The Shed Revisited

We have written about the shed before. In fact it was one of our earliest posts, January 2, 2008. Click here to get up to speed on how the shed came to be. While we love our little shed, the examples shown by Nan Ondra and the gang at Gardening Gone Wild put us to shame. We will hold our heads high and soldier on to tell you about our humble shed anyway.This is a little eight by eight foot building that was purchased while the female offspring Semi and Chickenpoet were living in the house and attending college. There was no garage or utility room on the property and a safe dry spot was needed to store the lawnmower and their bicycles, among other things. It sat at the end of the driveway in a carved out niche in the steep hillside behind the house. When we began the renovations we had the shed moved to the top of the hill by the backhoe. It is now part of the garden view and was painted to match the stone gray of the house. In fact a stone from the property was taken to Sherwin Williams to match the color. The name of the match just happened to be….are you ready?  Stone. You cannot make this stuff up. The window was saved from the house next door that was torn down to build the garage and installed in the shed by yours truly. Not a perfect carpentry job, but it really enhances the shed and lets in much needed light and air, yes it opens. The metal hayrack windowbox is planted with Japanese painted fern, Japanese blood grass, creeping jenny and sweet william. I don’t do anything to it at all, not even water, it fends for itself. The ferns have self spored on the soil below and have formed a dense colony there. A Japanese climbing fern has settled in there as well, growing over the old hand plow wheel that was found on the property.  There does seem to be an Asian theme here.  I never thought about it before typing the word Japanese so many times to describe one little spot.The shed anchors the knot garden on one end and seems to belong in that design. On the right hand side facing the doors is a raised bed that used to grow tomatoes before our new luscious veggie bed was built.  Now there are blueberry bushes  in there.  The hemlocks, to the right and not in the shot, that line the back fence have grown so large that they shade the berry bed.  The pyracanthas that line the fence behind the shed have also grown to gigantic proportions and are pruned to allow for safe passage from their thorny reach. Would you like to go inside?The interior was supposed to get a tidy up before this post was written, but it didn’t happen that way. No cleaning was done before this shot was taken. The ladder was stashed inside one day when it started to rain. That was months ago. We were going to prune the rose Veilchenblau that grows over the roof, that has not been done either.  The tool holder in the middle of the upper board came loose and all the tools resting on the black rubber coated metal fell to the floor. There they remain.  There is a stack of press and stick vinyl flooring tiles  that were to be affixed to the floor of the shed.  They have been sitting there since 2000.  The Banana Republic bag has some dried flowers inside to save for seed, hopefully with a name tag.  The white bucket is saving seed of catnip, possibly.  The new walking stick is resting to the left by the door.  The bit of hardware cloth will be used to protect bulb plantings from squirrels digging to bury walnuts.Speaking of seeds, this large colander is used to separate the seeds from the flowers and stems. It is the perfect size for that job and was purchased at a garage sale for less than a dollar.This corner features the riddle, used to coarsely separate the seeds from the chaff before the colander has its way with them. Just to the right at the top of the old medicine cabinet from the torn down house are the remains of the little nest that was the mystery in the shed. A few days later we thought that the mystery had been solved, and then it was. In an old metal mailbox standing on end by the door are various short stakes and three markers for the graves of veterans of the Revolutionary, Spanish American and Korean wars that were in the shed of The Financier’s father in Pennsylvania. They appear to be bronze and are quite detailed. We believe they were to be placed on the graves of deceased Elks club members, a club in which Pop was very active, that were veterans of those wars on Memorial Day. We are not sure about this and if anyone recognizes these types of marker and knows of another purpose for them, we would appreciate hearing from you. A closer look at the window box planter and window reflecting the blue sky and maple tree suggests a feeling of garden harmony.  This structure offers more than just a place for tool storage and seed saving.  It is an oasis and a haven when rest or safety is needed suddenly while toiling ceaselessly out of doors.  There is a sense of rightness about it, of belonging in a spiritual way to the universe, alternative or otherwise.

