Gardening 101: My Garden

First and foremost, the chocolates are gone. I had to make one quick trip to the post office to mail off the 2 boxes to a town in FL that has the same name as a town in Russia, but all is good. For some reason PayPal didn’t like that particular town. And when I mentioned it to the dude at the post office he looked at me as if I had at that very moment grown a third head. When I returned home I found the stack of boxes on my front stoop gone. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see them go. As of this morning I am still out $608. No amount of alcohol brought that back last night. And did you know that you can’t squeeze a wine bottle to get more out? Who knew. The USPS gets 12 hours to give me my money back or I am raising holy hell.

Enough of that whole the United States Postal Service ripped $608 off from me. On to better subjects.


I am going to take you on a tour of my garden. I would get all fancy and stuff and do one of those slide show things, but it’s like 75 degrees outside and I don’t want to be sitting here in front of my computer. I started writing about pruning and quickly realized that I lack the grey matter to formulate a coherent post on the subject. I then wrote a post on how to create a moss basket, but I have to resize all the photos and I’m too lazy for that today. Instead you get a tour of my garden. Or more specifically one section of it.

We bought our house 3 years ago. We looked at so many houses before finding one that was in a good neighborhood, the right size and affordable. I found on out near the water that I liked, but it was too stinking small. That isn’t to say that we haven’t quickly outgrown this house. The first time we looked at our house I peered through the windows and said no way in hell. The kitchen was waaaay too small. It still is. But somehow we convinced ourselves to take a look inside. The interior of our house looked like 1986 threw up. There was nasty blue stained carpet, ugly wall paper and that kitchen. Oh is was bad buddy. The outside was seriously lacking as well.

This is one of the photos listed on the web when we were house hunting.

Despite its complete lack of charm, we could still see that there was something there. Through lots of hard work and tons of money, we have made our house into something worth living in. Even if it is a little small.

When we first moved in I didn’t work outside the home. I was busy doing landscape design for people. I have to say that it is easy to design someone else’s landscape, but designing my own has been next to impossible. That first winter I spent nearly every day ripping out plant material. Dane the Dumbass previous homeowner didn’t leave me much to work with. That first year I pulled out a huge Honeysuckle hedge, some weird juniper thing an Acuba (that keeps trying to grow back) and 2 Rhododendrons. Not to mention about 20 cubic tons of English Ivy and Vinca Vine. My neighbor drove by one day and saw me pulling out Lithodora like no one’s business and gasped with horror. The amount I have now is significant, but I’ve pulled out so much more. When all was said and done with my plant massacre we had a pile of stuff 20 feet long, 10 feet wide and about 5 feet tall. buried in that pile was 1/2 of our lawn.

I got the bright idea one day to rent a sod cutter. The trusty husband came home early one day and cut out 1/2 of the grass. It took us weeks to pick all the clumps up.

The shape of the lawn was the only thing I was able to actually design. Everything else is just thrown in because I thought it was pretty. I’ve dug up plants and moved them. I have more orange Daylilies than I know what to do with. I added 2 trees the first year and then a weeping cherry this year. Most of my garden is deciduous, meaning it loses it’s leaves. It isn’t the prettiest picture in the winter, but in the spring and summer it is gorgeous. I like it. And I keep adding to it. The weeding kills me, but I do it anyway. When it isn’t to the point of threatening to smother me in my sleep I like pulling out the unsavory characters.

So here you go… my garden from the time we bought our house to this morning. This is just one view.

Before I started ripping out plants.

After I’d pulled everything out and planted a few things.

The same year after everything grew in.

As of this morning (bad photo).

If you have gardening questions or would like to suggest a topic for an upcoming Gardening 101 feel free to email me at

18 Comment

  1. I love what you’ve done with your yard! Okay Garden Girl, here’s my problem: I have these big beds around the front of my house (foundation type beds) and they are just a mess… I was way too random with what I planted and then some stuff just up and died. So I’m thinking maybe if I plant like a small tree or nice shrub and then perennials around it…?? I’m literally afraid to mess with it. So, want to do a column on how to make a beautiful foundation bed? πŸ™‚

  2. That’s a serious amount of growth in 3 years…WOW! Your house totally disappeared:-) GOOD JOB very pretty! I am so shocked we both did house tours on the same day… What’a bizzare coincidence!

