Monday, June 9, 2014

The Meadow at Bulldogge Manor

One of the previous owners of our house was a gardener, and had arranged the front yard so that one half of it was all flowering plants and no grass whatsoever.  When you look at our house, the left side is a beautiful old (I think flowering cherry?) tree, and the right side is the side of flowers.  I think she was going for a kind of wild meadow/English garden look, but either she didn’t quite succeed, or the stroke that she had in her last few years in the house made her unable to get the garden into the shape she had envisioned. 

Here's the house from the front with branches flowering:

Here's plants that grow underneath the tree:

So the side that is all flowers is pretty, but it is also a bit of a mess.  My father the master gardener has confirmed that her design has problems, to put it nicely.  It basically looks like a bomb went off in a smorgasbord:  there will be flowers of one variety scattered all over with no rhyme or reason, and then one lily, say, in the middle of a patch of bleeding hearts.  Then of course choking all the flowers is a tangle of weeds and ivy, and since Sean and I have little time to garden (and I have yet to learn how to do so), as of late the weeds seem to be winning.

Here you can see the right side with flowers and plants and weeds in a muddle:

Now I should make two disclosures here:  the first is that when we got the house, I had agreed to be in charge of the front yard garden.  And I was excited about that!  I’ve never gardened, but I enjoy other peoples’ efforts, and I always thought it would be something I’d like to learn someday.  Well, that someday is still in the future.  For when we moved into the house I was seven months pregnant and since then, I haven’t had time to spend on the hobbies I already enjoyed, yet alone learn new ones.  My second disclosure is that my garden slothdom, such as it is, isn’t shared by Sean, who works hard every weekend on the numerous yard tasks that accrue during the week.

Of course, while he is doing so, I am watching Owen, so there is a reason I’m not gardening in the front.  But all this is to say that our front yard garden – messy to begin with – became even more so last summer due to neglect.  At one point we had someone come in and give us a quote to see how much it would cost for them to turn the right side back into a yard and move a lot of the flowers into contained beds by the front porch.  And doctor our beautiful tree a bit.  But the quote was about three times as high as we had expected, so there went that idea.

Sean thus decided that this spring and summer he would start to organize the yard himself.  He’s moved a lot of the flowers from the front yard to the back; made endless trips to pick up free community mulch; moved some of the flowers to a new bed by the porch; gotten rid of a pebbled path that wound its way through the plants, and has also tried to keep the weeds and ivy at bay.  It’s going to take all season, and perhaps two, but eventually we hope to have a patch of lawn where the weeds currently are, and a bit of space where once there was meadow.  Here are some pictures of what we are dealing with:

This is a pretty yellow flowering bush of some sort that grows up intertwined
with an evergreen tree.  It looks nice, so we will leave it alone:

So that is that.  We have some work to do, but there is not really any huge rush.  I forgot to mention that also underneath the tree on the left side is a nice azalea pathway that leads to our house.  Here it is in bloom:

It is fun seeing what comes up where.  This year, we had a beautiful purple flower that I hadn't noticed last year.  I took a picture of it to show my boss, who is also a good gardener, and she tells me it is spiderwort.  It sounds so nicely witchy!  We shall definitely keep this one, but might move it to a different, less central, locale (it's smack in the middle of the yard at the moment).


Sean said...

This yard will be the death of me!

Sean said...

This yard will be the death of me!

Elizabeth said...

Ha! Keep working!

Elisabeth said...

And I was just going to see if Sean would like to come for a visit to South Dakota and work some in MY yard! My garden is finally looking like something this year. It was totally neglected the first year we had the boys (all I could do that summer was cry!), and I do tend to run out of gardening steam by July when it gets so hot here. I just started a brand new GIGANTIC project where Ryan tilled the other half of the front yard so now the entire front yard will be perennial beds. I already struggle to maintain what I've got, so I'm not quite sure why I decided to till up a 42' x 40' space to create more flower beds, but hey, gardening is all about dreaming big. Sometimes I think about your dad's amazing garden. Hmm, maybe HE would like to take a trip to South Dakota?! Those azaleas are beautiful! I also love the porch.