Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Flowers

In Colorado, April snows bring May flowers, and we certainly got our share of heavy, wet spring snows this year.  Luckily, in between the snows, we had bright sunshine-y days of warm temps, so the snows melted quickly and our lawns definitely appreciated all the moisture.

My backyard, in particular, had suffered a great deal this time last year due to some construction work I had done on my house last May.  It left my yard pretty well devastated because of the heavy machinery making its way back-and-forth through my lawn.  I lost a tree, some bushes, my patio, and most of the grass.  It was pretty catastrophic.  I've been recovering ever since.

I had a new patio poured last September, and new sod laid down immediately after.  My yard looked like a sad patchwork quilt for a long time while I diligently watered it.  I planted a new Maple tree in the fall, just before the snows came, but knew that would probably be the most I could accomplish before winter.

But when spring came this year, I started working on my outdoor space in earnest.  I didn't even know where to begin, but I knew container planting was going to be a big part of it, so I bought a few of the largest I could find.  My niece gifted me with a barbecue gas grill for my new patio (it's the first time I've owned a real, grown-up outdoor grill), so it's time to get the area into shape.  Soon I'll be giving my outdoor dining set a fresh coat of paint and new cushions.  Very exciting!

My brother gave me a tumbling composter this last Christmas (yes, it was on my wish list), and I have been diligently feeding it since then.  Fruit and vegetable scraps and peels, grass clippings, leaves, peanut shells, coffee grounds and coffee filters, egg shells, used tea bags, lint, soiled paper napkins, shredded newspaper and cardboard, stale bread, plant trimmings, straw, moss, expired flower arrangements, wilted salads, wood pieces, fur, and just about everything in your vacuum cleaner bin (because, dirt!) can go into the compost pile.  All of that compost is going to come in handy when it's ready.  It's absolutely ridiculous how much pleasure I get walking out to the composter to add new scraps and give it a whirl.

Speaking of pleasure, that's the approach I took to starting over in my backyard, and the advice my sister gave me, as well.  What would be a pleasure for me to see in my yard every time I spent time outside on my patio?  What sparks joy in me, and what doesn't?  It works for decluttering your house, as well as it does for your garden.

Snowball bush wild with flowers
Last year, I asked a professional landscaper what he would do in my yard, but I was left totally uninspired by his suggestions.  Sure, he knows what he's doing whereas I really don't know a thing about it.  But like art, I know what I like.  Every single one of his tree and plant suggestions I immediately rejected.  They were primarily sterile ornamentals which I could imagine surrounding an office building, not my home.

Snowballs make a fabulously
lush cut-flower arrangement
to bring indoors.
My pear and peach trees have always given me so much pleasure, flowering profusely and watching the branches become laden with fruit.  My crabapple tree becomes completely covered in gorgeous pink flowers early in the spring.  My ornamental plum has incredibly fragrant flowers which greet every visitor to my door with scent and beauty when they're in bloom, and my cherry tree blossoms fill me with absolute delight.  My snowball bush is going crazy-wild with the most huge and gorgeous clusters of tiny flowers this year.  These are the selections for me.

I get so much pleasure out of picking a luscious pear right off of my tree and biting into it.  I am amazed by the large harvest of peaches I get from one tree, plenty enough to eat fresh as well as turn into pies and peach preserves.  I am overwhelmed with the bowls full of cherries I get from my tree ... enough for a pie or two (or more) with plenty left over for the birds. Nature's bounty is truly abundant, and it doesn't take much to produce a huge harvest.

Blueberries on the way!
These are the things that give me pleasure ... fruit and flowers, and lovely plants to behold.  I love maple trees, so I had to have one.  I'm looking forward to the vivid color I will get from it this coming fall.

I once lived in a house that had lots of blueberry and raspberry bushes, and I'm thinking of recreating that here.  I bought my first one, and it has a cluster of blueberries on it already ... so exciting!  More bushes to come!  I'm trying my hand at strawberries and my favorite heirloom tomatoes, as well.

