You’ve seen the garden. Yep, this one from when we added the edging:
What you haven’t seen are the trials and tribulations that our poor garden has faced. It’s the teenager of our family- constant ups and downs. So let me take you on a trip through the many phases of our (now) lovely plot of land…
June 2013: Can you even see the garden? Nope, we couldn’t either. This is what it looked like the day we moved in. We knew it was there because there were plants other than grass, but that’s about it. I know the previous owner used to keep it lush and beautiful, but she moved out awhile before it was sold, so things undid themselves over time and this is what we walked into. My mom transplanted some things from her own garden for us right away, but with all of the moving, the wedding, and getting the rest of the house in order, the garden kept morphing back into this unidentified space. Until…
May 2014: Yes, you read that right. Almost a full year later! To be fair, we bought the house in June but Mitch was the only one who lived here until the end of September, when we were married (and you can imagine how much gardening he did in his spare time). When we were both finally living there, it was already fall and then winter and with the crazy winter we had, it was quite a long time until we were finally able to get outside and pay attention to our poor backyard. So in May, I decided it was time to define the garden by “tilling the soil” (aka. mixing things around with a shovel), and creating a definitive edge so you can actually see where it is.
May 2014: And then things got out of hand and I went crazy and added rocks to give the garden bed a bit of class. Special thanks goes out to the stream in our backyard for providing a bounty of river rocks. Don’t worry- I later returned the favor by dumping piles of stones that I kept digging up in the soil (it’s so.darn.rocky.) back onto the river bed. So we’re even.
This is probably the first time that I had the chance to take a closer look at what was actually growing in our garden. I think that part of the reason I avoided this area of our house for so long is because I know nothing about gardening. Growing up, my gardening experience was mostly helping my mom pull weeds and plucking ripe tomatoes off the vine for dinner. She definitely has the green thumb of the family. So my inexperience and lack of plant knowledge made this a very intimidating task for me. Here’s a closer shot of what we were working with at that time:
In the left picture, there’s a tulip (out of frame, to the left) and a succulent of some sort (?) and in the right, we have the remains of some daffodils and another succulent (?). And some weeds. So not knowing much past that, I just did what I do best… I weeded! Didn’t know what I was weeding, but I went to town. And successfully removed all of the weeds and most of the plants that my mom had been so kind to plant for us. Whoops. So sorry, Mom!
Our peonies bloomed! This may be the most beautiful thing in our house and we had nothing to do with it. It was here when we moved in! So, with the birth of some color, I was inspired to try my hand at planting some flowers…
June 2014: After all of the weeding and pruning, I took my cues from the peonies and went off in search of some more color for our little garden. And learned a few lessons along the way, of course. The biggest would be to do a bit of research on pricing before getting too purchase-happy. I quickly learned that Produce Junction had faaaaar better prices for things than the other places I started at (cough, Home Depot and Lowes). For example, I looked at some Vincas and found them for $5 a piece at HD, but 3 for $8 at PJ (and they were the same sized plants). And remember that hanging basket from this post? At HD and Lowes, they were $12-24, while PJ was selling them for $5. I’ll let you use your imagination to determine which we went with. 🙂 So, my advice would be to hunt around!
July 2014: This is what four weeks of being away from home/ being constantly on the go gets you. A jungle of overgrown plants and weeds. When I finally had a moment at home to get things done, I tackled the job of de-weeding this mess. And in the spirit of new beginnings, I decided to finish off the blank spaces with a few more final touches. Here’s where she ended up:
July 2014: Ahhh, refreshing! You can see that I pulled out all of the weeds, did some transplanting, and added a few other pops of color. As for the exact details, well the breakdown below might be the easiest way to explain it.
- Peony- Remember those fushia blooms from above? Unfortunately, they don’t stay around all season, but the bush itself provides some pretty greenery in the meantime.
- Celosia- I found these at Produce Junction and was enamored. I prefer to call them “feathery fireworks” because that’s what they look like to me… and you’ll see them in another upcoming post because I couldn’t limit myself to just one or two plants. I actually left with nine. Whoops.
- Impatients- These I borrowed from my stash from way back when I had extra leftover from our front door planter.
- Succulent-Looking Thingy- Yes, that’s a technical term. If anyone knows the actual name, I’d love to know (you can leave a comment below)! If you remember, we had two (just scroll up a few pics to see), but I took one out and moved it to give us a bit more room for things in this garden.
- Marigold- At 75 cents a pop at Produce Junction (I actually said, “Wait, for real?” to the cashier when she told me), I could not pass up grabbing a few bright yellow guys to liven up the space.
- Vinca- They’ve been here from early on and have only grown in size and beauty since I planted them there. Couldn’t ask for more. 🙂
- I’m going to go with Daisies- But the center seems more spiky to me than what I remember of other daisies, so maybe this is something different? Anyways, I thought we needed a bit of white to balance out all of the green, pink, and yellow. If you remember (aka, if you scroll up a bit), there used to be a hosta back there. I moved it in the hopes of bringing in a wall ‘o daisy to anchor things in the back.
- Green Pepper- Remember the “have some sort of veggie garden” item on the to-do list? Well, we’re well underway. More about that in another post.
- Tomato- Ditto.
- Hosta- This is what I moved from the back to make room for the daisies and this is where it got moved to. It provides some nice balance to the green bush on the left of the garden.
So there you have it- more than you could ever want to know about our garden escapades. Oh, but hold on. WAIT, there’s more. Did I ever tell you we have a mini garden next to the mini patio and bench? Well, consider yourself told:
In this garden bed, we had (in Phase One) an Azalea bush, a hosta, some other ground coverings (pachysandra and other things that I don’t know the real name for). Then Phase Two came (aka. when weeds took over the backyard) and I remedied things to bring us to Phase Three. We still have all of the plants from Phase One, but I added some Celosia and the Succulent Thingy that I took out of the other garden.
Wow! That’s a lot of words about a lot of plants. If nothing else, I learned that fear is no reason to be stuck. The best lesson I took away from all of this is to just start. Just try something. Even if it goes wrong (I transplanted a few of those plants more than once), at least you’ll learn what worked and what didn’t. And work in baby steps. Clearly, this was not a one and done deal. I just kept slowly adding and moving things until I liked the way it looked. As it turns out, that method worked out just fine. 🙂 Which brings us to…
THE END. For real.
Maybe you’ve long since given up reading this monster of a post, but for those of you who made it all the way through, thanks for sticking it out. We should get you a T-Shirt of some sort to commemorate. Seriously, congrats. And consider yourselves officially updated on all things garden at Casa Thomas. See ya tomorrow!
PS. If we haven’t sufficiently scared you away with this crazy-long post, come back tomorrow to see how we put on an addition… for $85! No joke.