Working on other people's gardens for a living is my labor of love. Putting the labor in that love takes up most of my time. Even still, as any plant fanatic knows, any garden time is good garden time which probably explains why I can often be found messing around in my friend's gardens too. Much to my horror, I've discovered that they dread my arrival as every garden gaffe becomes problematic. "Oooh, the weeds..." lol. I do try and curtail my professional advice but it leaks out around the edges :). They love me anyway. My garden comes last. That's ok though because she was the first and it shows. *clears throat* The first, that is, in this unending quest for horticultural excellence and knowledge. As such, she received all my fledging efforts, without complaint, and has suffered mistakes, ripouts and thankfully minimal deaths. I am proud to report that my thumb is GREEN lol.
Ten years ago, hell bent on doing everything right, I spent the day, in my then mostly empty backyard, double digging my beds. I made a hysterical sight, grunting, digging, sweating and cursing at insects and yet it is one of fondest memories, go figure!
Two days later, I applied ample amounts of compost. Every year, I move plants around, dig and divide, put down lime, compost and mulch, and of late, have begun adding organic fertilizer to the Spring time melee. Little by little, she has taken shape.
Sadly, I didn't take pics earlier as it didn't meet my standards. Here is a shot of the backyard from 2007.
Almost nothing remains of these plants. The Lilac bushes were here when I came but they had been neglected too long and I became exhausted cutting down the constant suckers. Besides, I felt they were out of scale. I also wanted vines in the worst way and the bed was too narrow and too linear, so I gave in to my penchant for curves.
I have a wonderful diversity of plants in my garden, Hydrangea, Wisteria, Honeysuckle, Clematis, Roses, Hostas, Solomon Seal, Heuchera, Bleeding Heart, Japanese Ferns, Acanthus Mollis, Agapanthus, Banana Trees, Lamb's Ear, Day Lilly, Lady's Mantle, Lillies, Dianthus, Spirea, Itoh Peonies, Feather Grass, Salvia, Sun fern, Grasses, Ninebark, Beech Tree (Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea), Barberry, Sedum. There are always bees, birds and lady bugs, friends to the garden. *The plants on the table and deck are awaiting installation at a client.
I had no place to grow veggies and amateur cook that I am, this was a sad state of affairs. So, we gave up more lawn for veggie beds and built planters.
Last year, the pool went to make room for more plants....
This year, I planted beds around the space and put in a walkway to nowhere, interspersed with Sedum.
As my plant lexicon widens, the palette changes, sometimes dramatically and sometimes subtly. Interestingly enough, it has become, inadvertently, a microcosm of texture and color. That is where I definitely have the most fun!
Luckily, she is a mature garden and requires minimal work, since once the season is in full swing, I rarely have time to tend to her. It's probably also worth noting that I don't have a sprinkler system which is a headache and a half. That's on next year's list because as I tell all my clients, global warming has made a sprinkler system an absolute necessity.
I am thrilled with the latest beds, the grasses and Norway Spruce will be moving to the front yard this Fall and the right bed is all wrooong so everything will go except the Beauty Bush which has gorgeous purple berries now. Besides that, the back is almost done :).
I have learned the hard way that a garden is a living work of art and as a result, it is never truly done...