Posts Tagged ‘hydrangeas’

Casa Tour!

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Posted by Rebecca, July 25th, 2011

Aaaand I’m back! I’m not going to lie, it’s been a rough, rough week. Having a sick kitten is not at all fun and is an emotional rollercoaster. We’re doing much better with the routine and we go back to the vet for a second round of chemo tomorrow night.

By some sort of miracle, I finished my summer classes this weekend. Which means I have no school for the next 6 weeks! I had high hopes for the house and the blog these 6 weeks, but with a sick kitty I’m not sure how much I will actually get done. I decided to get started while I had this free night and get a Casa Tour page going up there on the navigation bar. This is a long time coming, but I figured I’d add a room every day this week until I get it (mostly) done.

So today? We’ll start with the room we spend the most time in (and I’m currently in), the family room! Here’s a little reminder of where it is in our floorplan

I’ll be covering the eat-in area too, so that is why it has that funny smiley face on it. When I was in college I worked at Chili’s and I made that smiley face on every check. It felt right to associate it with food.

Anyway, the eat-in area!

You like those flowers I put there? They’re from our very own hydrangea and are the first flowers I’ve trimed from it 🙂

Directly off of the kitchen/eat-in area is the family room.

Our media center, which still needs to be styled but is complete with wedding photo on the tv (it was just good timing, it was a slideshow playing on apple tv)

Fireplace with mosaic tile surround and we still need to hang the curtains we bought on these windows!

And our beloved old couch and chair, the first major purchase we made in our condo. We didn’t have a tv, so we didn’t sit on them really for a year. We have since made up for that time and we desperately want to replace them with a better fitting sectional. Probably sooner rather than later.

Tada, that’s the family room! Now I’m off to add these pictures to my new tour. Not sure what I’ll share next. The kitchen is the logical choice but since we have to go to the vet tomorrow, I can’t promise it will be dish free. Maybe I’ll be random and bounce around the house 🙂

Hello Mid-June

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Posted by Rebecca, June 14th, 2011

Remember back when Mike and I had big landscaping dreams? Okay they weren’t big dreams, we just wanted to dig up some plants, add a little fresh mulch and some river rock edging, sort of like these pictures I pinned on Pinterest.

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We wanted to do all of this before it got brutally hot, especially since last year we were mulching into July. Pale ol’ me doesn’t do direct sunlight well and our front yard has loooads of it. I looked at the calendar this weekend and somehow it is MID-JUNE.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the temps were in the 80s or so, but for several days last week we were in the triple digits. We actually did bring our grass back to life in all of our problem areas and it was looking fabulous this spring.

Our daylilies finally bloomed.

And our hydrangeas were growing like weeds!


As we saw the forecast for last week, Mike’s response was “well it was nice having green grass for a while!” I thought he was being pessimistic, but nope…


My poor hydrangeas had a few droopy moments in between watering and I thought I’d lose their flowers to the heat like I did last summer. We thought about doing a sprinkler system last year when our grass got fried, but I honestly forgot about it this year until every neighbor around us had them installed. We already committed to the patio and we just decided we’d rather spend our money on other things. Which means we run outside and move our standard sprinklers several times a night, while our whole block probably chuckles. We sort of have to do this because our association will get on us if our grass starts looking too neglected. Granted, I’m pretty sure extreme heat is a good excuse but we can’t let it completely die without someone complaining. It’s good and bad all at the same time. It maintains the value and curb appeal of our neighborhood, but forces us to move our fiesty sprinklers. Last night Mike took a straight shot to the crotch and looked like he peed his pants. I wish I had a photo.

With summer quickly flying by and scorching us at the same time, we have decided not to do anymore landscaping in the front this year. We are already booked with weekend plans for the rest of June and a chunk of July. We’ve decided we want to enjoy life on the weekends and spend some time on our patio, catching up with friends and just doing some summery things. And for those weekends where it’s 100 degrees and we can’t breathe outside? We have plenty of indoor projects we’re looking forward to finishing and we just bought a pneumatic nail gun to do so 🙂

For now, we’re just planning on pulling these guys regularly and adding a tiny bit more mulch along the edges of the walkway where it’s always weedy (okay a good amount of the weeds are actually stray grass from when we seeded).


