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It figures… just as I’m contemplating moving out of my house this year, I’ve finally found flowers for the mailbox that would work for me every single year and require so little maintenance that I’ve had to do zero upkeep on them. ALL SUMMER. And they look even better now than when I first planted them.

A few months ago, I mentioned that yellow flowers are a great idea if you’re trying to sell a house. According to experts, they draw the eye better than other colors – which is, of course, a great idea if you’re wanting everyone to notice that your house is for sale. The initial idea was to see how they did around the mailbox, and then to buy more for the rest of the front of the house to tie things together.

Weeds in the mailbox bed

So, I went out and bought some bright yellow marigolds, thinking that even though they aren’t at all my favorite yellow flower, they love the sun and would bloom all summer. I also noted how tall the marigolds would probably grow (12-16 inches), and decided to buy some white vinca to surround them as a way to get some varying height (shorter flowers at the perimeter, taller flowers closer to the base  of the mailbox).

Freshly planted

Or so the label said. If I remember correctly, they were supposed to grow somewhere between 8 to 12 inches tall. I wound up getting distracted with the dining room project and forgot to plant more flowers, but they seemed to be doing well enough on their own for a while. And then, seemingly overnight, this happened:

So many blooms

Ha. Once again, I’m a gardening idiot. Over the course of the last few months, the vinca went all Frankenstein on me and grew far beyond the height promised. Which, normally, wouldn’t be much of an issue, since they did it all by themselves for the entire summer, endured the heat, and required almost no effort on my part (aside from a little weed maintenance). Except that they dwarfed the marigolds in the middle and basically smothered them. So, I’m on par with my fourth year of planting flowers, expecting different results, and looking like a fool in front of my neighbors.

They still have my halfway finished trim to gawk at too, so the flowers may even be something they were pleased with.

The good news is, of course, that I now know which flowers really work for full sun. I’ve tried other full-sun plants and haven’t been nearly as impressed. I think part of it is the shade of the waxy vinca leaves; they always look so healthy, no matter what.

More new flowers

This house seems to have only two kinds of options for flowers: either the kind that love full sun, or the kind that need full shade. There aren’t many in-betweens thanks to the massive pine trees covering the back yard (and the front is basically all sun). So I’ve had to experiment, mostly with brown and scraggly results (and a handful of successes).


So now that I’ve learned at least one flower in four years for what works for this house… I dunno. Yay?

The weather is expected to start cooling off within the next month or so (and to be fair, “cooling off” here is still only about a ten degrees difference from summer), so I’ll need a new game plan for the front of the house and the overgrown area off to the side of the garage. Dad recently came over and tackled some of the taller spots, so it’s only slightly less ugly than it was about a month ago (let’s just say all of these terrible photos of my yard will make for one heck of a before and after).

Overgrown side of the house- yikes

The next steps will be on me to come up with a gardening scheme. And I may have found it. Last year’s makeover project for fall went really well, so I’m hoping that in the next month, I’ll have one of those gloriously overcast weekends that lets me do a lot of yard work without passing out.

Any ideas on what I should plant? I’m all ears.

(P.S. For those wondering about moving plans and such, I gave a quick update on this post, so hopefully that will answer a few questions for now.)

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  1. Hi Sarah. I’ve just discovered your blog (prompted by BlogLovin) and the title made me smile….my very first post about our ugly Pebbledashed house was Ugly Duckling and I too am determined to do some swan-like makeovers on it! We have just spent the summer working on our garden and right now have a lovely looking space with no plants in the beds. I’m off to a nursery today with a friend who knows far more than me about plants….hey…..if your neighbours laugh at you when you have a field of white flowers looking gorgeous imagine what they do to me when mine watch my window boxes dying in 60 seconds flat as I forget to water them…..
    I’ll let you know if my friend passes on any wise tips! Meanwhile I’m going to look forward to catching up with your blog.

  2. brilliant… the biggest problem with gardening is the maintenance I don’t usually have the time so these would be perfect for me.