Gardening with Micki: Bushes create shady backyard paradise | Existence


It’s hard to remember that when my late husband and I bought this house in June 2012, there was only one lonely, rather ailing tree in the back lawn. Our agent helped us with the gift of a $ 5 cherry laurel tree from Lowe’s. Now it is decorated with colorful metal balls every Christmas time.

At that time this tree was hardly a seedling. Now it’s the centerpiece of the back lawn and taller than the house. There were no bushes or flowers. What is a garden without flowers? Worse, the entire lawn was littered with the burrows that moles had created when they held their underground rendezvous in our lawn.

One morning I faced one of those ugly creatures and we had quite a fight. I won the fight thanks to the hoe I had in hand. Slowly all the moles disappeared … probably next door as moles don’t pay attention to fence lines.

With that began the search for a tree-lined garden behind the house. I took gardening advice from my late interior designer Charles Faudree, whose design motto has always been: “Too much is never enough”.

There are now a dozen trees including redbuds, magnolias, a tall, lanky seedless cottonwood, and my favorite, a tender Chinese pistache, which I first spotted on a press trip to China some time ago. A Dutch elm also came without an invitation. The hydrangea bush turned into a tree.

Three apple trees in the mini orchard provide fruit for all the birds that fly in to visit. Leaf-laden branches of two ancient trees on the other side of the rear fence also offer protection in the now shady garden paradise.

Of course, all of that shade made a difference in Bermuda grass, so I learned to choose different types of ground cover. Vines like cypress, morning glories, and clematis also work well. The clematis bloomed last week, a lovely pleasant garden surprise as we enter the spring bloom season.