Look At My Garden Grow!

I’ve mentioned on here more than once that I’ve been doing some heavy lifting in the yard this summer and I’ve had some requests to share some photos of the work. So today is the day — I’m going to take you on a little mini-tour!

First, a little background. My hubby and I put a lot of time into our yard when we first moved in over a decade ago and had grand plans to have lush and large gardens with veggies galore. But then babies and work and other things came up and we found ourselves struggling against the big Black Walnut tree adjacent to our lot. And we kind of let it all go. I don’t have “before” pictures, but just imagine 10years with no mulch or weeding or effort. It was an overgrown mess.

My good friend is a bonafide garden guru and last year we started talking about what I could do to fix things. Life got in the way for a while, but this summer she came up with a plan and then spent her share of time, sweat, and home-grown plants to get me going. And now — I’m not going to lie — I’m a little obsessive about it. The daily weeding, watering, and monitoring of each bed is something I really enjoy. The goal this year was to just clean up the most neglected parts right around the house.

We started with the front yard.

img_4075

Hmmm…

It turns out there is no good way to photograph this bed — lol! As you can see, it’s a little overtaken by lillies and I may have to thin them out sometime, but suffice to say it arches and is chock full of lillies and daisies and echinacea and bee balm. And although it’s currently a little unwieldy, it feels pretty true to my life and family and I really love it.

img_4087My friend contributed a number of awesome plants to this bed, including a snapdragon which just got its first bud. I can’t wait to see it!

Over the years, I’ve been splitting a single sedum plant I got as a housewarming gift to create an entire sedum border in the front yard. The plants are huge and healthy and I love the texture and when they pop with their lovely pink flowers. This year, for the most part we left all the sedum in place and added a few things here and there.

img_4082 This is one of my favorite spots in the gardens — my friend tucked these pretty flowers into this decrepit planter and they are such a fun pop of color. And do you see those big leaves to the right?

img_4073It’s rhubarb! We planted our rhubarb plants probably 8 years ago and where we had them they were just barely surviving. We’ve never been able to harvest from them. I showed it to my guru and she said, “let’s move those up front.” They looked like toast the first couple days, but they have BOOMED in a huge way. Boomed so much that I worry we should have given them more room. It’s just plain awesome. What a great problem to have!

Along the east side of the house, it was literally a heap of weeds and two big hostas.

img_4076It has been transformed. Neat & tidy and eventually it will be this full, gorgeous bed of hostas in loads of sizes, shapes, and colors.  There are a pair of kale plants in there, too…

img_4098 I randomly planted them 4 or 5 years ago from seed and they just keep coming back. I moved them both when we refreshed this bed and this one came roaring back.

img_4083Oh, and there are sunflowers here and there. Some are volunteers from the winter bird feeding, some are deliberate.

On the south side of the house my friend brought some amazing  organic tomatoes, peppers, and basils.

img_4078These are two of the tomato plants and looky here…

img_4103A nice big tomato is coming in!

Wrapping around our back deck is another troupe of sedum.

img_4080I have them lined up on all three sides — these are all split from some plants we got from our daughter’s 4K teacher. They’ve been a little slow coming around because they were wildly overgrown with weeds, but I pulled them all out, weeded, and replanted all three sides of the deck this summer. My lawnmower doesn’t bag clippings, but our neighbors have generously been sharing with us and I’ve been mulching my way around the house with each fresh load of clippings. If you hadn’t heard, our neighbors are awesome.

And this little ‘secret’ spot is heavily shaded by a giant forsythia, but I think of all that we’ve done this makes me the happiest.

img_4079It’s so simple and delicate. It probably look a little bare to you, but I love that’s it’s just a little tidy spot. I love the rich green of the hostas and the pinks and reds of the coleus. They don’t get much sun, so they are pretty tiny yet, but I really adore them.img_4077Oh! Another sunflower. This one was another plant from my friend. And last nigh, I realized this correlation with my spindle project…

9df99d67-3a25-4bea-a947-ca1b73efbbf7Incredible.

