Sunday, May 11, 2014

Yard work

The other day Kim was working in the front yard of our house when she mentioned that a young couple strolled by.

We live in a great walking neighborhood, what with tree-lined streets and sidewalks and not much auto traffic on the road. And when the weather is sunny and warm, we often see dozens of people walking by — or even jogging —in the course of the day.

Sometimes, our house catches their attention.

 "Your house is beautiful," the woman told Kim, who had been doing some weeding in the front garden. Kim works diligently to make the area resemble an English cottage garden after she once heard our house described as a "cottage." Technically, I believe it's a bungalow, but I don't think there's such a thing as an English bungalow garden. So she faithfully tends to the pansies (in winter), foxglove, tulips, black-eyed Susans, snap dragons, daisies, peonies, hostas and whatever else she puts in there.

The English cottage garden gives a nice accent to our house.
Some statuary, including a concrete cat, helps accent the garden area.

We usually have hanging baskets on the porch, too. In most years, we prefer ferns because they're so, so...umm...Southern. This year, we opted for double ruffled petunias just for something different. We do have a couple of ferns sitting in wrought-iron stands on either side of the front door.

There is a certain oddity to all of this, however. We have two large maple trees growing out front and we simply love them. In the summer, they provide ample shade to help keep our cooling costs down. The oddity is that the trees generally offer shade to the right side of the house, but allows sunlight to flow freely on the left.

We expect even more sunlight this year after this past winter's ice storm brought down two large branches on the left maple as nature decided it was time for a little pruning. All of this means when Kim buys things to plant in the garden, we have to be wary of whether or not they thrive in sunlight or shade. Consequently, it's sometimes difficult to keep a certain aesthetic balance to the house because of the sun-shade conflict.

But we carry on. One time, we were at our neighbor's house directly across the street from ours, just chatting away. I happened to glance at our house and it genuinely surprised me how cute it was. I don't usually see our house from our neighbor's front-porch perspective and it was an enlightening experience.

So right now, we're in the middle of spring cleanup. We're busy pulling weeds. There's a pile of mulch waiting to be delivered, and I may do some spot painting here and there as summer approaches.

I just want to keep the eye-appeal alive.

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