Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Outside Spaces

Saturday I went over and visited with my parents for a couple of hours. Before I left, Mother took me on a tour of her flowerbeds. I asked her about a big bunch of purple flowers that was in full bloom. I'd never seen them before. She said it was a weed. I couldn't believe anything so big and pretty could be a weed, a wildflower maybe. Does anyone recognize this plant?

The bumblebees loved it.

Mother is fond of decorating....the yard as well as the house.

I think this rusty old table and chair set is pretty.

When I left I decided to take the scenic route home....up and over the mountain that separates us. I stopped at the top to take a few pictures. See the kudzu on the ground? It is slowly but surely covering everything up there. For those of you who don't live in the South, kudzu is relentless in its pursuit of swallowing up everything in its pathway....the ground, trees and even houses if left unattended. Once it takes hold there is nothing that kills it.

Once home, I walked out in the backyard to get a closer view of my blooming oak leaf hydrangea. It is beautiful this year. Like everything around here, it has benefited from the frequent rain storms we've had this spring.

It is the prettiest if you stand at the back of the yard and look towards the house.

For 20 + years it has been a struggle to make the yard pretty. In the beginning, the topsoil washed down towards the street, exposing rocks galore. The many hardwoods provided much shade, but also contributed to our inability to grow the grass which would help control the washing. Eventually my ex built some wooden flowers beds and inadvertently stopped the washing problem. A huge tree in my neighbor's yard died and suddenly the grass began to grow. A few years ago, my son and I planted some bushes. The yard is the prettiest it has ever been.

My dream has always been to have an easy yard. You know the kind of yard I mean....the kind with perfect light, magical dirt, springy soft grass and beautiful landscaping.

What about you? What is your dream outdoor space?


  1. lovely rambling place, my dream is just a peaceful aternoon with no rain, clear blue skies, and some greenery around me...sigh...

  2. I am a gardening nut. I like to collect plants wheter they be flowers, shrubs or trees. My Dearly Beloved says I have a "10 acre imagination for our 1/4acre". So it goes... Love your hydrangea. I am not sure what the flower is from your Mom's garden. It reminds me of Bachelors Buttons but the leaves don't look right for that. Hmmmmmm

  3. Lisa, she has Bachelors Buttons and these flowers are more than twice the size of them. The center is different as well. Maybe they are weeds....

  4. The flower is similar to, but not quite chicory. Might be in the same family though. I love the rusty table and chair set. My neighbour has two massive pines which I wish would die off - despite how I love trees. My back yard has not yielded any decent grass, flowers, trees or vegetables in years.

  5. Well, that's a loaded question for me! It seems I always have a long list of what I'd like to do to our yard...the bad thing is, that we can't afford any of them! ha-ha!

    That beautiful flower couldn't be a weed! At least I don't have weeds like that!

  6. Stevie, it has a center like a Passion Flower but I'm thinking they make a vine like morning Glory's.It's beautiful whatever it is and I would keep it too! Your Hydragea is GORGEOUS! I think that's the biggest Oakleaf I've ever seen !

  7. I never saw that pretty purple 'weed' before ... I have seen those hydrangea but didnt know they were hydrangea!

    And I am happy ... I have a new boringly dull plastic window box into which I put dirt and some small begonias and impatiens ... they'll grow and fill it out ... I am transitioning from growing morning glories from seed and the idea of BIG plants was very off putting .. and what if they die? No, better to start small.

    When a friend was in GA many years ago he was impressed with kudzu as a ground cover ... then he learned it doesnt stay on the ground ....

  8. Beautiful purple flowers; I sure do recognize those, but I have no idea what the name is.;)) Their flowers seem to be full of nectar, that is what attracts the bumblebees. That is usually the case with wild flowers.
    Lovely pictures of your garden! You know what an avid gardener I am and I so enjoy seeing others gardens as well.;))
    I think my terrace is my outdoor dream space, but it also takes some work and care; one which makes me happy and feels not like work at all.;)))

  9. Enjoyed the pics of the flowers in your yard and GG's! Don't know about those pretty purple blooms...

    But I miss oak leaf hydrangea - we had lots in our woods at the T'ville house!

    Ideal yard: vegetable garden, flower garden, herb garden, a fruit tree or two...some woods...tall order. Ha!

  10. beautiful shots - the purple flower is a pincushion flower and I love them too. beautiful shots and DOF.

    this rain here has killed two of my container gardens so I'm going to have to start over.

