How It All Started
"Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors." -- Mary Cantwell
The house when we moved in. The huge Australian pine is just off to the left bottom of this photo. The two small trees on either side of the driveway are red Bottlebrushes. These three trees are gone now. Yay! The palm trees stand on what was a weedy mound.
Of course, my husband would have been happy with the monoculture of lawn
and small number of shrubs and trees we started out with. But I wasn't
satisfied. I had never gardened growing up and had just lived in an
apartment for three years without a single houseplant. But I loved
...In small areas. In the back yard,
where no one would see my mistakes. I began with pots of herbs and
after adding good dirt to the sandbox (5' x 5', situated against the back
fence), some flowers and vegetables. A small teepee in a pot produced
tomatillos and cherry tomatoes, which my husband loved to snack on.
Then came a few annuals, many raised from seed, to brighten the only existing
beds, barely 1' wide against the screened-in back porch. The previous
owner had grown roses there and took them with her when she left, leaving
bare sandy spaces. I rejoiced in my triumphs and took loads of pictures
of diminutive flowers.
I tried out the swing in the back yard, only
to find it shifted every time I swung back and forth - rats! So we took
the swings off and kept the posts (6 1/2'h x 10'w and made of
pressure-treated 4" x 4" posts, one on each side and one on
top) for an arbor.
Things looked so nice that after two years my husband wondered why I didn't do something in front, where my efforts could be seen and appreciated. (He hates working outside, so aside from his pruning the hibiscus hedge plus a big one between the front windows and cutting dead fronds from the Queen Palms, the garden was my domain.) Little did he know what the future would bring!
A friend's mother was replacing her beloved
hybrid tea roses with something lower-maintenance and asked if I would take
them. Bonus! I went to her house with a bunch of plastic grocery bags,
practically ripped the roses (about ten) out of the ground, and brought them
home. We cut a small L-shaped bed in the lawn in full sun where the
sidewalk and driveway met and planted our new charges. They were none
the worse for their rough treatment and looked great by themselves and
thickly mulched for a couple of years.
But I was restless and this bliss could not last. I measured the entire property and drew it out for a landscape architect friend to give me suggestions, which I then completely ignored - we just weren't on the same plane. Using the base diagram, I drew endless plans, discarding most for lack of practicality.
I began expanding the rose bed and adding other plants. The roses themselves started to decline because they didn't like company, being hybrid teas, but I just planted more, learning quickly that they needed to be grafted and that older varieties like to grow with other plants. In the meantime, I came up with workable, pleasing (to me anyway) designs. And spent a lot of money on mistakes.
That first rose bed became the Rose and Perennial Court...
Home ** What's New? ** How It All Started * Garden Update October 2004 * Garden Diary 2008 * Garden Diary 2009 * Garden Diary 2010 * Garden Diary 2011 ** New! Garden Diary 2012 ** Rose and Perennial Court * Rose Update Feb 2003 * Front Garden Update 2008-9 * Behind the Wall * Herb Circle * Tropical Edibles Area ** New! Growing Dinner: Visit to a Homegarden ** Potager * Potager 2004-5 * Potager Plan 2008-9 * Edibles 2008-9 * Crop Chart 2008-9 * Edibles Planting Schedule * Warm Season Planting 2005 * Succulent Beds * Wild Edibles * Caterpillars to Butterflies * Building Healthy Soil * Ecological Gardening * Index of Plants and Techniques Featured * Annual Vegetable Chart * Long Lasting Markers: Jewelry for Your Plants * Build a Gardening Notebook