Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beauty in the Backyard

Our backyard isn't anything special. There is no unique landscaping or anything like that. And at first glance, it looks rather boring and plain. But if one looks with a more careful survey and a critical eye, there is beauty to be found in that simple place. Daffodils, tulips, rhododendrons, apple blossoms, and other beauties that I don't know the names of. Here's a sampling of what's happening in our backyard right now.

I think we only have a few daffodils left. Here is one of them:

I don't even know what these flowers are called. Isn't that sad? I've lived here for over 7 years and I've never taken the time to find out. I work with a "garden guru". I'll have to show her these pictures and see what she can tell me! The next three are photos of these beauties. Here I've shown the pink, white, and fuchsia varieties. They also come in purple, though I wasn't able to capture a good image of those:

These little purple flowers are so sweet and dainty. They stand only a few inches off the ground and are tiny! I have no idea what they are but they always bloom in the space around the tulips:

The tulips aren't quite in bloom yet! But they are certainly trying! I am hoping we can make it up to the Skagit Valley area and see the tulips in bloom this year. The beauty is breathtaking. It's just rows upon rows of gorgeous tulips! Here a few of our buds, stretching and trying:

Soon the rhodies will be in full bloom! One great thing about the rhodies is that you really can't kill them. They are super hardy. The rhododendron is the state flower of Washington. Soon this little bud will be a big, fat, beautiful flower:

Apple blossoms!! Interestingly, it took six years of living on this property to figure out that these little guys were apple blossoms! When we were getting our house ready to sell last year, we knew we had to revamp our backyard a bit. (Okay, a lot!) We've always had this simple but pretty tree in the backyard. Every spring it flowers and then we get to enjoy nice green leaves. And every fall the leaves all fall off. But that was it. Well, last summer we decided that it needed cutting back a bit, so we snipped off branches here and there. Well lo and behold, last year I was standing in my bathroom, looking out the window and thought my eyes had deceived me. For the first time ever, I saw a few little green balls on the tree and wondered what they could be. (Hey, I grew up in Hawaii! How was I supposed to know?) Over the course of the summer and into the fall, I watched these little balls magically turn into gorgeous apples! APPLES! Who knew? On the one hand, I was sort of sad that we had missed out on this for so many years. But on the other, I was just happy to discover that we own an apple tree! How exciting. So a few months ago, we pruned it a bit again. Mike said he got a little "prune happy" and probably cut it back a little more than he should have. I guess from all the reading I've done, those in the know say you're only supposed to prune it a little bit each time. So we'll see what we get this year, if anything. But I have a whole new appreciation for these sweet little flowers!!

And let us not forget our cherry tree we planted in February! It is coming along so nicely! I took pictures when we planted it, a month later in March, and now another month later in April. I decided that since it's Ethan's, I'd have him stand next to it so we can monitor the progress that way. He was so happy to pose next to his tree for me today:

I'm so impressed with the amount of foliage on the little branches. This is more growth than I had expected in the first couple of months. How exciting! None of these leaves were here two months ago!!

And last but not least... we did plant two lilac trees as well. However, they haven't done much of anything and so I didn't take any pictures. I'll photograph those when they change. I am simply assuming they are slower growers. The few leaves that they do have are still intact and still look healthy. I would think if the plant was having problems, it would look like it was in trouble. Ours don't, they just haven't changed.

So there we have it... beauty in our backyard. As soon as we get back from Utah (May 10), I'm hoping to put some tomato and zucchini plants in the backyard as well. I only have one little spot that gets direct sun during the day. But I've grown tomatoes back there before and they've done well. The boys are excited to try their hands at that this year! I haven't done it for the past few years because the boys were so little and they would go out and pick all the tomatoes off when they were tiny green balls. It was so frustrating. Now they are old enough to understand! Plus, I'd like to also grow potatoes with them. I hear they are easy to do in old tires. We'll see if I can get my hands on some.

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