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.
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.
Chartreuse, emerald, jade, and lime are visible in the gardens now; the perennials are emerging. It always amazes me how sparse the landscape looks this time of year. Come June the borders will be overflowing with color.
The reason I love the shade garden is because I love the beauty of foliage. The varied sizes, shapes and colors of leaves are refreshing; some fern like, others broad and bold, fronds, blades, and needles all add interesting texture to the landscape. The saying goes: “opposites attract”. Placing plants with different foliage next to each other adds beauty to the garden.
Two favorite shade plants are: Japanese Forest Grass, a small grass that has yellow and green leaves, and Corydalis lutea; it has fern like foliage with tiny yellow flowers.
The before and after pictures of some beloved plants:
Katherine Tracy, owner of Avant Gardens, recently posted something on her blog that caught my attention: The Slow Flower Challenge. Katherine attended a lecture given by Debra Prinzing. Debra spoke about her book: Slow Flowers. The book explains the importance of using flowers that are available locally rather than purchasing imported flowers. Debra is challenging herself to do that for a year. Katherine liked the idea, so she too took on the challenge and will use plant materials from her garden. Click on the link above to see the beautiful display Katherine created using plant materials from her garden, and read her entire post.
I agree with Debra and Katherine, and decided to also take on the challenge. Our gardens are a valuable resource that we should not ignore. With clippers in hand I went into the garden, cut branches from trees and shrubs, and snipped flowers and berries. I loved the challenge and come December, I will once again be in the garden.
These are the 9 plants I used:
My flower arrangement:
I have always loved old houses. They have a history and tell a story. When we bought our farmhouse a couple of nondescript apple trees grew on the property. In the backyard there was an old stone wall that was falling down. Overgrown shrubs grew in front of the house and random pieces of slate led from the front door to the dirt driveway. The original pine floor boards inside the house creaked and the windows were drafty. I loved the house in all its disrepair. The house had potential; all it needed was someone to care about it.
My dream was to have a cottage garden in front of the house but I didn’t know anything about cottage gardens. Through a friend, I met Janie, a landscape designer. She came over and helped us decide what plants to put in. We removed all the shrubs in the front and on the side of the house. We planted beautiful pink hydrangea and perennials. At first we just had a small area planted but over the years we added a brick walkway and the border expanded.