Here’s some fun before & afters to look at. I won’t bore you with words- as they say, ” A picture’s worth…”
Here’s proof that I don’t make others do all the labor! I actually really love building small walls, paths, patios, etc. myself. This was a fun project for an intimate courtyard right off a master bedroom. I had fun tucking tiny Sedums into the nooks. One side of the fence surrounding this garden is glass, allowing for a breathtaking view of the ocean.
Once the plants grow in, I think this will look quite nice!
Every late May/early June I have a garden party to share with my friends and family the abundance of blooms in my garden. It’s so floriferous at that time of year that if would be just plain selfish of me not to share! I recently came across some pictures from last year’s bash- where we served the best mint juleps ever!- and thought I would belatedly share with y’all.
Here’s the delightful Josie, sniffing the Italian parsley:
Judy and Leslie enjoy a chat amongst the heady blooms of Rosas ‘Buff Beauty’, ‘Lilian Austin’ and ‘Tamora’:
Taking a break from the crowd,
in the midst of clouds of Nicotiana mutabilis and Penstemon ‘Garnet’ (among others!).
If they sit still enough, a hummingbird is bound to come by!
Peeking out from the bed of roses is Rosa ‘Fantin Latour’,
bordered by peppermint scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosa), already-bloomed Bearded Iris and Nepeta fasanii ‘Six Hills Giant’.
They look like they’re enjoying the aromatherapy…
It was a perfect day
to wear a hat,
talk with friends,
sip a mint julep,
smell the flowers
and relax in the garden!
When you’re in your garden, do you feel peaceful? happy? at ease? inspired? possibly even invigorated? Or does being in, or thinking about, your garden bring up feelings of stress, anxiousness, guilt or avoidance for you?
These negative feelings can be caused by thinking that there’s so much to do that’s not getting done, or because you don’t like the way it looks- maybe it embarrasses you, or it simply doesn’t reflect your personality or sensibilities. I know at different times I’ve felt all of the above emotions in regard to my garden, though I’m lucky enough to have experienced the “good” emotions much more often because I’ve created an environment for myself that makes me happy on a very deep level.
Another reason I feel lucky is that I’ve had many opportunities to create such gratifying outdoor spaces for my clients. Since I only have one home (so far!) with a finite amount of garden, if my clients weren’t so accommodating, I would have to re-do my garden several times a year to be able to express this creative urge! So, because I’m one of the luckiest people in the world, I get to do what I LOVE- creating uniquely beautiful garden spaces for others- AND get paid for it! (Whoever thought of that was a genius.)
Getting some of these yummy good feelings from your own garden needn’t be a daunting task, if you don’t want it to be. Anything from reinventing your whole garden to carving out a small, secluded niche can deliver the goods. In fact, for many clients, I’ve drawn the garden of their dreams, to be ooh-ed and ahhh-ed and dreamed over until some future date when they could actually realize it. They’ve told me that even this- a drawing on a piece of paper- brought them a measure of peace and happiness.
See my last two posts to understand the title of this one. I’ll make it short, but I just wanted to show you what I did with all those gorgeous plants I bought in Moss Landing. The site has full ocean exposure (about a mile inland) and very windy. I mixed the succulents with other really tough plants like Juniper, Leucodendron, Carex, Mugo Pine and Phormium. All the pots have drip irrigation and should do quite well. *crosses fingers*
When I got married last September, my new husband moved into our 800 sq. ft. cottage that was already bursting with the bodies, belongings and energy of three females. He’s managed to shoe horn some of his furniture, knick-knacks and all of his clothing into this home, but I think he still feels like he doesn’t have many places that are just HIS.
Except for one.
He selected and bought this sweet blue chair at the Alameda Antiques Fair and has placed it in the sunniest spot in the garden. I can often find him in the afternoon, sitting here- his feet up on a small bench- reading or snoozing.
Completely surrounding his chair, starting with right in front and moving clock-wise, are Rosa ‘Buff Beauty’, ‘Madame Hardy’, ‘Graham Thomas'(on the fence), ‘Tamora’, ‘William Shakespeare’ and ‘Pat Austen’. I fear that in a month or so he won’t be able to find his chair , let alone sit in it!
I took my daughters to visit the gardens at Filoli last week. The place never fails to inspire and uplift me. Even my 16 year old said, “We should come here more often. I love it here!”
Nothing says spring quite like these blushing apple blossoms!
It was my younger daughter, though, that wanted to be in all the pictures!
Looks like she likes Tulips!
I’ll leave you with these two last shots- one of some sweet pansies in a mossy antique pot:
Go to Filoli and see for yourself!
The Kale we grew last year was so luscious and vigorous! It nourished us for over four months. Since I planted only three 6-packs, I think I got an excellent return on an investment of $7 total!
Every summer my daughters and I travel to Vancouver, B.C., where there is a beautiful, rambling, well-tended community garden that I’m lucky enough to get to work in. This is how it looked during the first week of August, 2009.
This image makes me LOVE what I do more than I usually do (which is A LOT). I want to dive into it and roll around! Luckily, I get to do just that in real life. It’s a corner of my friend’s garden where I get free reign to play with permaculture. The plants that grow food blend seamlessly with the ornamentals. Ahhh…
The caretakers of the secret garden have an interesting hobby. The garden, which is a couple of acres, has many…I’ll call them…critter cams. They’re infrared, motion detecting cameras, set up near areas like, bird boxes, nests, bunny haunts and badger dens. They have made their garden extremely wildlife friendly- going to extremes such as building hay bale habitats for badgers and bringing them left-over bread from restaurants every day, to filling the countless bird feeders and birdbath every day with fresh food and water! All the cameras connect to a computer in the summer house where one could sit and watch video of last night’s badger bread raid or the blue bird sitting on her eggs inside her private (so she thinks!) bird box, if one was so inclined. It’s like a super high-tech security system, but for critters. It’s a little quirky (stalker!), but incredibly fun and addicting. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the eggs hatched!
These old apple tree were overgrown with bramble bushes for so many years that the branches grew very long, with not much strength (being held up by the brambles). When they were cleared, and some of the branches just flopped to the ground, the gardeners couldn’t bear to prune away the interesting shape of the old trees. Notice the forked branches being used as stakes to hold up the long branches. These trees had swelling flower buds all over them and I was sad to miss the glory of their bloom.
This last image was taken in the evening, as the sun was going down, casting it’s last light on these two trees that grew together, looking like lovers. Someday, oh someday, I will have a secret garden of my own!