Around The Yard | Very Early Spring 2014


I have daydreams of sticking closer to home this summer.

Those often parallel my travel daydreams so it's hard to tell where I'll really end up.

I love my yard and I love working in my yard and I love hanging out in my yard and I love having people over for dinner and eating outside.

It's an amazing spring day here today so I grabbed my camera and took a walk around my house. Here's what I found:


In the front yard right now are those gorgeous little blue flowers around the icy blue lavender.


Forsythia. This is my sure sign that spring is coming. I have one on the right side of my house and one on the left side.


When you come around to the backyard there's this great ground cover under a large Japanese Maple tree.


It's short and lovely.


From left to right: really large white lilac along the side of the house (that I die over every year) + three blueberry bushes along the little fence + the giant wisteria which is what I saw the first time I walked through the doors of this house and it took my breath away (far right).


The blueberries.


Up close on the lilac.


There's a neglected rhododendron in the far edge of my yard with beautiful pink blooms.


These will soon be cherry blossoms.


These, my favorite of all forever and ever amen, are peonies just coming up out of the ground.


There's five or so groupings right here and nothing makes me quite as happy as when they bloom.


I've got some more peonies in a few other parts of my yard. Some that were planted over three years ago that might finally bloom this year. The others that are in the ground above produce the most amazing huge light pink blooms.


A white hydrangea that did pretty well last year. Doesn't look like much now but it will have lovely large white blooms.


These will end up being really tall (I think they are day-lilies).


These came up again from last year. My Mom has told me that daffodils don't always return again and again. Just one this time. I'll likely put more bulbs in the ground there next fall. Behind these are a bunch of dahlias which are my second favorite behind peonies.


I have a shaded area along the back of my house that includes these white bleeding hearts and some other shade-loving plants.


And the beds. Obviously in need of some major TLC. The tomato cages are leftover from last years crop that were all volunteers (meaning they came up again from the year before). I really want to work on this area again this year and make sure I get some sweet peas in here like I did a few years back.

As you might be able to tell, I love perennials. These are the flowers that die to the ground and return again next year and the joy they bring me is big time.

I know how fast this all goes.

By the end of next month my yard will look more like this:


This was taken April 30th of last year when the wisteria was going crazy. We miss you Lily!

50 thoughts

  1. Sue P,

    2014-03-17 14:03:32 -0400

    Waiting, waiting and waiting for the yard to wake up! I do have a few sleepy head jonquil's coming up but that is about it. Mr. Winter please let Spring have her turn!!

  2. Jenny

    2014-03-17 15:36:44 -0400

    here is northern Ontario Canada we still have at least 4 feet of snow on the ground and it is steadily coming down again today. I can hardly wait for signs of spring in my yard. Maybe around middle of May. Love your yard and your house!

  3. Susan_W

    2014-03-17 16:15:46 -0400

    My yard is waking up too! Since Im in Puyallup, I have many of the same plants. the first picture is of grape hyacinth. Love them, but peonies are my all time favorite!

  4. Laura

    2014-03-17 16:19:52 -0400

    LOVE the photos. I wish I lived in a place where spring arrives early. Still snow on the ground here in CT. My OLW this year is Grow and I am using it literally as well as figuratively and have seeds to start, raised beds to construct and a composter ready to roll. Can not wait for spring.

  5. Ksenia

    2014-03-17 16:24:00 -0400

    Beautiful Ali! I'm just west of Portland and I agree with some of the other comments -- I abandon my daffodils (let them die and brown before removing the stems and leaves) and they have been more and more robust each year!

  6. Elizabeth

    2014-03-17 19:15:19 -0400

    Love love love your around the yard updates!

  7. laura g.

    2014-03-17 19:56:25 -0400

    I'm jealous...sun is shining here in Eastern Oregon, but the wind is freezing cold..maybe tomorrow I can go play a bit in the yard...

  8. cara m.

    2014-03-17 21:25:38 -0400

    i love the focus and blur in these photos! i'm sure there is a much more technical term... whatever it is - you nailed it! were these taken with your dslr? in manual mode? blog post idea: tell us how you did that! your photography tips and tricks.

