Shady Summer

IMG_0768Dress: Kokoon (on sale) / Wellies: Target (old, similar) / Watering Can: Target

I’m a sucker for floral prints, what can I say – even if it’s on a watering can. This print just reminded me so much of Liberty London that I had to buy it! I also like to collect garden tools (bought these), I need to sort through old ones that have rusted (but it’s so charming at the same time) otherwise I’m going to have a dozen hand trowels.

I wanted to give more views of our newly painted backyard wood fence! Our handyman Dennis painted most of it and on Mother’s Day weekend Benjamin and I tackled the rest of it, the hard and messy part under the vines. This is a color by Behr (found at Home Depot) called Cloud, a soft white.


Let’s say by the end, my paint brush which was flat and new looked like a blush brush because I just started slapping and rotating my wrist in all the directions under those vines. It was a crazy mess with paint in my hair and all over my body, but worth it in the end.


After spotting the white birds of paradise in Costa Mesa (see this post), I wanted to have a few of our own – we added one to the front of our house too. They should grow around 8-10 feet tall. I know it’s a bit more tropical than English country, but I’m breaking a lot of rules and really enjoying it!


The vines have finally grown to where they are touching and going a little wild. This gate goes to our own personal alley of dirt storage and a composter we don’t use, before hitting the public alley.

The unfortunate part about adding this security gate was when we wanted to buy the biggest trees from the nursery that this custom metal trellis I wanted won’t allow the nursery to bring them in. Whoops.  So we stick to the 36″ box planters – and if we want bigger we have to pay $500 for a crane drop. Hopefully you can learn from our lesson.


We replaced the $35 Home Depot mandarin orange tree with this one from the nursery. I’m not sure why I haven’t learned my lesson yet about buying small trees. Already this tree has fruit and we’ll be sharing “cuties” with the neighborhood.

Speaking of replacing trees, I over pruned the honeysuckle in the corner and since I didn’t leave any leaves for it to return the shoots started to come from the ground and we decide to just replace it with a white Crepe myrtle. They come in various colors, purple, pink, red, white, and I decided on white since behind the wall as you can see we have pink Oleanders. I wanted some contrast and boy I can’t wait to see it grow, it’s going to be so gorgeous.


We added a tree between our two Chinese Elms – a red oak. It will turn red as the seasons change and I’m looking forward to showing you! It will grow tall and more upright than a canopy so it will hopefully give some dimension of layers to our backyard.

Goodness doesn’t our white fence just look so much better? There is a lady banks rose (mainly green but has yellow flowers just in spring) and cat’s claw growing on there at the moment.

Artichokes are done blooming. I cut them, placed them in a basket and will probably leave it on the porch because looking at all that pollen I’m not sure if I should bring that inside. I’ve really enjoyed letting them bloom.


The part we’re most excited about is this –  look at the shade. Summer shade! The green grass isn’t as green as winter rye, it’s summer bermuda coming in (aka annoying weed like grass that is the only thing that can grow in the Arizona summer heat with little water).


Two of the future large trees, Chinese Elms will drop their leaves come winter so we’ll get the winter sun which will be amazing. But for summer, we want it entirely shaded – and we’re getting there.

There are two additional trees – one is in the front of our home, a California Sycamore which will be one of the largest trees in the neighborhood one day.


Also this  Chinese Pistache which is close to our dying grapefruit tree. It will be a fairly large canopy tree and leaves will turn a lovely bright orange to firey red in the fall before dropping its leaves.


It’s getting a bit warm so we’re staying inside or traveling often and we’ll continue to water everything and by fall I look forward to showing a much better backyard update. Garden beds are full of basil and tomatoes so I’ll be showing off what I’m growing throughout the summer.

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive antique shopper. You can typically find her in her garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party.


  • Michelle

    Mainly because the previous owner didn’t take care of the yard and many of them were dying. Huge tree branches falling, tons of sucker limbs and too much overhang on the house. Plus, I NEED to see the sun! ha ha.

  • Michelle

    I can just imagine you with ‘cloud’ white paint all in your hair … what a project. You are planting trees and I am cutting mine down, too bad we can’t swap, ha ha. We basically live in a forest, shade for days. Anyway, the yard looks great! Love all the growth on your back wall and love the watering can!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      And all over my skin! Are you cutting trees down to get some light? But imagine when fall comes those colors! ;)


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