Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where the Wild Things Are

Just as the garden was waking up a few weeks ago, the photo below captures what I spotted under my PJM rhododendrons in the front lawn, while looking outside my office window.
After snapping the above photo through the window, I ran outside and took another, while the rabbit stood, frozen.  Then, I shooed him/her away, thinking nothing more about it.
After the first grass cutting on April 11, Mr. P. comes inside and informs me there is a bare patch in the center of the lawn, and it looks as if some kind animal has made a hole (click on photo to enlarge and see the white arrow, pointing to where the hole was spotted.  Sadly, you can see much of winter's damage to my laurels and magnolia in this photo also.)
So, being the fixer that I am, I had some areas in the lawn that I tried to "seed mulch" to get the grass growing in bare spots.  I tackled this middle-of-the-lawn spot by first pulling away the scratched out grass, shooting a jet stream with the garden hose directly into the hole (nothing came out, and it was pretty shallow).  I then added some dirt, worked in a mulch of grass seed, and continued watering the next few days.

This past Saturday (two weeks later), Mr. P. informs me the hole is there again, and it looks like some kind of animal has been in the yard (this photo is AFTER he has mowed the lawn, but he noticed the disturbance prior to mowing).
Yep, it looks like there WAS some kind of animal in the yard, and upon closer inspection, there was not only the downy surrounding the hole, but there was actually fur within some of the clumps of downy, and it looked like rabbit fur.  All I could think was this animal must have an extremely low level of sensory perception (I won't say brain) to build a nest in the middle of an open, city lawn. Can you say not smart??
We have had our garden for ten years now, and I have never had trouble with rabbits.  However, last year, I did have a first-time occurrence of my asiatic lilies being chewed at their base, one by one.  I have replenished the plantings this year with new lilies, as I was not even seeing a sign of any new growth this season from those perennials.  I never spotted a rabbit last year, and certainly never saw signs of a nest like this.

We have a next door neighbor with a tabby cat, Harold, and he's my #1 suspect of interest in this case. We also have red-shouldered hawks and crows in our area, but for the most part, we are city folks without a host of fauna such as coyotes or fox, so I'm not suspecting the latter - yet.  Our entire yard is surrounded by brick fencing, with only the gates having ground openings, so the culprit had to be agile enough to quickly climb the fence or swoop down to seize the victim.  I have yet to interview Harold's person to see if they have seen any "gifts" recently dropped at their front or back doors, so that will be part of my forensic detail.

Meanwhile, I did what any city-slicker would do.  I have patched and reseeded the said crime scene, and went to Lowe's on Sunday and purchased this repellant made by Bonide:
We're forecast to have rain through mid-week, and the label said to sprinkle it around the area six hours prior to a rain.  So, I placed the Repels-ALL around the disturbed patch of lawn, and also around my replanted lilies.  I also put a small fencing around the latest plantings of asiatic lilies to try to somewhat protect them.
I have since read reviews saying the product is worthless (it doesn't harm the animals, supposedly just disturbs their nasal passages and encourages them to move on).  We'll see.  I also put a question out on my Hometalk page, seeking help identifying the hole and victim (you can see that here).  Wow!  In less than 24 hrs, I have had nearly 23,000 views and over 150 comments!  The overwhelming majority say rabbit, as mamas will pull their own fur out to fluff their babies' nests (just wait till they're born and you're raising them, mama!).  Only one person suggested a home remedy of talcum powder in the hole and a few mothballs in the garden.  I know mothballs supposedly keep cats away, and I really don't want to harm the animals - I just don't want them in MY garden!  Birds - Yes.  Squirrels - well, OK.  Moles, voles, snakes, gophers, rabbits - NO!  You probably already know my sentiments regarding the Canadian geese - oh, hell NO!

I have said it before, and I'll say it again, the best kind of rabbit in the garden is a faux rabbit!
On a more positive note, we have not seen but a random sighting of one pair of Canadian geese in our area within probably two months - that's good, because this is mating and breeding season.  Canadian geese will usually stay in the area in which they're born.  As long as it's not my area, that's okay with me.

The rain continues, and I will check in a couple days to see the status of the case. Until then, this is Inspector Clouseau, signing off.

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Home Sweet Garden Party

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let's Go on a Pick!

(Thank you to We Call It Junkin for featuring this post!)

