How does your midcentury garden grow?

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Elizabeth lives not too far from me. I was invited to come down and see her house – and her gorgeous magnolia. But, I was out of town the week it bloomed so I haven’t made it down yet.  I am nutso for my garden this year! In a week or two we have our favorite landscape guy – who knows what grows well here, low maintenance, really well — coming to put in a new crabapple tree and some more shrubs, and a second tree that I forget the name of. Our 1951 colonial-ranch house is pretty much “done” in terms of renovation expense, so now our spare cash is going to landscaping. I’m looking forward to sittin’ on the front patio in my rockin’ chair and watching my new trees and shrubs grow, year after year after year.  How is your garden growing this year? What are you putting in?

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Comments

  1. kristin says

    I am an outdoor garden fanatic now too and our 1953 ranch has a looooooong way to go…I have to spread the $$$ around NOW. We were lucky as this place came with some amazing shrubs and plants already thriving, but we’ve added, and if you do it yourself, it is incredibly cheap and a fantastic workout!

    Already here (front):
    Huge gardenia on the east side of the house
    red and pink azaleas lining carport
    clematis crawling on carport trellis
    perfectly manicured holly by front porch
    some evergreen bushes (that will be replaced by azaleas) lining the long front part of the house

    Added (front):
    Japanese Maple

    and in built in brick container running length of living room and wrapping around the front…
    “elephant ears”–huge
    canna lillies
    pink caladium–smaller elephant ears
    rosemary
    tarragon
    basil
    thyme

    Already here (back):
    Massive live oak circled with multicolored azaleas
    hydrangeas
    ferns
    ivy
    clematis on original double-loop wire fencing
    4 rambler rose bushes
    two unidentifed trees
    2 huge forsythias
    10 white lillies
    irises

    we’ve had to slave to uncover the backyard as vines had overgrown a lot and weeds were/are everywhere, but it is looking great! We’ve kept some ornamental vines crawling up the original posts for the clothes line.

    Question: Any online resources for building your own brick or slate stone patio?

  2. Elizabeth Mary says

    Hi Pam, What a surprise and what fun to see my tree here. Thanks!

    This was a good — really good — year for the magnolia, the lilacs (seen in front left of the picture), the beauty bush, peonies and the rock gardens by the driveway. Not so good for my beloved iris. Many that bloomed last year did not bloom this year. Nor did the ones that were divided last year. Sort of makes me very reluctant to divide others that need it — a year without bloom is too depressing for me, it seems.

    Nothing new going in this year as the outside has taken a lot of $$ over the past few years, much going to the magnolia: lots of cables, feeding, trimming, etc. And, I thank my lucky stars I did that because it came through December’s ice storm with nary a break.

  3. Jeanne says

    Landscaping is the one thing we HAVE done to our house since we moved it. We spent $1400 to have a huge maple taken down in our back yard so we can actually plan some sort of patio and nice landscaping (probably fall or next spring).

    We ripped out the entire over-grown front and redid it with a border made of two-level retaining wall border blocks and planted a Japanese maple, mugho pines (my favorite) a red twig dogwood, an azalea and something new I’ve never had before: two hyrdangeas (one on each side of my front porch steps). I can’t wait for them to bloom!! I thought they would be appropriate for an early 1950s landscape. We left two small yews in the front, which were REALLY popular in the 50s.

  4. says

    We went faux tropical in our backyard. Not many true tropical plants survive here in Sacramento (it gets too cold). We put in windmill palms, golden bamboo, white ginger, tree fern, giant birds of paradise, golden lotus banana and dwarf white stripe bamboo in our backyard around our pool. And, of course, cement tiki god statues!

  5. Jeff says

    Wow, gorgeous tree! I have a magnolia as well, about a 40 footer, dating to 1953 when the house was built.

    Also have two 80 foot V-shaped pin oaks, 80 foot sugar maples, a black walnut tree, and several specimens of Japanese bushes and maples. I have a giant Kerria Japonica bush, which looks like thousands of button sized chrysanthemums in bright yellow.

    Having a 1/2 acre helps with so many varieties, still trying to identify many plants which have been there for 50+ years.

  6. MidCent Keith says

    I love futzing around in my yard. The only plants when I moved in, where six silver maples around the house, 10 meatball shaped evergreen yews and one fifty year old apple tree out back. I’ve since gone nuts and planted a perrenial flower garden, herb garden, shade garden .. greatly expanded landscape up front (mostly native shrubs) and a great vegetable garden out back. Last spring I planted three varieties of grapes, and this week my strawberries are ripening .. I can’t believe how boring the yard was … now, I love just wandering around and seeing what’s happeing in the yard.

  7. says

    our house came with some lovely plants: a dogwood, a couple of oaks, hydrangeas down one side of the house, azaleas on the front and side of the yard and two shrubs that might be junipers (they look like giant bonsai trees) flanking the front walk entrance.

    unfortunately it also came with all of that untended, everything (including the front doorframe) covered in poison ivy, no grass and two lovely roses that were almost dead from overgrowth. so, currently, rather than really landscaping we’re rehabilitating.

    even my dad couldn’t get a shovel into the front yard, the ground was so hard. so we covered the whole yard in the fall’s leaves to start a bit of composting, and we’re about to spread black-eyed peas (which add nitrogen to the soil). we’ll probably follow that with daikon radishes in the fall (to “plow” the soil). then in the spring we can actually plant! don’t know how mid-century that is, but it’s the garden on our mid-century house =)

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