At Last!

The essence of most of my posts have been about my garden. The only attribute the yard had when we purchased our home was potential for a garden. We saw beyond the mounds of pine straw, gravel, odd bricks, pieces of cement, weeds and random plants, and had a vision of what the yard could become.

My husband and I began yard cleanup in October. He removed a white fence that enclosed the patio, dug up weeds and overgrown Sago palms and unearthed an assortment of hardscape materials. We hired a tree company to remove 6 huge pine trees in the backyard and 6 overgrown Washingtonia Palm trees in the front.

We decided to work with a landscape company to remove the rest of the unwanted debris, grade the land and create walkways. In January 2016 I contacted the landscape company and the work began in May.

When we moved here in September I began reading garden books for the Southeast region and made lists of plants I liked. My planting zone here is 8; I was happy to discover some of the same plants I grew in zone 6 will grow here.


Before: The front of the house was hidden by overgrown plants.


Before: We removed all of the shrubs in the front and added a few of them to the backyard.


After: A brick walkway now replaces the cement walkway, 9ft trellises hold salmon colored roses and purple clematis.


After: Purple spikes of Russian sage, one of my favorites, in my new perennial garden.


Before: In the backyard, overgrown Sago palms and picket fences were removed.


Before: Pine straw used as mulch gets messy and its hard to remove leaves.


Before: We love the large leafed shrub called: Fatsia, it is grown for its beautiful tropical foliage.


After: New Zoysia sod was added. I planted a Limelight hydrangea, divided irises that were in the front yard and planted them in in the backyard.


Before: We were lucky to inherit 5 Camellia bushes that gift us with flowers in winter.


After: The walkway ends in a circle, the perfect place for our birdbath, Japanese Boxwood and ‘Popcorn’ drift roses. We added shredded pine mulch and a new 6ft privacy fence.


A garden does not happen, it evolves. The land and plants are nurtured and it develops over time. That’s the joy of gardening: Constant change.





  26 comments for “At Last!

  1. Kim
    June 29, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Hard to believe you accomplished all that in less than a year! Brava! Ellen and Bravo! Jim. 😎🌻


  2. Beth
    June 29, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Amazing, so so beautiful It looks like it should be in a magazine . I’m glad to see you and Jim are doing well. We miss you here in CT. ❤️


    • June 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Thank you Beth! I am glad we now have a cohesive yard to add plants to.

      I miss you and my hair misses you! 🙂


  3. Elaine
    June 29, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Toby, your new home is beautiful. The new gardens are breathtaking. WOW!!! Absolutely magnificent. Miss not seeing you at Jazzercise. Are you jazzerciseing? Hope you are very happy there. 😘😘


    • June 30, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Elaine,
      Yes, finally after all the reading, and planning, the gardens are taking shape. How are your gardens?
      No, I am not going to jazzercise, just to a gym nearby.


  4. Terrie Walsh
    June 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Great job Ted! You did it! Love t


  5. Jeff Klaft
    June 30, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Beautiful, HGTV here comes the Andrews. Thanks for sharing. B&J


  6. Renee Pardo
    June 30, 2016 at 3:10 am

    What a transformation!! We loved looking at the before and after pictures.
    Love from the Pardo’s


    • June 30, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      I wanted to show the change that took place, and decided before and after shots would be best.
      I’m glad you like the transformation.


  7. Shirley Kiely
    June 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    OMG everything is just spectacular. You have such talent!!!! Have Taylor this week and her birthday party here on Monday awa running around for the WGC because of aphids!!! Yikes!! I will get back to you right after the 4th. Love you! You are a genius you know. You put every garden i have ever seen to shame. You should be soo proud of all you’ve accomplished. >


  8. Eileen Cunningham
    June 30, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Wow! Toby your yard looks absolutely beautiful and so very peaceful. Your own little piece of heaven. I am so very happy for you ad Jim. Love, Eileen


  9. Amy
    June 30, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Oh, Ellen!!! Everything looks simply LOVELY!!! I am so ridiculously happy for you right now, my dear friend!! Thank you so much for sharing these marvelous before and after photos! Garden blessings and love~ xoxoxo


    • July 2, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Thank you Amy! I appreciate all the support you gave me while I was dreaming about and planning the gardens.
      Blessings and love to you my friend,

      Liked by 1 person

  10. July 2, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Ellen, what a transformation! Your hard work is looking great. I too love Russian sage. The Fatsia is really interesting looking.


    • July 2, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Thank you Mimi! It is nice to see the transformation. Yay!
      I love the Fatsia shrub, it’s a lovely specimen plant.


  11. July 2, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I love before and after scenes. What you’ve accomplished is truly transformational!


    • July 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you Joann!

      Removing all the unwanted trees and plants helped us see the potential. Now I can layer in more perennials. 🙂
      You can never have too many plants! haha

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Beth
    July 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Toby, it is so beautiful!! You did an amazing job designing your yard! I love it!! xoxox


    • July 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you Beth!

      Finally! Now my dear friend, you won’t have to read any more of my emails that say, “I’m in garden mourning.” 🙂


  13. Sandy Marinuzzi
    July 4, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Toby your garden is soooo beautiful! I’m not surprised…you have such a joyous talent! I bet you and Jim are enjoying the weather. Thanks for sharing before & after photos.


    • July 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Sandy,
      Thank you! Jim and I enjoyed not having snow this past winter, now it’s hot and steamy. Enjoying the AC.
      Hope you and Chuck are having a good summer!


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