  3. I love the dalahest hanging from your mailbox!

    Are you Swedish?

  4. Lauri says: Reply

    Your yard is very nice… love how the trees have grown.I have a question.. on either side of our front entrance we have 5 bushes on each side with 2 hostas… I prune the bushes to look very manicured …its very pretty but all green and against the brown brick house its so blah… I want to add some color… I dont have a ton of room to work in… what would you do? need some pics?

  5. Forget the advice…if I fly you & your family down here for a month, will you just come do something for me? I’ll cook you dinner and make sure you see as much of Alabama as you can take while you’re here?

    No? I didn’t think so…but if you really ever need a change of scenery, take me up on the offer!!

  6. Dana says: Reply

    Dammit! I just realized my candy’s on the way on I’m on a freaking diet. They’re low-fat, low-calorie, right?

  7. All of our chocolates are trans-fat free Dana, so eat as many as you want πŸ˜‰

  8. Elle says: Reply

    notice how he said trans-fat free. He didn’t mention any other kinds of fat. The solution here would be to put the chocolates onto a bit of lettuce. Because anything on lettuce is a salad ergo healthy.

  9. Amy says: Reply

    It looks great! Wanna come do my garden? It’s a sad, sad sight.

  10. Suz says: Reply

    Wow that looks great girl! I have been thinking about you and your strawberries lately. Is it strawberry time again, yet??

  11. It looks beautiful! My garden is coming up this year with even more thistles than last year. I didn’t think it was possible. They’re going to be the death of me yet!

  12. In my earlier comment…by “something” I meant some “designing of the landscape”…

    I just went back and read it, and although you probably understood what I meant, I figure I should’ve been a little clearer. πŸ™‚

    Anyway, I like the idea of eating the chocolates in a piece of lettuce. Yeah, I just re-started my diet, too. Maybe one a day won’t hurt me. They are addictive, though!

  13. It looks great.
    When we moved into our house 3 years ago, my SIL gave me some perinneals she had split — and some of them were mint. Now I’ve got that stuff sprouting up all over the place, I’ll be lucky if I ever get rid of it.
    I SO wish that I got as much enjoyment out of gardening as other people seem to. I only do it because I’m vain, and I want my house and yard to look pretty, but I can’t say I really enjoy it.

  14. Kate says: Reply

    It’s lovely, you have done sooo much! I have just bought a house and have LOADS of gardening questions, will have to email πŸ™‚

  15. Dana says: Reply

    Regarding the chocolates: what’s probably going to happen is that I’ll eat them all in one day. If I’m going to blow it, I might as well blow the entire day. Otherwise I’ll know they are there and they’ll tempt me. I have no self control.

    And just so you don’t think all I’ve been thinking about is candy, the flowers do look nice. πŸ™‚

  16. mom says: Reply

    Amazing how plantings can transform a home isn’t it. I just wish you tell me your secret for not killing lavender!! Also… will you tell Derek how much I’ve toned DOWN my exclamation points.

  17. Wendy says: Reply

    I can’t wait until we are in our new house and I have loads of land to work with. Unfortunately, I am missing the best of planting season because the stupid house is running way behind. I will have to wait for fall for a lot of things. That means all summer I will be building raised beds, conditioning soil and working on hardscapes. That is killer work when the heat and humidity both hit 90+, but I’ll be lovin it!!!

  18. Jenn says: Reply

    All I have to say is YUM!!! I am basking in gooey chocolately caramel goodness πŸ™‚ I LOVE the orange ginger and am forcing myself to wait for them to cool down a bit before getting into the rest of them.

    I second the notion for foundation beds, we need curb appeal. Our house is a little closer to the street than yours is with your typical sidewalk out front and straight walk leading right up to the front door. I love the mass planting you did and might give it a try.

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