How does your garden grow?

Ours grows very well, apparently. We were in Flagstaff, AZ this past weekend for my cousin Nathan’s wedding, which was gorgeous and super fun. Welcome to the family Ashley! And to the exclusive Cousins Club. (I just made that up, there is no club. But there is a table you can sit at now!)

Anyway, S and I arrived home to find all sorts of exciting things happening in our yard. This is a nice surprise, as anything we planted in Orlando never did very well. Probably something to do with the sandy soil and forgetting to water the plants… The soil in our yard now has a fair amount of clay in it, which helps retain water, and we have been getting a good amount of rain on top of that. How ’bout some pretty pictures now?!

We have this bush on one side of our patio that we thought was just a bush. It is a nice green color, needs a little shaping, but nothing too exciting. Just a green bush. WELL, now it looks like this:

Turns out it is an azalea bush! Not just green, but covered in pretty pink flowers! According this site, I believe it is an Autumn Twist Encore Azalea, which blooms in midsummer, long after most azaleas have finished blooming.

Also by our patio are two large pots, one of which has nothing in it but dirt, while the other has this petunia that was there when we moved in and I haven’t touched. Except maybe once. And I might have watered it once too. But other than that, I have done nothing to it. And it seems to like it that way.

Out front we have a few Variegated Lilyturf plants (according to our handy-dandy Southeast Home Landscaping book) that have finally started blooming their pretty purple blooms. They were also there when we moved in.

In the picture above you see the lilyturf, a gap in the flower bed, and then a few flowers farther down, toward the driveway. Down there is another pre-existing lilyturf, and we planted a couple of red coneflowers and sage plants, neither of which has died yet.

Ignore the weed in the corner.

Now it’s time to play “Name that Plant!” But really, I don’t what these are.

I’m pretty sure this is some kind of fountain grass, but it is so much larger than most kinds of fountain grass (taller than me)! JD¬† likes to hide under it and pretend he is a jungle cat.

No idea what this is. It is currently about 3 feet tall. We plan on leaving it and seeing what it turns into.

Ground-cover? Weed? We pulled it out when S’s family was here, but obviously didn’t get all of it. Anybody recognize it?

Oh, in case you were wondering, we are about 300 miles from the coast and not even supposed to get any rain from Hurricane Irene. I was hoping we would at least get some rain.

Progress

There is nothing like having family come to visit to force you to get your house in order. The night before Stephen’s family arrived we may or may not have been up till 2 am unpacking boxes and cleaning. However, that means we now only have 5 boxes left to be unpacked (which may or may not be full of Tori junk stuff priceless treasure.) It also means I have a bunch of pictures of the house all nice and neat to share!

Family forces you to clean, but they also help once they arrive. We did a lot of yard work with S’s family, and then when Meredith came to visit a week later, we painted the living room. I also had a hard time keeping her from doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen every day. Ok, I didn’t make that much of an effort to stop her. Thanks Mere!

Before

The major landscaping we did involved cutting down and ripping out various trees and out-of-control shrubs. We had a really pretty Japanese Maple planted in front, but it was in a very inconvenient location. You can see in the picture that it blocks the view to and from the street. And it was still going to get bigger. We are fairly sure the previous owners did not realize how large it would get. So, after a good deal of debate, it got chopped down. Moving it to a new location wasn’t an option. The root ball was not going to budge, and had probably grown under the front walk. End result:

After

You can see the front door!

We (and by “we” I mean Stephen, his dad, and his brother) cut down an overgrown holly (I think that’s what it was) that was blocking half the shed. Like so: (look past Gus practicing his mad frisbee-catchin’ skills)

Before

After

Oh look! There is a shed behind there! And a pretty little Carolina Jasmine vine straining towards the light! You can see how the fountain grass was being crowded by the shrub/tree as well.

Now for a series of pictures of the interior. I think most are pretty self-explanatory.

Entry

View coming down the stairs

Dining room

Table and chairs used to be my family’s dining table. My parents bought it at an antique mall when they first got married. It is over 100 years old! The mirror I got at Hobby Lobby for $36. It was originally $180. Score!

Living room before being painted "Gentle Violet"

After being painted "Gentle Violet"

View from kitchen

View from couch

Three framed pictures I took while in San Francisco, candlesticks, clock and vase were all wedding gifts!

One half of the kitchen, island courtesy of IKEA

Other half of the kitchen, door to garage

Pretty view while doing dishes

The “Gourmet Rolling Pin” used to be my mom’s. I have no idea where she got it. There is a massive (read: very heavy) marble pastry board that goes with it. I have a feeling the board will be making the trip from Texas at Christmas time.

One of the many "Tori action shots" that Stephen likes to take

Screened in back porch

Porch and patio beyond

Master bedroom

Wrought iron medallion is from Hobby Lobby, half off!

View from corner by window

Double doors lead to bathroom

Second bath

The Blue Bedroom

One of the few rooms we did not paint.

The Yellow Bedroom

Another room we did not paint. The deflated air mattress and bedding are still on the floor because obviously, Gus is using them.

Yeah, we need some book shelves

The amazing closet in the Yellow Bedroom

Media Room

Painting by Tess. Cat tree was found in attic.

And whew! That is it for now! Tori out.