Friday, April 25, 2014

Before and after ~~~~ a lot of work!

Click pics for details

Before - this back corner was looking awfully untidy. Ivy was encroaching on, up and under our potting shed. My own fault though because I planted it with good intentions - to disguise the neighbor's storage shed!  It hasn't made much of a difference on that shed yet, but is growing everywhere else! So this week we spent several hours pulling ivy, raking leaves and then moving what had become more than vintage 'yard art', more like rusty junk!

A few years back I went through a phase of dragging home old stuff for the garden - a bicycle, old shutters, lanterns, windows, wood trellises, a big framed mirror, galvanized watering cans and buckets etc.

Through rain and snow, hail and wind, the yard art gradually turned to yard junk. What was neat and arty suddenly looked a nasty mess ~ and we want to get out from under all this extraneous stuff around the cottage and garden.  Downsizing somewhat, and serious tidying up is definitely in the cards.
To dispose of this oversized junk we requested a 'special pickup' from the city - miraculously they arrived as promised early yesterday morning and hauled it away.

After - it does look much better. I kept the mirror glass, like how the garden is reflected there,
just threw out its rotten wood frame.

Will feel safer sitting on the bench for a garden break now that huge tangle of ivy has gone - snakes came to mind, although we've not seen any yet this spring.

Planted two small potted hydrangeas used indoors over Easter - hopefully they will grow tall there in partial shade, and eventually help hide the old shed. The shallow concrete 'bowl' holds water for butterflies - it was the top of a birdbath until recently, then most of the edge crumbled when I tried to relocate it! Butterflies are already visiting the garden, a good sign.

Coming up next in the garden, planting seeds - herbs and flowers - a few more pots of petunias, a couple of those bright green sweet potato vines, and who knows what else might catch my eye at the garden center…….it's so hard to restrain myself when it comes to plants!

Are you planning a weekend in the garden?
Here in North Carolina the weather is perfect and working outdoors such a pleasure.


  1. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    Good morning, Mary!
    I enjoyed your before and after photos. Love the after! Your garden looks so clean and tidy :0)
    I spied a galvanized watering can . . . I have one too! Mine is more of piece of garden art . . . It's OLD! Love it's charm.
    I spent most of yesterday in the garden. We're expecting light rain over the weekend, Yay!! So we'll stay inside and enjoy the coziness that light showers bring our way.
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  2. I see you in that great mirror! Things are looking nice in your garden. Snakes??! You did a lot of work. No time for the garden here and I hope my dear will remember to water things if it stops raining here in the Northwest while I'm away.

  3. I just love your garden decor and darling potting shed. I'm sure by the time you are done it will be magnificent!

  4. Hi Mary,
    Your garden is looking lovely. Yes hopefully we will be outside working on the pergola pavers. I also hope to pull a lot of weeds. We are going to have rain today but Sat and Sun look wonderful here too!

  5. I like the difference. I am planning on planting some flowers I got - on the deck - not in the yard The deer will simply nibble them all away if they are not on the deck and I like having the deer - so I'll compromise and have a flowery deck.

  6. Good morning, Mary. We won't be out in the garden this weekend due to other plans. I love your mirror - a former neighbour of mine had a piece of mirror glass in her garden and I loved the way it reflected her plants. Your collection of containers is so pretty in front of it. Have a wonderful time in your garden. It's looking lovely.

  7. Isn't it amazing how a garden can feel cluttered sometimes and all we want to do is tidy it up.
    I do love your tidying garden and the addition of the hydrangeas. Funny how we are always trying
    to camouflage a shed, or for me the fence in back. I keep asking my live-in gardener what can
    we plant to distract from the chain link fence. Tomorrow I am picking up flowering plants I ordered
    from a fund raiser for a pre-school - petunias, marigolds, geraniums, and salvia. Guess if the sun
    comes out, I will be in the garden with a shovel and a hoe. Happy gardening! Hugs, m

  8. It looks much neater around that area now, Mary. I wish I had that old bicycle though. :) I would have painted it and stuck it somewhere in my yard. hehe. Someone has hung an old bike on a tree at the end of their driveway. They put flowers in the basket in the summer. :) Sounds like perfect gardening weather there. Still cold and dreary here and rain in the forecast for days. It will dry out soon - perhaps in May?

    1. Pamela, I considered trying to spruce it up again but it really was so far gone and had become an eyesore. We are just thinking ahead to when we might have to consider a move - by then we'll be unable to clean up the garden I'm sure!!!

      Sorry you are still having cold, wet weather. We just had a quick shower but sun out brightly now - we are due rain and perhaps storms late today - but hopefully a pleasant Sat.and Sun. I have more plants to get in the ground before we pop out to see the matinee of 'The Railway Man' (Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman) - I've been waiting for it and it's playing just 2 mins. up the road!

      Have a great weekend - Mary

  9. Hello Mary, it looks wonderful and now you can relax on that bench and enjoy the fruit of your labors. By the way, I really love your new hairdo!

  10. It looks great! Love the mirror out there, too... what a nice touch. Glad you haven't found any snakes yet!! Really wishing that Richard and I had a real yard. We've got a tiny concrete patio between our house and the garage... which is why I may end up needing to go with a container garden after all. As much as I'd love a fig tree, maybe at our next house!


  11. A wonderful transformation, Mary. It's a wise idea to take a look at the vintage garden art from time to time. It seems like every season I find a few things that have crossed the line from art to junk.
    I love the idea of a mirror in the garden. I'll bet those hydrangeas will be huge in no time. Things have a way or growing by leaps and bounds here in the sunny south.

  12. It looks like a very inviting spot to sit down and take a rest!

  13. Mary, I often receive hothouse hydrangeas from students. I have planted them outside and, with patience, been successful. It takes two to three years for them to rebloom. Now they are some of the most prolific bloomers. Everything looks fresh and lovely. I need to do some clearing as well, but maybe next year. Enjoy your weekend. Bonnie

  14. Mary, the hydrangea bushes are a great idea. I wish we could grow them successfully here. I'm always envious of those who have huge hydrangea bushes. We have success with oak leaf hydrangea, but it's not the same.
    I'm out in the garden this weekend. '-)

  15. The garden is looking very smart Mary you did a great job, although I kind of miss the bike. I did like the way the basket collected the falling leaves:) Have you tried nipping off all the growing ends of the ivy to encourage it to fan out and side shoot? The Hydrangeas are going to look superb growing up in the partial shade of the trees. Hope you have a wonderful weekend gardening.
    Paul x

  16. Your yard looks neat and tidy. I know that must have been hard work. I am getting discouraged because deer have overrun our area. We came home from a trip to find our lovely potted geraniums chewed away. Will have to consult the internet for deer safe plants. But you are right; NC is beautiful this time of year. Hope to see you in Asheville this summer Mary.


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