This is what we see from the window in our guest room bedroom window. the big trees are a fir of some kind on the left, a linden tree (called un tilleul [tee-yuhl] in French] in the middle, and a blue spruce on the right. The fir was somebody's live Christmas tree that got planted in the yard after the holidays decades ago. The linden is called a "lime" tree in the British Isles, but I don't know why — it's not a citrus tree. And the blue spruce is dying; we're thinking of having it taken out this winter. It's too big and too close to the house.
The linden tree really developed a serious load of leaves and branches this summer. It probably had to do with the rainy weather we had in the winter and late spring, and then the intense summertime heat. As for the name "lime tree", Wikipedia gives a complicated explanation here. Anyway, our tilleul had a lot of heavy, low-hanging branches right over the gravel pathway down the center of the yard, and I had to take pruning shears to them this past week. I got tired of forgetting them and having them slap me in the face every time I walked out there. You can make an herbal tea from linden flowers, but we've never done so. Bees love the flowers.
Walt just came downstairs and informed me that it is raining lightly...
On the north side of the house, there's this gigantic juniper bush that takes up a huge section of yard. I assume it's a juniper, and I just read that junipers are members of the cypress family. I'm extremely allergic to cypress tree pollen, so I was surprised. For years we've talked about having this shrub taken out, and maybe now is the time. Who knows what lives in and under it. Weeds do, and I have to trim them every year.
The weeds are rogue hazelnut, poplar, birch, and other saplings. Worst of all, a lot of them are blackberry brambles with really sharp thorns. I trim around the edge of the juniper shrub, but there's no way to get the things that grow up in the middle of it. That's another reason for having the bush taken out. In the background of this photo, you can see the north side of our house, where we stack firewood, and where junk collects. Our outdoor clothesline is also out there. We use it when we can over the summer months.
The north side is also a good place to keep potted plants in summertime. They stay in the shade and they get rained on when we actually get summertime rain. The big "Christmas cactus" you see in the pot here was in the house — in the garage, actually — when we moved in 16 years ago. I water and feed it. I've never re-potted it, though I have taken cuttings to start new plants. I wonder how old the plant is — nobody lived here full-time for about 20 years before we bought the house, so the plant might be 40 years old for all I know.