April 5, 2011

Spring Tour - Backyard

The earth is awake and alive for Spring. Before I get carried away with photos of individual plants, I want to orient you in my yard. I love wide shots of gardens. They give you a sense the space and help you picture how the plant combinations work together. Seeing plants from afar also helps me learn about their light and moisture requirements.

So join me on the tour... first up, the backyard.

When you open the side gate and step a few feet down that gravel path, you can see espaliered figs and coral honeysuckle on the left and veggie and herb beds ahead and on the right.

Veggie Beds
When you round the corner, another veggie bed and the arbor come into view.

Turn around and you will see the side bed veggies, the beginnings of our air conditioner screen and a rain barrel.

I'd love to have a bunch of sun-loving tall flowers along this wall (maybe roses), but veggies take priority. There are plenty of flowers that I can plant in part-sun, but veggies require full sun, which is in short supply, so this spot goes to them.

Corner View Toward House
The view from the back corner looking toward the house. Note the beautiful Miss Bailey sitting pretty on the patio for the tour.

Our summer relief, the arbor.

From the Patio Looking toward the Yard
The view from the back door toward the grassy area. As you can see my two-year-old xylosma hedge was hit very hard by the freeze. I hope this was an isolated incident because I am counting on those plants create some privacy from my neighbors' yards.

Along the side of the arbor is my part-sun, full-sun and even shady flower bed (depending on where you are relative to the rose bush) that eases the transition to Bailey's grass.

One more shot of the pillared rose since this is its big season and it's about to undergo a major pruning.

Bailey's grass and my slow-to-grow foundation plants.

Around the corner on the other side of the house is No Man's Land. This area used to have a horrible slope, but we added some railroad ties and leveled the ground with mulch. We also built a second compost bin out of pallets.

Every yard is entitled to its ugly area, but I'm trying make this space pretty by tucking some shade-lovers into the pocket between the railroad ties and the fence. (We left a gap so we wouldn't trap moisture or put weight against the fence.) I'm hoping that MomMom will give me some fire spike cuttings when we visit her soon. I might paint the new compost bin too. I found a can of dark blue outdoor grade paint in the garage. We shall see...

Xylosma Screen
The last stop on today's tour, a view from the compost toward the xylosma.


  1. So beautiful! You are such a breath of fresh air - both you and your garden! :)

  2. How interesting to see the espaliered fig. How old is it, does it bear fruit and which variety? I tried to do an espalier against the wall of the house in the veg. garden. Some romantic Italian notion. It grew so huge in one year, outing its roots into my other beds that we were afraid it would undermine the foundation. I must have bought the wrong kind. I dearly would love to have on though. That pillar rose is just spectacular. What is her name?

  3. The figs are the Celeste. I have three of them espaliered on that fence. I planted them in May 2009 so they are about two years old. Last fall was the first time the figs tried to bear fruit, but the fruits were very small. I don't think I give the plants enough water to fully support fruit, but I'm trying to be more cognizant about watering this year. I love there foliage and if all they ever do is look beautiful and screen the view of my neighbors yard, that will be ok by me.
    Here are some pics of the figs over the last two years http://flic.kr/p/8ezGQs, http://flic.kr/p/8dmhoT, http://flic.kr/p/9cQiFX
    The rose is zephirine drouhin. I misjudged its mature width when I planted it. It's huge and always adding canes. It is also about two years old and this is the first spring it has had a big flower show. Mine seems to get black leaf spot more often than I'd like (probably because it needs to be thinned so air can circulate). Does yours?

  4. I thought that might be Z. I have her too and she is big. I wish I could keep her against the wall but she continues to send out shoots. hr blooms are so fragrant though.Black spot is a problem but not this year!