Deepest, darkest Africa is the shadiest area of the yard, and can present serious challenges for plants, yet helps to keep the house and yard cool even in 110º degree weather. This is also the darkest area of the yard with no direct light, and the most frequently used as it contains the largest deck; our outdoor eating area.
The strongest elements is the presence of a huge mulberry tree (Broussonetia papyrifera, Paper Mulberry) planted at the south west corner of the house, covering the decks like an umbrella. It's trunk is several feet thick, and has been sculpted by David over the years, providing shade for most of the back inner yard. The deck was built around the tree and we joke about how the house would fall if the mulberry was ever cut down. We believe the tree to be over 200 years old.
Here you will find the back deck, the largest lower "dance" deck, the hot tub area, a brick walk leading from the house and the back deck to the "back fourty" and a new waterfall area beside the back door under a Japanese maple.Three wine barrels placed above each other provides a waterfall near the hot tub, filled with water irises.
The first large limbs of the mulberry are covered with tiny white lights for parties and looks simply enchanting at night. The tree is a constant playground for the cats who sun bathe on the roof. We do battle the annual dropping of the catkins and the leaves, but the shade it provides is well worth the effort. The trimmings are perfect for kindling and pricelss for plant stakes. David takes a straight limb and leaves a few inches of the 'Y' limbs at the top. Perfect!
The larger Africa area is dominated by a Japanese aralia, the three wine tub waterfall and what has been known for years as the "un -indentified lily." We recently discovered it is a Amarcrinum Memoria-corscii, evidentally a bit scarce. It produces the lovliest white to pink lily type flowers grouped at the end of a long tall stalk, blooming reliably from David's birthday on June 3 to July, and the scent is wonderful.
Beneath the Japanese aralia grows the helleborus niger, a heart shaped ground cover with white dogwood like flowers (Houttuynia), asparagas ferns, Italian Arum, lilies, and large leaf philodendrons. The fence is covered with common ivy and provides a lovely place for another bird house and another hummingbird feeder.
Among the plants around the winetub waterfall are wrought iron sculptures made by David. So far, "David", "Anne", "Ralf", "Miciah", and "Annie", our dogs, have been made. Jena (ponytail and Madonna funnel breasts) and Bri (flipped hair and an attitude) are in the planning stages. Click on the below thumbnail for a look
On the decks are pots full of aspargas fern, begonias, hydrangea, gardenia, bleeding heart, pregnant onions, tasmanian tree fern, kafir lilies, edible strawberries, verigated ivy, ferns and an apple tree.
Little Africa has hostas, sweet woodruff, ivy, bleeding hearts, hypoetes, heuchera and wild strawberry.
The area south of the hot tub has more aralia, an oakleaf hydrangea and holly. The fence is covered with star jasmine and evergreen clematis.