for flowers. Various grasses also add texture to your beds which are very low maintenance which is cool. Love your fireplace, is it gas?

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  31. I didn't read the other comments but the limelight hydrangea doesn't bloom until later in the summer. Mine, in zone 5, doesn't start flowering until some time in late July. Mine is in morning sun and afternoon shade and it's bloomed since the year it was planted. Maybe you're is getting too much sun.

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  32. Your yard is beautiful . So many small details make it very unique and with a strong personality. I would say that peonies prefer the morning sun, because is not as hard as the afternoon. Because the other ones also take sun during the afternoon ? Thanks . Joanne

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  33. Beautiful! Looks like you may have some sort of cover over your deck area? We're looking to do something like that. I love that yours looks like you can have it open or closed. Do you have a photo of it? Would love to see it!

    Yep, Coral Bells by the fireplace. One of my fave plants!

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  34. I thought they were Coleous by the fireplace.Your garden looks awesome. I too watch my Peony tree everday to see blooms.any day now>lol.

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  35. It's gorgeous and so bursting with color! I want to curl up there and read a good book while it lightly drizzles just a few feet away from me.

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  36. i LOVE your backyard!!! i really love peonies and want to plant some around our front porch, but do you have problems with them flopping over once they're in bloom? i've seen some in my area that seem to flop over from the weight of the flowers once they get bigger. i would love to plant some, but the hubby wouldn't be too happy if he has to peel them off the lawn and out of the way every time before he mows. haha.

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  37. The plants in the urns are heuchera (coral bells) and are one of my landscaping faves! They can get pretty large so you may need to transplant soon so they don't choke out. Maybe near the trees where you want to add color? They come in so many beautiful color choices. As far as your hydrangeas, be careful about cutting the woody "dead stuff" because that's what the flowers grow on. Lookin good!

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  38. I'm in zone 5 and have my limelight hydrangea in full sun all day long. It blooms beautifully in late Aug & on.... I'm planting a Tardiva hydrangea next to it this year so I will have some ore interesting flowers. They have a thicker would stem so they are a bit more hardy here in MI. The plants by your fireplace are indeed coral bells. They have tons of varieties of these so if you wanted a different leaf color, etc. if you love the Moorhead hydrangeas then try the everblooming series. So easy to grow. Acidic soil makes them turn blue while alkaline soil makes them pink. You can put coffe grounds around the soil of the plant to change that. Gardening is fun. I've learned by reading & trial & error.

    Liz VanKirk

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  39. Mophead hydrangeas - lol... Dumb auto correct!

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  40. I love your backyard. It's all beautiful. Knockout roses are wonderful. It's a rose I can finally have without killing as well. And they say about ivy-the first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps and the third year it leaps. We've found that to absolutely be the case.

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  41. To get your Lime Light Hydrangea to bloom cut the roots about 1 ft from the base of the plant in a complete circle. You will have lots of blooms then :)

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  42. What a beautiful garden! Wish I could grow peonies in Austin, Texas. They are my favorite! A great gardener I talked with told me to plant my hydrangeas in an acidic compost(I think it's compost...it looks like dirt.) He said coffee grounds do not have enough acid so you have to buy acidic compost or solution each year. Also in Austin I have to water them every day. This year they have lots of blooms. Love your blog!

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  43. Your yard is GORGEOUS! I'm coveting it right now with my desert yard of rocks and nothing but brown. Really beautiful, Sarah.

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  44. Looks great! I'm waiting for my peonies to pop as well. They're so pretty. Can't wait to see what you do with your shady spot!

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  45. Beautiful yard, Sarah. A note about your trees - if you want them to spread out and be bushy, trim (prune) them from the top so they don't get so tall. If you want them to get taller, prune them from the bottom and side branches. Also, try a wonderful flowering plant called Lantana. It's an annual that comes in lots of colors (even multi-colored!) and varieties - some are creepers and some are taller. The flowers are really little bouquets of tiny flowers and they'll bloom all summer long.

