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The front yard through history

This is the first spring picture I can find , I think... maybe spring of 2007?
I don't think it's from 2006, because then the tree was brand-new, and the mulch looks a year old in this shot.

And here's basically the same shot last spring, when I rescued a whole overcrowded chunk of irises from the house demolition across the street.

They bloomed gloriously for about five minutes, and then I sold three big pots of them for $10 each - $30 pure profit that went, of course, straight back into the garden.

Lest I sound totally selfish, I also gave one pot free to our friends because he happened to come by when they were blooming and he said he loved irises. She didn't look too thrilled when I drove them over, but give n' take is what marriage is all about, right?

Oh, and I kept a bunch for myself. :-)

Anyway, I was stuck for what to do with the yard and doodling some things out on my own when somebody advertised on Craigslist to offer a FREE garden redesign for practice - I guess she'd just graduated or was graduating from some kind of program and wanted experience and images for her portfolio.

So I emailed her the above pathetic yard picture, Ted included, and eventually, after chatting via email a couple of times about our desires and needs (yes, we need grass - a big patch of it in the shade to plunk the kiddie pool!), she emailed this back:

Incredible!

Well, I thought it was absolutely perfect except for the slope of the front bed. At the time, it couldn't spill forward over the hill like she drew it because that was where we put our garbage. Still is, when there's overflow and large items, though the bins have largely eliminated that use of our lawn.

And I couldn't afford the large boxwood, euonymus and cedars she'd drawn, so I bought mini ones that will grow, at a cheapo out-of-town nursery for $5 each.

So here's the fairly unsatisfying continuation of the saga: Spring, 2009.
I think it's better, anyway, despite the distinct line between the two types of grasses, and the million squirrel-dug divots in the lawn.

The front bed is better defined, but the euonymus, cedars and boxwood are still too small to count as "landscape" items - except the dead cedar on the left-hand side that I'll probably need to swap out for a live one. Great.

But if you click the picture, you can see they're there, and the euonymus, and boxwood, and yes, they are growing.

Also, the front bed is already filling in nicely with ornamental grass, lilies and, yes, my gorgeous irises. It's still kind of a hodgepodge, and I haven't laid out any annuals to define the edge yet, but I definitely plan to. I think this year is shaping up to be the nicest garden year yet.

Do you notice that hazel tree in the front bed has not grown in these pictures? It certainly hasn't died; it's currently leafing out nicely, but it sure doesn't look like it's gained (or lost) any branches. We think it is just getting taller and taller, and tufty at the top like a Dr. Seuss tree.

I think this is the year that the support post can come off - probably should have last year.

Smart tree tip I read in a magazine: Instead of yanking out the support post which has sat beside the tree for the last four years, saw it off just above ground level. It will disintegrate naturally and not shock or damage the roots in the meantime the way pulling it out potentially could.

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