An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

June 7, 2008

Updating A Neglected Back Yard

My small back yard has received little attention from me in years. It was the first garden I put in when we moved here 12 years ago. The only plant left from the previous owners is an old American Linden tree, which I never would have planted, but I will not remove it either. I guess my troubles with one particular neighbor have led me to look more inward, and at least what I put back here will be behind looked gates.

I now have two days off per week and can spend more time in my own garden. My main goal was to replace all of the 4x4 posts that I had originally put in as edging. Some of them had fallen victim to rot, and I wanted to find an alternate to wood. I came across some salvaged building blocks and decided to use them. They are brick shaped, but not made the same way; they are more solid and concrete-like, less sandy and decidedly heavier. They have changed the whole character of the garden.

I have also gotten around to planting all but two of the pots that have piled up over the course of the spring, and there is actually room to sit on the deck now that stuff is in the ground. The tree below is Peve Minaret Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum 'Peve Minaret'). I mentioned my love of Bald Cypress in my last post, but I do not have room for one. This one is a dwarf, and I feel subversive planting anything with even the most remote of Arab connections. I also planted an Annabelle Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle') and Big Smile Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Big Smile'). Both of these I got out of the clearance area at work. One of my other recent finds is this 80' long blue rope. My neighbor the tugboat pilot was putting it out with the trash and I asked her if I could have it. I am not ashamed to pull things from the trash be it from my neighbors, from work, or from complete strangers. I am going to try and train this Star Showers Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia 'Star Showers') to grow on it.
The pond was surrounded by ratty looking Blue Pacific Juniper, and I ripped all of that out and replaced it with a creeping Rosemary. I hope the amount of sun will be enough for what it needs. I try to look for things that do not need a lot of water to go beside the pond in order to avoid chlorinated water entering the fish pond. Now if I can only train Patsy and Loretta to scoop their own poop.


  1. What a lovely garden.And I love the net! What a great idea.

  2. And the rope is a great idea!

  3. I like the rope too - it is a very unique touch. I just read the post about the neighbor and was wondering if all that had stopped after you caught her in the act? And what exactly was she doing? Did she want the plants for arrangements or was she trying to root them or something? Very strange!

  4. Phillip,
    Unfortunately my "neighbor" is still out in the morning stealing plants and breaking branches, mostly from other yards and not mine. I can only say her motivation comes from mental illness, for which I am usually sympathetic, but no longer. It used to be that when you had a crazy person in the family, you looked after them or sent them somewhere for someone else to tend to . Her family needs to step up.

  5. Shoot, I put a bald cypress on my 1/4 acre lot. LOVE that tree. Also have a maple, willow, and two river birches. Go too many trees.

  6. Ben,
    Is it possible to have too many trees?