Now that I have a glimmer of evidence that spring may someday arrive, my thoughts are turning to the large areas of my yard that are bereft of decorative vegetation. Last year we had a new sidewalk installed to replace the 70s-o-rama brick and railroad tie marvel that we'd been tripping over (what do you know? - literally and figuratively) since we moved in. As part of that process, I removed a couple dozen mini rose bushes from the flower bed nearby and moved them to the back yard, to a bed that was more to their proper scale. Now their former bed is an expanse of mud and old cypress mulch. Not pretty.
Over the winter, my husband bought me some software called Instant Landscaping. It has a lot of cool features, but my favorite is one that lets you load photos of your house and yard and play with different plants and other yard features until you've developed the perfect plan. I'm looking forward to trying it out as soon as I get this year's tax issues out of the way.
I'm a lousy gardener, incidentally. Even my indoor plants are chosen for their ability to go long periods of time without water. Of the things I've planted outside since I moved here more than eight years ago, only a handful are still thriving. I lucked out in purchasing several perennial purple geranium plants. They come back every year and keep getting fuller and prettier. I planted some Stark Bros. colonnade apple trees a long time ago, but every year they produce only a few blossoms and never any apples, except for the crabapple tree. Since I don't know what to do with crabapples, the squirrels are pretty much the only beneficiaries of my "orchard."
The first spring after we bought this house, I spied an area of the back yard that had clearly been used as a garden. I tilled it, added manure and peat and everything else you're supposed to, and planted every kind of vegetable I could think of. The tomatoes did okay, but everything else either failed to come up or quickly languished. I tried again the next year with even worse results and that was the end of that. I don't know why, but that area of the yard is so sterile that I've been trying for the last six years to grow grass there, but to no avail. The nearby fence line is the best place in the yard to pick up a nice case of poison ivy, though. Yay.
So that's my tale of incompetent gardening. I'll try again this year with the big, empty flower bed, but I'm already envisioning a carefully-sculpted application of sod that will make it about half its current size before I begin. It's best to keep everyone's expectations realistic, I find!