  11. I do not know what the purple flower is, but it is lovely. That looks like such a nice drive home. Happy that your yard is getting to where you want it to be.
    My dream yard would be lead to the Atlantic Ocean. I have always dreamed of living on Martha's Vineyard. The yard would be full of perennials, lounge chairs with flowered pillows, a fire pit, a path would lead to the ocean where I would sit on beach chair and wave to the boaters. If I am going to dream, I am going to dream big!

  12. They look like Bachelors Buttons to me...or maybe some kind of chicory. I'd have to see them up close.

    I also dream of an outdoor space filled with native perennials that come back every year and maintain themselves through rain and drought, eliminating the need for expensive seeds and plants every single year. Part of my perfect outdoor space is a hammock which I FINALLY acquired after three years of pining for one. (I blogged about it yesterday.)

  13. Hi
    I have no idea what kind of flowers those are but your photos are beautiful !
    Thank you for sharing all the great photos .
    I am so glad you were able to share your parent's yard it is really nice ,and your place is gorgeous too.
    Have a wonderful week.
    Happy Trails

  14. Your oakleaf hydrangea is beautiful! I have had poor luck in getting my yard to look nice...trees have grown and shaded too much ...or trees have died and made things too sunny...I'm just not a natural at it...

    Your mystery plant looks like a pincushion flower to me too..scabiosa if you want to look it up...we don't consider them weeds up here if that is what it is!

    Love your new header...and I grew up loving the same books as you..especially Trixie Belden!

    one last thing...can you share your recipe for lemon icebox pie? Is it the same as Char's?

  15. Gosh, I don't know if it's a weed. How could it possibly be? I am pretty sure weeds don't come in such a beautiful purple. ;)

    Your parents property is lovely.

  16. Hi Steviewren. Those purple blooms sure are pretty. Who knew weeds could be so attractive!

    Well you have your kudzu, we have our purple loosetrife. Although not bad looking, it is a virulent weed that spreads like mad. It's a problem in my area.

    I enjoyed reading about the long saga of your garden, and pleased that it is now looking its best. I guess my dream garden would have a lot of water. Deep, tranquil, rocky pools, splashy fountains, koi pond.....

  17. Hi Steviewren

    It's been a busy time for me lately...sorry I haven't visited you as much as I like to!

    My wish is simple ...I'd love a portion of land large enough to grow a vegetable garden! I am a frustrated gardener as I have very little property. My backyard is all concrete and a wooden deck. I have to grow everything in pots. I've managed to keep a fig tree and raspberry bushes and have many herbs growing, and every summer I plant tomatoes and peppers. I just wish I could plant more!

  18. I love all your pretties. Please stop over at my blog. I have a little something for you. :)

  19. Oak leaf hydrangea! I've not heard of it. Is it mostly down in your neck of the woods? It's absolutely gorgeous!!

  20. Wow..so lovely and COZY!! Can I come?! =D

  21. Lots of bright flowers, big bushes, maple trees and evergreens... and a pool that doesn't look like a swimming pool, one that blends in with the landscape. Oh, and I must have Lady Banks roses, curtains and fountains of them!

    Don't know what the purple bloom is. Your oak leaf hydrangea is as splendid as my mother-in-law's. Gorgeous!

  22. Hey Steviewren! I read somewhere once that a weed is only a plant growing where it is not wanted. Is that the case in your Mum's garden? - Dave

  23. Hi Steviewren,

    I came over via NanaTrish. You have a lovely blog. I have to tell you that your yard is fabulous. All that room-love it (even if it is a lot of work).

    Take care,

  24. ha ha You're right, that weed is beautiful! I do not have an emerald thumb either and I lurve to imagine my yard looking like something out of Sunset magazine. I have a neighbor whose HUGE eucalyptus tree leaves KILL all things in my backyard. I know how you feel. ha ha

  25. These look like cornflowers, also called batchelor buttons. Check out Dave's Garden and see if you agree.

  26. Sounds like that squirrley squirrel need some learnin'! Do I need to come over with my bb gun:)

  27. that really doesn't look like a weed tome but i'm sure i'm wrong.

    i used to have a recurring dream about walking into a dark woods for a long time and then finally coming upon a softly raised round hill of lush, green grass. the sun was shining thru the trees onto this little area making it look like a beacon calling to me. what i was supposed to do there i never found out but it was quite mesmerizing. i guess that is my dream outdoor space. d=sadly, i've not dreamed of it in decades. maybe i've already found my dream space here in the real world.

  28. The flower in question might be Stokesia. Do a Google search and see what photos come up.


I'm glad you stopped by and I look forward to your comments. As Dr. Fraser Crane would say, "Hello, I'm listening."