My mother has always had gorgeous gardens, no matter how big or tiny a space she's had to work in. I'm not entirely sure that trait is a genetic one, but I am going to try to set up a garden this year - one that I won't be embarrassed to look at.
There's some space in the front yard, near the walkway and front door, that was overgrown with mutant peonies, a blue hydrangea, and an ancient azalea when we moved in. I should have taken a good "before" picture, but I forgot. This is how it looks right now.
When Mom visited in October, she helped me tear up the peonies, trim and restrain the hydrangea, and clear out all the weeds so we could see what sort of space we had, and it looks like I've got a nice canvas to work with. There is a perennial border in place that I decided to leave there for now, but I'm not sure what the plant is called. Thin grassy variegated leaves with a small spike of a purple flower popping up in the mid-to-late summer. They're low, small, and seem healthy, so they get to stay. Mom and I planted some bulbs - tulips, daffodils, crocuses, and grape hyacinths - so there will be something pretty to look at in the spring. Provided that the deer, squirrels, and bunnies don't eat them for lunch, that is. I went out today and found some little shoots sticking up, uneaten! Hooray! Some crocuses:
And some daffodils:
There's also an area in the backyard, near the pool, that I will make into a garden. It's beside where we used to have three giant juniper trees growing, until we paid some guys to take them down for us before they decided to come down on their own terms, into the pool or bedroom window. The area was sectioned off like it used to be a garden, but it was completely overgrown with ivy and weeds and we couldn't even tell how big it was until we tore all the stuff up. It's an odd shape, but I like a challenge. Right now all I have in place are tulip bulbs, but I'll change that this spring.
We also picked up a couple of garden ornaments on a recent trip to Home Goods. I chose a turtle, and Dave picked a duck (no surprises there). The duck is neat, it's got a plastic insert that is supposed to be phosphorescent - after being in the light for a while, it glows in the dark. We're not sure it works yet, because we're never home right after dark. We should go test it tonight with a flashlight.
As a reward for putting up with a Home Goods trip, I told Dave he could name the garden critters. So now the duck is Solar Duck, and the turtle is Superfly. He is not permitted to name our children.