Friday, April 29, 2016

Top Five Things to Look For at Yard Sales This Year

It's hunting season and Panoply sisters are on the prowl, but we're not the only ones! Fellow blogging pal Melissa, from Melissa's Antiques, was inspired to do a roundup with those of us who get thrilled by the hunt, and we're bringing it to you, all in one place, so you can see what we each think are the top 5 things to look for at yard sales this year. Are you ready??? Let's see what Panoply will be looking for this year......and don't forget to check out the other participating bloggers, listed with links at the end of this post!
1. VINTAGE TEXTILES We're sometimes called the Linen Sisters at the antique mall where we rent space and sell our vintage finds, and for good reason. We love vintage textiles! We keep a really good stock of both dressy and casual linens, and there are few we can resist when we spot them at yard sales, estate sales, thrift stores or auctions. Vintage hankies are the least expensive buys, but sometimes beautiful, hand-worked quilts of old can be had for a song. Rescue a few for yourself before they're all gone!
Even the stained and dirty textiles don't really bother us (they're cheaper!), plus we have tried and true methods for making old, lifeless linens look almost new again. You can find out more about our success methods in this post.

2. VINTAGE SUITCASES, LUGGAGE The next category of things on our list we'll be looking for when shopping yard sales, etc., are vintage suitcases and luggage items. We look for unusually styled ones - wardrobes, hat suitcases, those with travel stickers - they're the ones that bring the best prices if reselling (because they're typically harder to find). So, if you see one, and especially at a good price, grab it!
Another tip when shopping vintage luggage is to look for those with level shapes - they're much more conducive to stacking and creating display surfaces from. Don't worry about color necessarily, as you can paint your suitcases to blend with your decor. Vintage luggage is an excellent storage option most anywhere in your home!

3. 'MANTIQUES' Another hot commodity when shopping yard sales, etc. is what Panoply refers to as 'mantiques' - things that attract the guys, especially if you're setting up shop to resell items in a competitive mall where it's necessary to distinguish yourself among many vendors. Although we girls may find a lot of these same items attractive, the guys need something to keep them engaged too! Collectibles items related to tobacciana (advertising ashtrays, tobacco pouches, pipes, etc), old board games or sports-related items, vintage barbershop items (razors, straps, mirrors, mugs, etc.), antique and vintage hardware, petroliana (gas station items such as signs, doorstops, oil cans and bottles), ink wells and typewriters, compasses, binoculars - all qualify as mantiques. Think gadgets and gizmos. Even if the guys don't take notice, they make great gift ideas for the gals who shop your space. Below is a collage photo of just some ideas for mantiques.
4. GARDEN ITEMS The next item to scout for at yard sales is anything garden related. Spring and summer  - yard sale seasons - are the perfect times to find them! Vintage flower frogs, garden hand tools, hose nozzles and sprinklers, yard art and statues, watering cans, concrete urns - all are great items that can be had for good prices! By all means, keep your eyes peeled for neighborhood trash piles - that's how I scored the fence sections you see in the collage below - free!
5. CRATES, CARRIERS Last, but certainly not least, on the list of the top 5 things to look for at yard sales this year are crates and carriers. Who doesn't need something cool to corral their stuff?! Pay close attention when at yard sales, especially if in the garages, as you may spot a crate that's holding a bunch of things you may not want, but need to take just to get the prize. It's usually worth the trouble!
Look for advertising graphics still intact on the crates (worth more if reselling), but don't shy away from those plain ones either - paint is your friend. However, one possible exception to that rule may be finding real primitive items with original paint (as is the case of the cobbler's carrier in the middle frame on left of the collage above, showing original red paint). People who collect primitives covet that original paint! Carts, crates, carriers - big or small - endless possibilities for containing, corralling all your stuff!

