I'm usually so busy keeping up with the indoor spring cleaning that I don't get out into the garden early enough in the spring. By the time I do, things are already hopelessly overgrown and I make every effort to keep up, but it always seems to overpower me. This year, I've been doing a little bit of work each day (mostly while I'm out with the dog), so I've managed to get a good start and stay on top of things. We have about 3/4 of an acre of sloping land that backs onto a small lake. It's very wooded in the back and a real challenge to keep up with the vines, weeds, and volunteer trees that come up every year.
I started with an easy project, filling these pots with flowers to brighten up this area between our window and door on the deck.
To the left of the window there's a big bare spot that has needed something for years. I recently found this inexpensive trellis to lean agains the wall, to support a climbing vine. I planted some morning glories in the box planters, but they don't seem to be getting enough sun in that spot. So I dug up a couple of clematis from another location, and put them here to see how they'll do. I need to get two more of the trellises to cover the areas on either side of this one. I love climbing vines and the look of our deck would be much improved by some greenery.
Directly below our deck there's a steep hill. When we moved in, it was covered with grass, but was impossible to mow. I've been slowly replacing the grass with easy care plants like day lilies and ground-cover roses, but lately have been trying to cover the majority of the hill with English ivy. Over the last few years, I've clipped pieces from other locations and transplanted them on the hill. I have to balance the rate of pulling weeds with the growth of the ivy so the hill doesn't get washed away in the rain.
On other slopes, I've been transplanting pachysandra. I'm looking forward to these spreading and filling in too! It will look so much better than the weeds that constantly sprout up.
At least this second hill is beginning to really fill in. I planted ferns here a few years ago and they are finally spreading to cover the hillside. I love the lush look of ferns in the shade. We may eventually put some stone steps down this hill among the ferns.
Towards one side of this hill, I recently cut down a small choke cherry tree and planted this red maple. It can handle the shade back here and looks so much more graceful than the ugly cherry. I'd love to put a statue or something near here, and plan to add some lily of the valley and other ground covers below.
The flattest area of the backyard currently looks like this: