When we first moved into our current home in Bethesda, the original owner had spent his lifetime planting azaleas. They lined the driveway from the street to the garage, overgrown on both sides like a maze leading you to a small passageway that lead to the front door.. The front yard was filled with them, including the triangle garden bed right in front of the home obscuring the front porch. Our lot, which was actually almost 3/4 of an acre felt tiny because the came all the way up to the small patio off the back of the house. For a few weeks each year it had been a bright color palette of white, pink, red and purple all grown together into a jungle of tangled branches and vines. A sight that the neighbors claimed was the original owners pride and joy.
A few of those azaleas remain and brighten our yard each year.
We purchased the home from a flipper who cut most of the azaleas in the front yard leaving small dead stumps everywhere. It was winter and there was snow on the ground so we didn't see the stumps until we were about to move in.
The first few years in our home were spent removing the abandoned stumps and clearing azaleas in the backyard to make room for the kids to play. The plants were intertwined with English ivy, periwinkle and poison ivy. I'd head into the heat covered from head to toe and rip as much foliage out as I could while my husband watched the kids and occasionally brought me a cold drink. The landscaping and gardening had always been in my wheelhouse and still are today.
Now it's 18 years later and the yard is quite a bit different. I've added flowering shrubs, black currant and blueberry bushes, hydrangea, peonies, spirea, blue stars, allium, and a small garden. I replaced the dead cherry tree that we removed when we arrived so that we wouldn't be a gap in the cherry tree-lined street of Charred Oak Estates that is getting more and more gaps as time goes on.
I added a Hollish Yucca. When my parents had their first home my father planted a yucca. When we moved to our second home, he too one of its babies to our new home. When we moved from Ohio to New Jersey, he brought a baby to that home. When I bought my first home, he brought me a baby. After he passed away, I gave my in-laws babies from the Hollish Yucca. I brought babies to my current home. One of our plants has five babies this year, but no flowers yet. Another has a few just starting to make their appearance. They come out later in the summer and grow to be about 6 feet tall.
The one plant that I left untouched from the original owner is the beautiful camellia that usually starts blooming before all the others - often when we still have snow on
the ground. We had a mild winter this year so the crocuses appeared around the same time, but the camellias remain in bloom.
Of course, my husband likes the dark purple irises of his childhood in England. So I have planted a few batches around the yard for him.
And finally, my favorite childhood smell and favorite childhood flower, the lilac. While my neighbors seem to have little trouble growing both white and purple varieties, mine have not really flourished as I'd hoped. But when I open the door in the morning, I can smell when they are in bloom. Reminds me of living on Bank Street in Painesville, Ohio.
What is your favorite flower?
The featured picture is a snowball viburnum in bloom surrounded by azaleas.
This is part of the May Challenge: Shower Power