All of these are items Panoply will be looking for this year. Yes, there are more, but these are things that all three of us can get excited about, and that means synergy. Since we Panoply sisters resell and display collectively, that means like finds give us a better opportunity for amassing collections when styling. Amassing items in displays sometimes prompts customers to want to either add to their own collections, or start a new one. At the very least, it allows options for the end-users.

Probably one of the best things about this joint post with fellow bloggers is the opportunity to see what's hot in other regions from where the other participating bloggers hail and hunt! For me, my region is WV, OH and KY. Having said that, the mall in which we rent space, The South Charleston Antique Mall, is located at 617 D Street, South Charleston, WV. It's a convenient on/off  from I-64 at Exit 56, an area which happens to be very close to interstate exchanges for I-77 and I-79. Come see us - we're on the first floor!

Now, let's see what the top 5 items are for all the other participating bloggers joining in this regional flavor of yard saling! Here's the list (in alphabetical order by bloggers' first names):
Rita at Panoply (you are here!)

What's hot in your region? As a picker, I'd love to know. Sharing is caring! Please leave your comments, and thanks so much for your visit. If you're new to my blog, I'd love for you to come back. You can sign up by email or follow me on Google+, just a click away on my sidebar. I'm a commercial free, no-ad blog. ;)
Rita C. at Panoply
Sharing:  Amaze Me, BNOTP, Show & Share, The Scoop, Let's Talk VIntage, Thrifty & Vintage Finds, Vintage Charm, 

Monday, April 25, 2016

April Gardening: Fluffing the Nests

As the first flush of March and early April perennials waned, I now anxiously await the next wave of blooms to come in my perennial garden - azaleas, roses, irises, clematis, and poppies. One of the more notable things I've observed while waiting for the blooms through these last few weeks of April has been the nesting activity. Let's check it out!
The little birdhouse you see in the photo above is several years old, handcrafted by a local potter. The chickadees must like this cozy little cottage. It's at least the second time I've seen the chickadees take up residence in it.
I've spent a couple evenings just watching the male, female go in and out of the house - very entertaining. Based on research, I've learned the female nests and incubates the eggs, and the male feeds her during that time. The male, female take turns feeding the nestlings once hatched so, from what I observed of both going in and out, the babies must have already arrived. The babies leave the nest 12-16 days post hatching, with the parents encouraging their exit by placing the food outside of the nest. The parents continue feeding the babies for several weeks after leaving the nest.

Another species, the finches, seem to be totally indiscriminate as to where they'll nest or how they keep house. The nest in the photo below is in our magnolia, on a limb very near a window on the west-facing side of the house. Previous to spotting this nest, I noticed the birds kept flying into the dentil molding of our house just above this area. For a couple days in a row, I was discouraging their getting comfortable in that by using the jet spray on the hose nozzle aimed at the dentil work. I guess this limb intersection was the next best thing.
Below is, I suppose, the ghetto abode of some more birds nesting in the hood. They chose the alley behind the house, over the motion sensor light on the garage. They were evicted. I will not be known as a slumlord.
Another observation has been a lot of robins running around the yard. I can't tell if they're digging for worms (I have a lot!), or scouting out the real estate possibilities. I don't know the behavior well enough to know where they are in their life cycle, but I see a couple at a time, dancing and prancing, one behind the other, back and forth along the brick walls and in the mulch.
I've had robins nesting in my landscape before, typically in the climbing roses, and one time above the light fixture at the corner of the house, in the courtyard.
We actually saw two of those fledglings leave the nest - so fun to watch! They really don't have the skill of flying mastered right out of the nest, though it's obviously instinctive soon after. They just seemed to free base jump and sort of scale the closest wall. This shot below was taken shortly after one of the robins left the nest, and was perched on the brick ledge right below the nest.
I'd hoped for bluebirds to nest in my yard this year; however, I didn't really do anything special to encourage it. So, the possibility of a bluebird nest eludes me and my landscape yet another year.

