Sunday, February 14, 2016

Taking inventory

I've been looking around at our property and trying to identify the plants that are already here. The front yard is all grass with a few foundation plants. There is a Japanese Maple "Bloodgood" in the middle and a dwarf variety "Murasaki kiyohime" by the front steps. There is also another Japanese Maple (the previous owner loved them) by the foundation. There is not a tag for it and I hope to get the name from him eventually.

There is not much of a side garden due to the driveway but there is a long narrow space next to an enormous English Laurel hedge. A chain link fence separates the driveway area from the back yard. I think this is a wisteria growing on it. I dislike chain-link fences intensely but it will have to suffice for a while. I can envision a wall built here with a door leading to the back garden. Maybe if we win the lottery. You will notice on the opposite side of the fence that I have already started a compost pile. :)

The back yard is spacious and also an empty slate with the exception of tall screening shrubs planted along the back fence. We are very grateful to these! I have not identified all of them yet but I know there is a cherry laurel and I believe the majority may be Red Tip Photina. Out from the hedge border is a small tree. I think it is a dogwood.

There is an old apple tree sticking out of the Cherry Laurel shrub. I think it probably needs to be removed. The neighbor told me that the apples were always rotten. I am not sure yet. I may wait until it leafs out to decide.



Over in the corner is a deciduous mystery tree. Our neighbor says that it drops seeds that grow form leafy green plants all over the ground. They remind me of Italian arum but the plants just consist of a single leaf on the surface of the ground. Part of the tree is split and hangs over. I think this definitely needs to go plus I would like to screen off the house behind us.

There is an attractive bamboo in font of the mystery tree. The previous owner told Michael that he had cut it back from 10 feet last summer. He said that it is not the invasive type of bamboo. I am looking to identify it. I do like it. The only bamboo I grew in Alabama was in a pot. I was always afraid of it.

The back yard is spacious and also an empty slate with the exception of tall screening shrubs planted along the back fence. We are very grateful to these!

We like our neighborhood. It is very quiet and the neighbors that we have met have been wonderful. A lot of retirees seem to live on this street. We have been busy with purchasing some new furniture, getting drapes up and working on the floors. Our furniture and belonging from Alabama have not arrived yet. We are coming up on week 3. I am trying not to stress out about it. I keep telling myself it is traveling across the country! 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

11 comments:

  1. How wonderful to have a nearly blank slate.

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  2. It is good that you don't have to remove everything and you still have pretty much a blank slate to work with. I am with you about the chain link fence. UGH... I know I know, I installed some here but it was only because I couldn't afford a wooden fence all around our garden. Had to keep the dog in... That apple tree might bloom nice in the spring. I don't know if that is enough to keep it but all sorts of wild animals, butterflies, bees etc don't mind rotten fruit.It is exciting to see the "before" pictures. I hope your belongings arrive soon. I would be worried too. It seems like they should have given you a date for arrival?? Good luck.

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    1. A lot of birds use the tree right now, just for sitting. The movers said Feb. 10 but said it could be up to 3 weeks. So I will give them a few more days.

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  3. Welcome to Washington, Phillip and Michael!
    I read a couple of you previous post with the pictures of conifers; I adore dwarf confers and it looks like you are taken by them as well. I had seen the transformation of your previous garden, in Alabama, and I can't wait to see how you transform this garden. And by the way, Primroses are a welcome sight this time of year even if they never look as good outside (after the slugs dined on them) as they do in the nursery:-)

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    1. Maybe you can give me some advise when selecting some!

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  4. I enjoy all your posts and am looking forward to seeing your plans for your new garden space unfold!

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  5. How lovely to have that much privacy!

    I like my neighborhood and my property, but the only development is only around 10 yrs old and most people seem content to have expansive lawns, so there's not nearly enough privacy for my tastes.

    I've been experimenting with adding screening shrubs, but I was overly optimistic when I began. I now realize that good screening takes time ... particularly if you're looking to create a mixed wildlife-friendly naturalistic hedge with an emphasis on native plants!

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  6. Phillip, I am so excited to see what you'll do with your blank slate. I know it will be stellar. As you said, you're so lucky to have such nice screening hedges. Do you know if that wisteria is one of the invasive varieties? Are the Asian ones even invasive up there? I hope not! I'm with you about chain link fences. :-)

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    1. I don't think it is invasive. I am not sure yet about the invasive factor. If I replace that fence, I don't know how I will get the wisteria off of it!

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  7. Like everyone else, I'm excited to see what you do with your space over time. I'm happy that you're enjoying your new digs and hope you're not too homesick for the south.

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  8. I'm sure you'll whip that garden into place in no time! I'm always bothered by trees with other trees sticking out of the sides of them like your cherry laurel/apple tree. I always think "why did you let that happen? you could see them growing together, be bold and cut one down!" I'm serious, I always notice it. Ha ha!

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