I finally got my new gardens! The landscapers came and turned all those nasty weeds into prettiness. I am SO happy with how it turned out and I can't wait to show people! I just have to make sure I do my homework and keep up with it. Hopefully these side gardens are easier to take care of due to the smaller amount of plants, the fact that they are all supposedly low maintenance, and the rock bed instead of mulch (makes it harder for weeds to grow).
So, if you remember, here is the shady side of the house BEFORE (shady weeds, bare earth, no mulch, no stacked stone border):
And THIS is what it looks like NOW! (click to make pictures bigger)
Left to right: cherry laurels, coral bells, hydrangea, more coral bells, another hydtrangea. There is one more coral bell coming on the left, and two deutzia plants to go in front of the hydrangea on the right...landscaper is just waiting on them to come in.
Okay, and now here is the sunny side of the house BEFORE (lots of (now dead) weeds growing up in the mulch, stacked stones kind of messy, stumps from the cut-down arborvitae visible):
And here is the garden AFTER! (again click to enlarge) (and this is taken when the sun is going down so it's not all that sunny here)
Left to right: Two burning bushes, a crape myrtle, with salvia in front, two more burning bushes, and a butterfly bush (tucked in that back corner)
During the work on the sunny-side garden, a rabbit's nest (or scrape, to be correct) was discovered, with five baby bunnies in it. We couldn't just leave them there, not with all the work that had to be done, so they had to be moved. I dug a new scrape out of the way about 15 feet away, donned some gloves, and Matt helped me transport the bunnies, along with the fur lining the nest. According to the article I read, the human scent actually doesn't bother the mother, but given that rabbits can't move babies on their own, they usually assume predators got the babies when they find an empty scrape. If the babies aren't too far, they might find the new location. So I was worried that the mother wouldn't find them, but was hoping that she just hopped along the side of the house towards the back, because then she would stumble across them. And that some stray cat didn't slink along the side of the house from under the deck and find the baby bunnies right there on it's doorstep.
(this is them briefly uncovered when I counted to make sure they were all there...that the disturbed floss wasn't because a predator had gotten a tasty snack)
Following the advice of the article, I put four strands of unscented dental floss across the top of the nest in a tic-tac-toe pattern to see if it got disturbed overnight, which is supposedly when the mother returns to feed the babies. Sure enough, it WAS all disturbed and all five babies were still there...so I am thinking she managed to find them. I plan to try that again tonight, and maybe yet one more night, to make sure she is returning to feed them. Otherwise, at the suggestion of my sister, we'll take them to the local wild animal shelter, to see if they can be cared for there.
And the icing on the cake...the landscapers weeded and trimmed up our front garden, which was in much need of it. Here are the before and after shots. Kind of hard to tell in the pictures, but it IS nicer. Look at the shapes of the plants and the spaces between the plants.
You know what? If you are local, why don't you come over and take a look in person. SOOO much better. And hop in the pool while you are here. Heh.