I will, however, be encouraging the hummingbirds to come to my yard by placing my feeders out very soon. They should be arriving any day now. Be sure to view one of my most viewed posts on hummers for the common recipe for their feed and tips on protecting them from an unsuspecting, natural enemy. Until that day comes when I am fortunate enough to land the holy grail of nest building in my yard - a hummingbird nest - I thought I'd share a friend's photo of one (below).
The friend who gave me permission to use this photograph is retired and living in Arizona. She recently shot this photo on her friend's patio. Sweet, isn't it? Now you know what to look for....a very tiny masterpiece! Perhaps the hummer thought the bird on the chime was a guard at post, there to protect her babies. :)

One thing I simply cannot protect are the bunnies who want to nest in my yard. While the finches are bad housekeepers, the bunnies are just not instinctively intelligent in sighting their homes. They nest right in the middle of the yard! I've had one repeat offender, choosing the same location as last year's nest. Another one decided to nest in my juniper ground cover, right beside the magnolia. Big mistake.
I don't know what got the rabbit, but I suspect it was a hawk. The next door neighbor spotted what they thought was a raven swooping in and snatching a robin right out of the dogwood in their front lawn recently, so maybe he took the rabbit. Nevermore.

I walk the garden almost daily, checking things out and taking countless photographs as part of my annual garden journaling. My next garden post will, hopefully, be a sharing of my next wave of blooms as they [literally] unfold. In the meantime, I'll piddle with everyday chores of weeding and nurturing. The grass I patched as part of the chores covered in my last garden update is doing well. I just finished giving my courtyard roses a dose of systemic care for insects, disease and fertilization. I'm happy to report I am still doing well NOT to purchase any new plants.

How is your garden growing?
Rita C. at Panoply
Postscript:  For a most excellent resource book on identifying North American bird songs, check out this book, the first edition being a hardback version from 2006 (Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song), published by Chronicle Books, with terrific information and bird song recordings built into the actual book, easily accessible by number reference.
The latest edition is a downloadable, Kindle version, with an audio and video access to the birds and their songs. All songs are drawn from the McCaulay library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The 2006 version is available from 3rd party suppliers on Amazon or through eBay. It's awesome!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Anatomy of a Balcony Facelift

Back in 2004, we renovated our property to incorporate our side lot as a brick-fenced, landscape garden, and added more character to the front house entry in the form of a balcony. When  I say 'we', I mean we hired an architect and general contractor to carry out our design ideas. Twelve years later, the balcony is getting a major facelift.
We had a balcony designed in an arc shape over the front doorway, to soften the otherwise boxed appearance of the house's original construction. We removed the central window from the upper level, and replaced it with a door to access the small balcony from inside to out.
The issues with the balcony were immediate. Water seeped into the structure from just outside the balcony railings, and managed to wreak havoc from the inside out. The original contractors came back within two months with a temporary solution, but the problem persisted. Two years later (2006), the original contractors dismantled the balcony and applied what they thought would be a permanent solution. The rebuild proved to be worse than ever, not only compromising the balcony appearance, but also exacerbating the water issue in years to come. And, believe it or not, two balustrades had been re-installed upside down, only to be discovered afterward (2007).
Through the years, caulking just outside the balcony railing was the ongoing bandaid solution. While the balcony's outside appearance worsened, attempts to engage contractors failed in the following years for these reasons: 1) no callbacks, 2) contractors showed with estimates but were no shows afterwards, even with followup calls, 3) contractors showed with estimates but put us in queue lines which never materialized after waiting a full year (another version of no show).

