Thursday, May 29, 2008

The backyard tour...

As opposed to my front yard - which is pretty to look at, my backyard is more of what I like to think of as a 'Working garden'. It has a small Potager garden, an area with a sandbox for the kid, flowers for picking, and grass for the kid to run about on. It is still very much a work in progress, but a friend back home asked me to post photos of the backyard, so here goes....

The view from my back porch:

I would like to put a little circular patio just to the right of the orchid tree and in front of the cactus/flower bed one of these days.

A little closer:

A closer view of the Potager garden:

Now looking to the right a bit:

A little wider view ( yard looks bigger than it really is - what do they say? - the camera adds 10 pounds, or 10 feet of area in this case):

The windmill palm next to my back porch:

This area was really difficult for me to figure out what to do with. It was shady and the grass would not grow there, it tended to flood when it rained (I have since dug a drainage ditch for the water to flow out under the fence), and the earth was a mix of black gumbo and caliche...oh, and the area was so small - AND it was right next to the back porch so I wanted it to look fairly nice - what the heck do I put there?

My solution was to dig out the half-dead grass, remove a section of earth and replace it with better soil. Then I planted a Windmill palm (very freeze hardy) and recently bought some iron hooks I attached to the fence behind it, where I hung up some fabulous Boston ferns (I love ferns!)Looking closely, you can see the shrimp plants I just added in front of the palm. There is also some sedum under the palm that will make a nice green carpet around it as it fills in. As summer progresses a group of Tropical red sage will also fill in around the base of the palm. I let the sage re-seed every year and fill out the area - it is the one thing that seems to love growing in that spot!

Moving on, here is the entrance to my backyard (yes,I need to mow):

Another angle of the entrance so you can see the dwarf Canna in the background:

A view of what you see when you enter and turn to the left:

Moving out and looking back at the gate you can see the Eve's Necklace tree with native River Fern and Silver Ponyfoot beneath:

Turning to the right there is a path to follow that leads you past the coneflowers and past the sandbox. There will be a stand of sunflowers along the fence behind the sandbox come summer:

Another shot of the coneflowers:

And even closer:

As we come around the circular path and look back:

Moving back towards the porch and looking out, you can see the disappearing fountain I just put in. I will be digging out an area around this for a flower bed and I also will be adding a stone path that goes from the gate, past the fountain, and to the back porch.

You know, I don't plan garden paths, they just sorta, well, develop on their own. I may add some stones to the path after the fact, but really the garden dictates where the paths should go.

So there you have it. The entire backyard was NOTHING but grass 5 years ago. I have been doing A LOT of digging. My trusty straight-edge shovel and pick axe are my two backyard gardening companions.

Well, that pretty much concludes the tour. Not terribly spectacular, but as I said - it is a work in progress. Always. I hope you all enjoyed it ;)


Annie in Austin said...

This tour was fun, Lee - and it was impressive to see how many areas you've worked on in just a few years!

Making an empty space into a garden is something I've never done in over thirty years and 5 houses. Our specialty was middle-aged houses with a couple of good-sized trees and random collections of shrubs, so that subtraction was as important as additions to the landscape.

We've had branches fall in this yard that are larger than your trees... no wonder the sun is killing you!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Lee17 said...


Glad you enjoyed it. It was really hard to envision a garden in such a blank, square place! I have to plant things always keeping in mind their eventual size. It can be really easy to over-plant an area.

Subtraction certainly is part of the design process. It can be just as big (if not bigger) decision to remove something, than to add it!

I know! My house is in one of those developments where the developer must have decided it was cheaper to clear out all the trees than to save a few. Sad. And yes, that is EXACTLY why the sun is killing me! ;)

Flavius Maximus said...

Beautiful Flowers... I'll use these as suggestions as I create my garden!
thank you

Barbee' said...

Just popped back in for another visit. Worked my way down to here. Your garden is so different from mine that it is extremely interesting. I loved seeing the Hell's Strip, all your flowers (very few of which grow here), and the butterflies and their babies! Wonderful!