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All Tree, All Shade

Clearly I do not know how to prune roses properly because ours, especially the climbing ones, are looking leggy. I’ve been reading up about how to correct them, and it sounds like late winter is the time to do any major reshaping. They are blooming at least, but not in the pretty, profuse way they were when we first moved in.

Climbing Roses

The trellis that they’re growing on fell over a little while back. We tried to right it as much as possible, but it’s not easy with all of the thorns! It’s up, mostly, and tied to the porch for more support.

In other garden news, the boxwoods got a big trimming. Please, please, please fill in, hedges! I’ve read up a lot about them being able to bounce back, even after drastic pruning, but I could never find any information on how long it takes and I do know that in general, they’re slow-growing. Also, the right side is much taller than the left but I’m afraid to trim off the top. I figure I’ll wait to see how they fare after this first attempt at cutting them back.

Pruned Boxwoods

(You can see the leggy climbing roses in the background, along the left side of our porch. And our stroller really complements the color scheme, does it not?)

We’re giving a little attention to the lawn too. There’s a beautiful mature ash tree out front, but it throws more shade than the ladies on Drag Race. (That was contrived and cheesy and for that, I’m sorry. Not sorry enough to delete though.)

Ash Tree

Ash Tree

We got a quote for new sod, which was something like $600, and there’s no guarantee it would take. We could do the labor part ourselves to bring the cost down, but again there’s no guarantee it would actually grow, so we passed on that and overseeded the lawn with shade-tolerant fescue.

Sparse Lawn

It has been about two weeks and we’ve watered every day that the rain didn’t do it for us. I don’t think it’s doing much, but those little spindly blades may turn into something if we’re patient, right? That’s the hope, anyway.

New Blades of Grass

A Groovy Kind of Porch

We reused what we already had for our front porch, and it looks pretty good out there right now. We’ve been sitting out there a lot though since I set it up, and it’s clear that what’s missing is a comfortable chair with arms and a back high enough to rest one’s head on. Everyone appreciates a comfy seat, yes? Like, maybe a hanging swing type of seat?

Hanging Rattan Chairs

I like the idea of something that hangs from two ropes or chains, as I imagine less crashing into the house possibilities with the kids around. Serena & Lily has a hanging rattan chair that I’ve admired for a while, and now they have a wider double version too. Then while I was out walking in the neighborhood, I spotted a version in the window at Pier 1. Turns out, they have several “Swingasans” to choose from right now. Anthropologie has one too, but it’s a little too mod for me. Because yeah, turns out I’m kinda into seventies’ and eighties’ style wicker and rattan for the outside of the Victorian.

Peacock chairs are so trendy right now, but they really would work well here. There’s a house nearby with a set outside that has a his-and-hers vibe with different bases. There are plenty of new and vintage options online and locally to choose from.

Peacock Chairs

Peacock Chairs
12345 (kid-sized!)

I know, that second one above (the Handwoven Boline Chair) isn’t really a peacock chair, but it is pretty amazing. Or ZOMG, something like this, below, would be adorable! Actually, it wouldn’t really work out front — I just wanted to share this pretty picture, ha! Anyway, I saw a vintage set of these years ago, cheap, in Palm Springs. I doubt they pop up that often here in Chicago.

Pink Vintage Patio Dining Set

More realistically, I still like these chairs that I blogged about several years ago. Here are a few similar styles. Only some have a high-back, but even just having a chair with arms would be an improvement over what we have now.

Rattan Seating

What do you like? A hanging rattan swing, peacock chair, or the more simplified style of the last set of chairs and benches? I’m about to leave for a trip and won’t be back for a couple of weeks, so I’m going to take a little time to think it over.

The Clubhouse

The back of our house has a two-story porch. Beneath the bottom one is a short space that was filled with gardening stuff left for us by the previous owners: plant stakes, watering cans, bags of potting soil, and the like. We were straightening up out back and then it started to rain, so pardon the lack of a zoomed-out photo here, but I wanted to at least snap quick photo so you could get an idea of the space.

Back Porch

Brandon took the kids to IKEA yesterday to pick up a play table and chairs, to turn the storage space into a clubhouse. He chose the MAMMUT series even though he wasn’t nuts about the look of it because it was plastic (to hopefully stand up to the elements) and it looked like it would be fairly stable on uneven ground. I would have researched this to death, so sometimes it’s nice to have someone who just goes and gets something done. He came home, cleared out the space, and set things up.

Kids' Seating in the Clubhouse

It looks a little rough, but it’s safe. No nails sticking out, exposed wires or insulation or anything, and the kids can stand up with a little headroom to spare.

My inclination is to really do it up in there (paint! curtains! string lights!), but of course Eleanor and August love it as it is. Their first rule? “Leave it messy. No cleaning up allowed.” They also made it clear that both food and books can be brought in. Oh, and then there’s the matter of the sign out front.

No Boys Allowed

Eleanor and her friend are both big sisters to sometimes-annoying little brothers, so that’s where that came from. Eleanor later conceded that August can still come in though. And her daddy. And her friend’s little brother. So that leaves out… who, exactly?

The Clubhouse

Have you made a little club/tree/playhouse for your kids? How involved in setting it up did you get? Tell me I’m not the only one that gets the urge to sew little gingham curtains for the inside that would likely not be appreciated.

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