Here's some eye candy for those of you who like to browse the internet and shop without guilt.  I did the buying over the last month or so, and you get to peruse my wares as I show and tell.  These items may or may not land in the Panoply booths. ;)

The first is a really cool deal I scored at an estate sale recently. It's not very often that you can find an ENTIRE set of vintage luggage, let alone one with the hatbox piece!
I was sooo excited to score this set.  I definitely need to foster these for awhile.  The hatbox piece came with its original shipping box from Schwayder Brothers, Inc. in Lincolnwood, Chicago, and was dated 12-14-55. Declared value at the time:  $50. That's equivalent to just under $500 in present value.

These next few items look like I'm taking up farming, lol.
The cow and hen came from the same estate, a sale hosted by a friend.  Another of the host's friends was in attendance, and she said, "oh, that looks like ClaraBelle!" That gal's a farmer, for real, so I got on her Facebook page to grab a photo of ClaraBelle, just to show you the strong resemblance!
Why didn't she buy her ClaraBelle?!  My cow has officially been dubbed ClaraBelle.

The pig board, petite-sized, was a boy's shop class project.  I love it, and may add a curly twine tail.
Here's another picture of the pig board, along with a trio of restaurant ware creamers I picked from a fellow dealer, in graduated sizes:
From the same dealer, I purchased this heavy, Red Cliff (not really old, circa 1950-60) vegetable tureen:
Lo and behold, I got it home only to discover I have another tureen in the exact pattern (grape), so this one's already been placed in the house, at least for now.  In the photo below, the new one is on the far right, in back, and the smaller one in front of it is the one I already had.
Okay, the next item's one I bought and actually placed in the store, lol.
We sell a good amount of antique and vintage hardware, so we loaded this one up like so:
Of course, there's hardly a sale Panoply goes to without coming away with a few (or a LOT) of linens. These linens are not too old, probably 1960s, maybe even 1970s, but they're cute (the napkins are Vera) and will likely sell during warm-weather months, and they were all bought at 50% off.

The next two runners I bought with my own household use in mind. They're newer, from Macy's Charter Club line, and were dirt cheap at the 50% off day.  One is long enough to use either on my DR table or...my king-size bed!
You know how they put those runners on the end of hotel beds?  I kind of like that idea, since we use all white linens in our Master.  Just for fun, I played around and snapped this photo to see how it would look. I think I could live with this; now, if only Mr. P. could.  We'll see.
Are you tired of shopping?  Maybe you need a little caffeine so you can re-group and re-energize...we still have some more shopping to do!  That's what Panoply does on its shopping excursions, and I'll bet you do, too, don't you? Hurry back, I've got a few more things to show and tell!

Next up:  another piece of vintage luggage.  This one's from a fellow (I'm assuming) who attended VPI (Virginia Polytechnic Institute), now known as Virginia Tech (since 1970).
The side has the guy's initials, ELH.  One of my Panoply sisters dubbed the fellow, "Edward Leonard Harthgood", to which we had a good, hardy, cross-your-legs kind of laugh!
Here are a couple of office items I latched onto from that same shopping jaunt:
How cool are these?  The notary embosser reads, "NOTARY PUBLIC SEAL INDIANA", and is marked Pat. 1804 on the side of the lion head.  The paper cutter is much smaller than typical (about 6" square). I am drawn to these kinds of items from my own career as an accountant (and notary public), and they remind me of my dad, who was also an accountant (and notary public).

Next is another pick which I have already placed in the Panoply booth.  I was able to source both the round and square Fostoria American cake pedestals / salvers.  These are highly sought after in our region, and I wonder if that's true in any of my readers' areas?  I had tried for years to score the square style, in more than one auction, with no success.
So why not keep the one I'd finally found?  I did!  I found TWO of the square ones, so I kept one. I have a thing for cake pedestals, with or without cloches, in spite of my not particularly liking glass.  I may have to take the round one home, just because it coordinates so well with the square one. ;)

Last, but certainly not least, I hit the china jackpot the other day in my own antique mall where my sisters and I have our Panoply booths. I collect china (and use it all!), and I am always on the look out for Greenbrier Hotel china (a landmark, West Virginia hotel which deserves its own post at another time).  I found these for a really good price:
There are four sets of cups with saucers, and luncheon plates, all made by the Homer Laughlin Company of Newell, WV.  This china was designed by Dorothy Draper for the Greenbrier just after WWII, in her signature brights.  The colors are a bit off in the true tone as a result of the sunlight streaming into the room, but they are vivid green with the pink rhododendron, our WV state flower, in the center.  Other companies made this china for the Greenbrier (Mayer, Shenango and Syracuse among them), but I wanted Homer Laughlin since it is West Virginia based. China nirvana!  I just wish the dealer had more of it.  I am collecting Greenbrier china and tableware, piece by piece, in the hopes of making complete service for at least four.

