So I'm still working on the belated new year's resolutions. I was sick one week in February so that set me off a week on the various schedules for the push-ups and sit-ups, and insert other excuses here for just being too busy to do the exercises a few times, so currently I'm starting week 4. Doing better on the sit-ups than the push-ups but I was anticipating that, I've always liked sit-ups/crunches more than push-ups anyway
So a week ago today we had quite a snow storm (for southeast VA) down here, ended up with 3-4 inches of snow, and now in typical Virginia weather fashion it's going to be sunny and 79 degrees today. Going to take this warm weather opportunity and try and get my courtyard back together. Had to take stuff apart when I had my AC unit replaced (when they installed it 2 years ago they only installed an AC unit, not heating and AC, so yes I didn't really realize I didn't have heat upstairs for 2 years but it hadn't ever really gotten particularly cold until this year. Thankfully they replaced it with the correct model at no charge), so things were kind of a mess down there all winter and on New Year's Eve there was a lot of wind and it knocked over the screen all-together and dumped a lot of dirt everywhere. Amazingly none of the pots completely broke, but I'm going to try and get a better soil mix this year so things don't dry out so quickly and maybe I'll be able to actually keep my plants alive this year. Also bought some bulbs over Thanksgiving out at the pottery, and I know I should've planted them when I got them, but they got stuck in the garage and I forgot about them. So even though they won't bloom this year I'm gonna plant them anyway just to get them in the ground, I can enjoy them next year.
Pondering what flowers/plants I should go with for the courtyard this year. The spot only gets 2 hours-ish of midday sun for the pots on the screens and the planter box gets even less, maybe an hour. So what are some good, hearty (I know I will forget to water stuff) plants to pick? Unfortunately cactus need a lot of sun otherwise I'd opt for that Suggestions?
So I finally managed to get some pictures taken of the courtyard yesterday, so here are the highlights (all the pics are on my flickr page)...
top view (note all the pipes and stuff behind the screen):
the patio furniture ("conversation set"):
the planter box (and hosta):
So, much to the pleasure of the government, I did not end up saving much of the money I got from my tax reimbursement. Instead, I decided to invest it in my house, in the courtyard to be exact.
In between the house and garage there is a small, 14x17 space (with all but 8x5 of that taken up with stairs going to the garage), with one side being the wall under the window of my kitchen/foundation of the house which is full of pipes coming out of the wall and an access door to under the house and various electric boxes, not very attractive. (The pic here is looking out from the kitchen window, directly below is the said 8x5 space). But with the weather here being pretty gorgeous lately and seeing all of my neighbors with patio chairs and flowers in their courtyards made me decide I'd like to enjoy the same thing, just had to figure out the right way to arrange things.
Over Mother's Day weekend when my parents were visiting my mom and I went out plant-scouting to figure out what would work best with the amount of sunlight I get in the courtyard (get maybe 3 hours of midday sun total, so pretty much everything would need to be a part-shade or shade plant). We decided on hosta, impatients and begonias. While we were at the Pottery we found these really great wrought-iron panels with hook/ring things to hang pots on it, so we put those up along the house-wall to cover all the pipes and stuff. Unfortunately, with the panels being a pretty open grid, they didn't really cover very much, so I was back to more pondering on what to do with that.
Another week goes by, I'm trying to plan everything out on graph paper to figure out exactly what I can fit in the space and finally last weekend I decided, ok, let's just get this done and stop trying to plan everything out so much. I recruited some help from Jeremy who has access to fun power tools and we built a 2x4x3.5 foot planter box out of 1x6 pretreated lumber to go underneath the upper walkway of the deck, that was Sunday's project. During the following week I got 14 bags of dirt to fill up the planter box, as well as packing peanuts to put on the bottom layer so I wouldn't have to buy as much dirt, and it would give me more drainage. With a holiday weekend last weekend I decided everything was going to be purchased and finished before the weekend was out. So I put all of the dirt and such in on Saturday, and Sunday I went back to the Pottery and got a bunch of clay pots and flowers to put in the planter box and on the lattice. Sunday afternoon I recruited Jeremy's help again and got everything planted and, on a whim pretty much, decided to swing through Bed, Bath & Beyond to try and find patio furniture. I'd looked at Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and online a bunch of places and hadn't found anything that was in the right price range that was a style and material that I liked (wanted wrought iron or metal so it wouldn't deteriorate quickly, no woven seats, no ornate designs, not-bar-height, not a giant 5 or 8 piece set). Happily we walk into the BB&B and right in the front is a "conversation set" of 2 chairs, 2 ottomans and a side table, perfect! so with the ubiquitous 20% off coupon (I think at this point I have about 15 of them) I bought that set and assembled it that afternoon.
Monday morning I got my first chance to sit out there with a cup of coffee, and it was great. I'm sure I'll find more little things to nit-pick at but I really love how things turned out. It's like I added another little room to the house (although the cats read me the riot act from the upstairs windows when I'm sitting out there, pretty sure they're jealous). But I'm definitely looking forward to sitting out there in the (hopefully cool!) summer evenings with a nice beverage or in the mornings with a cup of coffee.
P.S. Pics of everything will be posted soon!