The Leather Oaks Garden -- The Lameuse Street Era

Big Azaleas and Bigger Oaks!

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This Page Created on January 17th, 2008
Early Pink Azaleas outside Study Seven-Oh-Nine Lameuse Street was a throwback. The house had been built around 1940 by a former Biloxi Mayor, and then remodelled a couple of times. When I bought it in the fall of 1976, the years were beginning to tell on the place, and my first priorities were a new heating system and refinished floors: The kitchen was heart pine, while those in the remainder of the house oak. That winter, I found that I also had to do a crash course in insulation!
     There are always compensations though, and the azaleas put on a show that helped me to forget those early problems. This huge display was outside my study, a wonderful, boxcar-siding panelled room.
     There were over a dozen large azaleas scatterd over much of the two-thirds acre lot. Here's a view of three on the West side of the house. (The lot actually extended through to the next street, hence the long sight lines.)
      The place also had several mature pecan trees, that provided a lot of welcome shade in the summer.
Three Azaleas
White Azalea and Red Camelia      Pecans and Azaleas were not the only feature of the yard! There were some magnificently sized Camelias, too, not to mention some very big Live Oaks. You'll get to see more of the latter in a moment. This photo was made from the Northeast corner of the lot. The house is off the left side of the image.
     That little door in the side of the house was an entry to what had been their son's room. It became my music room.
      We're still over 20 feet from the oak. If you're particularly observant, you may notice the house went from asbestos white to Sunshine Yellow, my favorite siding color!
Daddy Oak Overlooks his Azaleas
Award Winning Yard!      This photo shows some of the early results of my friend Mark's landscaping abilities. I'd been going to his nursery and just sticking plants in the ground. He convinced me there was much more to successful landscaping, so I let him go to work!
      This planting is a prominent feature of the yard now, transforming a blank brick wall into a natural screen. When I say it was award winning, that's the literal truth. Look at the next photo.
      Some time late in 1983, I got a phone call from a lady who identified herself as being from the Garden Club. They wanted to put a sign in my front yard: It seemed that my place had won yard of the month!
      I thought there were some better photos, but this is best I can find right now.
Yard of the Month
Baby Oak hides the Leather Oaks Pondlet      One of my requests to Mark was for a pond. There were plenty of treeless areas that would have worked fine, so where did Mark suggest putting my pond?
     Any construction photos are long since gone, if there were any made. This picture shows the pond after its first year, but alas also after a disastrous freeze!
      When the pond was first finished, I put a few tropical fish out there, and in very few months had hundreds of swordtails. Clearly, the fish wouldn't be able to survive the winter, so I captured as many as I could and brought them into a 20 gallon aquarium. The few that I couldn't capture were lost when the pond froze to its five inch depth.
The too-shallow Leather Oaks Pond!
Azaleas backdrop to dry pond Mark did a great job of nestling the pond next to the medium-sized Live Oak. In spite of the white concrete surface, the installation did look reasonably natural.
      One thing that was way too natural was the bushels of oak leaves that filled the pond and stream every winter. But that wasn't as bad as the Live Oak flowers which usually fell in February. For four months of the year, I had to keep the pond covered with a net made of plastic window screen material!
     Wow! There's water in the Pond! But I think this is still the little version. The Little Leather Oaks Pond
Tree Fall at Leather Oaks      One of the few disadvantages of living near big trees is their tendency to occasionally shed a branch or two.
      Or how about a tree-sized branch, raking the side of your house while you're fixing dinner a few feet away?
     This is what it looked like when the guys from White's Tree Surgery had gotten close enough to look. The two men at left are looking at the Pond!
     This happened on a clear, windless midsummer evening! It was some weeks later when the roofing crew finally got done, and I could concentrate on more interesting things.
     This photo does show off to great advantage the interlocking nature of these two Live Oaks. I don't believe there's another place quite like it!

     There's a second page of Lameuse Street Photos! And none of them involve falling tree limbs, although there is an interesting feature created from the other big "fall". Follow the link on the photo at right to get there.
Tree-Shaded Roofing Crew