Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Like ...

My Hillside Retreat

Yes, I'm finally jumping in to Lee Anna's weekly linky party -- I Like Thursday.  Not that I am particularly partial to Thursday, but since it's Thursday, here's a look at what I like.

I like living in the woods.  Along with the deer, turkeys, turtles, and an occasional red fox or armadillo.

View up back hill
View down front hill
We don't live in the country; we live in a subdivision.  It just so happens that this acre and a couple more on both sides of us were only cleared enough to build on.  We truly live among the treetops, and I love it!

I like my garden -- or at least what's left of it after last summer's drought.  It never occurred to me how many days, really WEEKS, we went without rain last summer.  I should have been out watering; instead I just figured surely it would rain tomorrow.

I love my rhododendron even though it doesn't show.  In a normal year it would be looking like this right now.

Rhododendron - May 2008
Instead, it looks like this.

Poor Rhody
Between the drought and oddly-timed freezes that nipped the buds, it needs some serious pruning if it's going to recover.  I do see some signs of new growth so there is still hope.

I like the different hues/tints/shades of green in the garden.  This variegated euonymus was pruned back drastically last year because it was beginning to restrict the pathway to our main entrance (which faces the rear).

 It is coming back with gusto and you can bet I'll keep it well watered this summer.

Another shade of green is almost burgundy.

Smoke Tree/Bush
This bush was transplanted as a twig and has doubled in size every year.  In the shadow of this bush, but not visible in this photo, is our most prolific Huechera (coral bells), also a gorgeous shade of burgundy.  Every year I plant more huechera, but apparently they don't like the environment because I've not been very successful in keeping them going.

I like Lenton roses (Hellebores).  These evergreen perennials thrive in our shade garden.  They are the first things to bloom -- usually in February, but this year they bloomed in January!

They are still blooming, but the recent rain has just about wiped them out. 

They self-propagate so even with the drought and cold, they've managed to bounce back.

I like unusual plants.  We are fortunate that the previous owners were expert gardeners and they invested in a lot of unusual and collectible plants.  One I've been calling Arum (probably inaccurately) has arrow-shaped leaves and a jack-in-the-pulpit-like flower.

Arum? in the middle of an azalea
The recent rain and cool temperatures have taken a toll on these blooms, too.  When the bloom fades, a bright orange seed pod remains.  It stinks!

Another weird plant that I have been unable to identify is this large-leaf specimen.

What is it?
The underside of the leaves, which get quite large, is a deep burgundy.  In the summer it will put up a scraggly yellow bloom.  I've not found anyone who can identify it yet.  Are you game to try?

I like Crape Myrtle. 

Crape Myrtle
Crape myrtle blooms late in the summer when not much else is blooming.  But it is still attractive in the winter because of its peeling bark.  Normally I would cut back those suckers at the bottom, but I'm considering letting it become more bush-like this year rather than tree-form.

I like our hillside retreat.  Even though we chose this house because it would accommodate the needs of my disabled mother-in-law, we couldn't have found a more beautiful, peaceful environment to make our life more pleasant during the last 9 years.  We will be sad to let it go, but we are looking forward to a new life with just the two of us.

Drop by Not Afraid of Color to see what Lee Anna and others like.


  1. Beautiful pictures of your garden, Libby! One of the things we've enjoyed about this trip we've been on is the lush greenery and woods everywhere! So different from the arid west we live in! I'm afraid I have a brown thumb in the garden, but I do manage to grow some things. I think our Columbine will be blooming soon, and they are always beautiful. Happy Thursday! Glad you joined us!

  2. You and I have a lot of the same plants growing in our yards. You house on the hill looks so peaceful. Beautiful photos.

  3. Hi Libby, thanks for the lovely photos and descriptions of the bushes and plants in your garden. I too garden, or try to, and enjoy it very much. We are having a late start this year because of heavy rains and cold temperatures but soon it should be back on track. Eventually I will get to show you my Coral Bells! I too live in a small woods here in Ontario and see what you see but no armadillos!!

  4. Oh, I like all that green. So pretty!

  5. Thank you for the lovely garden tour! It's so nice to see all the greens!

  6. fun trip thru the garden. I like the same flowers and that they return each year. Love coral bells in all iterations. The big thing looks like an elephant ear but those don't flower.Thanks for joining us. Look forward to hearing about the stuff that makes you smile there in the hillside.

  7. Your yard is lovely, even with the lingering effects of last year's drought. I'm clueless about plants, so I can't help you identify your mystery plant. Thanks for sharing your garden pictures. I see quilt palette inspirations there....

  8. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing your garden. Everything looks really good. Can't help with flower names, I'm just as bad about knowing names. But I'm getting better at it. Have a great day!

  9. Your hillside retreat is my idea of heaven... beautiful! I love all those shades of green... and you have some great shade plants... I love hostas and lots of other shade perennials but I don't have a speck of shade in my yard. Your place looks so cool and serene... thanks for sharing!

  10. I would love to see a photo of an armadillo in the wild! That's a remarkably long bloom for hellebores! They must be happy.

  11. Even tho you missed out on last summer rains, you have a lovely garden and terrain! I so enjoyed your post. mary in Az

  12. I'm so sorry about your rhododendron! I love them too though they don't grow here. I trust you'll be able to nurse it back into vitality!

  13. Thanks for the tour of your back lot and its flora. Interesting items. I have Huechera that blooms every year in my front flower bed - self-propogating/annual? but only a few. Same with Columbine. I hope your Rhody comes back with a little TLC. Too hot/dry in my area for them.

  14. What a great location - I can see why you love it there. The plant in question is a ligularia. It is a favorite of mine!


Comments make me smile; I would love to hear from you! I respond almost exclusively by email, so be sure you are not a "no-reply" blogger. Or include your email address if you need an answer to a question.