Alrighty, then, have we shopped till we're ready to drop?  Did you see anything you liked or would want to claim as your own?  I've already been out and about again this weekend, with items too late to post until another time. What are your most recent scores?  I love show and tell, so please spill and share your recent loot.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Personal and Practical Find

I have always loved things personalized, whether it's selecting a special gift for someone or buying something for myself. I recently came across an item that is both personal and practical, and wanted to share it with you.  It is the personalized cutting board from Frontgate (this is an ad free blog, no sponsorship here, but the source link is provided for your convenience).

By sending in any photograph of your subject choice - whether it's your home, your favorite vacation spot, a pet, etc. - you can have the image transferred and laser-cut onto a piece of maple wood.  It can be beautifully personalized to your specifications (my personalization is blocked out in the photo below with a scroll feature from PicMonkey photo editor). I bought the large size (20" x 14"), and it's hefty; the other option was extra-large (24" x 15").  The cutting board has hand-forged iron handles, and rubber stops on the underside.  I plan to use it for all my family gatherings, having already started with Easter.
Here is the original photo from which my board's image was laser-cut:
Once you place your order with Frontgate, you receive your order number, and then send your photo in (must be JPEG format), along with the order number, to identify it properly.  It is suggested to use a horizontal image, and to have a minimum 300 dpi for the resolution to transfer easily.  Your personalization is entered at the time of the order (although I messed up, and had to send mine in with the photo after ordering).

Although pricey (in my opinion) at $229 for the size I ordered, I had a gift certificate from Frontgate, and I waited for a free shipping offer through email subscription before I placed my order. If you've never ordered from Frontgate (or any other online vendor), sign up for their mailing list, and they will most certainly send you a discount offer for a first-time order within a few days.  If they don't, call their customer service department and ask for it - you're likely to get a 10-15% discount by just asking.

This is a great way to memorialize a place, person or pet you love, and it also makes a great gift for wedding, housewarming, downsizing, or retirement, or for that one person on everyone's list who already has everything. You just have to be decisive when you place the order, as personalized items are not returnable. Mine's a keeper - a nice way to remember the house I enjoy making a home.  :)

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Common Ground Be Inspired

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings

Easter greetings to all of you, on this glorious morning!
This is a photo of me with my siblings, Easter, 1958 (I am the baby, being held by one of my Panoply sisters. The other Panoply sister is between my two brothers).

The promise of today is ours.  I hope you're able to enjoy some time and share it with all your peeps today!
A Happy Easter, indeed!

Friday, April 18, 2014

My Favorite Garden Five

I am pleased as can be to be sharing my "favorite five" garden items with readers today in a blog series feature at Laura Gunn's, "Decor to Adore".  Hurry over to see my tried-and-true, hard-working garden favorites, and tell Laura Rita sent you over to get the latest dirt!  Many thanks, Laura, for the guest post invitation!
Flowering lilac with swallowtail butterfly - Good Friday, April 18, 2014
I'll be taking a break from the garden chores this weekend to make preparations for hosting a family dinner on Easter Sunday.  Have a glorious weekend!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Unsuspecting Hummingbird's Predator

It's that time of year again here in the eastern part of the US.....the hummingbirds are migrating to our backyards. Perhaps you've already spotted them in your neighborhood, but it's usually mid to late April before they're seen here in West Virginia.  The hummingbirds are my favorite fair weather visitors, the only birds I feed in warmer months.  I also try to plant flowers and bushes that I know hummingbirds love, such as pentas, bee balm, butterfly bushes and hibiscus. Did you know one of the hummingbirds' worst enemies is the praying mantis?  It's true.
 When I snapped these photos in my garden three years ago, I thought the sight was 'cute', but it's not!!
The fact is that praying mantis will patiently wait, as in the case of these photos, for the opportunity to snatch and devour an unsuspecting hummingbird.  No birds were harmed in this scenario, and I am now much more knowledgeable on the subject.  Nowadays, I would shoo the praying mantis, instead of trying to make a photo opportunity of the situation.

