Backyard Update and Planning

I’ve posted about spiffing up my backyard before, so I just thought I’d give a little update on my progress, and what I’d like to do with it in the future. I’ve been meaning to show a before and after of my back porch too, so here we go!

Here’s what the porch looked like when I bought the house:020 (2)Let me explain what you’re seeing here. A previous owner apparently wanted a three-season porch, and must have found a great deal on sliding glass doors, so instead of installing glass paneling, they just installed four sliding glass doors to wall in the porch. 3 problems with this:

1. It looked like a cheap approximation of something else. Because that’s what it was.

2. The doors were probably on sale for a reason: they were dirty ON THE INSIDE OF THE PANES. Glass doors (or at least these ones) have two panes with a little bit of space in between them. Like a glass and air sandwich. I don’t know how, but these doors appeared to have dirt, dust, or just a general fogginess between the panes, making them look forever dirty with no way to get them clean.

3. While it was nice for insulation in the winter, the glass turned the porch into an oven, which (combined with the dirty glass) is not what you want when you’d like to enjoy a nice summer day on the porch.

So my dad and I ripped those suckers out of there, and I added some reed curtains, an outdoor rug, and some furniture and plants:

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Attachment-1 (3)(The coffee table is a little re-fashion that I’ll show in an upcoming post.)

And here’s the yard before:

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Backyard Before #1And now, after adding some plants (hydrangeas, lilacs, a cherry tree, etc.), cleaning it up a bit, and moving things around a little:

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Attachment-1 - CopyI like it for now, but my long-term goal for my back (and front) yard is to replace almost all of the grass with plants and other landscaping. You guys, I hate mowing!!! And it’s just pointless. Why do we all have these useless grass plots that we have to constantly cut back (and if you’re not me, you also water and fertilize)? Why not fill our land with plants, flowers, gardens, etc. that we can use for something?

I’ve been envying this woman’s backyard for a while (I also love her blog):

rosielittlethingsbackyardBut she lives in the pacific northwest, so there are things about her yard that wouldn’t work well in mine (she gets no temperature extremes, less direct sun, more rain, etc.). I just really like how it looks casually coordinated, with different areas for different activities (eating, lounging, chatting, playing), it all blends in really well with nature (neutral colors, natural materials), and I especially like that it’s sheltered from neighbors and direct sun.

Anyway, for now, I’ll just be focusing on landscaping. If you have any suggestions for good, low maintenance plants and ground cover that would look nice and grow well in Minnesota, let me know!

 

First Walk of the Year

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IMG_450565944“Danger, Keep Off, Ice Not Safe” ha

I found this. Someone must have made a garland crown last summer.

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Turtles sunbathing. IMG_450569072

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I couldn’t really capture it, but these branches had a layer of fuzz on them.IMG_450569777

 

A loon!IMG_450570377

 

A cardinal!IMG_450570512A robin!

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Summer Fruits

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My baby backyard is growing up! I have some cherries  on my Northstar Cherry Tree. It only has a handful so far, and they are VERY tart, which apparently is best for pie making..? I do love making pie, so maybe I’ll try it if/when I get enough. I’m a little skeptical though. I like sweet things.

I also have the first (and only, so far) crab apple on my Chestnut Crab Tree! Exciting!!!!

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Usual size for these guys is about a golf ball, so it’s almost ready!!

And raspberries will be next:

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The hydrangeas are looking good.

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And I went to the Arboretum, where they’re having a butterfly exhibit.

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It was fun watching them greedily stick their little probosces into the flowers like tiny straws in tiny milkshakes.

New Beginnings

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So I haven’t posted for a while, because I’ve been busy with lots of things. Just like the budding lilacs from my garden (above), I’ve had some things in the works. One such thing came to fruition today when I was offered a full-time job at the company where I’ve been working part-time! It’s a company that designs technology for education, so it’s somewhat related to my field, and I’m really looking forward to finally having a regular schedule and a professional “home.”

The other project in the works is not yet ready to be revealed, but I will definitely post about it when it is complete in (hopefully) a couple of months!

Here’s a hint to tide you over:

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Nano-Vacation (Nanocation?)

When you live in Minnesota, you gotta find little ways of escaping from winter once in a while. Last year, I posted about the Como Park Conservatory. This week, my dad and I went to the Walker Sculpture Garden’s Cowles Conservatory.

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It’s warm and humid, and smells like nature. Just what you need when every day feels like the 9th circle of Dante’s Inferno. You know, the last circle of Hell, which is situated on a frozen lake, and where Judas is embedded neck-deep in ice, and his back is being clawed to shreds by Satan himself (props to my high school Humanities teacher, Mr. Dart!). Anyway, it’s nice to go here when it’s cold outside. :)

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Yeah, this is a fish made out of glass. What?
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Remember those green things that grow out of the ground? They still exist!

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The glass walls of the conservatory were talking about the vast difference in temperature on either side of them. Poor things were working hard.
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But, green things!

Then we had some really yummy dinner with my aunt, and saw a play based on Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” Fun night out with the Pops!

Como Zoo Trip

CZ2My parents and I went to Como Zoo last week. Walking into the first section, it was the most beautiful feeling. After spending the day outside during a St. Patrick’s Day parade in below freezing weather (!), the humidity and warmth of the exhibit was like slipping into a soft, squishy, warm blanket. And it smelled so fresh and alive and greeeeeeen. It was wonderfulll.

CZ1This plant looked like sea coral or a sea anemone.

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Ah, lovely little Ladyslipper.

Fuzzy Tree

This tree was called “furry tree” or something. This is its trunk. Not moss growing on the trunk, but the trunk itself. Cool!

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There were a bunch of different-smelling orchids; some smelled like rootbeer/licorice, some smelled like honey. These were my favorite. They smelled flowery, and it was a really gentle, sweet, fresh smell.

Come on, Spring, let’s go!