  9. SueTR (ys 11-12-13)

    2014-03-17 22:20:14 -0400

    My heart skipped a beat on your photo with Lily in it, sweet pup…nothing like a lab (particularly a black one!). Here in Boston, we have snow on the ground still, it snowed last week and it was 16 degrees F this morning. *sigh* lots of garden planning here but nothing to do outside yet. Only bright side was the Boston Flower and Garden show last week…beautiful but kind of a tease! Please keep sending us New Englanders spring photos!! xo

  10. orange gearle

    2014-03-17 23:26:38 -0400

    WOW! This is so far ahead of us in Iowa! Lovely. I. Am. So. Ready!

  11. Jennifer D.

    2014-03-18 00:32:39 -0400

    The forecast here is for another 10-14 inches of snow in the next 24 hours, so It gives me some hope to see your peonies even if ours likely won't bloom until mid-summer! They have been my favorite since I was a little girl!

  12. Kary in Colorado

    2014-03-18 01:18:54 -0400

    Those "gorgeous little blue flowers" in the first two photos are grape hyacinth, one of my favorites. And your daffodils should always come back bigger and better as long as you let the foliage stay until it yellows and dies back. It's the foliage that feeds the bulb for next year's bloom. Tulips might not come back, but daffodils always will if you don't cut the leaves off too soon. So nice to see signs of spring!

  13. dawn

    2014-03-18 06:10:47 -0400

    WOW, it is spring in your area or yard I should say. LOVE IT!!! We have nothing yet, too cold and snow on/off so much we rarely see the grass. I get happy just seeing grass the few times it's happened.
    What a beautiful post this was, I enjoyed it all and can't wait to see spring come into my yard now. We need more trees like yours too, how lovely they are.
    With a yard like this staying home this summer would be so nice!!
    Thanks so much for this walk, brighten up my morning!

  14. Amy

    2014-03-18 06:19:29 -0400


  15. Mary

    2014-03-18 07:35:05 -0400

    Reminds me of my Grandmother's garden!

  16. Amy B

    2014-03-18 12:01:20 -0400

    Beautiful! I am slightly jealous. We still have snow that needs to melt! Hurry spring, hurry!

  17. glee

    2014-03-18 15:18:03 -0400

    thank you for that lovely post. We don't get the amazing transformation of the world here in Hawaii and I just think it's fascinating to see. mahalo

  18. Nancy Gill

    2014-03-18 17:49:50 -0400

    Such a beautiful variety of plants. We still have snow everywhere so it"s nice to see a reminder that spring is on the way. Peonies were not my favorite growing up, but after planting them and seeing how they come back bigger and better every year, they are one of my favorites. Because the ants love the blooms so much, if you place the heads in a bucket of water after you cut them, the ants fall off and you can bring them in the house ant free. (of course shake of the water first:)

  19. Liz Kartchner

    2014-03-19 12:24:13 -0400

    Beautiful. Spring is sooooo close. finally.

  20. audra

    2014-03-19 14:54:43 -0400

    Ali- everything looks great!
    I tried last year to find WHITE bleeding hearts and had no luck! Any suggestions? I'm hoping to find some. They totally remind me of playing in my grandmothers yard! Thanks!!!

  21. Tinka

    2014-03-20 03:21:59 -0400

    Love your yard, Ali! It's spring here too...the mountain laurels are blooming (love the grape kool-aid smell!) and I saw a big patch of bluebonnets this afternoon! Your post reminds me that I want to sign up for some gardening classes. I've got a covered patio that is on the east side of my apartment and I haven't a clue what I should plant.

    We had a wisteria at our old house which grew up into the large oak tree in our front yard. Every year it was quite a sight to see all the purple blooms up in the oak's branches. Passersby would stop and stare, trying to figure out what kind of oak had purple flowers!

  22. Carole

    2014-03-21 13:30:32 -0400

    Looks like a lovely place to call home !

  23. Lisa A. A.

    2014-03-21 22:18:48 -0400

    I love your tours! It was especially fun to see since my yard is still full of snow here in MN!

  24. Jamie

    2014-03-23 15:25:13 -0400

    Ali, did you plant these things, or are most carried over from when you bought the house? We just bought our house a year ago in the spring. At that time I didn't have the mental space to think about what was going on in our yard. However this year, I'd like to observe and plan and rearrange, and I love many of the things you have going on in your yard!

  25. Danielle

    2014-03-27 12:36:48 -0400

    Peonies are also my very favorite! I am living in Georgia this year (as opposed to Michigan) and I LOVE that we get Spring early!

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