We have a couple of extra bags of mulch from last year and we can always pick up more just to maintain the front. But as for any major redesigning? I’d rather be making s’mores at this point in the summer 🙂

I made a lengthy to-do list early in the summer full of things to do around the house and the blog during my semi-hiatus from grad school (I’m still taking 2 online electives this summer). But I think I’m going to kick the list to the curb and just wing things this summer. I have to stop getting mad at myself for not accomplishing enough, when I’m pretty sure I run around like a busy looney 90% of the time. It’s just in my nature as a nerd. You know those kids in school who were mad if they got a 95 on a test? That’s me. As an adult. In fact I did that just two nights ago with a quiz. So in an attempt to stop being so hard on myself, I don’t think I’m going to look at that list this summer.

Okay for at least this week 😉

A Sunny Day

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Posted by Rebecca, May 23rd, 2011

On Saturday the clouds finally parted for long enough for us to work on part of our spruce-up-our-landscaping project. We had some plans in the morning, then we headed straight to a local garden center to load up our car with whatever we could fit. We decided to tackle the front for now and we could only fit enough plants for one side of the front. We planned to go back to pick up a couple more shrubs for the other side, but we ran out of time.

First, I finally got to set foot on our patio!

My shoes were super muddy at one point and I actually walked around the patio. Yes, I did not want to get dirt on my patio. We admired it for a bit, then back to work it was.

The word work is an understatement actually. We have the hardest soil ever. Ever. I’ve never said this before because I’ve never had a house before and have never dug holes in the ground before. I knew I hated doing it last year and that many of our plants and portions of our sod died due to the lack of “hearty” soil (a lawn guy who knocked on our door told me that once). But when a team of concrete guys in business for 30 years told us we had the hardest soil they’ve ever seen, we were like hey! we’re not weak cry babies afterall!

I’d describe this “dirt” as peanut butter that was put in the freezer for 2 years. It probably didn’t help that it rained all week and this stuff was a million pounds. Mike and I always blamed our orange soil on the fact that our house is new and was once a pile of construction muck.

Yes that puddle is the outline of our house. We do live very near the Delaware River, but our concrete guys were local and I’m sure they would know if our clay soil was a result of that. Basically the builder took all of this muck and flattened it, then landscaped it one day. Most of our plant causalities were because the plants never rooted. I literally pulled them out of the ground in the shape of the pots they were planted in. We really wanted to avoid losing any plants because of this, so we also picked up two bags of top soil to try to mix in with our clay. You know, like on the commercial!

The only plant we picked up that wasn’t for the front yard was a hydrangea. Right after I saw the walkway leading onto our patio and the curve it produced, I knew I wanted to plant a hydrangea. We decided to get one on Saturday because I knew it would be a rainy week and hydrangeas require a lot of water to get established (hydra… get it? okay a garden center employee told me that last year). Thankfully, larger plants weren’t so bad to dig because we could use the big, leverage friendly shovel.

Here’s the pretty curve from the other side, complete with baby hydrangea.

We mixed lots of topsoil in with this guy to make sure he gets established. The tag said he’d grow to 3 feet wide, so we tried to make sure he had enough room to fill out that curve nicely.

We eventually plan to make this whole side of the walkway into a garden bed with river rock and mulch, but for now we have a random hydrangea planted in our grass. And it looks like a giant weed.

Here are the hydrangeas we planted early last year, who survived a heat wave and a winter full of blizzards. They are planted underneath our bay window and will hopefully fill in nicely some day. This picture was taken on April 8th.

And on Saturday!

The one on the right has really taken off and is ready to bloom!

Hopefully the backyard hydrangea will do just as well in our clay muck as its buddies.

Okay enough about the hydrangeas, next we added some day lilies to one of the semi-circles we have in our landscaping. I forgot to take a before, but this area had some small shrubs that died last year.

