If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then your front steps are the entry to your house. (Good grief! Did I really just write that? Yuck.) Vapidity aside, my wife and I have tried a number of things over the years to spruce up the entrance to our home, including the front steps themselves.
Let’s start with plant life.
Part of our experimentation relates to the climate in the Greater Daglan Area, and how it affects certain plants. Initially, we had great success with lavender planted on each side of the front steps. But after a few years, the plants simply became too big and too woody, so we yanked them out.
Another time I had the clever idea of planting maple trees on either side of the steps, as a bit of a nod to our roots in Canada. Knowing that “normal” maples would be far too big, I bought two lovely, delicate Japanese maples.
This came at a time when we were vacationing here twice a year, instead of living in Daglan full-time. So, without constant care, the Japanese maples dried out and died. (We still have Les Érables, or The Maples, on our mail box, so I’m sure that some Daglanais think that Maple is our family name.)
The latest experiment seems to be going quite a bit better — it’s a set of wisteria (glycines, in French), one on each side of the steps. I first wrote about them in my posting of May 30, 2011, called “The magic plant.”
Here’s how the front of our house looked a bit more than a year ago, as the wisteria started to climb up the wires I’d installed:
Before I continue with a photo that I took today, to show how the wisteria are progressing, here are a few other things we’ve done in the past year to improve the front of the house:
- We’ve had the tired, pitted, patched-concrete steps re-faced with limestone, to match the construction of the house itself.
- We’ve had a new, full-height front door installed, complete with a window that swings open towards the inside of the house and includes a mosquito screen.
- We’ve had the wooden gate varnished, and the battered blue-painted shutters sanded down and then refinished with a special paint that looks like wood.
And here’s how things are looking as of this morning, on Father’s Day Sunday of 2012:
A lot nicer, don’t you think?
That’s not all, of course. We also have an orange tree (yes! an orange tree) growing in a large pot at the top of the stairs. Soon, I plan to show you our crop of oranges. But not just yet.