The summers in North Carolina are challenging if you're a Scandinavian who doesn't do well with the heat. There's some time in the morning and evening to do things outside, but the middle of the day is way too hot. I tried staying outside for a bit of the hot part of the day yesterday, and ended up wiping myself out for the rest of the day. Even an hour-long nap didn't really help.
So, on the days that I don't do aerobics, I have a choice first thing in the morning (I rarely have time in both the morning and evening). Walk or garden? Today, since it was cloudy in the morning, I got the walk in and still was able to plant three plants before the sun came out and started frying my brain. I keep intending to get up earlier, but with my recent insomnia, that's not very realistic. I don't do well any more on only four hours of sleep.
Our gardens are designed for all parts of the year and the day. The front yard, which is hot/warm and sunny, and which we can see from the library/computer room, has the most plants year-round. We sit out there for breakfast almost every day once the temperature hits about 54 degrees, and we have lunch out there until the summer sun hits. The back yard, which has more sun on one end, but also shade to sit in, has fewer blooming plants in the beginning of the spring, but takes off in the summer time when we like to sit in the shade and look out at the sunny beds.
The yard goes downhill to a point at the left end of the back. There, it overlooks the common area - mostly unusued except for the boys (including our younger one) in the surrounding houses. They build forts and have adventures in the woods (until the ticks and chiggers come out). Dear husband built a bench near that end of the backyard, and we like to sit there in the evening, look out at the sun on the tops of the trees, watch the birds swoop across, and talk.
The garden bench, with the small grassy terrace in front. The terrace has a small flower bed (of course) around two sides. The small bush in the right corner was originally grown from cuttings by my father. He gave it to us in its original pot, a paper cup (it was that small), back when we bought our first house. We moved it here, along with much larger bushes that he grew for us.
This is the view from the bench. Our yard ends to the left of the white pots, and down at the bushes behind the whitish tall grass. The dirt you can see behind the white tall grass is the vegetable garden. The common area is there basically for drainage - there's the remains of the construction runoff pond to the left of the trees on the left. There's also a stream that runs through the trees at the end of the field.
The grass on the terrace is the happiest (and most pampered) grass in the yard. And the pots at the left have baby roses given to me by a group of online friends when my youngest son was born (Thanks again!).