This yard was just grass and dirt and ivy and weeds when we moved in, and we transformed it into something better. As I've mentioned before, I took the opportunity to plant flowers in the ground for the first time in my life. I had visions of flowers everywhere, but I soon earned that it actually takes years (or lots of money) for perennial gardens to look lush, because the plants spread a little each year. Even though these plants don't look like much in these photos, most of them should reappear even better next year. So the future tenants will get to reap the rewards of our work more than we did.
I created a bed for wildflower-type perennials. In late May, the blazing sunset geum and salvia were colorful, but the ground looked sparse.
By early July, those flowers were washed out, and the ground filled in with weeds. Later in July, echinacea and bee balm bloomed here, though I didn't get a picture. There's also some scraggly lavender, which could have used a pruning last fall.
On the other side of the yard, I created a little shade garden, edged by stones that Evan found in the yard. On the left is astilbe, which sends up white flowers in late May. On the right is bleeding heart, which has little pink blooms in May. I added a fern, because that's what a shade garden calls out for. In the middle is a small mound of ajuga, which is supposed to spread quickly as ground cover, but hadn't spread at all - maybe next year. The grassy area within the stones is where the crocuses bloom in early spring.
An extension of the shade garden, the hostas and dusty miller planted last year were still going strong, with impatiens added for pop of color.
I planted this pincushion in the back of the yard by the daffodil and tulips, but it was lost back there. Another lesson learned: Bulbs are showy enough that they can be planted at the back of a yard, but most other flowers are best situated closer to the windows or patio of one's home, where they will actually be in view.
This bed doesn't look like much, but that greenery actually includes a hosta, a columbine that started blooming at the end of July, and mums that could be blooming now for all I know.
In addition to planting perennials, I tried growing several types of annual flowers (marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, cornflowers) from seed directly in the ground, but they disappointingly didn't come up. The lessons learned about annuals are: perennials go in the ground, and annuals go in containers. And that it's best to just buy annuals as starts that are already blooming from farms/garden stores. Gardeners are able to get a head start in their greenhouses, so it adds pop of color early in the spring, instead of waiting around for your own seeds that may or may not bloom. that annuals are best reserved for container planting. Here are petunias, lobelia and marigolds in hanging containers.
In putting this retrospective together, I realized that even though I took lots of photos of the yard, there were actually more blooms that I forgot to capture. They will live on in my memory with lessons learned for when I have a garden again someday, and in the eyes of the people who live there after us, and for the bees to pollinate.