The Wonders of a Screened Porch

We've never had a screened porch before, but I can tell you now that I don't ever want to be without one again! Our wish-list for a house in Missouri had a covered porch on it, but we got so much more in this glorious space high above the back yard.Not only is there a ceiling fan and screens all around, but since we're protected in a "valley" at the bottom of a hill, we have very little wind, and with our wide eaves, we can sit out here, even when it's pouring rain, and barely get damp.

My houseplants made the trip from Kansas in the back of our van and seem no worse for the wear. In fact, they love Missouri's humidity. It's been hot, hot, hot, and yet here on the screened porch, it's been wonderfully comfortable morning and evening for us to sit out here and dream.
And of course, these two sweet girls (and their three boy cousins) are who we dream about...and the REAL reason we are loving everything about living in Missouri!

Our "Gardens" in Missouri

Gardening in Missouri is going to be very different! Our back and side yards are woods, which we love, and there are slopes and hills and ridges and creeks that we never had to deal with in our Kansas gardens. We've decided we'd rather look at the dozens of deer and other wildlife who roam through our yard than worry about the critters eating hundreds of dollars worth of plants, so any pots we have will have to hang high or be close to the house and filled with deer-resistant selections. 

We'll show you more of that wonderful screened porch you get a glimpse of at right in another post, but these are the two spaces we have to work with: a patio with a long view up the sloping backyard (most of which is owned—and thankfully mowed—by the neighbor at the top of the hill.
For these "kids" raised on the Kansas prairie, having woods and lush vegetation is a whole new experience! We're delighted to be learning how to garden in the shade of Missouri woods! It'll be an adventure!


Leaving our garden to a new family

I let it "slip" in my last post that we'll soon be moving from our beloved Kansas in July 2019! We have loved living here in Kansas whether country or city, in small towns and large. But our hearts are torn because all our kids and grandkids live far away.

As hard as it will be to leave our native state, we want to be part of our grandkids' lives, and most of them live in Missouri, so we are packing up and moving to the southeast corner of that beautiful state. Our house has sold to a wonderful family—friends of ours from our church—which makes it so much easier to leave the Kansas house and yard we've enjoyed so much.

We're buying a house in a new town (smaller than Wichita) and we're excited to explore a new kind of gardening. I got to check off the #1 item on my wishlist with this lovely wooded backyard that will soon be ours.

Between the shade and the deer who frequent the neighborhood, I may not be able to get anything to grow, but what a lovely tradeoff. And who knows? I may discover some shade-loving, deer-resistant, mosquito-repelling flowers to fill our pots in this new place. If you garden in Missouri, I'd love to know what you grow in the shade that the deer will leave alone.
Missouri will likely inspire a new garden blog, and of course, I'll post a link here when that happens. We've loved our Kansas prairie gardens and they'll be part of our memories forever, but we're happily moving to the next chapter, which we trust will be every bit as full of love, laughter, and pretty growing things.

Clematis in June are bustin' out all over!


The clematis in the backyard is in full bloom and so pretty this year. We once had a red clematis mixed in with that white, but it seems to have died off. Still, the dark purple Clematis Jackmanii and the white Clematis Huldine are so pretty and give the yard a great summery vibe. We didn't plant nearly as many pots this year since we'll be moving next month (to Missouri!) but these flowering perennials do wonders to brighten up the landscape!
I'm especially pleased that FINALLY, the hellebores seem to be established and are full of blooms!

Full-on Spring in our Yard

We returned from a two-week trip at the end of April to find it's full-on spring in our yard! Especially the side yard to the east of our house where the lilac bush and snowball bush are in full bloom and the Rose of Sharon is greening up. In the distance, you can see the apple tree almost finished blooming!



 This little redbud tree we transplanted from a little sapling volunteer in the front entryway garden has come into its own in the backyard. I think now that it doesn't stand in the shadow of the pear tree we had to cut down, it will really thrive!


Finally, a little snow!

It hasn't snowed more than three inches in Wichita since March of 2016! We didn't get three inches, but it snowed enough on February 19, 2019 to make everything look sparkly and white. I always say, if it's going to be cold, it might as well be pretty with snow! But we're both eager for spring flowers!

Fall 2018

We had an early freeze on October 14th and that was the beginning of the end for many of our plants. But the frost on the last roses of summer was gorgeous!





Summer 2018 – A Sad End to a Tree


One of the things that attracted us to this house was a backyard full of trees! We were especially fond of the majestic Bradford Pear tree that towered over the house. It gave such beauty in all seasons and survived several snow- and ice-storms.


And then, last summer, its leaves started turning long before they should have. Ken sprayed and pruned, trying to save the tree. But this spring, it barely put on any blooms or leaves and it seemed apparent the tree was dying, as Bradford Pears are wont to do after the 20-plus years this one has probably been growing.

We had a tree guy come and take a look and he confirmed our fears. The tree was diseased and needed to come down. We were SO sad! I never knew you could have such feelings for a silly tree.But down it came, limb by limb. And within half an hour, this tree that took decades to grow so tall was only a memory. :(
But even in death it gave us some gifts. A nice pile of free mulch.

Gorgeous sunrise views that we hadn't even realized we were missing!And memories that will last a lifetime. We might replace it with a much smaller tree (although the budget is blown by the price of removing a tree!) Or we might just enjoy the views and wait for our other trees to grow tall and strong.

My favorite outdoor office

It's the end of August, but there have still been some days when it was cool enough early in the day to bring my laptop out to the back deck to work. This is my favorite spot on our property when the weather is fine.






Spring 2018

Such a late spring we had, but now, on June 1, it feels like summer already. Here are a few views of the deck and backyard:

The checkerboard patio continues to look great and offers a nice "landing" at the bottom of the deck stairs.

Peonies Popping!


The peony bushes are early this year... starting to bloom on May 14, when usually it's not until Memorial Day weekend! We're headed out to a conference and I'm afraid we're going to miss them! But a few of them have opened enough to come inside and cheer up my office space.


April Morning Mist



Late April and a beautiful misty spring morning. I love the view looking across the deck.
[Click the photo to enlarge.]


April Flowers

 The hellebores have finally started to do something! We planted these the first year after we moved here and they did almost nothing for 4 years! I would love it if they'd fill in the space under the deck stairway.

Spring brings the prettiest sunsets!

The crabapple tree is my favorite spring welcome committee!