Holy smokes, a year goes fast. It seemed like forever when trying to sell our Alameda house. It was a good house, and we loved living there for 33 years. (We bought it when we were twelve.) But then came ranch fever–due in part to property-tax shock–and we packed our bags for Ranchville*. (*This post by Ms. Danger Garden includes photos of two of the very ranch houses we looked at before settling in ours. Funny, no? They’re about six blocks from where we located, and I walk past them regularly. And the house she mentions as going over the spiky side, the source of Opuntia Santa. All happenstance, I swear!)

Alameda House with birches for winter interest and summer cooling.
Alameda House with birches for winter interest and summer cooling.

The forever it took to let go of our old house, doesn’t even count the forever it took finding our new Flamingo Park house. (Our realtor, Cathi Woodruff, is a genius.) In my mind’s eye, we’re still  brand new here, and I imagine I haven’t made a dent in shaping the new garden. What’s amazing, though, is how rambling the yard with camera in hand tells an entirely different story.

Flamingo Park house with Juniper.
Flamingo Park house with Juniper and old garage door.
Old garage door with no glass.
Old garage door with no glass.

 

New garage door with reeded glass to match front entrance.
New garage door with reeded glass to match front entrance.

But I digress with garage doors. Back to the garden.

Honestly, how is that I cannot keep track of how much we’ve done, or what I’ve planted where, let alone what plants were here when we moved in. So I thought I’d catalog a few of my surprises, and mention a couple lessons learned.

After first moving in, I removed quite a few plants that I was certain weren’t right for me. There were loads of landscape roses, hydrangeas, and several Rhododendrons. They needed to go, and I have no regrets–especially since many were able to new homes. But I considered removing some other plants too, like Paeonias, Helleborus, and two Fatsias.  In my defense, the Fatsias japonicas, only because they looked like pantaloons beneath the white dogwood. I love their big glossy leaves and accommodating ways, though I’ve heard tell some think them common. Well, hmmph.

In the category of life carrying on when you’re busy making other plans, the white Dogwood bloomed gloriously, and then leafed out with verticillium wilt. I’m so glad we didn’t remove the Fatsia “pantaloons” before making this discovery.

White Dogwood lost to verticillium wilt.
White Dogwood lost to verticillium wilt.

Now that the dogwood is gone, the Fatsia japonicas are much happier–and so am I. The Red Shed is gone as well, and we thankfully discovered no body in there.

Fatsia Japonica  survived cut over the Dogwood.
Fatsia Japonica survived cut over the Dogwood.

 

But I was also considering giving the Peonies the axe. What was I thinking. Just look at that bloom. I haven’t successfully identified this beauty yet, so in the meantime, I’m calling her ‘Floozy’.

Paeonia NOID, I've dubbed 'Floozy'
Paeonia NOID, I’ve dubbed her ‘Floozy’

Lots of gorgeous blooms, albeit fleeting, but then, life…

An entire shrub of huge  Peony floozy blooms.  Spared, thank dog.
An entire shrub of huge Peony floozy blooms. Spared, thank dog.

Lesson one: Don’t act in haste.

Lesson two: Don’t make wholesale judgement on an entire Genus. I was ready to yank the Helleborus, until Heather aka Girl with a Hammer, pointed out its fabulous leaves. And the green blooms are no slouches either. I was so close to being a dummy, but I was not, at least in this case.

Helleborus corsicus with serrated leaves. A keeper.

 

Helleborus corsicus blooms hang around looking good for ages.
Helleborus corsicus blooms hang around looking good for ages.

The flag above means “don’t step here,” yet is not entirely effective. I need to move the poor little Manfreda under there if it’s to have any chance at all. And then, of course, there was the front Sea of Juniper. That seemed like an impossible task, but the men rose to the challenge.

IMG_8342

New Sea of Juniper garden. Small now, but mighty later. I hope.
New Sea of Juniper garden. Small now, but mighty later. I hope.

One more thing before I go. I thought the Pansies were sweet, and I kept meaning to use them on an appetizer platter. I’ve seen it done to great effect. But alas, I did not. And I discovered, the eaves protect/prevent that planter box from getting one ounce of water. Good for window preservation, but not so great for plants. Sorry pansies, sorta.

Cute Pansies galore. Girl with a hammer suggested we should sneak them into Danger Garden.
Cute Pansies galore. Girl with a hammer suggested we should sneak them into Danger Garden.

Now it’s a little woodland garden, and with any luck, a way over-planted woodland garden. Patricia was here.

A little woodland planting, sheltered year round by eaves. Needs water.
A little woodland planting, sheltered year round by eaves. Needs water.

 

Cheers.