Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Blues - Part 1

Our first snow.

I love snow.

Seeing that we've managed to get this winter's snow all at once, I thought I'd write about it. In two parts.

It's early in the morning and looking outside I see that it's snowing. Again. With half dollar sized flakes, gently coming down. Watching it fall makes me reflect on the snow that we've received over the past month.

A light dusting.

The cold early morning air hits your lungs andmakes you feel alive.

Early morning snow.

The falling snow takes away all the noise making everything peaceful. It seems like you can actually hear the snow land on the ground.

You can still see the blades of grass.

The sound of snow crunching under foot where you never heard anything before.

Coated trees give them the look of a black & white picture.

The first snow falling coats everything with a covering of white changing the way everything appears. It looks like white brush strokes from an artist.

The Snow makes the House Glow.

The early morning newspaper leaves tracks as it skitters across the snow.

Cleaned Walkways leave a Pattern in the Bluestone.

I enjoy shoveling snow. It gets me outside and the exercise of moving snow feels great.

The Garden Angel is Surrounded.

A little more snow. This is great. Everything looks so fresh. I'm enjoying this.

A Pic from my Sister in Atlanta. They're having a "Blizzard"
They have a lot of catching up to do.

So there you go. A little snow. A little exercise. It's all good. That is until the snow didn't stop.

Next time - Winter Blues - Part 2 (or I hate snow)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Landscaping - Part 1

As I sit here watching the snow come down on our third Monday with a significant snow storm, it seems like last spring was so long ago. It was then that we started working with Brooke Merriam from Sunflower Designs to design the landscaping around our new home. 

Landscape Plan - Overview
Who knew there were so many plants to pick from?

I’m happy that we hired Brooke because it’s one thing to change some plants around in existing landscaping. It’s an entirely different thing to start with nothing and go from the ground up. Wait. Let me correct that. We started with mud.

North side Overview

North against the house
We ultimatley went with hostas and another plant who's name escapes 
me because of the deep shade from the house.

North along the Property line
We were looking for some privacy between the houses.
Three River Birches along with tall Switch Grasses will help with that.

Brooke guided us along by listening to what we thought we would like and then provided us with a number of plant suggestions. We knew immediately that we didn’t want any large arborvitaes in front of the house. I think these are always sold as low maintenance plants. Too often though, they get no maintenance and wind up being nothing but thick woody plants. We instead wanted low bushes like hydrangeas, azeleas and red twig dogwoods and different types of grasses. Plus I had my collection of daylillies to spread around.

Front of House. West Facing.
We went with a lot of low plants like Japanese sedges and Dwarf Fountain Grass. We also added a great looking Hinoki Cypress and Columnar Sweetgum tree.

Southwest corner of  the Property.
We added a dogwood and created a small island of red twig dogwoods 
and grasses. Plus we had a couple of large rocks to find homes for

When we got closer to plant selections she then suggested that we head out to the nursery to see the plants up close. This was a great idea as it helped us switch some plants out with others that we found that we liked a little better. And of course, we also added plants that we “discovered”.

South side of the House
Hydrangeas along the walkway and porch. Grasses under the Dinning Room window.
We dropped the idea of a side patio once the back patio was completed.
We figured we could always add it later.

The other great part was that we were able to tag the plants that we handpicked for our yard so we knew exactly what we’d be planting. The downside is that it is very easy to get carried away. We picked out a large kousa dogwood that in our heads was easy to justify the $900 that it was going to cost. I think it was because we were still in mourning over the one tree, a large kousa dogwood, that we had tried to save. 

Pathway along the Side of Garage
We changed some of  the plants once we started planting this area.
We kept low plants along the wall and added medium size hostas along the
garage wall.

Later, after adding up the charges, we decided it would be more fun to watch a less expensive, smaller dogwood, grow.

Lots of low border plants and a great looking Columnar Hornbeam

The nice thing about having a plan was that it was easier to make decisions. I think if we didn’t at least have something on paper, we’d still have nothing but mud. With snow on it. 

We're happy that we kept a plant area on the inside corner of the patio.
It was a perfect location for a Hino-Crimson Azalea along 
with Japanese Forest grass.

Also, Brooke was really good about listening (and putting up with my sense of humor – at one point I told her we were ditching plants and going with a crushed stone yard to keep down the maintenance) and finding plants that she thought we might like. Now it was on to finishing picking out the plants and start with the planting.

Next - Landscaping - Part 2. Or maybe a bit about all of this snow.