Fast forward, 2016: the work began March 28th. Before my tree guys finished their job in early March, I asked them if they knew of any good contractors. Score! Turns out, the contractor is one of the ones I had called four years prior, but this time he came - that same day the tree was cut down!
Demo day is always the quickest of all the work, it seems. The railings (a low-maintenance alternative to wood) were removed and are expected to be used again. It didn't take long to see that the damage was much more extensive than originally anticipated (by the contractor). You can see from the photo collage above the confirmed fear that the balcony was basically rotted from the inside out, almost entirely. The contractor ended up demolishing all the way back to the inner porch (where noted in green in the labeled photo earlier).
The collage below shows the extent of the demo process, each step peeling back more and more. We were dealing with the crazy March weather of extreme cold and wind, too, so the exposed balcony had to be covered with tarp more than once to save that center section which was still dry (there's a drain pipe built into that part for water runoff).
Even with inclement weather, though, this contractor worked in his workshop at home, preparing the rebuild materials, and texting me photos with progress reports on those days. He mentioned in one conversation how he understood why other contractors did not want to do this job: it is considered relatively small (yet it turned out big), AND the arc shape of the balcony presented real challenges.
You can see from the collage above, the wood had to be bent into the semi-circular shape of the arc. This was accomplished by the notch cuts in the boards (much like sewing cloth at necklines, armpits, waistbands, etc.). The thinner boards on the inner/outer layers were actually soaked (he went to the river!) to mold into shape.
After the outer frame was rebuilt, the next step was bringing in the subcontracted roofer, who then "dried in" the balcony top with a rubber roofing. You can see from the top right photo in the collage below that there is a drain on this roof, which is pitched, and a drainpipe is built in to take water away. It is from outside that ledge where the root problem occurred previously. Steps are being taken to not make the same mistake twice in the redesign and reconstruction.
As a sidetrack, when the roofers came, I was put to task in cleaning the roof pads, which lie on top of the rubberized seal. The photo below shows how those pads looked while in place. They became mildewy and nasty over time, as the front of the house faces north.
At some point in the past year or so, I had removed the pads (Mr. P theorized the water leak was somehow related, but it wasn't). The pads were stacked on the utility lane on the east side of our home, out of sight. The day the roofers came back, I spent two hours cleaning out muck and mulch that had accumulated in the grooves of the roof pads lying on the ground. After powerwashing both sides and laying the pads out in the courtyard to dry, my OCD kicked in for cleaning up random leaves, weeds. Another couple hours later, I had the utility lane area cleaned up, made a trip to the local Feed & Seed store for mulch, and finished the job. Turns out, the roof pads won't go back until further in the process. :/
The next step of the rebuild was actually more demolition. The columns (same, low-maintenance PVC product as the railings) had to come down so accurate measurements could be made of the arc radius for replacement. It was decided that the replacement materials covering the wood frame would be the same type of alternative millwork this time, not wood as before. All of this will be sealed properly this time, correcting the root cause of the damage from the get-go. The new material would ensure no rotting, even if residual water ran over the sealed edges of the balcony.
There was just one huge challenge in this solution: the PVC material is manufactured in flat sheets, and only bends with high heat (somewhere near 300°). Even with a successful bend, it molds within minutes, so the application must be quick. Breakage was a real concern. My contractor came up with a genius solution, MacGyver style!
After the radius measurements of that last step of demolition had been taken, my contractor went back to his workshop and constructed a model frame of the arc. He then devised a heating unit for the PVC material. Once heated sufficiently, his team molded the material onto the frame, and were able to clamp it into place, in order for it to set up.

The balcony is built in multi-dimensional layers for an aesthetically-pleasing appearance, so the contractor's team proceeded with the additional steps of heating the PVC material, bending it and layering it onto the prior layers. A crown molding finishes off the balcony frame. This part of the process took two days, while the outside temperatures remained in the low 40s at night, and still mild at 70° in the daytime.
I cannot begin to express my total joy and the great expectations I have with this balcony reconstruction. I was once told by a friend there are three things that can ruin a house - water, water, and water. If any of you have ever had water issues of any kind (and I've had more than my share with past homes), then you understand when I say it is my arch nemesis in home ownership.

The best facelifts are those which cannot be determined upon casual glance. If we are fortunate, such will be the case in this finished reconstruction of our balcony. Stay tuned for the reveal!

