Backyard views

The roses are doing well, as is the little barberry bush my dad gave us from his overrun. My tomato plant is halfway up the trellis and has 10 lovely green tomatoes on it. I'm so excited and wonder why I didn't plant a tomato every summer of my life!

The day lilies have loved my attention (deadheading to prolong their blooming works!) We're now pretty much in the maintenance phase for this summer.
Sadly, the apple tree has been struck by some sort of bug or worm this year. It has apples, but they don't look good. We may have to spray next year, much as we'd rather not.

The entryway garden is finished!

Before we left on vacation mid-June, we were able to get the entryway finished, including taking out the sad Japanese maple that didn't survive. We found a Profusion Crabapple on sale at Home Depot, and they replaced our tree for free. Still, we feel a little discouraged that we just haven't been able to get a Japanese maple to thrive at either of our homes! Still, we're very happy with how the entry garden came out—for very little money (thanks to free mulch, and using flowerpots we already had).

We're happy that all the plants we transplanted (that were growing in the entry garden when we moved in) are thriving in their new spots. The Japanese magnolia (tulip tree) is our favorite transplant because moving it revealed the brickwork on the porch, and in its new spot, it hides the utilities on the side of the house, as well as the neighbor's trash can. (You can see the magnolia—a bit shorter for our pruning—at the left corner of the house in the last photo below.) 

Welcome Mat

We bought a new welcome mat yesterday. A little "funkier" than what I would normally choose, but like I told my husband, I felt like this mat reflected what's inside our house better than the others I considered. And I love it! So bright and cheery and picks up the colors of the front door and the flowers. No regrets.


I've fallen hard for Cosmos! These are the cheeriest flowers and they just don't stop blooming! I love the color combination we bought, too...white and shades of pink from pale to magenta! We planted some Cosmos seeds—a beautiful orange variety that some complete strangers gave us after we admired them in their yard last year! We think they're coming up, but no blooms yet. Time will tell... 

In honor of all those who gave their lives. Our deepest thanks.


 Recent rains (and a judicious trim) have the checkerboard patio looking great. The sedum we planted in the row near the house is slowly filling in too. Next year, though, we'll know better than letting the autumn leaves lie on the patio and lawn all winter. The grass there really suffered and has taken a while to recover.

Rain, rain, and more rain

 May 24 and it has rained and rained and rained some more. We've never seen the creek so full or the back yard so soggy! Not complaining. It's wonderful to have all the moisture, but we'd be happy to send some of it to California and other climes that need it worse than we do.

A Kansas Thunderstorm

There is no sweeter music than a Kansas long as it's not accompanied by hail or tornadoes, of course! We had one of those gentle rain/low-rumbling distant thunder storms today, May 9, and I captured it on this video:
Only yesterday I was out on the deck working. Makes a lovely office when there's no rain.

A big pile of dirt

May 8, and we're still working on the front entry, trying to get all the rocks out of the dirt, and dig the bed down to a reasonable depth so water can drain and the mulch won't float away. It seems to be one of those things that has to get worse before it can get better. But we're getting there. If we hold the camera in the right place, you'd never even know the spot wasn't finished.
 The goal is to get this flower cart parked in the entry garden on the mulch so it won't have to be moved when we mow.
 Look how wonderfully the Japanese Magnolia has adapted to its new home! We are so thrilled about that, and can see that it will be a great spot for it—creating a screen that will hide the utilities on the side of the house...and our view of the neighbors' trash can.
 The front porch pots are doing well and provide a colorful welcome to visitors.


Mid-April and finally we feel like we can get our flowers in the pots without too much danger of frost. Things are greening up so beautifully, and we're loving having windows open, birds singing, geese squawking, and life all joy!
We always go back to our small town when they have their flat sale. Stone Creek Nursery, Hesston, KS is the best!

The first pots of summer

I am SOOO eager to get the rest of the flowerpots planted, but it's a little early, even for Kansas. Even though it was 84 degrees yesterday and 75 today, we have cooler weather on the way and I'll likely need to bring these pots inside at night for a few days. Typical, fickle spring in Kansas.

April Fool?

No, it's not snow, but it sure looked like it. Our ornamental pear tree tried to play an April Fool's joke on us and scattered tiny petals all over the yard. They gathered in the paths of the checkerboard patio and looked for all the world like frost or snow. But we knew better once the thermometer hit 84 degrees!

Moving the Magnolia

March 23, and this Japanese Magnolia in our front entry garden has grown too large for its "britches." It not only blocked the view to our front porch and hid the brickwork on our house, but it also sheltered a tangle of grasses and old flowers that always get out of hand by the end of summer.

We really like the bush (we're calling it a tree, after how difficult it was to move!) and didn't want to get rid of it, so we trimmed it back by half, and after three hard days of digging and loosening roots to no avail, Ken called in my Dad and his pickup. They were able to pull the magnolia out and spare enough roots (we hope) that it should come back nicely at the corner of the house and will serve as a screen there to hide the meters on the side of the house.

Update March 25: The magnolia seems to like its new spot in the yard—it popped some new blooms today! (There's quite a hole where it used to be, but it won't be long before we have it filled in and get that area looking nice again.)

Spring in least for now

This mallard pair has been hanging around, even coming up on our front porch. We suspect they're looking for a place to nest. We wouldn't mind letting them be our guests for a few weeks. I got to watch baby ducks hatch and immediately follow their mother to a nearby lake a few years ago, and it was a delightful thing to witness!

We've been reveling in the blossoming of the Bradford pear tree in our backyard. Such a beautiful time of year here in Kansas (even though we know there could still be snow, ice, and all kinds of "winter" still to come before spring really settles in to stay.