Wellington House Backyard Tour
Our sweet little Wellington House is up for sale. Just writing that brings up all the feelings that go along with leaving this place. It has been such a happy era in our lives.
This house is so special to our family and I am going to miss it so much. More on the house and why we are leaving in another post but for now I just wanted to show you the yard and hopefully give you some ideas for your own yard. I personally search for yard design inspiration and it’s surprisingly pretty slim pickings when it comes to inspiration for the average Joe. There’s a lot of commercial gardening advice and a lot of how to’s on vegetable stuff and growing guides but actually what to plant and how to design your yard is a hit and miss so maybe this can give you some inspiration for what you can plant. I put the plant names in the captions if they’re notable.
The Wellington House is on a .33 lot that sits along the canal, which I love. It makes our yard feel deeper than it really is and makes it always very green along the back fence.
The house was previously owned by a mother of 8 that moved here 30 or so years ago and lived out the rest of her life here. I think I’ve mentioned that I’m a believer in spirit of place - that places have a feeling that accompany them based on what has happened there.
Wellington House has that for me- a feeling of peace and quiet. I never met the woman that used to own it but as I worked her soil and uncovered her vision for this place I felt a goodness in her and a love for flowers that we have in common. Our first year here it was exciting to discover what new flower would bloom next. First daffodils and forget-me-nots, then peonies and lilies and mums.
I found out this year that forget-me-nots attract butterflies. You’ll go out and see them flitting around from flower to flower. It’s lovely in the morning.
I am told that the previous owner bought the house from some men that were in the middle of putting a pool in the yard but abandoned the idea and put the house up for sale. My understanding is that the back yard was pretty much a pile of dirt when she got it. Most of what you see here is the work of her hands.
Laying out and designing a yard from a field of dirt is surprisingly hard. It’s common to overlook layout when putting in a yard. It’s easy to think grass. Check. Shrubs. Check. and that’s it. That’s what is so impressive to me about what she did because everything was laid out so thoughtfully in a way that makes the landscape feel natural.
Designing an exterior space is similar to interior design but in my opinion slightly trickier because it is a living thing, and so constantly changes. Scale and color and all the basic design elements still apply but in interiors you can set a chair in a certain place and it doesn’t move or grow or change color. It just stays. But in a garden things are ever changing month to month and year to year which in my opinion makes it so beautiful.
When we bought the house the yard had become pretty overgrown. I think because she had been in bad health at the end of her life and so wasn’t able to keep things as nice as she would’ve liked. It was fun to just add my own touch and clean out and uncover what had already been there.
We planted a peach tree along the fence and added raised garden beds because I wanted a place for vegetables.
Most of the trees in our yard were planted by her about 30 or so years ago. Although, the box elders in the back are probably about 100 years old.
This is a Kwanzan flowering cherry which is stunning in the spring as you can see. It has always been one of my favorites and I was so excited when we bought this that we would have one.
The middle tree is a northern maple and that’s a beautiful oak along the fence. My very favorite is the ancient box elder that sits next to the canal that I mentioned. Cal is in love with the rope swing and we’d go out almost every night last summer to swing and talk about the day under the shade of our tree.
Our neighbor to the north has lived here for literally almost 80 years. It was his boyhood home that he inherited from his father and he’s lived here his entire life. He said all of this land used to be plum trees and that the plum trees that line our property are what remain of that fruit orchard.
Cal and Marriner adore him and I’m hoping he has been smiling rather than thinking of calling the cops when the boys have run out in the backyard stark naked to play. Which I hate to admit has happened enough times to lose count.
Last fall I went a little wild and ended up planting almost 600 bulbs. Don’t do it. My back has never recovered. Just kidding. When spring came it was SO beautiful and the best part is they will return year after year. #worthit. I planted a row of tulips and daffodils at our duplex along a busy road 5 years ago. We’ve since sold the property but as I see those beauties smiling up at me as I drive by every year I smile, happy that I made a positive contribution to the world.
My favorites of all the varieties I planted are these stunning Wedding Gift Double tulips from Tulip World that we planted right outside our kitchen door. pictures don’t totally do them justice. These ladies have lasted a month and I only lost 5 of them to my boys taking a stick to them, which in my opinion exceeded expectations.
I’m not like a Tulip World promoter or something by the way. In fact I don’t know one thing about them. I just happened to order all my bulbs from them last year. I can’t remember why. I think they were a little cheaper than most places. My tight wad heart tends to make my decisions based on cheaper so that sounds familiar.
These Finola Tulips were also pretty prolific and looked good among the forget-me-nots.
Here’s what it looked like last summer when everything was in full bloom. Those are Oklahoma Mix zinnias lining the border. They were maybe my favorite flower of the year.
Also if you’ve never grown dahlias you should throw a few in your ground cause they are stunning and you’ll get loads of huge blooms at the end of the summer. I just planted a whole slew of them today so keep an eye out for them. I can’t wait to see what I get. They are always way better than the pictures.
So that’s the tour. Hopefully I covered it all and that can help you a little bit. Leave any questions in the comments below or you can leave me a message on my contact page.
Also, I did a post on my front summer beds last year that were grown almost entirely from scattered seed. If you want to do a cottage cutting garden I put together a recipe of what to plant. It was really fun to grow so you can read more about it here.
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