A backyard update

It's been a while since I've done a back yard update. Last summer, we put up a new fence and we were dealing with some serious water issues that you can read about here. For the most part, things are really shaping up back here.

Besides the cracked concrete patio, the horribly neglected pond has been the biggest challenge. I was really unsure how to make this thing look pretty.

But alas, I think we're making good headway. Last summer, we started compiling Maryland flagstone from a local landscaping wholesaler. This year we assembled the stone so that they stack nicely and piled them up around the edges of the liner. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing that ugly liner!

And, my very favorite new addition to the backyard are my pond plants. I bought a couple of lily pads, water irises, floating water hyacinth, and water grass from Home Depot's Water Plant department online. With the exception of the hyacinth, each water plant came in a little box like this. I opened them up, popped them in the pond at the specified depth, and voilΓ   they started sprouting in a few weeks.

For whatever reason, now that the pond is full of plants, Lucy is less inclined to belly flop into her "pool" as she was getting accustomed to doing frequently last summer.

You may also recall that I planted yarrow and catmint last summer in a small border garden against the fence.

Well, now they look like this! Holy crow they grow fast! I think I thought they would just grow up instead of growing out. They should call me the naive gardener. I'm not sure if it looks sort of cool or really sloppy, but at least I've been able to cut a lot of blooms to bring inside.

I'm going to have to learn how to split and transplant some of my plants in the near future! Any advice?

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Moving right along to a less beautiful, but much more functional addition to the backyard - a 50 gallon rain barrel.  Luckily it has a little spot for begonias!

We were having issues trying to route the gutter run off away from the house. Jay had hooked up a plastic extender to the downspout that ran across the concrete patio into the grass away from the foundation. Besides being a tripping hazard, it was very ugly. I'll take the rain barrel any day of the week.

Plus Jay loves saving the Earth almost as much as he likes saving money on the water bill.

Last, but cenrtaintly not least, the wonderful Magnolia tree is blooming again!

I always get worried about this southern tree during the cold winter months, but so far it  has always made it through. Throughout the spring, it has dropped tons of the brown, dead leaves on the ground and with each flower bloom new, thick, shiny green leaves also open up.

I cannot tell you how much I love this tree. I spend a lot of time outside looking at it, smelling it, photographing it, talking about it with Jay.  My neighbors must think I'm a looney toon. It's just a really fascinating tree, alright?

Just in time for summer, our backyard is becoming another living space for us which we really love. We still have the concrete patio to contend with, but until we can save enough money for a long term solution, we're enjoying the major improvements we've made.

Happy Summer!