This area has so much potential and it was just lacking the color and fullness of the landscaping on the driveway side of the house. We also decided to take this bush that remained by the walkway (it’s 2 buddies died) and replant it over here in the back.

It still needs some work but it’s looking better already.

Hopefully these day lilies, which are reddish orange, will grow in nice and full like the yellow ones we have on the other side.

Next, we had to fill in these holes left from dead/moved shrubs.

We decided to make this area into a place for some seasonal flowers. We have areas on the other side where we planted some summer flowers and some mums last year, but no where on this side to balance them. We picked up some orangey flowers that resembled wildflowers since Saturday marked 3 years since we lost Sunny. Last year we decided to plant some orange flowers on his anniversary weekend and thought we’d do the same this year as a little way to let him know we haven’t forgotten him. We also picked up some tiny purpley white things.

At this point I was shaking like a leaf. Digging all of those little holes, with a little shovel, in dirt that was insanely hard was literally painful. I would rather dig out large plants than do an ice pick type of move to get these little things in. Plus I could not get them to stay straight for the life of me. The purple ones are closer to the walkway than I wanted since I was sitting and they naturally gravitated that way. When I realized this, it had started to rain on me (which felt wonderful!) and Mike tried to comfort me by telling me we could always pick up another flat of these and plant another row in between the purple ones and the orange ones to even it out. The thought of digging 24 tiny holes again is not appealing.

Then the rain came and it forced us to stop right before I collapsed. Though the weather didn’t let us put our patio furniture together, at least it held off long enough to get some gardening done and give our new plants a nice watering! 🙂

Easter Flowers

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Posted by Rebecca, April 25th, 2011

Mike and I made a last minute decision to host Easter yesterday. We literally did all of our grocery shopping at 8:00 on Saturday night and were flying by the seat of our pants up until our families arrived, going with the no plan plan. I’m not a big holiday/seasonal decorator, with the exception of Christmas and a little Thanksgiving, so there was not much to do to get ready. I wanted to dye eggs but we just didn’t have the time to this year. So when I spotted some pretty colored hydrangeas at the grocery store I just couldn’t resist!

I placed them in some Kate Spade Larabee Dot vases we received as a wedding gift.

I’ve been itching to use these, but thanks to my highly allergic husband and flower eating cats, there aren’t many flowers we can pull off in here. Luckily, the cats didn’t even notice that I put the flowers on the buffet in the dining room.

I mixed in my icy blue pillar holders to get another pastel color mixed in and called it a day.

It took very little thought, but that purple hydrangea stem in that rose bowl has been making me smile ever since 🙂

Now if Macky would just fail to notice if I slipped it on the island or eat-in table…

Sprucing Up

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Posted by Rebecca, April 22nd, 2011

I mentioned last week that Mike and I had spent some time in the front yard clearing the death. Though we haven’t had a chance to do much other than just making it look not-bad, I figured I’d share some pictures until it looks just plain old good. So here we go, in mostly pictures 🙂

Two out of three bushes dead! Still thinking of what to replace them with…

The other side at least had some signs of life coming up in the middle of all that death.

Plus some mum skeletons mixed in.

But! The two hydrangeas we planted last year are sprouting up! I was a little worried about them because we planted them late. They had beautiful blue flowers on them, then we got hit with a killer heat wave in early June and all of the flowers fell off 🙁 The leaves stayed green, but they didn’t bloom ever again. Hopefully this year I can have flowers for long enough to put some around the house!

Hot mess going on in our little island garden.

So I gave them a little (okay a lot of) a haircut. That’s Mike in the background dealing with our dead patches of sod, from above mentioned heat wave last year.

Then I pulled out all of the plant skeletons.

And things started looking much better!

Reseeded (and thanks to the rain this week, it’s green now!)

So now we just need to keep seeding our hearts out, doing rain dances (for the grass and the hydrangeas!), hunt down some replacement plants and freshen up the mulch in some spots and we’re good to go! 🙂

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