This entry was posted in Garden Bloggers Design Workshop. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to The Shed Revisited

  1. Chickenpoet says:

    Yeah!! I was the first to comment today. Those gravemarkers, or whatever they are, have so much history to them. You can feel it just by looking at them, they want to tell a story. That would be a fun bed to transform into a memorial for soldiers past and present. Very Cool. Much Love, CP

    Hello my dear Chickenpoet. You are an early bird today. I know those are important markers, they are beautifully wrought. Your idea is perfect. I think the area where Basic is buried would be a good spot, it is near a path and would be noticed by all who pass by, thanks for the idea.
    Love, Frances

  2. Jan says:

    You have turned what is normally something highly utilitarian into something quite precious. I love the window box with the grass – very attractive.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks so much. Was it William Morris that said all things should be either useful or beautiful? I think they should be both! The blood grass is such a stalwart, looks good with everything.

  3. Gail says:

    Frances, What I always appreciate about your posts are the views you show of your garden…We get to see how the shed fits in the space and how beautiful your garden really is! In spite of the drought your garden is alive and colorful. Maybe later this week you can photograph a rain cloud or two reflecting in the window! We can hope! Gail

    Hi Gail, thanks for those sweet words. I was so tickled when the contractor said that the shed could be moved, I nearly screamed out loud! The shed is truly at home in that spot, it is part of the garden itself. I do hope to show clouds and maybe even raindrops later this week, for you too.

  4. Cindy says:

    Your shed is wonderful. I love the window box, I never thought of ferns in one but I like it – especially how they self sowed below.
    I hope someone knows about the markers. They are very interesting.

    Hi Cindy, thanks. I had tried all kinds of annuals in the window box and they were always a disappointment. The window faces north so there is some shade, ferns seemed worth a try, I have tons since they have self spored all along the front yard too. I do too hope that someone has seen markers like that before, I would like to know more about them.

  5. Marnie says:

    I love the photo of the knot garden with the shed behind. Another thing I’ve always wanted.

    Hi Marnie, thanks. The shed is well used and looks good too, a big selling point if you are having to convince someone about getting one. ;->

  6. Racquel says:

    Your little gardenshed looks great Frances. I love that you put a large window in it. I bet it lets in tons of light. The windowbox planter really dresses up that wall nicely. Your Knot garden is the perfect setting for it.

    Hi Racquel, thanks. It was quite dark before the window was put in, you could hardly see. We thought about running electricity up to it, but that was cost prohibitive, it is far from the house. I was very proud of the window and the planter, a gift from The Financier. He is really good with gifts. ;->

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What a nice shed Frances. It would be criminal to show the inside of our shed. ha… Yours looks quite neat compared to ours. You are a brave soul showing the inside.

    Hi Lisa, HA HA HA HA, that is almost the exact same comment as you left on the first post! You have been one of my best readers since day one, thanks. ;->

  8. nancybond says:

    I love your little shed — it looks like a fairy cottage! I like the way it’s nestled into the garden landscape so that it almost becomes a feature or a part of it.

    Hi Nancy, thanks. It does fit nicely into the garden, like it belongs there. I have entertained thoughts of making it a little nicer inside, but never get around to it. Maybe this winter.

  9. Rose says:

    Thanks for giving us a peek into your shed, Frances. Lots of interesting little tidbits here (are those textbooks lying on the floor?), like the old metal colander for separating seeds–I’d never thought of that. I like Chickenpoet’s idea for the grave markers; a memorial garden would give you a chance to display them.
    Like everything else in your garden, the shed fits into the landscape so well.
    By the way, I enjoy the pink Muhly grass in your header!

    Hi Rose, thanks. The stacks on the floor are the vinyl flooring tiles, waiting patiently for the year they finally get put down. I wonder if the adhesive is still any good, they have been there so long in cold and hot temps. The colander is great for seed sifting. We are all in awe of the mind of Chickenpoet. ;-> Glad you like the muhly, it has entered purple bruise stage now.

  10. tina says:

    That first picture makes your shed look so romantic. Especially with the backlit redbud? leaves. Like Lisa, I think you are brave to show the inside of your shed-but it is so neat and tidy! That seed separator is cool, I was just telling Skeeter about these this morning. I still don’t know how the Japanese ferns do so well but I thought them amazing when I saw them all. And they still look good.

    Hi Tina, thanks. I think the slope makes everything look good, you can’t see the whole thing, only edges. The tree is one of seven pink dogwoods on the hill. The redbuds are over under the tall pines. I think the shed is messy, you can’t even walk around inside there is stuff all over the floor. The climbing ferns are trying to take over in some places, they can smother smaller shrubs like the heathers. I still like them though.

