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We finished the second half of our porch make-over this weekend. Step one was making the inside awesome. Step two was replacing the tree we cut down and putting a flower bed in that reaches from the sidewalk to the front door. Our goal was to plant a bush that provides shade and privacy year round for the porch. While the camellia we planted has a ways to grow, we hope it will grow as big as the camellia on the other side of the front door, which completely blocks the window. We planted another camellia that was on clearance closer to the sidewalk. We also planted two althea bushes that I started from cuttings five years ago and had been growing in pots. I love althea because it blooms in the heat of summer and attracts humming birds. When picking plants and bushes, we try to think about balancing how everything will look year round. Althea will lose its leaves in the winter, but the camellia is evergreen. Camellias bloom from January to March and altheas bloom in the summer. We tried to balance the bloom times for everything else we planted in the bed.

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porch plants

When we cut down the old sickly tree from in front of the porch, the two things we liked about it was the shade and privacy it provided. We knew when we cut it down, that we wanted to plant something quickly so it could start growing to provide some of that shade and privacy. Because we love camellias and the bush on the other side of the house completely blocks out the window, we thought it would be a good, evergreen to provide some privacy. You can tell this guy has a ways to grow, but I am excited for what it will be. When we bought this camellia, there was another pretty one marked way down, so we went ahead and picked it up. I don’t have a picture of it up, but he is a smaller bush, with smaller blooms.

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springtime beagle

Since it is officially spring and we had a porch makeover, we have been spending so much time enjoying the weather, mosquito free and under the ceiling fan on the porch. Darby has also been spending time on the porch, watching neighbors and their dogs and just keeping an eye on the yard. Even Darby knows how to enjoy spring. I snapped a couple pretty cute photos and thought I would share.

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a porch remake

Let me refresh your memory about what our porch looked like. In front we had a gnarled, nearly dead tree and a younger scrappy junk tree. While they provided so much appreciated shade, the bigger tree needed to be cut down because so much of it was dead and hanging over the house, and the younger tree wasn’t anything that was treasured.  Behind the trees the porch had plastic white lattice that provided lots of privacy. However the lattice was becoming brittle and breaking, and the plastic was kind of cheap looking. Behind the lattice there was screen that had long been destroyed by dogs, and it let in plenty of wasps and mosquitoes. Inside the porch, the trim and ceiling were painted white, and the paint was chipping and moldy. Our initial plan wasn’t to re-do everything, but as projects do, this one just sort of spiraled into a total overhaul.

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It haint blue

The porch ceiling is done and ready to keep away any ghosts. Here is a preview of the blue we picked. Two other points: Painting ceilings is messy and rough on the back, and two- we did a hell of alot more to the porch than just paint the ceiling. The post will come soon.

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haint blue

I am excited that things around the casa are getting more Southern. To be more specific, we are planning on painting to screened in porch ceiling haint blue. Now you might be saying to yourself, “What? Who paints a ceiling, especially one on a porch?” Well, superstitious Southerners do it to ward off bad luck and haints. I had a friend in New Orleans who painted every ceiling in her house blue after Katrina figuring she could use all the good luck she could get. Now I am a porch lover, and it would be hard for me to live in a house with no porch. In the spring and fall, my heart would ache with no where to go to relax with a glass of gin and a book to read. Our porch is getting a make over, and I thought it was the perfect time to add a touch of sky to the ceiling. Not only that, but I convinced my poor husband that it would be fun to paint the bathroom ceiling blue too. He loves me. In addition to painting the ceiling (and the trim needs a touch-up as well) we need to re-screen and lattice the porch and install our outdoor ceiling fan. I can picture myself now this autumn laying in the hammock staring at my blue ceiling and being cooled by the nice breeze of the fan. So here are the blues in the running.

Edit: Make sure to click here to see the finished product.

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adding to the flower bed

A few weeks ago, we finally found a place for the beautiful canna to be planted. Dave did all the hard work of digging up the grass for the bed and planting the canna. They have been doing really well and are shooting up new stalks, but I wanted to give them some friends to fill out the bed. I was thinking black-eyed susans and black and blue salvia, which I first discovered for our wedding. However, I didn’t see any of the salvia, so we went with coneflowers (which I love too) and some super cute mystery blue flower. Everything looks really great, and I hope everything will look really lush when things fill out. The coneflowers are wilting a little from the extreme heat here, so we have to make sure they get plenty of water. But the bed looks really great. Check it out.

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