I posted the top photo of mine on my Pinterest Garden board in 2012, on my Hometalk page in 2013 and, to date, the latter has received over 51,000 views, along with many comments.  It seems many folks were/are unconvinced of the predatory capabilities of the praying mantis, but there is definitely documented video evidence out there of the natural process if you want to research it.
While praying mantis can be a beneficial insect against moths, mosquitoes, aphids and flies in the garden, please be watchful of them around your hummingbird feeders!
Each year in my garden, it seems I end up hosting a family of praying mantis in my containers, typically in my courtyard, which usually have pentas planted in them. Hummingbirds love penta flowers, so I suppose nature has its way in that praying mantis take up residence there, waiting for their opportunity. Praying mantis have a natural ability to camouflage themselves in the plantings, so it's not always easy to spot them.  I typically only spot them as I'm watering containers, and they jump out after I've unknowingly sprayed them.
So, as you're readying your feeders for those sweet little hummingbirds this year, I hope you'll take heed and shoo the praying mantis from the hummingbirds.  It wouldn't be fair to feed the hummers and trap them simultaneously. Besides, there are plenty of insects in the garden for the praying mantis to feast on.

Below is a quick and easy recipe for feeding your hummingbirds.  I typically buy a gallon jug of water to start the season.  There's no need to buy the pre-made stuff, nor is there a need to add red food coloring to the homemade feed.

Hummingbird Feed Recipe:
1 gal water
4 cups white sugar (the ratio is 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water (or 32 oz)
Place water and sugar in a large boiling pot (at least 6 qt size).  Heat water to boil or near boiling, continuously stirring the sugar until dissolved.  Be careful, as the sugar will stick easily to bottom of pan if not attended.

After sugar is completely dissolved, turn off heat and let cool on stove (about 45 min).  Fill feeders(s). Return unused feed water to seal-tight jug (I re-use the water jug initially purchased).  Feed can be stored in fridge for up to 3-5 days.  Be sure to label your jug as "HUMMINGBIRD FEED - DO NOT DRINK!" so no one in your household will mistake the jug for drinking water.

When refilling feeders, be sure to clean them first.  Mold can grow easily on the feeders' spouts, especially during hot, sunny days. If your feed gets cloudy, change it.  I keep an old toothbrush on hand for cleaning the spouts on my feeders, and wash them with water and a drop of liquid dish soap like Dawn® if necessary (be sure to rinse well).

Here's another great tip for taking care of the hummingbird feeders: keep those pesky ants off the feeder with the Perky Pet Brand ant guard.  It is, hands down, the best remedy I have found, and I have tried several other remedies including vaseline and vegetable oil wiped on the pole.
As you can see in the photo above, the ant guard easily slips onto an S hook, which is slipped onto the end of your shepherd's hook in your garden.  Then, the hummingbird feeder will slip right onto the ant guard.  I buy one for each feeder at the start of the season, and they last all summer long.  

I have yet to spot a hummingbird nest in my yard, which would be my own personal hummingbird garden nirvana.  I have only seen photos of their nests, and they are about the size of a quarter, as seen in this link:  www.rubythroat.org.  It is said the best way to detect the nest is to let the female direct you to it, but the nest can be nearly a mile away from the food sources.  Can you imagine the energy these little creatures expend on a daily basis?  They never cease to inspire and amaze me, given their size.  I don't get flocks of them as some folks do, where they all feed harmoniously together.  It seems the 'city' hummers I have like to dive bomb at each other, keeping one from another on each feeder very jealously (even though I have four feeders plus plantings throughout my garden).  Sometimes it sounds like mini airplanes buzzing by, as their wings dart from feeder to feeder. Take a listen to the hummer's wings at this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's audio of the ruby-throated hummingbird and you'll see what I mean by the sound of mini airplanes.

Do you spot hummingbirds in your area?  Do you work to attract hummingbirds?  How successful have you been in doing so?  Did you know the praying mantis is its predator?  I'd love to hear from you on this subject.  In the meantime, here's a link to a great article from Birds and Blooms that identifies nectar flowers you can plant in your garden to naturally attract these welcome backyard visitors.  Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Landscape Plan: Lessons Learned, Pitfalls to Avoid

In a related post, "Landscaping: Plan Your Garden, Garden Your Plan", I talked all about how my husband and I began our landscape garden with an exterior renovation project in 2004.  In case you're jumping into a landscape project this spring, or planning one sometime in the future, these two posts may be quite helpful to you, especially if you want to do the work yourself.  This post is a look at our garden now, ten years after the initial planting, along with a summary of lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid from the project.

Just to recap:  The house and garden lots, combined, are approximately 100' wide, and 100' deep; the main garden is about half of that total space, or 50' x 100'.

