Sunday, January 16, 2022

Waiting for the Winter Storm

Here we sit, with chest colds, sipping hot soup, waiting for the winter storm developing in the south east to make its way here over night.  We expect to wake up to a foot of snow.  The past two nights have been bitter cold, single digits.  I brought my dahlia tubers into the basement because in single digits the bulkhead gets into the low 30s and I didn't want any nasty surprises.  Other than that it maintains around 40 degrees.  I need to go down there and put them back out now that is warmed back up into the 20s.

On days like this its nice to look back over garden pictures.  I chose the one above because I remember how cool and lush the irises looked that day - a warm June morning.  These irises are at the entrance of the drive so they are right at eye level out a car window.

That got me into looking through my "history" file where I keep milestone photos of our property.  It is amazing how much has changed in just the past 5 to 10 years.  These aren't even early, shocking "before" photos.  These "before " photos are more like "midstream" glimpses of the changes this property has gone through over the past 19 years.

Our side entrance was quite bare for many years while we worked up the energy and inspiration to finish its transformation.  The new deck gives it quite a sleek modern look but I admire it all the time for its clean and orderly atmosphere.  It is both utilitarian and welcoming.  I am excited to see the new perennial bed in this, its third year, because it will really take off.

If you look back to the very beginning you can see how much the house and plantings have changed. 

The plantings have moved on even further now, but this photo below  from a few years ago shows how colorful it has become.

Our furthest side yard has transformed the most.  This started as scrubby woods and at first we just cleared the undergrowth but the ash trees remained.  These ash trees were gone before the Emerald Ash Borer really got started in this neck of the woods.

We replaced them with the London Plane trees which have done so well here.

Our firepit area also started out as an ash woodland.  The larger tree on the left became my kitchen countertop and when the stump rotted leaving a sinkhole, we turned that into the firepit.  The Maple tree shown just to the right of where my husband is sitting in this photo has survived all of the transformations and now gives us shady afternoons for sitting and relaxing.

You can see that Maple in the photo below.  It has extra lawn chairs stacked around it and is now surrounded by gravel.  It took us a long time to decide how we would manage the ground around that tree so it would be low maintenance and keep the tree happy.  We finally decided on a thin layer of gravel over bare dirt so the roots would be mostly undisturbed and so far it has been a good choice.

The lawn immediately south of the garden shed has undergone a lot of changes too.

This little area where my dahlia bed and apple tree are now has become the hub of my daily gardening activities.

Another view of the fire pit area before...

...and after.

Those photos represent about ten years of summer projects.  We only have one project slated for this coming summer.  We have to do something about the backyard drainage (again).  We haven't gone far enough with our dry creek bed.  We will see what develops.  Of course, we didn't intend to do any major projects last year and just look what happened.  

Its a beautiful sunny day out today.  And when I look out the window I don't see snow...
I see flowers.


  1. What you have done with your landscaping is truly amazing. And so beautiful! Wish I had your talent. And I do realize how much hard work it all entails. But so worth it, I'm sure you feel. (Aren't pictures both before and after invaluable?)

    1. Thank you. Yes, pictures are so important. If nothing else you need to know where drainage and utilities are. But mostly it helps put all the hard work into perspective.