Earlier this season, I told Josh, "I think all we need to do this year is replace a couple trees, replenish the mulch, and that's it!" But, as I was doing the regular pruning and mulching, I managed to come up with a few more projects (as usual!). A few photos of our yard in progress this year:
Our willow tree continues to grow at an alarming rate. I've been thinning it out monthly, trying to keep the hostas visible!
Our variegated red twig dogwoods are growing happily this year, too, and I added some heuchera next to them because I thought the purple color and the large leaves would contrast well with the dogwood. A row of dwarf balloon flowers in the front of the bed is getting ready to pop open with their blue blooms! Also in this picture you can just barely see another big project...
...our new arbor!! I've been wanting one of these for a few years, and last year I decided I was finally going to install one "all by myself!" I bought the kit, brought it home, assembled it, and painted it by myself, and then it sat in our garage all winter long. Finally, last week, Josh helped me put it in the ground. It was our first experience sinking something in concrete, but we have had several bouts of high winds and severe thunderstorm warnings since then, so I think it's pretty solid.
On the right side of the arbor is a pink climbing rose and some limelight hydrangeas and a big yellowy-lime hosta. I am hoping I can coax the rose to start climbing this year.
On the left side, I planted this cute little porcelain berry vine to start training up the arbor as well. It has purple-pink stems and leaves that look paint-spattered, and it should produce clusters of berries in the fall.
I also planted a few clumps of astilbe in the front beds. I felt like I needed more flowers in those beds, so these will help keep the hydrangeas company.
Around back, we're in the process of installing some lattice panels under our deck. This honeysuckle I planted last year really needs some support! The plan is to paint the lattice gray to match our deck. In the background you can also see a little pad for our grill and some new stepping stones.
I planted a little grouping of plumbago this year as well; James requested blue flowers, so I hope these will be reliable bloomers all summer long.
I was so excited to see the Japanese maple come back after the winter; we've planted a couple before, and they never made it. This one survived an attack by some hungry bunnies and still looks good! (Also in this picture: Incrediball hydrangea and butterfly bush)
I made a realization last year: I am horrible at plant combinations for potted plants. From now on, I'm just going to do one type of plant per pot. So, I have a couple big planters of ornamental grass on the back patio...
...and some pink, blue, and white on the front steps. So far, this strategy has been working well!
And, lastly, does this look familiar? I'm planning a new bed for the back corner of our lot, so I used some sponges and foam balls (left over from our VBS games!) to start playing around with plant placement. It looks ridiculous, but it helps me work out the spacing!
Here are some of the plants for the back bed, currently hanging out among the hydrangeas so I can keep them well watered until it's time to plant. I'm using mostly shrubs and a couple types of perennials, hoping to fill in the big space economically. It's the type of bed that looks deceptively small from the house.
So that's it! I'll try to post more photos once I make some more progress! What garden projects are you working on this year?