Below is a photo of the mature landscape from within the brick wall, looking from the farthest back corner of the yard, 2013:
And here is the view from that same corner of the yard, just after planting in 2004:
The front corner of the landscape, looking toward the next door neighbor's house, with azaleas and snowflake viburnum in bloom, spring 2013:
The aerial view of that same corner, spring 2005, just six months after the initial planting:
One of our specimen plants, the weeping cedar atlas, fall, 2013 (supports are for training the branches and all perennial underplantings had been cut down and cleaned out):
During winter 2014....
And the weeping cedar, just after planting, spring of 2005:
Our magnolia, summer 2013:
The magnolia, spring 2005, following initial planting (not even as tall as the trellis next to it):
As I mentioned in the post prior, the main lesson learned in planting a garden is to plan your garden and then garden the plan you settle on.  In other words, make a plan, lay it out on paper and/or the dirt.  Below are more of our top lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid that may save you money.
  1. Make a budget and know how much you want to spend on landscaping.  Landscaping is not for the faint of heart - it requires work, so either plan on doing the work yourself, or plan for landscaping service in your budget.  Don't forget to plan the maintenance - it is time-consuming, and time is money; therefore, plan to spend one or both.  Even container planting can be expensive, so plan accordingly. Also, landscaping maintenance is ongoing, so while the initial planting is a one-time expense, the maintenance is recurring.
  2. Save any dirt you dig (unless your earth is full of rock, but, seriously, even consider the rocks for landscaping also)!  We had a lot of dirt turned over for the very first time, and it was rich, river bottom soil.  We made a HUGE mistake of letting much of it be hauled away once excavated (because it was inconveniently in the way of construction), only to have to pay for dirt to be hauled back in once landscaping was finished.  It was not the same rich dirt.
    Footers dug, with excavated dirt positioned for re-use
  3. Do some research, either your own or by paying someone (landscaper) to do it for you.  We did both - we hired a landscaper, and I did a lot of research on ideas I had and on those suggested by the landscaper.  Read magazines, search the internet, visit nurseries - either big box or small businesses - you can get a lot of information by engaging in conversation with managers / employees. You need to know how big a plant is expected to grow in its maturity in order to optimize your land and your budget.  
  4. Learn which plants thrive in your conditions, and 'think green' by selecting plants that are native to your growing region.  Learn your USDA hardiness planting region, your landscape's sun exposure (shady, part sun, full sun), and learn your soil type (see #6). This knowledge is power, and will save you money in the long-run by making smart selections.
  5. Google "master gardening ____", wherein _____ is your state, and you should see resources for university extension offices (with .edu as the suffix of the resource), an extremely valuable resource. For example: http://mastergardeners.ext.wvu.edu/ .  Within this resource page, depending on how your state is structured, there may links to local offices near you (for me, it's a county extension office).  These agencies offer more information than you could ever need as a casual gardener, but also offer programs for certification to become a master gardener.  I became a certified master gardener a couple years after my garden was established, in order to better understand my own garden, but could have used the information sooner.
  6. Have your soil tested before planting.  Your local extension office (see #5) will typically do this service free of charge, and it can save you a LOT of money before investing in plants that simply won't thrive in your garden.  It is best to take several samples from all around the yard to have tested, as soil composition can vary greatly around the landscape.
  7. Plan for utilities in your landscape before you plant.  Does your current set up take into account planned lighting and water needs? We mitigated this issue by extending our utilities throughout the property, both water supply and electrical. One of the smartest things we did was to run the utilities under our road, across the street, to reach our river property, in the event we wanted to build a dock or gazebo in the future, or for immediate, general maintenance.
    Underground utility conduit, run under the road, from main property to riverbank, for future development
  8. You don't have to plant everything at once; your garden can be installed in phases.  Phasing in your landscape not only helps in budgeting, but allows the opportunity to test the experience to see if it's worth your investment. Adjustments to the plan can be made more easily with a phased approach. Do you want more hardscape such as rock paths or walls, benches or chairs, a trellis, gazebo or pergola and less plantings, or vice versa?  
  9. Once your garden is planted, be aware that changes are inevitable.  For us, our region was rezoned eight years after initial planting from zone 6 to zone 7 (more moderate to more southern & tropical)! Our biggest and most costly pitfall here was in losing three white birch trees in our landscape.  They were marginally rated for our area before the rezoning, we took a chance, and eventually all three succumbed to birch bore.  Not only did we lose established shade growth in the landscape, but we lost specimens with year-round interest (the bark is beautiful all year). But when you have lemons, you make lemonade, so the cut birch logs are now part of my indoor decor.  The point is to go with the flow of nature (while paying attention to point #4, above). 