I realize to some my progress might be a bit underwhelming because there’s no proper mulch or stones for edging. It’s nothing too fancy, but did I mention my budget for this has been $0? I fully plan to thank my garden guru with some fiber when she gets back into spinning this fall and I’m sure I’ll be shoveling our neighbors’ walk come the winter snow to thank them for the clippings, but other than that I’ve been astounded by the changes that we could make that are 100% sweat and time. If you would have told me last year that I could clean up my yard and make it look mostly neat & tidy on this kind of a shoestring I would never have believed you.

These days, I’m a teensy bit behind in the weeding, but it only takes an hour or so to sweep through everything around the house. And I can and will enjoy making that happen. I’m sure I’ll check out how the pepper buds are coming along (I couldn’t grab a good photo as I have poor light at the moment) and how high the basils have shot up and how much the tomatoes have grown their decadent fruit. And I can’t help but find myself dreaming of going beyond the beds around the house. Perhaps I’ll take on a small veggie garden next year and start in on a creative adventure with the rest of the yard, my garden guru is certainly encouraging me and she has me completely and totally hooked. Perhaps… perhaps… perhaps…

23 responses to “Look At My Garden Grow!

  1. It’s glorious? Free is always so satisfying. Lots of hard work and time will result in a beautiful lush yard. Enjoy

  2. Your garden is beautiful! 😍 The hard work has certainly paid off! Much better looking than a certain section of my yard. I am spending my days weeding what could be best described as a field of garlic mustard. I am determined not to spray. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Everything we did in my yard was pesticide free. My hands were actually sore from pulling weeds some days! (I don’t think I mentioned I hauled at least a half dozen big plastic radio flyer wagon loads of pulled weeds to the compost.) I’ve got much more yard to tackle, but I definitely feel good about where I’m at!

      • Exhausting but so worth it. Happy to read you planted bee balm…the bee population is sending a big thank you. Two thumbs up on the composting! I used to compost everything when I had my big vegetable garden on my friend’s property. Kudos on no pesticides. I tested chemicals vs pulling in my garlic mustard field. One half pulling and one half spraying. The side I pulled had far less garlic mustard. The side I sprayed was pretty much the same. Bit by bit and all of a sudden you will have your lush gardens!

      • We love bees and are very pollinator friendly in our yard. We have loads of bees all the time. 🙂 Occasionally I use a little vinegar for weed control, but honestly with the kids and the dog I really just can’t see using pesticides. We have some really pesky weeds, but so far it’s manageable — I just pull when I water usually and I manage to stay on top of things. I’ve really enjoyed seeing it all take shape and I really can’t wait to see what it all looks like next spring!

  3. Transformation!! I especially love the trellis fashioned especially for your secret spot. I also often find my spinning correlated with some color combo manifesting elsewhere in my life. Great job!!! Congratulations!!!

    • Thank you! Would you believe I fashioned that trellis probably 8years ago? I’ve never bothered to actually try to have anything climb it — I just really like it as a decoration. I have a lot of fun making it!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! I think it looks amazing! Yes hard work can save money, and between your friend and the things you already had, you have made a beautiful yard. I love that front bed, day lilies are some of my faves. Ours are not enjoying the dry weather, but I know they are tough and will be back next year. I never knew about black walnuts being so bad until you started sharing about yours- yikes!

    • Would you believe the spot where the day lilies are used to be entirely irises? The lilies just took over. Now I’m watching those daisies go bananas. Now that I’m looking at things more like when certain plants boom, that means I found the right spot for them instead of trying to fight happy plants for space (which I used to do a lot), life is much better. 🙂

  5. Well, you know I enjoyed this immensely (Sorry it took so long for me to get to it!) I see tons and tons of garden instructions saying you just do not need the rocks or edgers. It can look absolutely neat, tidy, and lovely just as is, and I believe that’s totally the case. I guess what I am trying to say is that it looks perfectly lovely and finished as is. If you ever decide to go back and edge it differently, that’s fine. But, don’t consider it “unfinished” without them! Looks so lovely!

    • Thanks! I actually just went around the border with white vinegar & it looks so nice & neat! I used a whole lot to go around everything – we’ll see how long that lasts. I also have really come to love how the little trenches look – mine are much less elegant than my friend’s but they work.

      I’m really looking forward to the rest of the yard now, too!

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