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landscaping, thrifty

Slow & Steady Wins the Race: Discounted Shrubs


Slow & Steady Wins the Race: Our Discounted Shrubs

Sometimes it pays to procrastinate. OK, actually, we’re not really procrastinating with the landscaping. We were given the advice by a landscape architect that we should live with the landscaping for one full year before we make any major changes. While we wanted to rush out and buy all sorts of new plants and shrubs for the house this summer, we held back. And even if we had wanted to buy a bunch of shrubs, holy cow are they expensive!

As city boys, we had no concept of the cost of landscaping. In the dozen or so apartments we’ve rented over the years, landscaping was always the responsibility of the landlord. Plants and grass and trees and shurbs were the farthest things from our minds. Now that we’re homeowners, we’re getting a crash course in Landscaping 101 … along with a little bit of Economics 101.

On a recent trip to the local hardware store, we were delighted to see a sign announcing 60% off all perennials and shrubs. Of course, this late in the season the selection was somewhat lacking. Still, The Mister and I stood in front of the discounted perennials and tried to find something to take back to the house.

Digging Holes for New Shrubs | This American House

We ended up with two Purpleleaf Sand Cherry plants, plus two other shrubs and an annual. I actually thought we were buying three Purpleleaf Sand Cherries but when I got home I realized we only had two of them.

We don’t really know where these shrubs will live on a permanent basis but we do know that we need to get them into the ground before it gets too cold. So we planted the two Purpleleaf Sand Cherries in the side yard. Once spring arrives we can either move them or, more likely, fill in around them to create a bed of shrubs in our side yard.

Digging holes in the ground always reminds me of those Loony Toons cartoons when Bug Bunny would dig his way to China. It also usually gets Peter Gabriel’s Digging in the Dirt playing on a continual loop in my mental jukebox. Yes, folks, that’s just how my mind works!

Purpleleaf Sand Cherry | This American House

They may not look like much right now but the shrubs will (hopefully) fill out quickly. They are supposed to grow to seven feet in height and five to seven feet in circumference. And, again, if spring arrives and we think they should be moved, we’ll dig them back up and move them. At 60% off their original price, they were just too good to pass up!

Images: This American House


A Sneak Peek at the Landscaping


This American House

Despite our proclamation to ignore the outside of the house while we concentrate on indoor projects during this first year of ownership, we’ve been making some serious headway on the landscaping. We jumped the gun cleaning up the yard in part because we’re impatient. But it’s also because it’s the part of the house that the whole town sees. And in my experience, we do indeed judge a book by its cover … and a house by its landscaping.

I was hoping to write a big, detailed post about the yard and the progress we’ve made but we need to spend the weekend cleaning up a few things first. Until then, enjoy the sneak peek above. Oh what a little mulch will do!

Image: This American House

decorating, garden, landscaping

Flower Power: Big Bundles of Hosta Flowers


A bucket full of hosta flowers | This American House

“I don’t know,” I said to my friend Joan. “If you ask me, I think hostas are just weeds that we tolerate.”

I uttered those words earlier this spring. I had just dug up and moved what seemed like the one hundredth hosta that’s planted around the house. At that time, the hostas were these small, uninteresting plants that felt more like a burden than a joy.

“Oh, just you wait,” Joan replied. “You’re going to love them.”

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