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.
8 thoughts on “This year’s flowers”
congratulations! they are so good for the soul. bloom bloom bloom!! and i think that newly bared corner deserves a tree, some native underappreciated joy that flowering vines would love. imagine my own bloomin yard that wp won’t let me paste in :)
Well, we did consider a dogwood, but they’re not evergreen, and I want stuff that covers the view year round.
A riot of colour on the way … go Nicola and crew (even if you pay them). I have to do all the donkey work on my allotment myself.
I only have the use of one eye, so I can’t chuck stuff about, with as much accuracy, as I could in my youth. When I worked as a trainee bricklayer (in my thirties) I was a dab hand at throwing bits of debris into containers many yards away, so I miss that childish sense of accomplishment that came with being the best thrower in the gang. (Quite different to ‘throwing’ pots, which I also used to enjoy.) However, the main point of having an allotment is to grow food and I certainly keep myself well supplied with fresh salad greens, onions, potatoes and herbs. There is nothing quite so refeshing as a glass of fesh mint tea, made with freshly picked mint leaves, and my home-made seasonal, vegetable soups are superior to anything I have ever tasted, in the way of substantial, nutritious, sustaining and delicious organically grown food.
The only problem with this is, I spend so much time tending my vegetables and cooking them that, I have little time or energy left to do the other things I value, such as; writing; reading; artwork; music-making; walking for miles in the countryside and last but not least, socialising.
I’m a sad and lonely Heath, these days. Just can’t get the balance right. Some days I just want to chuck it all in, sell my furniture etc. and take of on an adventure. I would need a companion to make that enjoyable, though. In fact, I need a companion anyway … to make my life enjoyable. I’ve been alone for far too long, trying to become the person that someone I find attractive might want to relate to; the longer this takes the less likely it is to happen. I mean none of us get any more attractive as we get older …
My strands of endeavour are all tangled up with my unrealistic attitude to myself. Yes, and too much introversion.
Sorry if this is boring … just say so and I won’t do it again.
Not boring. Just be aware you’re talking in a public forum. Anyone can read this.
This is just so lovely. I’ve never commented here before (here via Goodreads), but these photos have just brightened my day. I live in a little apartment with no garden space, but I treasure my beloved house plants. I also house-sit a lot, in some places with truly spectacular gardens, so that’s how I get my flower, herb, and general greenery fix. Several of the places have great tomato sections, and damn, the scent of young tomato plants is so wonderful, I want to wear it.
It looks like your yard is securely fenced. I’m in northern California, where if it’s not securely fenced, the deer will defoliate it overnight. Which makes it hard to maintain important wildlife corridors, and that concerns me, and then I realize “Hey, I live in a little apartment!” so it’s kind of above my pay grade.
In conclusion, thank you for sharing the beauty, and extra enjoyment points for how you move your furniture seasonally!
We don’t have many deer around here: we have coyotes. We also suddenly (for the first time since we’ve been here i.e. 15 years) have a shit-ton of rabbits. Not quite enough to keep the lawn trimmed, sadly, but probably enough to feed us for a week come the apocalypse. Do you have a balconey with your apartment? You could grow a lot of these in pots, though of course which ones would depend on the amount of sun. Fuchsia quite like shade…
No balcony, alas, but I have a second floor end unit, away from the street, with a nice view of trees and a hillside. Usually they weed-whack the hillside, but I am agitating for hiring goats for a few days, because SO EFFICIENT and OMG adorable, better than TV.
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