Yardwork Pays

By Kate Riley March 26, 2010

Spring is in the air today, and I’m so excited !  Mostly because our garden is beginning to bloom again.  We’ve got a lot of yardwork to do this weekend, but here are just a few shots taken last year in May. 

We have a dozen grosso lavender plants, and I harvest several pounds a year.  They are just beginning to bud.  I love to giveaway sachets and bundles to friends every year. 


I planted only cool shades in our rear yard, mostly whites, purples and pinks.  Here is some of our trailing verbena and lavatera in bloom. 

purple blooms

Our neighbor planted these climbing roses, but we also reap the benefits of these beauties.

garden roses

Penstemon are the simplest perennial.  They grow all season long and remind me of  a cross between snapdragons and foxgloves.  We have dozens of these plants too. 


Bower vine climbs up a retaining wall – I love that it’s an evergreen so the leaves stay even in winter. 

late June 08 013


Then there is the major crop, the petite syrah grapes that we planted ten years ago (and wrote about here) and they have just started to harvest in the last couple of years.  Thankfully we have help twice a year tending to these. 



But the hydrangeas are my absolute garden favorites. 

Sssssh, don’t tell the others.

They’re my babies.




I think this weekend I’ll put these diggers to work. 

Although they probably need some better tools. 

kids with shovels


So . . . we’ve got a lot  of separating and weeding and filling in to do and maybe a few trees to plant, and I’m sure I’ll have a sore back at the end of the weekend, but in the end we hope to have another season of beautiful blooms !

Happy Friday all – have a great weekend !



  1. What a beautiful place you have, inside and outside. Mmmmm. It’s easy to understand why people love living in California.

    Spring has sprung in a big way here in North Carolina as far as the flowering trees are concerned–cherry trees, pear trees, and redbud trees are laden with blossoms. But we won’t have any flowers but daffodils for awhile yet.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Beautiful! We have a new house and in need of some major gardening. Thanks for inspiring me to get my hands dirty this weekend. The vines are fabulous, are you going to bottle once you harvest?

  3. I’m still waiting for spring to blossom!! Just got another sprinkle of snow ;(

  4. So gorgeous! I have to admit that hydrangeas are one of my very favorites too! I can’t wait to plant a whole bunch of them soon! :) Hey, I’m doing a Garden party Linky later tonight & tomm., I’d love for you to join this post up!

  5. Wow! I was excited that I can see a couple of green shoots on my hydrangeas! May I ask what type that beauty was? I too have a soft spot/addiction to hydrangeas.

  6. I am so jealous. I must say I spend the majority of money inside my home and I am really embarrassed by the nothingness of my yard. I really don’t know where to start. I know we are in different planting zones but just for starters if you had a small bed in the front of your home and wanted to make an impact there where would you start? Any pointers?

  7. I too am a fan of Hydrangeas! We have a big bush in front and in the back too…my husband wanted to pull the back one out and I FREAKED out….no way are we touching it! They are so beautiful and last forever!

  8. I love your yard, so stunning! All the flowers are just amazing! Something about spring that really puts you in the mood to plant more flowers and spruce up the yard!
    Take care-

  9. Hi, I absolutely love Penstemon…..Can’t wait unitl I get some plants for my new garden area. Love the pictures……:)

  10. I feel you girl. Wednesday I spent about 5 hours weeding the front beds to get ready to compost.
    Then yesterday I spent about 5 hours shoveling and wheelbarrowing (is that a word) a trailer load of compost on the beds. I thought it would do it all but it only did about 1/3 – YIKES. So, today I weeded the large front bed and I know have another trailer load of compost setting in my driveway for me to do this weekend. Fun times. I can’t wait to start planting more.
    Love hydrangeas too- my fave.
    Oh by the way – I love your blog layout. I won a blog makeover from Nester’s giveaway so have been marking things I like on blogs that I’d like to incorporate and well – your’s is perfect as is.

  11. Hello, Love your blog, love the pics of the flowers- I too an a northern Ca. girl, And so enjoying the nice weather perfect for all my projects.. Love the chairs so cute- they look like they are ready for spring- the great thing is when you get tired with that color you can easily change again.. LOVE PAINT!
    I am a follower-& neighbor.

