The State Of The Backyard: An End-Of-Summer Update

Earlier this year, between about April and July, we were making some pretty good headway on the backyard. (You can check out the original “State Of The Backyard” post here, and the various progress-related posts in this category.) But then for the latter half of summer, the backyard efforts went completely off the rails — partially due to some busy work-related stuff going on (as explained in this post), but let’s face it, there was also some laziness involved.

The result was that, by the time October rolled around, those pretty Petunia-filled flower boxes we’d added on the garage were looking pretty dead:

Window Box With Dead Flowers

But if you look closely at the photo above, you may notice something interesting — the petunias actually escaped from the window box, and started growing amongst the weeds on the ground below it. And as sad as it was that we let them go so badly that they all died, I thought this was kind of funny and impressive. Like they said on Jurassic Park, life will find a way!

Here’s a closeup of those brave petunias that would not be contained by an inhospitable flower box, all pretty in their red and white splendor:

The Escaped Petunias

Meanwhile, on the other side of the yard, there’s that flower bed that we weeded in preparation for some partially-thought-out plan of eventually planting something there. (Details on that can be found¬†here, including how we had the assistance of a certain little garden helper who learned to say “diwt” in the process.) Two updates on this little patch of the yard are in order:

  1. That bush I trimmed back so severely that I feared I killed it came back just fine, covered with its little yellow flowers just like before.
  2. We never did end up planting anything else there.

And due to not mulching the area or keeping it weeded, by the end of summer it looked like this:

Overgrown Flowerbed

Interestingly, though, some of the plants that showed up there looked suspiciously like flowers. I have no idea what these are, or where they came from (especially considering that we dug up this patch of dirt pretty well and sifted out a lot of roots and whatnot), but they look like the type of plant that could make you say, “yep, these are totally here on purpose.”

White Flowers

So in conclusion, we’ve been neglecting the backyard pretty badly and it’s been growing flowery things in unexpected places anyway.

It’s pretty much winter now — we’ve had our first dusting of snow already here in Chicago — so no more progress on the backyard will be happening until next spring at the earliest. And as much fun as it was planting flowers and such, for next year it would be really nice to focus on improvements that would make it easier and more comfortable to enjoy our outdoor space. Like a patio and some outdoor furniture, rather than just setting up a couple of folding chairs in the middle of the lawn.

It sounds like a major expense and undertaking, but we were able to swing one big serious improvement this year when we had the new privacy fence¬†installed in back, so it may not be completely out of the question. We’ll just have to see what’s in the cards (and the budget) for next year!


  1. Isn’t that cool to have flowers appear that you didn’t know were there! It was your cleaning out that area that allowed them to grow and bloom! I hope you do get a chance to put in an improved sitting area, just getting outside and contemplating nature is so relaxing. It takes several years to get a yard organized and landscaped. You’ve made good progress with your fence, clearing, and visualizing what you want and need. Good Job!

  2. Now all you need is a rabbit hopping around, hint hint! ;) Those look like some sort of lily, btw, so yeah, probably the bulbs had gotten compacted way down, and your breaking up the soil allowed them to push through to the surface this year. I had some gladiolas appear this summer, and I must have planted those over 15 years ago, so bulbs can go dormant a long time!

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