I was making the turn into our neighborhood this week when it struck me that it was a really similar day to the day (bright, sunny, autumnal) I came into the neighborhood for the first time with our realtors and saw what would become our house. In fact, it's been almost a year, which is unbelievable.
So I thought I'd show what we've done to the outside of our house, which may or may not look like much once I have the pictures set up. Here's how the house looked the first time I saw it in November:
The first thing we did, in March, was add shrubs across the front. These were freebies from a friend, hence the irregular sizes.
In April, we added a low stone wall to demarcate the front flowerbed. What we've had to do is build landscaping basically from scratch, as the previous owners (the "plant-haters," as they're known) had ripped out all the trees, shrubs and plants for reasons known only to themselves. We also filled the bed with a couple truckloads of composted soil.
In May and June, I slowly added some herbs and perennials to the flowerbeds. This has been the most trying part for me, because I have no idea what I'm doing, or what will do well and what won't. Bright annuals seem like the obvious choice to fill the beds, but as the front of the house is the only section that gets any substantial amount of sun, I decided to make the bed my herb garden, supplemented with perennials, and then filled in with annuals.
Being timid about spending vast sums of money, I didn't fill in the beds nearly as much as I should/could have, but I'm just writing off 2006 as a learning year. Hopefully, in these pictures I took yesterday, you can see how the beds have filled in a little. Most of the plants struggled through July and August, and didn't really start to thrive until the weather cooled off in September.
Since the only gardening I've done is in pots, planning gardens and beds for a bare canvas this size is fairly daunting to me, especially since plants are such a money gamble. I'm afraid I take it personally when they turn up their toes and die on me!
Next spring I'm hoping my German neighbor with the super-green thumb will repeat her offer of plants from her garden...I was just not ready to start planting when she was thinning out her gardens in March.
Once the weather cools, I'm going to throw in some bulbs and pray the squirrels don't feast on them...and I may splurge on a few flowering shrubs to plant along the treeline in back.
My plans for next year are to keep adding plants to the front, until I have a really full jumble of all different sorts of things. English garden-style is what I'm going for. And then I'll take on the backyard, which is an even more daunting task!
The next major cosmetic change to the front needs to be updated paint on the shutters, door, and garage door--all of which are looking mighty faded from 20 years of southern sunshine. I'm thinking navy blue would look crisp; right now it's all an 80's style country blue which is not only faded but seriously out-of-date. Painting the garage door will be a stopgap until we're ready to replace it with a nice new door--sorely needed.