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  46. If you planted English ivy you want to be careful with it. It has a tendency to take over everything if not pruned often and ruthlessly. It will kill trees if it climbs them and suffocate smaller bushes. I'm in zone 7 and didn't have any in my wooded yard 17 years ago but I'm having trouble controlling it now and my neighbors don't do anything to help control it. It will also grow through the morter/openings in your stone fireplace as well. Here in zone 6 Lanta is a perennial but an annual in other places. Try Miss Huff for multicolor blooms. You might also try impatiens as an annual for lots of color in the shaded area all summer long. It will often volunteer here in zone 7. I've had 20 ft rows of it volunteer at least 2 ft tall over several years. Beautiful yard.

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    1. Totally agree about the english ivy. It's one of those plants that seems like a good idea at the time (like mint), but give it a few years and you'll rue the day you ever planted it. Rip it out now before it gets out of control and/or ruins your fireplace mortar. When we bought our house 10 years ago, almost our entire acre lot was covered in it. My husband has been ripping it out by hand ever since.

      Also, I second the vote for Lantana. One of my favorite plants because it blooms non-stop all summer long.

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  47. Beautiful! You won't find me complaining about all this rain. I still have nightmares about our water bills last summer.

    I've been trying to grow hydrangeas for 2 years now. Last summer definitely didn't help my efforts.

    Are your two peony bushes with only a few little blooms new, as in you bought and planted them within the past year or so? I planted two peony bushes I purchased from Lowes in the fall of 2009, and they finally bloomed this spring. Seriously, it took them 3 stinkin' years! I'm never buying peonies from a store again. Dividing and transplanting from mature peonies is where it's at. And you're right, they love the sun. Mine line the south side of our house which gets full sun all day, everyday.

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  48. Yep. As everyone else said--heuchera (hyoo kera). I am mildly obsessed with them. Most will tolerate sun or shade. I probably have 15 different types and my 4-year old can name them all on sight. Check out bluestoneperennials.com to see a huge number of varieties (awesome online perennial retailer).

    I also second the above comments about the ivy. I'd lose it. It can actually damage your mortar. I've got an acre full of it in zone 7a and it is the bane of my existence. I swear I spend half my life whacking it back and pulling it off trees. OVER IT.

    Also--didn't follow the hydrangea drama link ;) but if that's a limelight, don't worry about what you're pruning. It will bloom on old AND new wood. You can cut it down practically to the ground in early spring and it will come back, though ideally you should locate it so it doesn't need to be pruned much at all. My overzealous spring clean-up crew hacked my limelight to itty bitty stumps, and it's already sprung back good as new. Too early for blooms, though.

    Your garden is beautiful. I fantasize routinely about selling my ginormous property for a beautifully landscaped AND MORE MANAGEABLE plot like you have. Mad jealous. :) No wonder everyone wants to play in your backyard!

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  49. Your peonies are gorgeous! They will be in full bloom soon - very jealous! :-)
    www.makeshiftmargaritas.blogspot.com

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  50. Clematis would look beautiful climbing up your fireplace.

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  51. What a gorgeous back yard! You are very blessed. :-)

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  52. Nice yard! I think your mystery plant is coleus, but I could be wrong. I live in a totally different planting zone! Nicole

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  53. What kind of border do you use to keep your grass and much separate? It does not look like there is one?

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  54. What a great update! You did such an amazing job. Everything looks so perfect. I’m a little jealous :)

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  55. Your yard is gorgeous!!! I absolutely love my Knock Out Roses. They get full sun at my house & do great. I do trim them but only because they get so out of control. I love Hydrangea's but I haven't had any luck. I have one on a pot on my patio now that I've managed to keep alive since Mother's Day. We'll see how it goes. I love Peonies too but I don't think they grow in Louisiana.

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  56. Beautiful!!! If you love the heucheras - you might want to check out their petite cousin heucherellas 'solar eclipse' - it's an awesome multicolor - a real show stopper!!

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  57. What a beautiful outdoor space. A place of eating, lounging, playing...you all have it covered. Love it!
    Sarah

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  58. I live in Iowa and love knockout roses. My favorite are the double-petal in red and pink. I also have a yellow knockout. I also have coral bells. They come in so many colors. Mine are burgundy and they spread. Every year I get new clumps that pop up. I love your patio.

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  59. A lovely garden! Peonies are slow to bloom, but so worth the wait.

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  60. So inspiring! I think the mystery plants are a grape leaf choral bells (which now knowing you are a bando fam I hope they are!). They should spike a white stem with little whitish bells!
    Love your posts!

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