NOTE:  For the balcony reveal, please visit this post:  The Balcony is Complete!
Rita C. at Panoply

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Recent Blenko Glass Purchases

I pulled out my recent purchases from the Blenko annual warehouse sale to show you. I wanted to use them in my home decor before I showed you, but that may not happen for awhile, so here we go.

My first purchase was the classic water pitcher. I chose spring green. This is Blenko's iconic production piece, 8" tall and holds 36 oz. I have another one, purchased years ago at an estate sale, and used in a previous tablescape, here. I have sold both a cobalt blue and clover green water pitcher in the antique mall.
The second item I bought was a paper bag vase. This is a color fade of bermuda blue and spring green. It is 8.5" high. The waves you see midway through are another Blenko vase's lines in the background.

The last items I bought were these two tubs of marbles, the resultant product of a partnership between Blenko and Jabo Marble Company in late 2015. A limited production run of various colored marbles were made. My mixes include green, clear and yellow.
For now, I have loaded all my marbles in another estate find I've had for awhile. It's a hand-cut, Bohemian glass candy jar, made in Poland.
As you can see, I have a pattern to my color choices, colors I refer to as my cottage colors. They are so soothing to me, and also include yellows, aquas, faded turquoise, and whites. I'll most likely be using these new purchases in my late spring, early summer decor. Stay tuned!

Rita C. at Panoply

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Early Spring Garden Chores: Purge, Divide, Conquer!

My landscape garden (Zone 7A) is mature, and late winter/early spring is an excellent time to take care of any desired plant removals in the garden. In early March, not only did we have a dying tree on the riverbank cut down, but I took advantage of some good weather and good, hired help to purge a few things in my landscape that had become overgrown clutter. 
Boxelder tree - before - late winter, 2016
Boxelder tree - after (gone) - early March, 2016 (ground stump visible behind leaf blower)
First, in the back landscape, I originally had seven Endless Summer hydrangea bushes (2004). Two + years ago, I had one removed to free up some of the summer overgrowth. In early March, I had three more removed, as pictured below. It is evident in the 'before' that these blooming shrubs had grown up against the brick wall, to the point where it was nearly impossible to pass among them.
Before & After: thinning the hydrangea shrub area
Even though the 'after' may appear scant, trust me, these shrubs will fill in this space by June, along with all the other plants that grow in this area (see fully grown garden photo taken during early summer further in this post). The overview photo below shows that same area, before (top) and after (bottom) hydrangea removal.
Before, after hydrangeas removed, overview
Two other shrubs came out, from a different section of the landscape garden, behind the magnolia, near the courtyard gate entrance.
Snowflake viburnum shrub removal; disguising exhaust pipe with paint
These snowflake viburnums (above) were planted in the 2004 original plan, mostly just as fillers while the magnolia was a juvenile plant. The magnolia is now a tree. Also, the holly you see in the foreground of the right frame of the above photo is one of three, and together they provide privacy from the street when looking back to the courtyard gate. Notice also in the photo above, the gas furnace exhaust pipe that juts out from the side wall of the house (per code). It was painted this year to blend in with the brick. The trellis will eventually be covered in annual mandevilla plantings that grow from the four planted corners, while liriope and juniper will serve as ground coverings. If history repeats itself, it will eventually look like this (below):
Trellis area during full-growth, summer
One more clutter planting was removed from the back garden - a Rose of Sharon. I took a cutting from a friend five years ago, I believe, and it's gotten out of control. The photo below is a before and after appearance of winter to early summer of this corner. I originally planted the evening primrose cuttings from another friend, and they filled out the corner nicely. The Rose of Sharon was transplanted to the center of these for some height, after losing a birch tree from this general vicinity.
Winter (L) & early summer (R): Rose of Sharon, central to evening primrose patch
The photo below (left) shows the R of S while the evening primrose is in full bloom - green in a sea of yellow - and then later (right) - after the evening primrose is cut back and the R of S is blooming.
Summer: (L) Evening primrose full bloom; (R) Rose of Sharon in bloom, evening primrose cut back (container in foreground)
I decided last summer the R of S reseeds waaay too much in its maturity, so I whacked it down. No worries, I'm sure I'll have plenty of volunteers still this year (and years to come) for restarting if I have any regrets (doubt it), but meanwhile my evening primrose will have a better chance of uniform growth. I may plant an annual (Mexican sunflower) in the midst, but am currently still pondering it.