    Interesting, paper bark of white birch tree amidst a massing of white anemones
  10. Sometimes you'll get more than you bargain for with your plants - sometimes planned, other times not planned. Good examples of planned bargain are with liriope (commonly referred to as monkey grass), and several other perennial plants such as the anemones pictured above.  These plants multiply naturally in the garden, so if you want to exercise patience and a phased approach, you can divide your plants and replant in other areas of your garden (liriope), or you can let them reseed themselves (anemones).  Just remember, when you do plant, you want a careful balance in making a visible impact versus overplanting.  You want enough plants so that they are visible (massing), but you don't want to plant so many that they fight to survive, choking themselves out in competition for nutrients. Blooming eventually suffers and plants die when overplanted or crowded from years of growth or multiplying without division. An example of getting more than bargained (unplanned) is in choosing a hybrid plant variety. The maple tree variety pictured below was selected for the specific purpose of camouflaging the utility pole behind it (at the back of our property along the alleyway).   
    Maple tree viewed from inside yard, camouflaging utility pole outside center of brick wall in alleyway 
    The hybrid we selected was supposed to mature at about half of the typical 35-50' height of so many maples, but because hybrids don't always turn out to be what you think you've bought, you end up with something else (such as something closer to the root on which the hybrid variety was grafted to grow; in this case, a taller variety) - it happens.  Our pitfall in this hybrid selection is the added maintenance of having to trim the tree more often to avoid the power lines.  Continuous pruning may eventually hurt the tree's natural growth to where it could die and need to be replaced.
    Maple tree viewed from alleyway, outside of brick wall, with utility pole directly behind
  11. Gardening grows the spirit, and it also grows friendships. Once you start gardening, it becomes a springboard for conversation with neighbors and passersby.  Exchanging plants or gifting some of those divided plants is a sure way to befriend a neighbor, and you can also donate your divided plants to your local school or extension office for their fundraisers.  You can even sell your divided plants at your own yard sale to recoup some of your investment.  The overall reward and satisfaction of getting in the dirt, getting dirty, finding my happy place, and relaxing in the calm of the job well done is something words can't even adequately describe for me; it just is.
    Lilies purchased for tabletop decor, later transplanted into the garden for future flourishing
    Heirloom irises, divided by a friend, transplanted into my garden
  12. A mature and well-maintained landscape garden can up your curb appeal and increase your property value by up to 10% of comparable properties otherwise, according to web research.  Conversely, a poorly maintained garden can decrease your home's value, so know what you're getting into before embarking on landscaping your property, and be willing to commit to it.  
    First blooms of spring, front lawn
  13. Good fences make good neighbors - it's true.  If you don't live in city limits or a developed subdivision, this may not apply to you, but within city limits, it's nice to have a clear division between properties. While we value neighbors, we value our privacy, too. Landscaping can provide a fence itself, but the actual hardscape of a fence can keep out unwanted critters of various kinds.  Fences can also provide a sort of micro-climate within a landscape, helping to ward off damaging winds and extreme temperatures, acting as a shield around plantings.
  14. Journaling your garden is a great way to document the changes over the years to better understand fluctuations in the success & failure of plants.  Besides keeping the design plan, the tags from plants installed, and research on my plants, I even keep a monthly printout from the weather.com website that shows the actual temperatures and waterfall recorded at month's end.  The garden also makes for beautiful subject matter in photography, which complements the journaling.
    Garden in winter
  15. Be mindful that no matter how much time and money you invest in your landscape, stuff still happens. Plants get diseased, critters manage to interfere, and things do change. The good news is that the garden is ever-changing.  The lesson learned:  let the garden be.  It's a trial and error process.
    Lingering days of fall in the garden
I hope there's a takeaway or two for those of you reading this, along with the previous post, on landscape gardening. My intent was to share our plan design (just one of thousands), the experience, the lessons learned and the pitfalls to avoid, in the hopes that you'll save some time and/or money with your own plan. Your feedback is always welcome.

If you'd like to see more of my garden, here are a few other related posts from the past year with many more photos, all previously published:
Gardening Grows the Spirit 2012
Collected Cast of Characters in My Garden
Here's What's Blooming in My Garden Now
A Walk in the Garden Today
Plan Now! Annual Flower Container Ideas
I also invite you to follow My Garden Board on Pinterest, which has a fairly good following, if you prefer that method of media interaction.

(Thank you to Dwellingsthe Dedicated House and Creative Country Mom for featuring this post!)

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