Week five in the new house: with the inside shaping up, it was time to pay some attention to the outside. So we took advantage of the picture-perfect weather this Fourth of July weekend and did some pruning. Let me introduce you to our new plant family.
The Three Tenors line the driveway. Actually, they are Saucer Magnolias, but they look as if they are about to burst into O Sole Mio, so I call them the Three Tenors.
In the front yard is a very nice weeping Japanese maple which I have christened Cousin Itt. Itt could use a good haircut.
Standing on the opposite side of the lawn from Cousin Itt is Alfalfa, which I'm pretty sure is a weeping birch. My photo isn't very good, but if you look closely, you can see an errant stalk standing straight up in the middle. Hence the name.
We also have some boring foundation hollies. I've nicknamed them Boring Foundation Hollies. Get it? They're so boring they don't even remind me of anyone.
I took the back yard. My mission: slim down the Three Tenors.
Ron took the front yard. His mission: trim the boring foundation hollies. I didn't think they looked too bad, but Ron likes things neat. Plus he wanted to try his brand new hedge clipper.
As for Cousin Itt and Alfalfa, my thought was to leave them alone for the time being. I have no idea how to trim weeping trees, and I didn't want to turn them into Ringo Starr or Moe.
By 3 p.m., our work was done. We changed places to check out each other's oeuvre.
This is what Ron saw where the Three Tenors had been. Looks like someone got carried away with her new pruners.
And this is what I saw where Cousin Itt and Alfalfa had been. Looks like someone was having a bit too much fun with his new hedge clippers.
Well, you met the shrubs. Now meet Ron.
It's only fair I show myself too.
After a whirlwind couple of weeks, we are all moved in to our new home. We absolutely love it.
More than a few of my siblings have pointed out that the new place bears a remarkable resemblance to our childhood home in White Plains, New York. Of course it does. That's partly why I fell in love with it.
We also love our new neighborhood, which feels like a throwback to the 1950s. Everywhere you look there are front porches, picket fences, and little kids riding bikes on the sidewalk. How I got here I have no idea. True, gritty urban chic was never my thing, even when I lived in New York, but I wasn't exactly the Donna Reed type either. Yet without knowing when or how, I seem to have entered a new phase of life: the cranky "everything-then-was-great-and-everything-now-is-rotten" phase. What makes my 50s nostalgia truly ironic is that I wasn't alive during the 50s.
Yup, I am definitely getting old. Not only am I fondly recalling places and times that I never experienced, but I am losing my zeal for DIY. At the last house, we painted, put down flooring, even did a complete bathroom remodel. Most of our efforts were "galloping horse" productions, meaning they looked fine if the lights were out and you didn't have your glasses on. But lately I've come to see the beauty of making a few phone calls.
For example, we hated the wall colors in our new house. Someone - no doubt the real estate agent - had talked the seller into painting the house dreary shades of mushroom and taupe. Obviously they were going for a neutral palette, but the effect instead was to make you want to pull the shades down and sit in the dark, the better to contemplate the meaninglessness of your empty existence. Time to dial 1-800-I-Like-Service. In came Norberto, painter extraordinaire, who had the whole thing wrapped up in 3 days. Above, our homage to George Washington's dining room at Mount Vernon; below, our sitting area, done in something called "Field Poppy."
With the inside coming together, we're turning our attention to the outside, where a typical North Carolina summer is unfolding. It's 95 and humid pretty much every day - not ideal weather for planting. And maybe that's just as well. Before I can even consider putting anything into the ground, we have a fence to replace and a yard to remodel. We're thinking a picket fence, a pergola, a brick seating area, and as much garden space as possible. Now if we could just get someone to return our phone calls. I don't do fences.
The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
Follow the Blog
Problems signing up? Send me an email and let me know.