The fountain you see here also used to be my grandma's. She had it inside her condo, but didn't like the splashing of the water on her tile floor, so she asked if we wanted it. Uh, let me think about that for a minute...
Just steps from my computer:
The deck was constructed by Romie and has a bench with storage, as well as a plant stand. The plant stand has a door on the left side so tools and things can be stored inside it as well. (That's Sunny cleaning himself on the top step.)
I'd like to put a potted plant in the tall plant stand Romie built on the left side of the deck, but the cats sleep there fairly often. I'd hate to take away one of their nap spots.
They also use this as a jumping-off spot when they're getting down from the top of the pergola. They all go up there and it provides a handy route to the roof of the family room, which happens to be just below our bedroom windows. More than once, we've been awakened in the night by one of the outside kitties meowing or picking at the screen, begging to be let in.
I did have a potted plant there earlier, but it got jumped on and slept in too many times. Plants tend to not like that.
Never mind the holes in the Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost'), courtesy of the slugs (that I've never had before this year). The little Peek-a-Boo Pixie is by a local artist, George Carruth. His original studio is in Waterville, Ohio, and there you can purchase many of his beautiful creations as well as seconds at a greatly reduced price.
The butterfly house was made by my dad and has copper trim. That's pink Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) in the upper right corner, which was saved from the construction workers when they put in the french doors. Those french doors used to be in my parents' house before they added on a sun room. There's also Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum) and Crimson Fans (Mukdenia rossii) in this picture.
The pergola was built in 2001 by my dad and Romie. It has tiny white lights strung on each rafter that are connected to an automatic timer so they come on at dusk. The cement table and benches belonged to my grandmother before she moved to her condo. I have material and foam to make cushions for the benches, but haven't gotten around to doing it yet.
The trumpet vine has been here since the summer of 2002, if I remember correctly. It didn't really start covering the pergola well until 2005. Give it another couple of years and it will totally cover it. The view from the top looks like this:
The hypertufa planter on the lower left was made by Mom. In the middle, you can see a potted Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) that is older than I can remember. It goes inside for the winter, as it's not hardy to our zone (5). The hanging pot contains Kangaroo Fern (Microsorum pustulatum) , which also overwinters inside.
This area looks vastly different than it did when we moved into this house in 1977. First of all, the room with the door didn't exist. In 1983, my dad and Romie constructed our family room, enclosing an exterior stairwell to the basement. Prior to this, the clematis you see is quite old and grew on a wrought-iron railing in the same location. We managed to protect it during the construction and it now vines over fishing line strung back and forth from fence poles left over from a chain link fence we used to have around the pool. Creative recycling!
The brick patio was laid by Romie several years ago. When we moved here, it was nothing but dirt. The original patio is now under the family room. We planted some things there in the late 1970s and put black and burgundy lava rock around everything. (Ewww!) We like this brick surface MUCH better. The brick border around the sidewalks was added last summer. We're still finding lava rock everywhere and I save it for putting in the bottoms of my potted plants. It's lightweight, porous and provides great drainage!
Our beloved black and white cat, Mimi, lived in the house with us from 1987-2003. When we had to have her put to sleep, it was Jenna who suggested we bury her under the catnip in the herb garden. While herbs no longer grow here due to the shade now provided by the trumpet vine, we remember Mimi...
... to the left you'll see the north side of the dining room and the back door to the garage.
Here there is cotoneaster that was already here when we purchased the house, but has been severely cut back and we keep it thin so that each summer I can plant caladiums under them. We like the brightness of the colored caladium leaves and it's a great place for them to grow since this is in continual shade.
Last summer, Mom shared some large hostas (probably 'Sum and Substance') that she was given, and those grow at the very back. They've not yet reached their full size for the summer. (Nothing really has, because of the drought.) There's also a plant stand where my orchids live for the summer, as well as a couple other potted house plants.
To the north of the patio is a large trellis that used to hold a porch swing. The swing had issues, so we removed it and put the trellis up. I don't know where we got the Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) that grows there now, but it's a happy camper and so are we when it's dreamy scent wafts through the patio area.
Most of these photos were taken a few weeks ago, just after I'd watered everything. Things have since grown quite a bit and the caladiums have come up and are brightening the trellis area.
If you look closely at the Hardy hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus 'Aphrodite') which is being grown as a standard, it's now blooming! It was too windy today for me to get a decent picture of a bloom, so here's a close-up of one from last year.
It's underplanted with several varieties of Heuchera.
And that little terra cotta pot you see in the picture of the patio? It now looks like this:
The pergola-covered patio leads to the pool area via the flagstone walkway we placed this spring and through the arbor, which is covered by Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora).
I hope you've enjoyed this little mini-tour of some of our gardens. I'll share more later!