In late March, I tackled some mulching, division of perennials, and more mulching. I will typically have a dusting of mulch in the beds in fall and alternate with a heavier mulching in spring, or vice versa with the timing. This year, I really only needed a dusting in spring for the front beds, but a heavier mulching in back where the hydrangeas were removed. I took this and the following chores on myself.
Before and after: mulching back landscape where hydrangeas were removed
Ten bags of 2 cubic feet each were spread among the beds where the hydrangeas were removed. You can see in the photo above how bare it was before (left). I think I will actually add more, and then just lightly dust in other areas wherever there may be a trace of mud on my shoes as I walk the beds - that's my gauge for needing more mulch, lol. The paver stones you see in the above photo and closeup below are new this year, too. They frame an underground faucet that kept getting mulch down into the small well (brass trap door to faucet hookup is shown closed in photo below).
Underground water supply in back landscape
Once the hose is hooked up back in this area (I have three, 100' foot garden hoses strategically placed around the landscape), I leave the trap door to this particular underground faucet open, leaving the well exposed to rains and leaky hose gaskets, when the mulch runs amuck. Amuck, no more!

Checking things off the to-do list, I next tackled a few bare spots in the grass which are caused by the chaise lounges and yard umbrella. The photo below shows the garden in June from a couple years ago, and how the chaises and umbrella consume the grass area. The teak wood has slats, and the cast iron umbrella base has fretwork, and even though we don't leave the cushions out or the umbrella up all the time, the pieces are generally positioned in the same area each year, making grass go bare over the years.
Mid-summer landscape with outdoor furniture. Note mature growth in back.
So, I raked up the areas of moss and weeds that were growing instead of grass, added some top soil, and worked in grass seed, using the method I was successful with before - overseeding - as seen here, and in the photo below. With frequent rains in the upcoming forecast, this should grow in nicely within 2-3 weeks.
Grass patching by overseeding where lawn furniture displaced growth on lawn
After I patched grass, I was on a roll, and knew I wanted to transplant several plants from the back landscape beds, in the area near the Rose of Sharon extraction, and opposite the hydrangeas. The area had become very cluttered and random, simultaneously, as evidenced by the photo below, and noticeably unattractive toward the end of winter. In summer it's less noticeable, as the butterfly bushes grow and blooms fill in. I place a large container of annuals on that concrete block you see in the picture below (on the right).
Before: targeted, clutter area in back landscape, with labels
Our birch tree in the middle of this area had died a few years ago, and that started a ripple of changes, going from part-sun to full-sun, against a brick wall. A rhododendron suffered a heat stroke without shade, was cut down (not dug out), and then rose again like a phoenix, but very chlorotic-looking. My once hefty under-tree coverage of snowflake anemones became thin patches, here and there. A few Otto Luykens (English laurel) shrubs were transplanted from another landscape area but only two did well, one scraggly. This area then became my starting ground for various plants I would purchase or take from friends. I bought several lavender plants after the winter of 2013 damaged a few in the courtyard, and bought a dwarf lilac the year before that.

