Bloomin’ Amazing

For my birthday this year, my sister generously offered to re-landscape our front yard. Yes, among her many other talents, Jenna has a background in gardening and landscape design. No, there is pretty much nothing she can’t do.

This project took her several weeks to accomplish, mainly because she had this to work with:

A patch of scraggly weeds bordered by rotten railroad ties and crooked paving stones, as left for us by the previous owners.

Jenna started out by repainting our front porch entryway, then she stripped the weeds and removed all the stones and railroad ties. Then the hard work began; she regraded the yard with nothing but a shovel, a wheelbarrow, and a dream (and pages and pages of expertly-detailed plans). Here is the result…

A gentle slope, featuring beautiful, low-maintenance plants, most of which will remain evergreen throughout the year. With the exception of the stepping stones and pea gravel, all the masonry here was found stone from our yard.

The sapling in the center of the round stone border is a weeping pussy willow, which will grow (and droop) to a diameter that will fill to the border. At its base is this very wise-looking cement owl:

All of the young plants here (with a couple more to come next spring) will also develop and fill out, so we can look forward to the yard growing lusher and lovelier every year. The creeping myrtle at the left below, for instance, will grow into a blanket of green with purple flowers. Jenna also put in a row of solar lights, so we have a lighted path to our front steps.

In addition, she filled in one of our front sidewalk corners (which used to be a weedy nightmare) with concrete, and pressed in letters to spell out SOLVITUR AMBULANDO, Latin for “it is solved by walking,” a perfect motto to inspire passers-by. (The red bricks were temporary, to keep cars away as the concrete was drying.)

AND, as a lovely finishing touch, she hung the birthday gift she gave me last year by the front door, so I can listen to soothing chimes while I tend my new garden.

How lucky are we?

Fall Follies

Summer is my favorite season, but fall comes in close second. I can smell it in the air, can’t you? My sister is staying with us for the week; on Monday, we went out and bought some autumnal flair for my front porch (photo above). Surprisingly, the greedy squirrels in our neighborhood haven’t feasted on those pumpkins yet. (And YES, that’s my house in the background with shabbily-peeling paint. It’s the next project on a very long To-Do list.)

I’m thrilled to be participating in the Burlington Book Festival this Sunday with some extraordinary colleagues. Will I see you there? Do you really need an excuse to be in Vermont this time of year?

In other news, Scott Magoon and I will be doing an event at the renowned Blue Bunny on the afternoon of Saturday, November 5. Details to come…including info on an OTTO-related craft session we’ll be offering!

What are you doing to ring in the fall season?