This year we started a bit late on sorting out the pots and baskets for our back and kitchen decks, for Reasons. But finally we got around to it. Before I get to that, though, here are a couple of pictures of the front of the house, showing how the garden blooms in May and early June. The first is taken from the drive. I worked years to get those roses to finally form an arch around the front porch.* Finally: success!

Every winter our living room is oriented around the fire but every summer we move all the furniture so we’re oriented towards the huge picture window, because, well, what we see through it really is a picture—framed by those roses. We have red, white, cream, pink roses, all different kinds. Plus lavender. Lavender. Sage. An amazing blue bush that’s crack for bees. Wild strawberries, cloud berries, dahlias, Oregon grape, vine maple, so many things…

One of the things we value most about our house is its serenity and sense of privacy. We live in the city, but from inside, we see just nature: birds, trees, and flowers. When we first bought the house, from inside the only visible sign of civilisation was the wall of the barn next door, on the other side of our north fence. It did not trouble us because on its south-facing wall there were no windows, no door, no second story veranda to intrude on our privacy. Here’s what you can see today, from our back deck, of the barn (now converted to an ADU (accessory dwelling unit): three-car garage below, large self-contained apartment above, but still no windows on that south wall).

Most of it is hidden by a cherry tree, a slow-growing privet hedge, and now a fast-growing vine/shrub thing I always forget the name of. In those pots are purple salvia (hummingbirds love it), veronica, impatiens and petunia; herbs (sage and marjoram); marigolds, flaming lips (another salvia—humming birds seriously love these) and more petunias; and sweet bay, a zillion petunias, and some kind of ivy vine things that, again, I always forget the name of.

When we first moved in, we didn’t worry about the fence on the west side of the garden because it was backed by trees growing in neighbours’ yards: a massive cedar tree (at least 80′) in the northwest corner, lilac tree, willow, bamboo, plums, more plums, more willow, all the way down to the ravine to the south. But then there were floods (partially a climate issue but also because of the city fucking up the drainage plan leading to a nightmare deluge for the neighbourhood), and most of the trees, except the massive cedar in the corner, had to come down in order for home owners to get at their ruined drains. So we tacked on a bit of extra fencing, and planted a zillion vines, a mixture of honeysuckle, kadsura, and evergreen clematis. We didn’t bother with the corner because the great big tree there hid everything and its shadow made growing anything else impossible. And then, of course, last year that tree was damaged in a storm and had to come down too. So now we have a hole in our perimeter where we can actually, gasp, SEE THAT WE HAVE NEIGHBOURS.

They are perfectly nice neighbours, but still its even nicer not to have to see people—or be seen—except by appointment. So we’ll have to fix that. Last month we had our eye on a nice, already-big jasmine, but the seller abruptly went out of business and now we’re stumped again. I’m thinking we’ll just go with another combo of flowering and evergreen vines. Tune in next year for an update. Meanwhile, here are a few more flowers from the back deck. These are more petunias (I like petunias) growing with some lavender that we rescued and repotted.

And because I like petunias (did I tell you I like petunias?), here’s a close-up.

We grow most of our herbs and flowers, though, on the deck off the kitchen. Here’s the west side of the deck: fuchsia and veronica; thyme, parsley, and basil; another variety of veronica with more fuchsia (Kelley likes fuchsia); nasturtiums, oregano, sage…

This, left to right, is a bit of the potted jasmine, just about to bloom; a basket of lavender and marigolds (the crows love to perch on that basket to yell at us for breakfast); a pot of begonias (‘mistral orange’); and a bit of a basket of salvia (‘flaming lips’) and petunias.

Here’s a wider view. That pot on the floor in the corner is some kind of grass and yet another sort of fuchsia.

And we have more fuchsia and geraniums (? not sure, actually) in the other direction, but the fuchsia’s not really blooming yet so I didn’t bother with a picture. As I said, these all got a late start, but hopefully by the end of July they’ll be a riot of colour. Stay tuned.

*I’m in a wheelchair now, so when I say ‘I did this or that’, I sometimes—though not always—mean ‘I caused this or that to be done’. I do a lot of the container gardening, though this year I had help with getting stuff planted and repotted, but I prune and dead-head and fuss and water. And I choose the plants and direct where they’ll go. And when others offer to help with larger pruning of bushes and whatnot I gratefully accept and suggest what should come out where (though often the volunteer explains why what I want is idiotic and so does something different and better). Kelley does all the main garden watering because physically it’s beyond me. But between me, Kelley, friends, neighbours, and the crew we pay to actually mow the lawn and stop the driveway being overrun, we make something beautiful. I am grateful.