Has It Really Been A Whole Year? How About 34??

Yes, the Merry Month of May was a time of celebrations.  Just this past week, we marked a whole year back in North Carolina...with smiles on our faces, for sure.  Hard to believe, but we closed on this house on May 27th last year and moved in when the Stella d'Oro daylilies begin their show.  If you'll recall, some of the first plants we added were Shasta Daisies (the frilly kind that look almost like mums), and we are now getting to see them bloom together (photo, right).  Feels like home!

It seems a distant memory, but last Winter and Spring were quite dry...so all the plants had been deprived of enough moisture for several months before we moved in...not to mention a dose of fertilizer now and again.  The house was vacant, and the sprinkler system had been turned off when the previous owners moved out.  Sad.  The result:  a poor display of blooms and color. 

Not so this year!  We've done our part...and Mother Nature is over-doing her part with the rain...and, now, all the plants are doing their best to reward us with glorious growth and blossoms. 

A case in point:  we barely noticed that we had a gardenia bush in front of the front porch.  It is hidden between an azalea and a boxwood, under a dogwood tree. Probably didn't get any watering the previous year.  Well, after receiving weekly watering all Summer and Fall last year, and three feedings of bone meal and Miracle Gro (in between all of the rain this Spring), it bloomed so profusely this year (photo, left) that you would almost be overwhelmed with the scent when you sat in the rockers on the porch.  What a beauty!

This past year has been one of many changes around 3917, for sure.  We've added a few plants to the front yard (some azaleas, several hostas, a few sedum, etc.), but with the exception of adding a small flower bed around the mailbox, we've kept things looking basically the same as the former owners (a small lawn, with a lot of pine-straw covered "natural area" underneath all the big trees). 

Of course we added the fences for the Big Change to the back yard.  And being the rose lovers we are, we've set about adding as many rose bushes as we can find sunny spots to accommodate them.  Then, we took advantage of protection of the natural branching habit of an elm (at least, I think it's an elm...:) to tuck the swing on its stand, for a lovely spot to sit in the shade...or even in a light rain...and enjoy the scene.

The real changes have been taking place in the area we call the Way Back.  There we've created a large veggie garden, along with a "birthing garden" where we can put perennials for later division and planting. We planted 13 ligustrums across the rear property line, so we'll know where our land ends (visually), since we can't put a fence back there due to right-of-way restrictions.  Eventually, we plan to have a small orchard...and even a putting green...to complete the area! 

As I've written about before, this space was a vast waste-land of weeds and rocks, due to being shared with Duke Energy's transmission lines.  Fortunately, we only have the lines "on" (over, actually) our property; we don't have to deal with the transmission towers...other than have to look at them when we are in the garden.  Admittedly, I was a bit leery of these giants when we first moved here, and it took me a while to warm up to the possibilities of the Way Back.  But, warm up I have...and big time!

When it hasn't been raining...and sometimes when it has been...I've spent most of my time for the last 6 weeks working in the Way Back.  Mr. T tilled two large garden areas (each one is approx. 50x25), separated by a 4-foot center path (see the photo, taken last week before more changes had been made, below, right).  I've planted tomatoes (6 varieties), peppers (3 varieties), potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cantalopes, watermelons, cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, peas (2 kinds), beans (2 kinds), sweet potatoes, and corn (2 kinds).  I've lined the fences and the paths with sunflowers, marigolds, nasturtiums, zinnias, basil, and parsley.  Mr. T installed a 6-foot wire fence section at the rear of the Right Garden to support the pole beans, and told me how to constuct a tepee from fallen limbs for more pole beans, and a small trellis to support other climbing crops.  We gathered up buckets and buckets of rocks, which are now lining the side of the center path, where 6 new solar lights are installed.

In the center (which we are now calling the Rondel, a la P. Allen Smith's Garden Home), we've got three in-ground flower boxes made from repurposed wooden moving crates, filled with zinnias and marigolds (all from seed saved from last year's crop...which came from seed saved from the previous year's crop in Missouri...:).  And, last week, Mr. T re-furbed an old wooden chair so I could spray paint it Grape (purple, by any other name!)...and it has taken pride of place, in the Rondel.  Soon, it will be the sitting spot for our Pot Person...to be assembled and called Hyacynth.  She will watch over the new roses planted in the Rondel, as well as be a focal point for the whole garden.

We are tired.  And, we are happy with how it is turning out.  I'll be sure to take my camera out next time I go work in the garden to get some updated snaps to share.

It's hasn't been ALL work (although it's sometimes seemed like it...:).  We cleaned up nicely on Saturday (photo, left) to go to the Brookstown Inn in Winston-Salem to celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary.  Missy M was here for the Memorial Day Holiday weekend, so she and N/M/E got some Nana/Grand-daughter bonding time...:)   Then, in between the rain showers, we had our Holiday BBQ on Sunday...which was supposed to have the "best" chance of sun according to the weatherman.

Now, it's time to turn the calendar over to June.  Wonder what the first month of Summer has in store for us?


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