Darden’s Back Yard 1.0

The Darden’s backyard…..its pretty much an afterthought.  We don’t spend any time there.  Heck, Eric rarely mows it.  It takes a bit of ‘nagging’ for it to get done.  When it gets so tall I don’t want to walk through it………..it gets mowed (finally). Well guess what?  We’ve now got the time to work on it.


A number of years ago, Eric created this ‘dry river bed’ as a feature in the back yard AND to help with the heavy runoff when it rained due to the addition of a Florida room – more on that later.


Obviously, it lacked attention………..but not any more.


A little bit of Round-Up (weed killer), a little bit of pulling dead weeds (me), a lot of chopping back the surrounding plants (Eric) and now we have this.  🙂

During its construction, we put barrels to catch rainfall and they looked great.   Not so much any more – but we’re holding out for that re-purchase.  They started out with some water plants and goldfish.  Only one plant had survived and the goldfish are gone.  😦  Two out of the three barrels are making it – kind of.  Yeah, that one in the middle has definitely seen better days.  Not a drop of water is in the bottom.


But we have a nice surprise surviving in one barrel – a blooming water iris.

We also have tadpoles in the bottom few inches of that same barrel!


I used to have a love affair with orchids – spending waaaaay too much money on them.  I purchased all kinds going to orchid nurseries and orchid plant shows.  Some lived, others did not.  My best orchid purchase has been a recent one.  A roadside van sells them 1 – $5 or 3 – $12.  I don’t ask any questions.   The leaves have some blemishes.   They are not a ‘perfect’  plant but always, always has flower spikes just beginning to show some color.  Bloom spikes can last up to 1 month -inside- if you keep the plant watered.

Where else can you get a flower for $5 that lasts a month?  Now, if I could just found out where he’s currently parking his van……….  By the way, these are called Phalenopsis or Moth Orchid.  We bring them in the house, enjoy the blooms and put them back outside until new spikes appear.  Truly, we don’t do anything else – no watering, no fertilizing, nothing.  They’re survivors.

The plants below are amarylis flowers.  Grandma had gotten these – probably for Christmas – and planted the bulbs outside after they finished blooming.  Every year, they keep coming up, slowly multiplying.  Something else we ignore and they just keep blooming and blooming. and blooming.

Bricks, bricks, bricks.  I talked about them a few posts ago when I cleaned up the front beds where they are used for defining edges.  For some reason, we never put them in the back to give this area some definition.  They have arrived.


While I’ve been working on the landscape, Eric has given some attention to the hardscape.  Well, actually the back of the house.  He cleaned the gutters (oopsie – forgot to get an action photo).


Now, if he could just dig up those (unwanted) volunteer sprouts from a nearby bush…………

Afterwards he gave the windows of the Florida room some attention.

Wetting them:


Soaping them:


And removing the suds and excess water:


LOVE the Florida room.  This would typically be where a pool would be built.  When we first moved here the trees didn’t provide enough shade in the summer and with this south-facing room, it got plenty hot.  We (and by that I mean me) could only use this space 8-ish months out of a year.  Yes, it’s not the spot to be in July, middle of the day – but that wasn’t a problem when we were working.  😦

Spending all this time in the back yard has been like a treasure hunt.  We’ve found unexpected blooms, wildlife (rabbits & squirrels), a pair of nesting red-shouldered hawks and then this:


Shingles!  During Hurricane Irma (2018) the roof shingles were flying off all throughout the night once hurricane force winds reached us.  I’ve picked them up again and again and again and still there are more.  Uugghh.










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