I missed gardening while we lived in Alexandria. Some years I managed to plant a few annuals, but most years I admired our cherry tree in the spring and thought "I should do something out there" before I got distracted by work or wool. The simple differences between gardening in Zone 5 and Zone 7 overwhelmed me, and I did not want to put much money or effort into our tiny rented yard. Our new yard needs quite a bit of TLC. There are several things I want to do, but major improvements are 2 or 3 years in the future. We need to unpack (this year) and finish furnishing inside the house (next year) first. Eventually, I want to replace all of the yew and arborvitae with perennial borders, find a good spot for vegetables and herbs, and add borders along the sidewalk, driveway, and edges of our lot. Because of all the mature oak and evergreen trees, no place in our yard gets full sun. I promise not make any grand plans until I understand the conditions better.
In the short term, I can prune the overgrown shrubbery and pull up the baby oak trees the squirrels plant all over the lawn. I already have the tools and skills required for those tasks, and pruning and weeding are immensely satisfying. Today, the vigorous rhododendron met my hand pruners. I'm not sure what imp urged me outside to garden on a 90° day, but I can now look out of the office window and reach to the valve that controls the hose on the south side of the house. In comparing the before and after photos, I'm a little worried that I overdid it. I always feel that way, and I am usually thrilled by the results of my vigorous pruning the next time the shrub blooms.