December 21st, 2004
Courtyard Garden

photo: Courtyard Garden 2004-12-21
After: 2004-12-21

Today the high was 76F (24C). It is our last warm day before (as the weatherman put it, so it must be the official term) The Arctic Blast. He’s predicting 18F on Christmas morning. So I tried to get some last minute sweeping up of leaves before holiday visitors arrive. The leaves did fall only last week with the first norther, so it’s not as if I’ve been overly remiss.

This is my favorite kind of weather to be in the garden. Cool and dry. Brilliant blue skies and everything drenched in that autumnal golden light. And no mosquitoes. Now that the leaves have fallen, the sunshine finds its way into our yard and it’s cool enough to enjoy it.

The courtyard garden is a project I started two years ago when I got tired of looking out at our cracking driveway while sitting at my desk. This used to be our back door, but eventually it’s going to be our front door. So I wanted a fancier entryway.

I dug up a 10′ x 10′ square of asphalt, poured in some decomposed granite sand, planted a weeping yaupon holly (not visible), edged it with stone (to keep the water in when it rains. AJM built the little fence. The pile of leaves are protecting some plants from the next frost. But in the spring, I clean it up and it looks a bit tidier. The best innovation was the stone walk, which enables to walk to the cars under the eaves when it’s raining. Usually there is a row of potted aloe on the step, but they’re inside keeping warm right now.

The fig ivy (which started with one plant out of a 4-inch pot) has gotten out of control after this soaking wet year. I should have kept it off the wooden siding, as it’s eaten into AJM’s new paint job. However, the paper wasps were nesting in the eaves above and I like keeping them around to sic on the tent caterpillars. (The wasps were very derelict in their duties this year.) But they did discourage solicitors.

photo: Courtyard Garden 2002-09-09
Before: 2002-09-09

Dateline 2002
Sunday, March 17, 2002
Yesterday AJM painted the trim green “Garden Art” (KK18-3). So I decided I should make the entryway look more inviting. I cleaned out the Toad Border again. It is full of roots, but not so many as in 1999. Still, I don’t think I can put any perennials here. I need to clear it out completely and replant a couple of times a year. Seasonal annuals seem like the best solution. I moved to pink oxalis clumps from the bed in front of the garden house where we plan to build the deck. I also chopped up the artemisia that was blocking the stepping stone path and planted a the cuttings.

by M Sinclair Stevens

One Response to post “Courtyard Garden”

  1. From Margaret (UK):

    I can.t quite remember how long it is since I actually saw your courtyard garden but it surely has grown. Your comments on the weather in your area always amaze me. The north west of England is having its usual damp. grey, dreary end to the year. All is not lost however, the snowdrops are beginning to come through. Best wishes for 12 monthe of happy productive gardening in 2005.