  11. Kim says:

    We are in the market for a shed, and I want mine to have exactly the same “feel” yours does. After reading this post, I think I understand that I can’t buy that feel, I have to make it, and you’ve given me some great ideas. I haven’t yet gone over to GGW to see the other sheds, but I think yours is perfect, from paint to plants to how it integrates into your garden. I especially loved looking back at past posts for some history.

    Hi Kim, thanks. That shed is just an ordinary one that you see at the big box stores and around here with used cars and other odds and ends for sale. I’m glad you went to the old posts, it was funny that I used a lot of the same exact words when writing the new post. Why is that? I had not reread the first post before I wrote the new one either. The shed is as much a part of the garden as the plants. It was painted several colors before it got the same paint as the house, all were cute too. These colors blend well into the landscape.

  12. skeeter says:

    With your installation of the window, You can now add Window installer to your Resume! lol… I like the window boxes. We saw them all over Europe and really did enjoy them. I would like to put some below our two shed windows but with it being a metal shed, not feasible.

    The markers are intriguing as were the nest. I got all caught up on the past reading of the nest. If only I had known you then, My first guess was a Wren! We get those huge nest on our boat if we are not careful to keep an eye on cracks and crevices! I must say, your nest was much bigger then any we have had though! Must be a Master builder you had there. If you ever see another nest such as that one, let them have it as they are wonderful bug eaters! They are docile and would probably stay in the nest while you are in the shed. They can make a fuss when bothered though.. I have to put fake snakes in the hanging plants to keep the finches out but I dont mind the wrens in them as they are neat and take off the baby poop in sacs like the bluebirds. The finches leave a messy poopy area. I am a bit baffled by the poppy seed looking poop though. Maybe just something that fell out of the debris… They use all kinds of funny things in nest like snake skins, cigarette buds and wrappers, etc. You never know what you will find in a wrens nest. I love the little wrens…

    The medicine cabinet brought back memories as we had two of those in both bathrooms of my childhood house.… Your shed is great but I could see me getting to lazy and leaving it all under the deck! lol

    Hi Skeeter, you know me so well it is scary, since we have never met! I do love the wrens and she came back and rebuilt the nest but never laid eggs in it. I was sort of relieved, but if it happens again I will know who is the builder. Wrens are so little, why do they need that giant nest? I know exactly what you mean about the finches. They built a nest in the wreath in the vestibule outside the back door and made a horrible mess. I thought it was cool when they first built it and the eggs hatched, but those juvenile birds pooped all over everything. Yuck. Under the deck is really a mess, I must clean it up and get those tools back in the shed, which means I will have to clean the shed too. It is nearly time for that job. The family will be here for Thanksgiving.

    Ops, a book today sorry…

  13. Dave says:

    I like the knot garden outside the shed. That’s a good place for it! A shed is one of those things I’d like to add to the yard but haven’t had the time to build one or the money to buy one. Maybe next year. It would be nice to park the cars in the garage! Those markers are pretty interesting. Little pieces of history.

    Hi Dave, thanks. The shed and knot garden are a good match, especially since that is the only level spot on the whole property. ;-> You could probably build a shed cheaper than buy one, that way you can make it just like you want it too. I’ve seen cool ones made with all salvaged materials. Save some of the extra windows you have. The markers are heavy, in weight and meaning.

  14. brokenbeat says:

    honestly, your shed is the next best thing to a treefort. i have finally changed your link on my page. much love.

    Hello dear Brokenbeat, thanks. The shed is like a little hideaway in the garden, don’t you think?
    Love, Frances

  15. hayefield says:

    Gee, I get behind in my blog visiting and come back to find that your look has changed again; kind of like moving into a new house and gradually putting your personal touches on it to make it a home. I like it! The header of muhlenbergia is a perfect complement to the stunning photo at this top of this post. And wow, that window box is splendid! Thanks for sharing this post for the GGW Design Workshop, Frances, and for the little trip down memory lane: I remember following the “mystery in the shed” series!

    Hi Nan, thanks, you aren’t behind, I change it with each post. ;-> The font colors are a little trickier, but will be changed from time to time. Not the size though, I hope. You are my role model for great photos of the muhly, BTW. I do love writing about the shed, thanks for this topic.

