None of my siblings or in-law are over-the-top gardeners to the degree that Mark and I are. So we consider ourselves fortunate to have gardening neighbors. I just love this example of the Japanese concept of borrowed scenery or Shakkei. This is an enormous old Forsythia 'Beatrix Farrand' growing in our neighbors' back yard (2009 photo) that we get to enjoy.
Barb and Lori live to the west of us on a lot that's similar in size and slope to ours. In this picture you can also see the gate Mark made to allow easy access between our separate back gardens. There are also paths between our joined side and front gardens.
In the winter we meet at the end of our driveways and commiserate about the snow. During the gardening season we swap tools. Here Lori prunes their Colorado blue spruce in 2011 which she always decorates with blue lights in the winter. We have so little grass left that we sold them our lawn mower and borrow it back as needed.
When we moved into our house twenty years ago, Barb and Lori had a nice back-yard garden and a row of bulbs and seasonal flowers ringing the tree at the end of their driveway on the far right.
This picture from July of 2009 shows how over time we've combined our front gardens where they meet at the fire hydrant. Spring bulbs, true Geraniums, Hostas and daylilies are the mainstay of these slopes.
They added a path to walk from their front garden into ours, outlining it with stones, in the fall of 2011. The year before, they aksed me for advice on planting the rest of their sloping front yard on the other side of their driveway. First they got rid of the grass with newspaper and mulch.
I told them to just do what they were doing since they'd already created some lovely garden spaces in other areas of their large lot. I did offer to share the plants that had done well for me in the same spot, especially Geranium macrrhorhizum or big-root Geranium. I gave them lots of small plants in the spring of 2011. Here's Lori weeding in July 2011.
Mulching to help keep down weeds and conserve moisture.
Because they had mature garden areas with lots of plants, Barb and Lori were able to transplant big clumps of Hostas to give this very new garden immediate presence. It makes me laugh to complare the size of the Hostas they put in with all those baby Geraniums I gave them.
Here's their garden on June 6, 2013. The following photos show how quickly it's filled in using the Geranium as the main groundcover.
This is the view from their driveway looking across the front edge of our garden (below). This Spring should find their front slope completely filled in. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing it in all its glory!