Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall Cleanup - A beautiful end to summer

I've had the landscapers here for the past two days doing some cleanup and other work. The yard is so pretty, I have to share many, many pictures with you this time. Well, this is also because I want to have a record of how things looked right now compared to next spring.

The biggest changes I had them do was to raise the base of the pine trees to let in more light, and completely redo all the parking strips. But they also did weeding, trimming, planting, and other things too. Well, you'll see -- here are the photos. Click any photo to see larger.

Front yard from across the street.
Front, east side, five pine trees and lots of low-water plantings.
More front east side
New steps and stepping stone pathway to the backyard.  Pine boughs no longer touch the ground.
Waiting for this patch of asters to bloom, the last of the season.
Flower bed in front.
Rock wall at the very front, with a new metal barrier to keep the grass out and new plantings of creeping phlox in three colors.
The lowest point of the yard, front corner garden, zinnias are wrapping up the season.
Two new sumac trees planted on the west side. Will grow to about 10 feet and block the view of my neighbor's yard without blocking my view of the valley.
 Looking down at the new sumacs from my deck. A little tile pathway and cement block stairway bring you here.
My deck and view of the valley from my back patio.
My patio, my favorite place to be any time of the day.
Backyard looking east from the patio.
My patio garden.  Lots of hidden goodies tucked in here.  The surprise performers are the parsley plants.
A very tame blue jay friend is curious about all this picture-taking and wants some of the action.
From the patio, the bare spot beside the stairs to the upper level now has some new plantings of ivy which will hopefully fill in.  The ivy climbing my neighbor's block wall volunteered from my ivy patch, so I think it will do well here.
The upper patio area.  I still haven't decided anything to do here, but may plant either honeysuckle or wisteria to climb along this back wall.  This is not the very back of my yard, it goes up further to a sidewalk and street.
Looking down from the upper level at my thyme and tile checkerboard backyard. The thyme is spreading over the tiles and by spring I will have to decide whether to trim it or take out the tiles and go for the full thyme lawn I originally intended.  I have sort of become attached to the checkerboard look.
From the upper level looking toward the east corner, the myrtle patch has been cut down to just a few inches.  It will grow back lush and full in the spring. 
Also from the upper level you can see three of the five pines that have had lower branches removed opening up light and space in the garden.  More room for plantings or simply open space. 
The three pines from the main level.  In the foreground is a wonderful patch of hyssop, one of my favorite plants for its varieties, fragrances, and appeal to hummingbirds. My former boyfriend used to say I could work the word "hyssop" into any conversation.  And yes, I have decided to keep that dead tree for now.  I just like it.
Another lovely hyssop in the foreground here.  Some nurseries also call it agastache.
The corner garden at the intersection of two streets, looking west toward the back of the house and the patio.
And finally, possibly the biggest part of the job in terms of time and expense, the completely redone parking strips.  All rocks and weeds were removed, new extra-heavy duty liner put down, and rocks were arranged beautifully.  With streets on three sides of my yard, it amounted to a big job.  Here is strip 1.
Strip 2 runs down the east side of the lot. I have a major problem with water running into this strip from the upper street (rather than staying in the gutter, it turns in and runs down my sidewalk).  The workers found about two inches of mud deposited on top the old plastic liner when they removed the rocks.  The city and I will have a talk about this problem.
And the front. Doesn't it look lovely extending even on to my neighbor's yard as well?  That's because he came over and talked to the landscapers and had them do some clean up in his front yard while they were here.  He is getting a bid for a backyard cleanup as well.  Won't that be wonderful!
So that's it.  A tour of the entire yard.  You might think there's nothing left for me to do, but you'd be wrong.  Now I plan to continue transplanting various things that can tolerate it.  But I'll probably save any further new plants until the spring.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Labor Day Vacation

I have a lot of vacation time - we call it PTO (personal time off) -- accrued at work.  And since there's a limit to how much we can accrue, I decided to use some in conjunction with the Labor Day weekend and have six days off in a row.

The time off has been absolutely wonderful and has confirmed that I'll have no problem filling the retirement hours when those days come.  There is so much I want to do.

This morning I've been trying to think specifically what I've done each day.  I know I had a couple of nice bike rides; one on the Legacy Parkway bike trail and one on the Jordan River Parkway trail.  Have visited with friends and made a new friend.  Have eaten out a few times.  Have watched movies both at home and out.  Have puttered around the house and yard.  Got a nice jump on the fall with some weeding, transplanting, and new plantings.  Did a pretty major pruning of a pine tree yesterday which convinced me to hire the landscapers to do the rest of the trees.  And I have been just plain lazy, too.  Yesterday morning, the three little fawns and a couple of does made an appearance.  I hadn't seen them in a couple of weeks, so I just sat very still on my front porch for about an hour - yes an hour - while they wandered from house to house nibbling on trees, plants, grass.

Today is the last day of my vacation, and I'm going birding up north - Salt Creek, Bear River, maybe Antelope Island on the way back, or at least Farmington Bay, just to see what birds are migrating.  I spotted a wonderful Lazuli bunting in my yard a couple of days ago.  I used to see them often, but that was years ago and I don't remember the last time they visited.  I'm eager to get out and see some birds.

And that's that.  Six days have flown by, and as vacations go, very restful and satisfying.   I feel refreshed, renewed, energized and ready to get back to work.  Here are pictures of my Labor day yard.