Category Archives: progress

What’s up


So it seems that some of my work last fall is paying off at last. We have tulips!!! And lots of weeds to pull and some random leftover leaves to rake.

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A little something to make my mornings better


Every morning as we rush out the door to school and work, I realize that our yard is bigger than I think and needs a lot of love. So this weekend I decided to spruce it up a little. I did some weeding and raking of the leaves from last Fall. Pathetic, right? Before going to the store, I decided I would plant some things along the brick wall of the basement steps. Of course on my return, my husband kindly reminded me that we are planning on redoing the steps so I might want to rethink that plan. Once again, he was right.


So, I decided that the other perfect spot would actually be around the forsythia bush. I must say I really like it. This little corner, from the gate to the air conditioning unit, is my current project. In the past I’ve had a little bit of trouble in terms of layering plants–foreground, middle ground and background–in a meaningful way. The plants I bought today are the lower level and the forsythia the higher. Now I’ll just need to fill in behind and above the Mary Flemming, along the fence and into the corner next to the unit. This will make the walk to car in the mornings a little more bearable. I think I might be getting better at this.

New plants, left to right:

  • apricot blush, lenten rose
  • autumn sundance, azalea
  • r.l. wheeler, camellia japonica
  • daphne odora, marginata
  • mary flemming, rhododendron


And we’re back!

After a not so long or hard winter, I’ve turned my attention once again to the state of our yard. First of all, things are actually coming back. This is shocking to me.


Back in October I did finally get around to planting some bulbs. Five months later, I don’t remember exactly what I planted nor where I planted it. This Spring will be full of surprises.

timing is everything

I think I’ve mentioned before that the goal is to have things blooming all spring and summer long. And to have the colors change as well. Pink in early spring then orange and purple in the early summer to blue in the late summer. In order to accomplish this, I’ll need to be way more organized than I actually am.

The other part of this is that this is weird. I mean only on reality diy shows do people plan a garden or do landscaping all at once, right? In real life, do (non-millionaire) people build landscaping plans over time? Or do people really sit down and plan it all out?

They don’t call it yard work for nothing

Maintaining a yard is a lot of work and money. Don’t let anyone fool you, you will spend a hunk of change trying to make your landscaping look inviting. Ours doesn’t even look inviting and I’ve still spent a few hundred dollars over the last five months. But what really kills me is the constant upkeep. The raking, the weeding, the watering are time consuming. The raking is out of our control. Our house is surrounded by oak trees. The leaves from the neighbor’s trees all seem to fall in our yard. Sometimes I feel like it is nature’s equivalent of throwing trash on our yard. It also seems like the weeds have created a hostile work environment for our purchased plants by stealing the good soil and water. Mother nature is a Mother #%!?*%.

It pays to plan


I have no plan. This bizarre graphic is as close as I’ve come to a plan for the front yard. The dots represent empty locations that need to be filled. Actually the begonia and gerber are annuals so I’ll need to replace them next year as well. The euphorbia seems to be doing really well as is the columbine in the right corner. The speedwell not so much.

you’re doing a bang up job!


The other day a friend stopped by to return the mini-muffin pan she borrowed from me. She left it at the front door. We don’t usually use our front door. We just park the car and go in through the kitchen. We open the door and grab the mail but that’s about it. So, it wasn’t until I went to get the pan that I realized just how freaking ugly and uninviting our front yard is (and that my friend probably will never let her kids come over ever again). I also realized that the mail carrier must think the house is abandoned and is probably shocked that the previous day’s mail has mysteriously disappeared when he delivers the mail. Maybe he thinks we’re vampires or ghosts. Something had to be done.

I think every teenage girl at one time thought she might look fabulous with bangs. So she went into the bathroom on a Sunday night and, channeling Vidal Sassoon, tried to create the perfect bang. Five minutes and ten inches later, she realized with desperation that she really didn’t have the face for bangs. Maybe if she just made them a little shorter. Maybe if she just evened them out a little. Next thing you know, she has a two inch fuzz of hair sticking out of her forehead and because it is Sunday, no way to fix it. It wouldn’t be until the next morning after crying herself to sleep that she would have the idea to go for a side part and forward sweep of hair to cover or at least minimize the bang fiasco. Really, this never happened to you? I’m the only one?

Why is this relevant, you ask? Because when I started to trim the juniper bushes out front in the hopes of making the house look cute, I ended up with the equivalent of two inches of crooked bangs sticking out of the ground. I swear I was just going to trim them so that you could approach the front door without getting scratched or smacked in the face. Next thing I know–POOF! We are down to one bush and one gnarly stump. Will I ever learn?

In an effort to make a side part out of a stump, I made a few purchases. First, plants that thrive in the shade like hostas. I also bought some partial sun plants because I’m not really sure how shady the front yard is throughout the day. Next, planters because that bush was taking up a huge amount of space and I don’t know what I want plant. We still have a few huge bare spots but it does look better.

A word about taking pictures for a gardening blog–don’t try it with your kids around. I love my children but for the love of all that is holy I couldn’t keep my son out of these shots to save my life. He couldn’t believe that I could possibly want a picture without him in it. Pictures will also show you all of the paint you may have missed when you scraped the tacky green fake grass/carpet off of the steps and you’ll also be able to clearly see just how crazy your drainage system is.

I should state that although I started this project on my own, I did have to get some assistance. I trimmed the tree but couldn’t get the stump out by myself. Yes, once again, I had to call my husband out to the yard because I started a project that I couldn’t finish. And yes, once again he came outside and helped me out of the hole I had literally dug myself into. True love. Anyway, now I just have to figure out a way to discretely inform my friend that our front door is now welcoming. The mail carrier is probably going to think we moved and that the new owners are freaking awesome.

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hi, hydrangea!

Wahoo! Things are still growing! This hydrangea is blooming, baby! You may think I’m using too many exclamation marks but I am very excited. You don’t understand! After the self-inflicted drought while we were on vacation, I kind of thought things were over for this year and I’d have to start all over again. Then, the hydrangea blossomed and I was saved! Praise the great gardener in the sky! Ok, I’ll shut up now but I really think this proves that hydrangeas belong on the “Kristi won’t kill it” list.


the n word

Neglect. I have neglected my yard and my blog. You see, I went on vacation and I neglected to schedule or write any posts. I also neglected to ask our neighbor to water the plants. The grass died and some of my plants have turned a most unbecoming shade of brown. (Don’t worry I’m much better with the kids than I am with plants and blogs.) We also figured out that we have some poison ivy or oak somewhere in our backyard as evidenced buy the crazy blistery rash our son developed on his hand. His doctor dared me to kiss it better. I gave our boy a big hug instead.

I did buy some more solar lights from Target— faux copper on sale for $1.40 each. I also went to Behnke’s to buy a gift card for someone and managed to NOT buy anything for myself. I figure I need to spend some time investigating what blooms in the dry July and awful August before I spend any more money.

when in doubt mulch it out


We decided to invite some friends over last weekend so I bought mulch. I cannot emphasize how much better it made the yard look. First of all it draws your eye away from the rusty chain link and brings it down to the color contrast between the mulch and the flowers. I’m so tempted to just have the whole yard filled with mulch. Would that be so wrong? Or we could do the less lawn thing.

Also, please ignore the crappy camp chairs.