On the Way to “After”

Unlike yard renovation on reality TV, some projects at home take a long time. Garden bloggers see many others’ beautiful results. As of mid-summer at Plant Exchange blog, we have a little progress here!

The vision for this area of the yard came from a previous owner who installed cement steps and a wall of cinder blocks for appeal and to curb erosion on a steep hillside. My husband replaced bowed walls with landscape blocks years ago, while also reinforcing another bed with the blocks to unify the look.


My work with the right plants for the location has been much slower. Clay soil has required years of adding compost. In summer and winter, the site receives full afternoon sun and drying winds. We trial plants with potentially least food interest to deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. Shrub roses, an early choice, didn’t survive on all counts.

Installing an arch was the motivator for more plant trials. This is the beginning of “after.”

A somewhat shorter growing season for vines requires picking ones for vigorous growth. Red perennial clematis and white annual hyacinth bean starter plants were chosen for the arch.  They were protected with chicken wire for the first two feet of growth.  You may notice a gap of leaves above that area. Luckily, the vine stems remain, and the hyacinth continues to grow and bloom. Clematis are less vigorous in the first year. The verdict is out, whether they are compatible with the arch.


Mugo pine shrubs repeat the circle bed. While we have had more moisture this growing season, extra watering is needed for dry interludes.

Leucanthemum daisy perennials, white and red vincas, and yellow zinnias add some color. The grass clippings and wood mulch help retain moisture.




A smoke bush that seemed to die last season revived this spring. Supplemental watering may be a help.


So the results are not in for this season, but trials are underway. Maybe you have a renovation between “before” and not yet “after”?  Please do share your comments. Thanks for your visit!


3 thoughts on “On the Way to “After”

      • So it blows down too? That is common with them, which is part of why we pollard them. The other reason for pollarding is that it stimulates better color for the bronzed and golden types.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s