Living in The Secret Garden

In February, we moved from our apartment to a small south Kansas City house on half an acre. We currently rent the house, but are considering buying it at some point, depending on what happens with jobs after Jeff (my husband) finishes his graduate program at the end of the year. I love this little house. It’s tiny, but it’s affordable, it’s energy efficient, and it’s so stinking cute! (The pic of the front is from a few years ago. The plants are all much bigger now.)

Here’s my favorite part: One of the previous owners was a landscaper, and turned the place into a sort of green wonderland. There are so many beautiful plants all over. However, since the previous tenants did not properly care for the lawn, everything is overgrown, and there are weeds, ranging from the low-growing, viny variety to the tall, skinny tree variety, all over the place. It’s a bit overwhelming for us, but little by little, we chip away at it, and as we dig, we find more and more treasures. It seems like every day we discover something new out there.

Here’s a view from the patio of the boys playing out back. The redbud tree is quite lovely in bloom.

I thought I’d share some of those discoveries here. Keep in mind that I have not planted anything since moving in, nor have I tended any plants. Most of the pics below are of things I didn’t know lived in my yard until either they bloomed, or I found them hiding behind weeds.

Here’s one side of the yard, dense mostly with weeds, I think. The weeds are mixed in with black raspberry bushes (which we did know about before we moved in). I have cut down a considerable amount of weeds from this side, but barely made a dent. As you can see, I really have my work cut out for me.

And, here’s the other side, after days of work. It was nearly as dense, and look at it now! Well, at least a little section of it. We did lose some privacy though… I think next year (or maybe this year) I might plant some sunflowers there.

A close-up of the soon-to-be black raspberries. I cannot freaking wait to be gorging myself on them when they ripen. They are literally all over the perimeter of the yard. We shall feast like kings!

Today, the kids and I found mulberries. There are two small trees that have obviously been fruiting for a while. I have no idea how we missed them, but I’m thrilled! I have always wanted to live in a house with mulberry trees!

Also today, while showing a friend my other discoveries, we found some peonies! To be fair, I had seen the plant before it bloomed, I just hadn’t known what it was. Notice the little green berries? Those are the black raspberries that have spread and grow wild all over the yard.

The pear tree (which we did know about) was absolutely gorgeous when it was blooming. Now it’s covered in tiny fruits, an equally lovely site.

And here’s a pic of all the baby pears. Oh, the promises.

One of my very first “Secret Garden” discoveries after removing some weeds in front was this beautiful rose.

And hiding from the sun, which I’m sure explains the color, I found these beauties on the same plant. We also have bright pink, and red-violet rose bushes.

Tucked away in the old, overgrown vegetable patch, I found garlic and onion chives. That was a happy day.

In the same patch as the chives, I found a big, beautiful lemon balm plant. This is one of my favorite things to grow. I love me some lemon balm tea, aka “Melissa tea”. It is very soothing for an upset stomach, and it tastes lovely.

Speaking of the mint family (in reference to the lemon balm), another thing that grows wild in my yard is mint in different varieties. I’ve found spearmint, peppermint (I think), orange mint, and I remember finding chocolate mint, but haven’t been able to locate it since. Eventually, I’ll pot some up, and kill the rest. Now I know what they mean when they call it an invasive plant!

After about an hour of chopping weeds around the base of a tree, I found this adorable little bench. I literally had no idea it was there!

Under the same tree, after uncovering the bench, I found this antique little doll chair. So cute!

I found this 6 foot tall bird feeder the other day. If anyone knows if it attracts some special kind of bird, let me know.

This plant started growing from a pot on the patio, and I almost pulled it thinking it was a weed. I’m so glad I didn’t. I can’t WAIT to see what kind of flower it is. However, I’m fine with the surprise being ruined, so if you know, tell me!

Here are a few of the berries we harvested from the second mulberry tree we found waaaaaaaaay, way out in the back of the yard, behind the shed.

And here’s my 3 (almost 4!) yr old, enjoying said mulberries.

Next to the tool shed is an old garden shed. We plan to turn it into a chicken coop soon. (Our landlords are awesome, and gave us permission before we even signed the lease.) I think we’ll have plenty of green matter to feed the chickens, don’t you?

To my local friends reading this: My offer still stands that if you would like to come help hack down giant weeds and make some awesome discoveries for yourselves, you are more than welcome. As I’ve said before, it’ll be just like a party, only with heavy labor. 😉

Everyone else, please send me thoughts of strength, patience, and will as I slowly chip away at the insanity. I know it will be so worth it.

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6 thoughts on “Living in The Secret Garden

  1. Your chooks will help you garden, too, when you get some! Thats how mine earn their keep, in the absence of eggs. Pull up some weeds and they scruff the roots out – no regrowth!

  2. What a beautiful yard! The Secret Garden is my all time favorite movie and book. I’m jealous of all your hidden treasures! This spring, Karlie hid a porcelain raccoon in our lilac bush where it’s completely hidden. We call it our secret garden and we’re the only ones who know about it (until now!)
    Btw, the two different roses on your bush means you have a sucker. Probably, the pink one is the real rose and the red is the root stock. http://www.ehow.com/m/about_5398880_sucker-rose-bush.html

  3. So fun to find such treasures in your yard. Nice that you can take the time to appreciate them, despite the work involved to unearth them. I hope you continue to be amazed by your secret garden 🙂

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