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Despite the fact that I was forced into retirement last December due to severe osteoarthritis that gradually settled into both my hips, the needy house and garden projects prevailed.

A year ago, helpers removed three twenty-year old deciduous viburnums and three mature PJM rhododendrons from the front herbaceous borders. They were tired and were plagued annually by either thrips or thinning branches. This renovation also meant rethinking the front foundation bed, which never thrilled me.

Once I had a tabula rasa, with the fine, healthy choices at my local Southern States nursery, three Chindo viburnum, one Liberty holly, and two false cypress went in the front border, which is sloped and facing the road. As I age, I decided to change the landscape to evergreen shrubs that have handsome, glossy leaves, and showy texture. The Liberty holly promises to produce lovely clusters of red berries, but so far, nada. I also discovered “No Float” cypress mulch which, so far, has performed beautifully on the many slopes here.

With my back to the front door, this is the view of the bed along the road. Beginning at the left stands a young Green Giant arborvitae, three mature Prague viburnums, and the new plantings: one Liberty holly, three Chindo viburnums, one rogue Little Lime hydrangea that does not know it is little, one mature fringe tree, two false cypress (Gold mop), one young Northern arborvitae, and the three very mature O’Neil blueberry shrubs, that produced a whopping 39 pounds of berries this past May! Directly on the road stands a row of heavily pruned Leyland Cypress. The new plantings will build another layer of evergreen privacy between the road and the house. That white object in the foreground is the humidifier bucket that I did not remove before the shot. 😉 Since the basement humidifier produces two gallons of water per day during the summer months, that water is valuable for the gardens.

Two blogs back, I had marvelous help who replaced a 40-YO railroad tie retaining wall, and the nearby peony bed (on the slope from hell) was raked and sodded. Before humidity set in this year, I managed to get the new retaining wall stained with Benjamin Moore’s solid stain in Oxford Brown, and kept the new sod alive through another steamy central Virginia summer.

This was the state of the lower patio all summer. I considered power washing it, then painting, but as the summer humidity set in, I had time to reconsider my options. Twenty years ago, I applied concrete stain to this 300SF patio, and the results were a miserable fail. So why try again? For 15 years I had deck boards applied…another epic fail, so now I was faced with a new solution.
Voila! Outdoor carpet made from 100% recycled soda bottles…installed this week! I giggle at the name…Grizzly Brown, but it is really nice under foot, and required only a razor blade to cut. It is loose laid, and I am over the moon! Ratings were good, so I expect this install to perform 365/24/7 for years to come. Comments? I apologize for the foreground here, as the black buckets are rain catchers, due to the recent dry spell. The new cypress mulch is pretty, as are the old oriental poppies, that enjoy this place in the foundation bed.
View from the opposite end of the patio. Just think, it only took 21 years to come up with this concept. Young gardeners/homeowners who read this, take heart.

Just last week when summer finally released her grip, I applied a fresh coat of BM stain on the opposite end of the patio’s 6′ retaining wall and coated an aging 12′ section of privacy fence in the lower corner of the yard. Four additional new evergreen shrubs were added to the front foundation bed and three false cypress were planted in the dark border in the rear yard. All are now freshly mulched (the front with more No Float cypress) and the rear with pine.

Additionally, I washed the house, carport, and garden shed with E-Z House Wash (an annual DIY event) and returned to wash and squeegee all the exterior casement windows. Phew!!! My hips are screaming at me following each task, yet I am pushing to get chores done before my…wait for it…my right hip total replacement on October 24TH!!!!

Thank angels, the young man who installed my patio carpet, turns out to be local, and is willing to help me with remaining garden chores both before and after my surgery…and hopefully next year with mowing.

Just this morning on TV, I heard a woman lamenting the aging process at thirty. I had to laugh, and wanted to message her and say…just wait forty years!!!! I admit, aging is a challenge, and I am not aging gracefully. All my life, until two years ago, I enjoyed being spirited in any activity I chose and my body cooperated. Now it appears, I must pay the piper.

If any reader has experience with joint replacement, do comment and share. I am currently in denial, and push with projects. If I survive this process, at least I may gaze out into my winter landscape and enjoy what I see, and be hopeful for the years ahead. After all, I want to see my new landscape thrive.

Copyright 2022 By Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved