Yesterday the husband closed on a house in another town (not Iowa City, though relatively nearby), which we will be moving into at some point. I've never owned a house before,1 which was, I thought, a pretty good reason not to be into outdoor plants, so now we're going to find out if I really think tropical plants are superior, or if I was only saying that because I couldn't have any temperate-zone plants.
Obviously the blog is going to suffer a little bit in the short term; although the husband has already rented a storage unit in said town, and has been moving stuff into it for about a month now (he's a glass-half-full kind of person; he's thought the deal was going to go through for a lot longer than I have), there's an awful lot to move, and of course I've been busy enough with work and the plants and the blog and whatever else it is I do, so my stuff is a lot less, er, dealt with than his.
Exactly how much the blog is going to suffer is yet to be determined; I'll let you know.
As for the gardening: as best as I can tell (I've only actually seen the place once, and that was at night), the yard is mostly sun. It's basically a long thin strip that extends west from the house. There's a tree at the far end, and there will be a fence on the north and south sides of the property, but there's not really anything else for shade.
I've already bought some plants for the yard (The glass is occasionally half-full for me, too -- particularly when optimism means I can buy plants): so far we have a whole flat of Portulaca grandiflora 'Tequila Mix' (moss rose), because it's the best annual ever,2 a Lantana camara 'Rose Glow Improved,' because I have positive associations with it now, a smallish pot of strawberries (Fragaria 'Fort Laramie'),3 a Sempervivum 'Red Beauty,'4 Lysimachia 'Goldilocks,' and I have some 'Quarterback' coleus5 from last spring that I kept as a houseplant, as well as brand-new-this-year 'Kingswood Torch,' 'Glennis,' 'Peter Wonder,' 'Splish Splash,' and possibly others I'm failing to remember. I like coleus. The coleus won't necessarily end up outside. In fact, I have no idea what I'm going to be doing with most of this stuff. To begin with, I'm just buying the plants I like, and we'll see how that goes, and we'll worry about having some kind of coherent plan next year. This year, we're just trying out the outdoor gardening thing to see if it's any fun. I've been told it is, but I remain skeptical.
There are perennials I like too (Lysimachia is supposed to be a perennial here.), but I don't know any of them terribly well, and most of the ones I do know somewhat and like okay are shade-lovers that I don't think will work that well for this situation. Shrubs I know basically not at all, and trees are not a good idea, I think, because we may want to put up a greenhouse in the back someday, and planting trees and shading the whole back yard could make a greenhouse kinda useless. Also it's not that big of a yard anyway.
I'd also really like to find something for the lawn besides grass. I mean, the grass that's there already is fine and all, but mowing, weeding, spraying, watering, etc. all seem like really dumb ways to spend one's time. I hear there are other things that can be used instead, but I've seen very little about what, specifically, or how one goes about replacing grass. Anybody know any good references?
Pictures of house and lawn to follow . . . when I get around to it. The husband reports that there are Hostas.
1 Technically, I still don't, since the whole deal has gone through under the husband's name, but I think he's going to let me live there anyway.
2 So long as the rabbits don't eat it, which Kim tells me they like to do. I believe her exact words were "rabbit candy." Worrisome, but I'm still going to try.
3 (We had NOID strawberries in the back yard when I was a kid. I went ahead and bought the 'Fort Laramies' already because it looked like we were in danger of selling out of strawberries before the house thing went through. Strawberries are all but flying out the door this year.)
4 My good grandmother had Sempervivums outside her front door. (Like some people, I had a good grandmother and an evil grandmother, both of whom were into plants. Evil grandma went for ornamentals, irises and clematis and snapdragons and tulips and so forth, with only a few vegetables. Good grandma had less time on her hands, so she went more for vegetables, with only a few ornamentals. Both of them had houseplants: evil grandma probably deserves most of the credit -- or blame -- for my interest in them. By most measures, I take more after evil grandma than after good grandma.)
5 (Solenostemon scutellarioides)