English daisies
My sister gave me a lovely gardenia which I adore.  We had a gardenia bush in Florida, and I've always missed it.  The fragrance is so compellingly seductive, it has always been one of my favorite flowers.  I transferred it into a larger pot, and it is spending some glorious time in the sun on my patio until the first frost hits.

I'm planting lots of flowers this year, more than ever before.  I've planted English daisies which I fell in love with at first sight, and lots of miniature pink carnations (dianthus).
I've planted hollyhocks, delphiniums, dahlias and lovely purple salvia nemorosa.  I planted two tree peonies and can't wait to see those giant flowers appear some day.  I bought some sweet primroses just yesterday and tucked them into a potted plant arrangement.

I also planted bulbs and look forward to seeing some lovely asian lilies coming up this summer. I'm already making plans on what I'm going to add to my yard next year!

I planted a few multi-colored coral bells under my blue spruce and pine trees to enhance the walk-in-the-woods experience.  And I created a collection of succulents in a large pot for an interesting display. (Thank you, Pinterest!)  I am on the lookout for more interesting and colorful varieties to include in the pot and to tuck into different areas of my yard, as well!

I am trying to design an outdoor space that pleases me.  It will always be a work in progress and will grow with me as I improve and learn from my mistakes.  It may never be worthy of the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, in fact, it may be downright artless and poorly planned.  But it will always be my ongoing creation, and most importantly, it brings me great deal of joy now to walk outside each day, seeing my lush lawn and visiting each of my lovelies.  I may never be a master gardener, but as long as I'm surrounded by the beauty of flowers and the trees I love, it makes me very happy.

Crabapple tree in full bloom
As we think about our homes, and what brings us joy, the outside space is just important as the inside.  My flowers should be pretty, lush and plentiful.  Each plant, each tree, each patch of ground should make me happy, otherwise it has no business in my yard.

My morning cup of coffee outside on my patio should be joyful and inspiring.  A sojourn on the bench along the little forest path I've created should be an enchantment.  A cup of tea in the garden in the afternoon should be a meditative respite and a delight to the senses.  Dinner on the grill, enjoyed al fresco, should be an oasis for the spirit.  A glass of wine in the cool evening air should be beautifully peaceful, somewhat romantic, and totally relaxing.  I want my outdoor space to be all of this, and more.

May your May be filled with flowers, now and in the many years to come!

The Afternoon Tea Book of Cookies and Bars Because life is just better with fresh-baked cookies ....
Afternoon Tea bakery's extensive repertoire of delicious butter-rich cookies and bars ... all of the sweet temptations that became our customers' favorite addictions ... now made available for you to bake at home.

Get your copy of From the Bakery of Afternoon Tea: Book of Cookies and Bars for your Amazon Kindle today!

Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

Never Forgotten
Remembering those who gave everything so that we can live.
My Favorite Mugs
A menagerie of mugs ... one of life's simple pleasures.
Hello Spring!
Hello Cookies!

Our latest cookbook is out!  A book full of Afternoon Tea's cookie and bar recipes!
Happy Mother's Day!
Wishing all of the Moms out there a very wonderful, healthy and happy Mother's Day!
Breakfast in Bed
A time-honored tradition for Mother's Day!
Mother's Day Tea
A perfect way to celebrate and spend time with our Moms.
Love Tea Sandwiches?
Spring is for Tea Parties, Baby & Bridal Showers, and Garden Parties ... and that means lots and lots of delightful tea sandwiches!
A Baby Shower Tea Party
Celebrating a little one's imminent arrival.
What's Your Favorite Cake?
If only I could pick just one!
A Bridal Shower Tea ...
the perfect way to entertain.
Cooking with Herbs
Herbs are making a tasty appearance in some of your favorite desserts!
Spring Cleaning
Tackling and taming the clutter.

No comments:

Post a Comment