  12. Beautiful garden. I too love Hydrangeas. of all colors! Don’t work too hard this weekend!

    Art by Karena

  13. Absolutely stunning…I so enjoy a lovely garden. Fortunately my backyard flowerbed doesn’t need much tending to, but it’s quite peaceful and beautiful…a great spot for morning coffee. ;)

    My Grandmother grew the most beautiful hydrangeas…what fond memories I have of being a young girl working with her in the garden.

    Happy Friday!

  14. Hydrangeas are my favorite too. :) I am really really hoping that the two I have will come back this year. I thought T fried one of them with too much fertilizer last year, but it’s showing some green right now. I loved seeing all of your beautiful flowers. Wonder if the Bower Vine would grow well in Virginia (zone 7, I think)…

    Your yard hands are just the cutest. ;) I love their little shovels. Natalie keeps a plastic shovel from Chick-fil-a next to the front door (in the flower bed) in case the need for some digging should arise. I hope you pay your help well. ;)

  15. OK Katie…my far-away spray-painting -junkie. Start planning out the colours your going to spray your dried Hydrangeas at the end of the season. I’ve done them a few years now and love them every time. Incredible how well they take the paint. Betcha’ hadn’t thought of that one huh?? LOL.

    I have got to get some of those stunning Penstamons. Beautiful. I don’t know them at all.

    I save the blooms/seeds from any flower gifts I receive during the year and add them as annuals to my garden. I also go for late night walks and have a tendency to dead-head flowers in the neighborhood as I go along. I consider it a service. And then I have new seeds. Its all good.
    My Dad gave his Sedum plants, from up north to me about 8 years ago. Most of my neighbours and friends have it now too. Its’ a drought tolerant succulent, [ours goes a wonderful red in Autumn] and spreads galore. Put those where nothing else will grow and before you know it….new garden.

  16. You make me wanna jump for joy .The grapes!…oh those grapes!….ok .Let me go scour the Real Estate mag’s…I need a little farmlette.

  17. Absolutely beautiful! And I went back and read about your Syrah…did you ever do a blog giveaway like your wise husband suggested?! I would love to see the label, and I promise to drink and enjoy the whole bottle if I ever win one!

  18. Hydrangeas are my all time favorites too. This year, new to NC, I am rediscovering some old friends I used to have when we lived in IL, before our 18 years in FL. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, forsythia, dogwood, crabapple. Since we are renting right now, everything I do is in pots. So I am enjoying the beauty of everyone else in the area. I keep stopping to ask people “what is that?”

    Happy spring and happy gardening. I hope you have great fun this weekend.

  19. I love hydrangeas too. They are my favorite. I love all the different shades they come in, but I am partial to the blues. I was glad to hear about the bower vine. I would like to try that out. I also liked the penstemon. Very pretty. It is so great to see green things coming out of the ground. Love & blessings from NC!

  20. A girl after my own heart. I miss my hydrangeas! I am planning on putting some into my new yard this year. There was one when we moved in. One is NOT enough! My backyard here is such a mess. I just don’t know where to start!

  21. Oh it’s delicious! If I bring my plastic shovel and promise to help, can I come and sit by your flowers in your pretty new chairs?

    You make me want to try planting some hydrangeas. I haven’t been able to keep them alive. What’s the secret? Lisa~

  22. What beautiful plants and gardens! This post makes me want to get out there right now and get going. And I am with you….hydrangeas are up there on my all time fav list, just right after the roses. Bring on spring!

  23. How GORGEOUS and How Blessed You Are!!! I am looking forward to another supply of your lavendar this year girlfriend!!! ; )

    ‘d’ from kc!

  24. Wonderful, I have been thinking about adding lavendar to our backyard. I have a black thumb, so is it fairly easy to maintain?

  25. You’ve got such a beautiful garden. And those rolling hills, I would spend all my time out there, admiring the scenery. Enjoy the yard work, obviously, it pays off.

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