My backyard is a reflection of the history of my house, which had five owners in the six years before we bought it. Since moving here, I've come to understand the reasons behind that, but we're not going anywhere because I'm too stubborn to be run off. Someday I'll have to post about my house; the indoor crop circles and the plethora of light switches that aren't actually connected to anything and the various and sundry critters which occupy our attic at various times and the platform toilet and...well, this post is about the yard, not the house, so I'll stop there before my train of thought completely derails.
So, back to the yard, and its multiple personality disorder. When we moved in, it looked very nice. In fact, one of the things I liked about this house was the yard, which was fairly large for this neighborhood and prettily landscaped. The listing mentioned a pond, which turned out to be about the size of a large washtub. It did have nice rocks around it, and a frog which spit merrily into it, and some tropical plants gracefully drooping around it, but even so my husband I laughed at the audacity of calling it a pond when it was more like a puddle. Then, the fence guy showed up to give us an estimate, and the first thing he said when he walked into the backyard was, "Nice pond". Go figure.
Originally, the beds that ran the fenceline were neat and tidy. There were roses, and some crepe myrtle, and a redbud tree, and an althea. There were azalea bushes, and it was all bordered by larope. We bought the house in November, while everything was dormant. When spring came, we were enchanted by lovely surprises - the big bush in the corner that turned out to be a bridal wreath, so heavy with blooms the branches brushed the ground. The patch of iris against the back fence. The lilys that popped up overnight around the ash tree. I was inspired to fill the patio with pots of snapdragons and hybiscus and rosemary and basil and plant impatiens by the green house and calla lilies around the pond. It was a glorious summer.
Did I mention that I'm terrible with plants?
That winter, a hard freeze took the largest hybiscus, a huge bush taller than the fence. When spring came, the spot was overtaken by canna, whose origins remain a mystery to this day. That spring, ginger also started springing up along the side fence. Kudzo crept from nowhere into the beds, up the fence, across the lawn. Some sort of leggy viney thing commandeered the spot where fledgling azaleas once reigned. At least it offered a delicate purple flower in atonement.
Today, nearly four years later, my backyard is neither neat nor tidy, but I suppose it has its charms. The ginger has claimed the side bed. Yesterday it bloomed, and the heavy sweet scent made me forgive it for so rudely shoving aside the azaleas. The ginger does allow some lilies to share its bed; they peek out with tiny yellow blooms on slender stalks from among the ginger's broad grand leaves.
The bridal wreath held fast; the cannas try, but they cannot shove it aside. The iris has gone wild and expands its territory each year. The roses have given up, victims of my unwillingness at this stage of my life to engage in any high-maintenance relationships. In their place I planted potato bushes, which turned out to be lazy and won't even stand upright, but sprawl across the back bed refusing to bloom. I planted morning glories and moonflowers which choked themselves instead of climbing, but yesterday morning there were two bluish purple blooms.
Tough stuff, that morning glory. Like me, it is determined to thrive where it is planted.