Priming and landscaping (BH #54)

I always think I like painting until I begin actually painting. I kind of always end up forgetting how tedious it is – especially all the cutting-in, and how you have to prime before you can even get to the satisfying part, which is watching the final coat gradually quickly up the old worn surface with big swaths of the roller.

It took most of one day to get it all cut in and primed. I bought a super-high-end primer, hoping that this would help make up for any remaining peeling paint that I hadn’t managed to get off. It was as thick as chocolate pudding – no exaggeration.


(I’m planning to ask the plumbers to cut off that little oil tank pipe stub sticking out of the front, and then I’ll patch and paint the hole.)

I ended up staying til around 9 or ten, working by the light of a street light and a headlamp, to get the final color all cut in and save myself the time the next day.


At the same time, I managed to get a little bit of landscaping in! I mean, no real landscaping is possible in winter – which makes me sad about how the house will look when we do tenant viewing – but I’ll do what I can to make it look cleaner, at least.

I had yearned for big, blowsy white panicle hydrangeas in front. I thought they would look fantastic against the light grey siding. I was planning on pairing them with a purple-leaved redbud or crape myrtle where that little trash mulberry used to be (upper left of the stone wall). But by the time the siding was done and I felt safe putting them in (so they wouldn’t get trampled), Lowe’s was out of hydrangeas and crape myrtles entirely. Out of almost everything, actually. Seeing as how it was mid-November.

However, I did manage to snag their last four Nanho Blue butterfly bushes for 75% off – $5 each! That’s a deal I won’t say no to, and that lovely soft blue-purple will look nice against the cedar and grey too.


Buddleia has a wispier, less compact habit than hydrangeas which I’m not thrilled about, but they should get to about the same size – 5×5.

Hydrangea “Little Lime”:

panicle hyrangea

Buddleia “Adonis”:


To spread the bushes out a little more, I cut chunks from the enormous Japanese zebragrass (also called Sawgrass) that’s already growing by the driveway, all on its lonesome.


Looks kind of silly out there all alone. So I thought transplanting pieces of it, rather than adding some other new plant, would build in a kind of visual resonance and stability to the whole picture. Eventually.


I alternated the grass with the buddleia bushes in a staggered pattern, grass towards the back and buddleia towards the front.


The plants are so small right now that you can barely see them in photos. They’d be plenty visible if I mulched around them, but I didn’t want to start mulching because it takes so much maintenance. I mean, I don’t even take care of the mulch at my own house! I figured that if we just let grass grow around them, they’ll be easy to mow around (there’s 3-5 feet between each plant) and they won’t look weedy.

I may rethink that though – I’ll mow around them once before I decide. Well-done landscaping pulls a house together so beautifully.


In the mean time, you can barely see anything at all!


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