Thursday, June 28, 2007

SANCTUARY - Part I, The Introduction

We live in a neighborhood which was heavily wooded before houses started to make their debut here some twenty years ago. The developers were very careful to preserve most of the mature trees and underbrush that grace this area today especially behind the houses. We have an abundance of well established oak, elm, hickory, ash, and mulberry. When we step out our back doors in this neighborhood it is like stepping into a forest preserve.

This natural setting invites a variety of birds to make their homes here: robins; cardinals; doves; blue jays; indigo buntings; orioles; goldfinch; yellow hammers; hummingbirds; wrens; martins; English sparrows; chickadees, and red headed woodpeckers.

Occasionally we see deer in the very early morning traipsing across someone's lawn. One evening late I spotted a fox in our neighbor's front yard. We have a few raccoons and opossums that make their homes here. Now and then a skunk will stroll through and leave its calling card. We have plenty of squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits. And dogs! I was talking to a neighbor recently about this dog phenomenon. We both agreed that there must be a covenant law that states you have to own a dog if you live here.

I hope you will click each of the following photos to enlarge them as you go along so that you can appreciate the shots more fully.

This is our home. Hanging on our front door is a pine cone wreath with a shingle attached to it that reads: "Nana and Papa's nest, where the flock gathers." The flock now numbers over twenty. Mostly children. And gather here they all do for birthdays and holidays and other occasions. Our home is kid-friendly as the basketball goal in the photo suggests. There is more kid-friendly stuff in the back yard. This is why six-year-old Ricky, one of our grandsons, calls our place "Nana and Papa's park."

Even though the above photo was taken a few years ago in the spring, not much has changed except the trees are a little taller and their trunks a little larger. You can see in this photo that we have some spring trees and bushes in bloom: magnolia; rhododendron; dogwood; crab, and cherry. Our brightly colored tulips and yellow daffodils are a welcome sight each spring.

Above: Every year for I don't know how long I have gone to this particular garden center nearby and purchased several large potted geraniums for the front of our house. Above: This arrangement is mostly impatiens with a few English ivy mixed in for variety. I am not a big fan of yard art, but I do like to sneak in an animal figurine here and there like I have this little rabbit.

Below: A row of yellow lilies adorn the south side of our house. You can't see them in this shot, but further down are a few peony bushes.

Above: This is the north side of our house. This is the path we will take to the back yard where most of the action takes place. Note the lily of the valley that is to the right of the stepping stones.

Above: Our back yard, especially, has abundant shade. We rely on the shade loving hosta for beautiful variations of the color green. Alongside this particular hosta is spirea which sends up feather like spikes loaded with tiny flowers. It was not in its full glory when this photo was taken.
Above: Another flower we rely on because it loves shady places are impatiens. We plant them in bunches here and there on the perimeter of our back yard. The effect is a panoramic view of bouquet after bouquet of flowers.
Above: Our yard would not be complete without an array of bird feeders. This is one of them. I call it the "Feathered Friends Fast Food Eatery With Fly Up Window."
Below: One corner of our back yard looking into the neighbor's back yard. Note our big hosta plants.

Above: More hosta plants...this time with blue green leaves. I see some of our impatiens there, too, and some lily of the valley as well as more spirea.

Above: A close-up of part of the previous photo.

Below: More spirea. Another name for spirea is astilbe. This one is in white. These are really beautiful perennials.





  1. Will you adopt me? I want to live there :-)

    Your home is spectacularly beautiful. It truly is a park-like sanctuary. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  2. Susie, your home is so beautiful. I can see you have invested a lot of time with your plants. Looks like your neighbor has a goose in their little rock garden by the mailbox. I wish I had the shade your house does. Your garden backyard is very much like the Arboretum I was at last week. I bet the kids get a big kick out Mr Shagbark. There is a park north of here that has Shagbark Hickory and Black Walnut in it and the grouse just love it there. Nana and Papa's park, that's cute.

    I'm glad you posted your pictures. I can see why you are proud of your home, it is very nice and it reflects the great care and attention to detail that I have come to respect and admire about you Susie.

  3. Beautiful and befitting the title of these posts. It's encouraging to know that after these years of transition that Julie and I have begun this weekend... that in time, the home becomes a place to return with even more feet in the house and yard.

  4. AWESOME!!!

    My aunt has a Shagbark Barney on one
    of her trees at Lake of Egypt. Her
    daughter brought it from Chicago.
    That was the first place I had ever seen one. I assume they are popular.

    Now I have more ideas when we
    start to re-do some of the yard.

  5. Josie: We have a couple of spare bedrooms available. But you'd have to share them with some of the grandkids when they come to spend the night. :-)

    Jenni (JG): Yes, that is our neighbor's goose, and, here, I didn't get permission to take a picture of it. For shame. I wish I had some of the sun your yard appears to have. My hubby would love to grow a vegetable garden, but the most he can manage is a few tomato plants in pots in the sunniest part of the back yard he can find. We have a good size piece of yard in the front that gets plenty of sun, but I don't think the neighbors would take kindly to us growing corn and pole beans there.

    Tom (Patterns): Ah! Yes, in no time you will be hearing the pitter patter of little feet in your home as grandchildren start entering the world. It will be a special joy, one you have yet to experience, and you will love it.

    Sharon: I think I picked up my "Shagbark Barney" (the name I have given this tree face) at Menards or Home Depot. I am sure they are sold in So. Illinois too. Our neighbor next door nailed one to a tree of theirs I noticed the other day.

    To All: I am sorry I have not been quick to write responses to your comments, but I have had grandchildren here for the past few days. They curtail my blogging activities.

  6. Hey, Josie just stole my thought. If you adopt her you have to adopt me too and apparently break us up when it comes to fisticuffs...