As of 5:00 Friday, I have been on vacation. It's a vacation of the very best kind - a staycation. I have nine days in a row to work on garden projects. Yesterday got off to a great start with the placement of 25 pavers in my "Celtic Courtyard". Last year my niece's fiancé, Marcus, installed the white lattice screen, moved my fountain and laid the brown pavers so I could place my Lutyen's bench. The other four brown pavers were placed here and there in the courtyard, along with the round "Tudor Rose" stepping stones.
When the "torrential" rains came last fall, the mud splashed up everywhere, and I knew I needed to have way more pavers and way less dirt. I only "guesstimated" the amount of pavers I would need, so Marcus will be picking up nine more to complete the checkerboard. He moved the four brown pavers so the old ones are all together. I thought the new ones were the same color, but I think they will work. All of the Tudor rose circles will be placed next to the walkway, and I'll be squaring off the courtyard at the far right end.
The few plants that are coming up by the bench and the fountain are day lilies. Someday I will have all of the dirt areas filled up with plants. This is a shady area, canopied by my huge elm tree. To the left is a grapevine fence that is only starting to green up. It fills in very lushly by the middle of the summer.
I will be moving the white arbor on the right, since it has been in the "wrong place" since my deck was built last fall and the lattice screen installed. (The deck is just to the right of the walkway.) I will also have to relocate the Dropmore honeysuckle, which has never grown well in the shade anyway.
One never realizes what will show up in a photo. Had I known, I would have removed the ugly hanging Off dispenser and moved the hose!
Here is another view of the courtyard, which also shows part of my backyard. The plants are starting to come up in my Unicorn Garden, which I showed you last summer. (Fragile Mr. Unicorn spent the winter in my bedroom for safekeeping. He will go outside today.)
I'm afraid I have lost a few of the perennials. I never did mulch last fall, first having a painful hernia and then recovering from surgery for a month. At the very far right end of the yard you will see my French bistro table and two chairs placed inside my "Welcome to The Fairy Bower" arbor under the lilac. (Personalized Arbor Plaque ordered from Plow and Hearth.)
I have a guy coming in to hydro seed this lawn, so hopefully future photos will show a lush greensward instead of dirt!
That's not the only project that was accomplished yesterday. Marcus and his cousin, Dustin, installed my new cedar arbor over the front sidewalk. Dustin proved to be somewhat of a rose expert, and cut back and trained my beautiful William Baffin climbing rose over the arbor. If you look closely at the top of the picture, you will be able to distinguish the rose foliage from the foliage of the elms across the street. Later this summer, we will tighten the strings on the climbing canes.
My mailman will love this change. He will no longer have to hack his way through the rose thorns to walk up my sidewalk! Dustin also trimmed back all of my rose shrubs, which will be blooming later this month, as will the William Baffin. He also trimmed the climbing Henry Kelsey rose and trained it up the left side of the arbor. Henry has never performed as well as William but I always relent and give him yet another summer to produce well.
I chose the Henry Kelsey rose because of my niece, Kelsey, and I have to give her kudos for actually working the longest yesterday. Hours before the guys even showed up, she was weeding my flower beds on both sides of the driveway, in and among the rose bushes and the flower bed to the left of my front step. I think she weeded for about five hours straight! Now my peonies and irises (currently in bud) will not have to compete with weeds when they show off their glorious blooms.
My three peonies are all Sarah Bernhardts:
I have a lovely unnamed lavender "heirloom" iris that a friend gave me, which is the linchpin of the driveway flower bed. I also planted some new irises last fall, and they are all growing vigorously:
This is Mariposa Autumn
Here is Gay Parasol
This one is Dakota Skies. I had to have
an iris with Dakota in the name!
This is Jurassic Park
I am so happy to have time off that does not involve surgery, infusions, bone marrow biopsies, and so forth. I am also so happy to be blessed with such great garden helpers.