Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ten Years Ago

June 21, 2004. Ten years ago today we closed on this house.

As the garden has matured, the house has aged. We have had to replace the water heater, painting needs to be done, and the carpets are worn. Builder grade appliances will soon need to be replaced. Inside it is no longer our new house after ten years.

But outside has improved and keeps getting better.
Then.  June 2004

The builder put in sod squares in the front that looked like a badly laid carpet, but the lawn did come in nicely eventually. They put in four azalea blobs along the front of the garage, a terrible location for azaleas, facing south in full sun.

Two gangly lilacs were planted in front of the windows by the front door, where they quickly grew too tall. Not visible, because they were still small, were three gold-leaved spireas that very quickly took over the walk by the front door.

All of the builder's plants were taken out in the first three years. 

Today there is a complex mix of plants in front. It still needs work, but it's getting there, ten years later.
Now.  2014

Ten years ago I was overwhelmed with the openness of our lot. Too much sun. So much sky. Open area all around us. So little privacy from the road behind. So hot in summer, baking in the sun with no trees for shade.

The windows were too big, the sun too bright and the lack of any greenery or shade or enclosure was awful. We were exposed to the elements and exposed to the traffic on the road in back.

In spring of 2005, a year after closing, we had two big maples and some paper birches and a berm of spruces professionally planted by a landscaper. And then I started to plant up the place on my own -- gardens, borders, paths, flowers, trees, shrubs. Over ten years I have planted, moved, taken out and replanted.

I began creating a forest on the back hill where it had been scraped bare. I have put in 60 or more trees, lost about 20 of them, but what has remained now screens us from the road, provides a leafy buffer and creates a backdrop for the gardens in the yard.
This was 2007, two years after I started reforesting. The bare maple in the foreground is one we had installed in 2005.

And now, in 2014 the same maple is surrounded by gardens.

And ten years later the houses and road behind us are not visible.
I'm still putting in new trees all the time.

The row of spruces helped screen us from the road, although initially they looked so dinky.
The berm in 2006, a year after it was installed. 

Now it does provide privacy, in winter, fall, and any season

For a long time the patio we installed in 2006 was too open and sunny, with no shade on a hot day.
the patio in 2007

the patio in 2014

There is finally shade to sit in.

Big changes came after many years -- it was just in 2011 that we installed the gravel garden on the west side of the house and put in the long strip along the driveway. And two years after that when I built the stone wall at the top of the driveway.
In June 2004 the top of the driveway looked like this.

Now, ten years later it looks like this.

I always liked this photo from June 2004 of Jim surveying what we had just bought.
Ten years ago the house looked like such a square block sitting in the middle of nothing.

It's been a good place to live and build a garden.

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