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Going Downhill From Here Part 1

Nov 11, 2020All, Garden

Did I mention that our home is on a hill?? This photo sort of shows how steep our side yard is. When we first moved here, the neighbor kids used our hill for sledding on the days when we had snow! (Thankfully, it doesn’t snow very often!) But eventually we decided to reduce the mowing on this hill—it was very dangerous! So we put in a retaining wall and then a patio area. We hauled in a lot of topsoil and planted bushes and plants.
The river birch in the first photo is still here and pretty much fully grown. It is a nice tree and adds a lot of shade to our yard. The burgundy smoke bush in the second photo is gone; it became too big and interfered with the birch tree. You can see, in the second photo, that the patio overlooks the rest of the hill. It is a nice spot to sit on a warm summer evening. The peony on the right side of the next photo is still here but the orange rose, unfortunately is gone. Tennessee summers are very hot and, in order to be able to be outside in the summer, we planted a lot of trees. It was a good decision but did make it difficult to grow and keep roses.

This photo was taken some time after the patio was put in. The steps here lead up to the driveway. The old ballad (“Davy Crockett”) that says Tennessee is “the greenest state in the land of the free” is quite evident in this photo!! The center photo is of hydrangeas called Blushing Bride; they start out white and then gradually change to a deep burgundy in the fall, very beautiful. The roses in the last photo are called Drift roses. We still have these but they have been moved to the other side of our house. They bloom reliably without much work except for pruning when the first flush of blooms are done and, as an added bonus, are very fragrant. Although the hydrangeas and roses worked well here, it gradually got too shady and we had to move them.

We planted these clematis right after we put up the retaining wall; they were absolutely beautiful for several years. They were directly across from the patio and aren’t they pretty?? The retaining wall needs to be replaced or in some places repaired, and then we are hoping to be able to find a place to once again have clematis along the wall.
The yellow rose in this area, across from the patio, is called Graham Thomas, a David Austin rose; it is one of my all time favorite roses. It, too, fell victim to lack of sunlight. This is another rose I hope to be able to grow again. There’s just something about roses—. The center photo shows our sweet little grandson when he was about four, I think. He loved to play here with his trucks; we kept the roses strictly pruned along the retaining wall when we knew he was coming so he wouldn’t hurt himself. There is much more to show you, in another post, of our steep side yard, and how we are working on the problems of gardening on a hill.

Final thought: When faced with a big problem in gardening, or in any of life’s issues, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But it is helpful to break whatever situation we are facing into manageable steps. And often that first step, successfully completed, gives us the confidence we need to move ahead until the problem we dreaded is finally conquered.