  16. Randy says:

    What a wonderful tour of your garden shed. If there is anything that Jamie and I could use it would be more storage space. But, there’s just no place left to put one. 🙂

    Hi Randy, my surprise just arrived and I am blown away by its beauty. Many, many thanks, I love it.~~~Maybe you could squeeze in one of those mini sheds in a corner somewhere, they sure are handy. You could train vines over it.

  17. Siria says:

    Hi Frances! In quite a few of your photos (from past posts) you can see the shed in the background. I love garden sheds and always thought yours looked so lovely and fit right in. It was a treat to read your post today and learn the history of it. I will have to go back and read the old post…I have gone back and read many old posts, but never got to that one. Thanks for sharing your charming garden shed with us. I love it!

    Hi Siria, thanks. Reading the old post about the shed is very similar to the newest one, with a few choice tidbits in the old one. Be sure and read the comments. ;-> The shed sits in a spot that is in the sight line from all windows in the main house. I love how it is part of the garden and blends in.

  18. Chloe.M says:


    A fantastic post. Every garden should be so fortunate as to have a shed, just like this one.


    Hi Chloe, thanks for those kind words. Our shed is a special part of the garden.

  19. Brenda Kula says:

    That window box is stunning! Wouldn’t have thought to put it on a shed. But then, everything has to have a place. And leave it to you to make it pretty as well!

    Hi Brenda, thanks. The nice thing about the window box on the shed is that I don’t have to worry about damaging the siding with the screws. The planter is quite heavy and has to be secured with large hardware. The shed is in the view of every window in the house, I want it to look good with little effort. The plantings are totally carefree. There is another grass like plant, yellow acorus that takes it through the winter when the other plants are dormant.

  20. Cameron says:

    Although we’re on vacation at Hatteras Island, I just had to come read your blog to see what was happening! I COVET your garden shed and knot garden! Just fabulous. Cameron

    Hi Cameron, thanks. I love that area, we used to go to Nag’s Head when the kids were young and had the best time. I appreciate your coming to visit while on vacation too. ;->

  21. Lola says:

    I loved this post Frances. Your garden looks marvelous as usual. I find my window boxes dry out terribly. I have the Japanese Climbing Fern here & it’s invasive. I’m continually having to pull it away from the telephone wire going into the house. It’s on my chain link fence. I guess birds got it here as I never planted it. It will even grow up trees. And it’s in my boxwood hedge in front of my house. Worrisome stuff.

    Hi Lola, thanks. The plants in that windowbox can grow under those dry conditions, but it is shaded most of the time, facing north. All the pretty annuals just dried up in there. Try grasses instead. I do have to watch that climbing fern, it can smother shrubs. It is very late to emerge in the spring, I always think it has died, that helps keep it in check here.

  22. I have a bad case of shed-envy! You’ve made a utilitarian building into a beautiful garden feature. I can’t have even an ugly shed because of the setback requirements. Sigh…

    Hi MMD, thanks. I have only one word of advice for you, move. What makes people make these silly rules anyway?

  23. Hi Frances,

    I love this post – your shed looks wonderful but it’s also genuinely used by the gardener. And it’s a real shed with tools in it, not a decorative playhouse for grownups. (Not that I don’t love seeing decorative playhouses, but calling them Garden Sheds seems kind of silly.)

    The color is perfect – having it turn out to be ‘Stone’ cracked me up. The ruby color of the grass against the shed makes a fine scene.

    At our last house we were not allowed to have any sheds or outbuildings. At this house we were allowed to build one, but had to follow rules on size and placement.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, thanks. I love the paint color story too. I so dislike associations that tell you what you can or cannot do with your property. At least you are allowed a shed there. We do try and store the tools in the building, but they have a way of migrating down to under the deck. They must move down there at night while we are resting after a long day of gardening with them.

  24. Pingback: GBDW - Sheds and Outbuildings Wrap-Up

  25. vegplotting says:

    What a lovely shed Frances and how brave you are at showing its interior. I smiled in recognition – I can’t get into mine owing to the amount of stuff that’s in there!

    Hi VP, thanks. I am not happy with mine at all but at least that silly ladder is out of there. I still need to do something with those stalks and seperate the seeds out and store and label them. Maybe this comment is what was needed to get me up there to work on it. Thanks for that! ;->

Comments are closed.