I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.
Landscape Plans

Right now my yard is a constant work in progress. As I've mentioned before our lot has a lot of challenges. We are on the corner and we back up to a cul de sac - both are huge positives. And prior to moving in I didn't realize that because our street side yard is north, it is the perfect place to set up some chairs in the shade and watch the kids play with their friends in the cul de sac. Lots of other families seem to agree and we have all sat in the grass, on blankets, on chairs and even stood in my north side yard over the last several months while children played because it is the perfect spot. It is also a great place for children to play as it is visible from all other yards on the cul de sac, so we had a lot of sprinkler/wading pool play in this side yard lots of afternoons this summer. Our yard may not be ideal for privacy or for appearance but for practicalities sake, there have been so many good advantages that I am really beginning to love it.

With that said, it needs to look a whole lot prettier than it already does. I've been planning obsessively and my husband has been working like a dog to get it whipped into shape. So far we have a gorgeous island with trees anchoring our tiny back yard and giving us a hard break between our property and our neighbor's drive way. Eventually the cryptomeria will grow large enough to afford us great visual privacy and the crape myrtle and japanese maple on either side of the cryptomeria will soften the privacy screening effect. It is really pretty right now as the seasons change. We have been (with the help of our neighbor who owns a pick up truck) getting loads and loads and loads of compost to amend the beds that we already have and to create new beds with. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to grow plants in subsoil that has been dredged up during the building process and then compacted into dense, unrelenting clay with sod laid over. The pH of our "soil" is 5.1 - yes, I heard your gasps through the computer monitor. SIX lime applications are going to be needed over the next several months to correct the extreme acidity of our "soil".

Over the last few weekends Bob has helped me create a very long, narrow bed that pops out into a much larger semi-circle beyond our house that runs along that shady north side of our house. I really wanted to grow some climbing roses up the side of the house to soften it but they were just never going to work well because of the intense shade. We've put in three hydrangeas, two Annabelles and an Endless Summer Blushing Bride to anchor the narrow part of the bed, along with some hostas and huecheras and at the end of the bed where it pops out and widens considerably and gets loads more sun we put in a Korean Spice viburnum and a Chasteberry/Vitex tree (shrub). I am going to be working in 200 spring blooming bulbs into this bed sometime in November when the weather decides to finally cool off. I am going to be growing a variety of climbers in this bed to cover the wall about 6 feet up, possibilities include climbing hydrangea, honeysuckle (yes, I know it can be invasive) and spring blooming sweet peas or maybe even... GULP... ivy. We'll see what I can figure out. I would rather in look like it is naturally climbing rather than trellised so that is posing some problems as I sort out what to choose. I will probably end up with a combo of a few plants and it is really fun trying to find the perfect ones. With the hostas and heucheras near the driveway I will work in some columbine to give it some pretty blooms in the late spring/early summer. I also plan to put in skip laurels all around the heating/cooling units in the spring to hide their ugliness from view.

In the back of our house we will be putting in stairs off of the covered back porch. The stairs will come right off the middle of the porch and on either side will be garden beds. I am hoping for a naturally shaped patio that follows the shapes of the garden beds and bumps into the large tree island, we'll see what happens budget-wise in spring. In the beds on either side of the stairs will immediately be Pinky Winky hydrangeas. They can take full sun, are repeat bloomers and are gorgeous. To the left of the stairs just beyond the hydrangea will be a Bloomerang lilac which will get to be about 5-6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. In front of the lilac will be spirea and some other blooming perennials that I will not have to stress over on an annual basis. We'll see what I come up with before March/April. To the right of the stairs just beyond the anchoring hydrangea will be two shrub roses, not yet sure which varieties, I could absolutely see any number of possibilities there. I am almost sure they will be a soft pink or white to complement the hydrangeas. I am creating a sea of yellow and apricot roses in other parts of the yard so I have some room for some soft pinks in the back. On the porch rails above each bed will be rail flower baskets and I will be putting in jasmine, my very favorite floral scent which performs beautifully on my back porch.

On the south side of the house running along towards the veggie garden beds and attaching to the main front island bed I will be planting 4 types of roses. Hopefully they will be gorgeous as this is the sunniest and hottest part of my yard. I will most likely put some leafy perennials in front of the roses to soften the effect in case the roses defoliate due to heat, disease or something else. Roses are reputed to be finicky, you know, and I am counting on a lot of trial and error before getting it right and having them do well in my garden.

I am still trying to plan the front beds. Our builder is replacing 17 shrubs in the next week that I think are shockingly awful in both hardiness and appearance - the japanese holly inkberries have got to go. Once I know what I'm getting (hopefully it will be better) I can plan to either use those in the future landscape plan or know I am going to have to pull them and try and budget for something else to go in their place. I'm working on some plans now but all could change in two weeks. I'll keep you posted. I definitely want something climbing on the side wall in the photo above and I also want the beds to look full, dense and interesting. Quite a challenge considering how pitiful they are right now. I put a lot of red and white annuals in to give some pop in the front this spring/summer and I tried to cover up with coleus this summer the ratty shrubs that are going to be replaced. Let's hope next summer it looks a lot better from the street than it did this year.




Samual said...

I like your Blog.Your landscape is a vital part of your living environment. The landscape Aerizona can create any outdoor paradise you desire, such as a built in barbeque, fire pit, thriving green lawn, flourishing trees and shrubs.

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