Sometime in early January I posted about my “goals” for the year.  I used this word to avoid the utter sense of failure I experience when I’ve set the usual “resolutions” and then dropped the ball within the first month of the new year.  This year I was determined to set realistic “goals” for myself and keep them in my thoughts to achieve some measure of success.  How did that work out, you ask?  Well, it’s only May 1st, but I would give myself a solid B for achieving 2 of the 3 goals so far.

If you’re interested in reading the post visit me HERE, otherwise, here is a bit of proof of my work towards accomplishing at least 1 of the 3 goals. Goal #2. Plans for the Garden :: As I explained in my previous post, I have regularly worked in my garden, but in recent years, only to maintain it.  I had really dropped the ball where adding new “bones” to the space was concerned.  The pictures I had taken for blog purposes revealed lots of bare spots and some much needed updating.  {You really can see your yard, or rooms in your home, more objectively by taking a picture and looking at it}

Our house is stucco on all sides, except for the front where we had stone applied some years ago.  I’m sure there are stucco walls that are smooth and somewhat attractive, that is not what we have in our 1968 Southern California tract house.  Which is why I’ve have ivy growing on many of the walls.  In our side yard there is a particularly large expanse of stucco and the wall happens to get full sun.  I had always thought about planting something that could be espaliered. My trusty nursery suggested White Lady Banks rose so I’m giving it a go.  Don’t judge Lady Banks just yet.  I’ve only planted her this past weekend.  But with time, I’ve been promised she’ll grow and will at least break up (figuratively)  some of the stucco wall.

White Lady Banks RoseI’ve got a David Austin ‘Heritage’ and an Iceberg rose growing in front of Lady Banks, she should enjoy their company while she puts on growth.

Iceberg RoseIceberg are so easy and provide the best white blooms nearly 9 months of the year around here.

Iceberg rose blossomThe other roses in this area of the yard are French Lace

French Lace~and~

a Burgundy Simplicity rose.  They both put their best face forward in spring, but perform well all summer long.

Burgundy Simplicity roseburgundy simplicity roseLast year I discovered that by planting my herbs in pots I could avoid the little slug holes that plagued all of my basil and flat leaf parsley.

Parsley, chives in containerThe patio bed was revamped a couple of years ago, but even with the Iceberg roses and climbers, Cecile Brunner and Eden, the rest of the bed needed some interest.  This spring I was able to buy foxglove in color packs (a smaller, 6-pack of starts).  The ‘foxy’ variety will last most of the summer and could be coaxed into blooming again next spring if I could tolerate the stage where they look so sad.  They are up and strong and about to burst into a full riot of beauty. (Please pardon the boxwood, they are transplants and have been over hedged.  I’m hoping this summer they will recover and be lush and green once again).

cecille brunner climbing rose

FoxgloveGarden, Home and Party, yard workFoxglove, 'foxy'The back corner of our yard is deep shade most of the time so in 2011 we decided to throw in the towel on trying to grow grass and instead had our gardener create a pea gravel patio.  The corner plants never did much since the trees that create the shade sucked the nutrients from the soil and water was a problem since the soil was filled with roots and little else.  We have moved 3 sizable concrete pots to that corner and my hope is to plant them with a Japanese maple, Annabelle hydrangea (Thanks, Keri!  Ivy Clad posted the best information on this hydrangea) and possibly a Camellia japonica in white.  This is a work in progress so I’ll have to follow up with a future post on my progress.

pea gravel patio14-IMG_0007 Under the kitchen bay window, on our patio, we have had 2 large concrete oval pots.  Last year I planted white azalea ‘Alaska’ and white ivy geranium…

ivy geranium, white azaleaand this year, the ivy geranium won.  The white azalea have been moved to a more suitable spot in the garden and the white ivy geranium are having a party.

ivy geraniumThe formal garden is still under renovation.  It needs plants that can tolerate massive roots from our neighbor’s beautiful Alder tree.  I love their tree but it does wreak havoc with the planting beds.  I continue to amend the soil and hope for the best.  The Sally Holmes climbing rose is happy on the fence and the roses in each of the boxwood framed openings seem fairly happy.  I had to replace one of the hybrid teas with a Romantica ‘Bolero’ this past spring.  I’m have frequent chats with the rose, encouraging it to grow up big and strong.

formal knot garden The last addition so far is a favorite for Mr. B.  I bought and hung a bird feeder.  We get a lot of really interesting birds in our yard and Mr. B loves to watch their antics.  I hung it outside of our kitchen window and I must confess, it’s been fun to watch the variety of hungry birds.

bird feederHave you begun to work in your garden yet?  Spring has sure taken its time arriving here in California.

I’m linked to:  The Polohouse {Favorites on the First}~and~

Savvy Southern Style {Wow us Wednesdays}

~and~ Stone Gable {Tutorials Tips and Tidbits}

~and~ Ricki Jill at Art @ Home: My Happy List

In two weeks, May 15th, I’m hosting my very first Linky party.  I’m celebrating all things SPRING!  I hope you’ll join me with your favorite things about this season…your gardening tips and projects, the touches you add to your home as the weather warms and your favorite recipes, table settings and entertaining ideas for SPRING, or really just anything you’d like to post.  I hope you’ll join me, I think we’ll have fun.