I started first with the lilac and lavender. Once I transplanted the lilac to just beside the garden flagpole at the center area, that freed the space immediately behind the flagpole to be replanted with the largest lavender. I moved the other two lavender (both white flowering) to the opposite side of the landscape, in front of my season statues by the larger Otto Luykens shrub grouping.
Clockwise, top L: (1) before lavender & anemones transplanted; (2) lilac transplanted back to front; (3) largest lavender transplanted to behind lilac; (4) remaining two lavender transplanted to statue & shrub area
I next transplanted some of the snowflake anemones out of the cluttered area, planting some in front of the other pair of seasonal statues, just in front of the clutter. I transplanted several more anemones on the opposite section of the back landscape, diagonal from my hydrangeas, and behind my hostas, making an overall symmetrical planting. These plants should spread naturally, but mine were left stunted from being unattended for several years. Hopefully, this will correct the problem, and I'll see better growth in future years.
Top to bottom: (1) anemones transplanted to another statue area; (2) more anemones transplanted to behind hostas, diagonal from hydrangeas; (3) anemone transplants viewed from back corner (L), closeup (R)
So, the photo below gives a look at the before (top) and after (bottom) of that cluttered, targeted area. You cannot readily see it, but I also transplanted the one scraggly Otto Luykens plant into the area between the two thriving there. Oh, and that rhododendron? After it blooms (if  it does), it will be dug up, and I may plant it on the riverbank. The desired end result will be the Otto Luykens growing into an arc formation, and the anemones filling in surrounding grounds.
Before (top): targeted clutter area; After (bottom): shaping up the area 
I also worked in the front garden landscape section, where I had planted a type of cornflower - Mountain Bluet - between my azaleas. My goal was to see the perennial spread in the open area behind the azaleas, near the clematis trellis and Rozanne geranium. These are all blue/purple blooms - timed to bloom after the white azaleas played out - but the bluets grew into the azaleas, not away from them, and were lost in the undergrowth. I divided the bluets, and planted them in a semi-circle around the concrete pedestal holding the sundial, hoping they'll thrive and be more visible now, and in years following.
Clockwise (top L): (1) mountain bluet (foreground) before division: (2) divided bluets planted in semicircle around concrete pedestal); (3) view from ground level of transplanted bluets
Lastly, I worked top soil into the existing dirt, filling in holes remaining from my transplants. My ground soil is, overall, very rich and healthy, easy to work, and I turned over a buffet of worms for industrious robins. I purchased another 10 bags (20 cubic feet) of mulch, and lightly dusted all the areas worked. I was highly satisfied with my results. And sore the next couple of days,
Clockwise (top L): (1) after transplants & mulching, view from center back landscape; (2) after dust mulching left landscape bed; (3) after dust mulching front landscape bed; (3) early spring, view of back landscape, lawn from front
I promised myself I was scaling back a bit in my garden this year - purging, in effect - and I've gotten a decent start to it. Now, if I can just refrain from planting a lot of new things and, instead, tend to existing plant structure and appearance. I have given away several nandina, anemones, and black-eyed Susan plants in the past, and my gardener who helps me seasonally salvaged the hydrangeas this year. I'm still debating whether I'll nurture all of my Lord Baltimore hibiscus plants this gardening season, It's a big job staking them, and it's two groupings of three mature plants, front left landscape, and back right corner. I may cut back and/or divide one plant from each section. Somehow, the garden beckons my hand, and I end up playing in dirt for hours.

I did refrain from getting any poison ivy rash throughout these early spring chores, and that's a huge plus. It's a lot easier to see what's in the ground when it's just emerging. It's also a lot more fun to work in the garden when the temps are cool in the morning. However, the weekend's chaotic mix of high winds, freezing temps, and snow flying was just a tad extreme.
Overview of landscape, April 9, 2016 - Sprinter - Spring & Winter
I'm hoping my plants have survived, as well as the buds on my azaleas. The next week will be telling. Soon, it will be lazy days on the chaise lounge, watching the grass grow. I hope we see more springtime weather before then. :)

Thank you for joining me on my landscape spring chores recap! Your readership and comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
Rita C. at Panoply