Where Has My Front Yard Gone? | Growing Up Herbal | Get an update on our mountain landscaping project, how our plants are holding up, and what we'll be working on next.

(Sings)
Oh where, oh where has my front yard gone?
Oh where, oh where can it be?
With it’s green, green grass, and it’s room to play,
Oh where, oh where can it be?

Y’all. My yard. I mean… just look at it.

It’s pitiful, I tell ya! Just plain pitiful.

Do I have a vision for what I want this mountain abode to one day be? Yes… yes I do, or at least, at the start of this project, I did. But now, in the middle of it, my vision often fades into piles of dirt, random weeds, tools scattered here and there, and half-finished projects. There’s just so much to do, and I’m an impatient person. I want it done… like yesterday. I’m also cheap and lazy so that presents a problem. Don’t ya think?

Where Has My Front Yard Gone? | Growing Up Herbal | Get an update on our mountain landscaping project, how our plants are holding up, and what we'll be working on next.

So, in all reality, I shouldn’t be complaining. Dean and I both knew this landscaping project would take a long time to complete, but we really thought we’d be able to finish it this summer. And if not by summers end, then by the end of fall. Well, here’s the end of summer and things aren’t even close to being finished. It looks like this project, as with most our home projects, will be rolling over into the next year.

It’s our fault, really. 

Originally, we were only focusing on mulch and plants, and we were hiring a landscaping company to do it. Then, we got cheap and ambitious and decided to do the mulch and some of the planting ourselves (which obviously slowed us down). We did hire the landscaping company to do the steeper parts of the hillside. They finished in a day. Dean and I (Well, mostly Dean, if I’m being completely honest… and of course, I am.) are on day 547. At least, if feels that way.

Where Has My Front Yard Gone? | Growing Up Herbal | Get an update on our mountain landscaping project, how our plants are holding up, and what we'll be working on next.

Then, we decided to build a retaining wall. After a month of decided what it would be built out of, we settled, found our material, and got to work doing it ourselves. (Again, Dean mostly, but I brought him water. That has to count for something, right?) And then, after the first one was started, we decided to do two because that would look even better. And you know what? Just the other day, the man actually asked me if I thought we should build another! ANOTHER!!! My short answer was, “NO,” and when he really considered what all it would take to build a third one, he agreed. So, here again, the wall project has also slowed this project down a bit (okay, a lot).

But on the bright side, I’m really happy with the way things are turning out. It’s looking great if you can see past the piles of dirt, weeds, patches of mulch with no plants, and half-finished walls. My vision is really coming through. The walls will be finished, hopefully within the next week or two. After that, we’ll get the excavator (or whatever that big piece of equipment is called) up here to level out all the dirt in the front yard. After that, we’ll probably start working on the stairs that will cascade beautifully down the front of the hill to the boy’s play area. The rest of the plants (including the fruit trees and bushes) will need to wait until next spring to be planted.

Where Has My Front Yard Gone? | Growing Up Herbal | Get an update on our mountain landscaping project, how our plants are holding up, and what we'll be working on next.

Speaking of plants… I’m happy to report that my beautiful, creamy white hydrangeas are beginning to bloom again. Remember in my list landscaping update, I showed you a video of the progress we’d made at that point? (You did watch that video, right?) Do you remember how, well, dead, my newly planted hydrangeas looked? Well, they weren’t dead. They were simply suffering from transplant shock, but now that they’re settling into their new home, they’re starting to show their pretty flowers to me again.

Where Has My Front Yard Gone? | Growing Up Herbal | Get an update on our mountain landscaping project, how our plants are holding up, and what we'll be working on next.

Unfortunately, not all my plants are doing so well. The original ones we planted at the bottom of the hill all seem to be doing fine, but the newest ones planted in between the parking areas are having some trouble. At least, a couple of them are as you can see from the above photos.

First, my dwarf butterfly bush looks done for (bottom left). When I break it, I still see green bark, so maybe it too is suffering from transplant shock, but I really don’t know. I did water it (I did, mom!) so I’m thinking that if it is dead, it may be due to not be getting enough sun in this spot.

Next, I discovered that my once pretty little echinacea plant had been uprooted and left to die (top left) by some unknown culprit. Of course, none of my kids had any clue what I was talking about. So, I pulled back the thick layer of mulch, dug a new hole, and replanted it (right). Hopefully, it will take root and make it throughout the fall and winter. We’ll see.

Where Has My Front Yard Gone? | Growing Up Herbal | Get an update on our mountain landscaping project, how our plants are holding up, and what we'll be working on next.

As for the culprit, I’m not sure I’ll ever truly know who did it. I didn’t see any signs that the dog dug it up, but I did find this guy hanging around. He looks pretty mischievous to me. Doesn’t he to you?

What? You didn’t know we had pirates here in the mountains of East Tennessee? Oh yes! They’re quite a sight! They’re little, and they wear tennis shoes so they can run fast. They also use samurai swords instead of buccaneer swords around these parts. It can be quite scary. 

So, wish me luck (or Dean, that is) on getting our front yard back to looking like a front yard before winter sets in. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress seeing how I love sharing life with you.

(Did I just hear a sigh? No, I must have been mistaken.)

– M