A Gardener’s Progress

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A garden can never be finished. It’s simply cannot, for it is a living thing, constantly changing, hopefully growing, evolving. Just like the gardener.

Above: Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ fronted by Erysimum cheiri. Note to self: Save seeds of that wallflower, it’s the only one we have.

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Evolving right along over a year later from groundbreaking in the crabgrass lawn, progress can be seen. There has been growth as the plantings have settled in, making themselves at home.

Above: Festuca glauca, Stipa nasella and Salvia ‘Caradonna’ stand out in the front walk planting. The green man in the tree stump approves, even as he seems agitated about that rude squirrel violating his space.

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The same scene in January, 2015.

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The street view has also improved. It is a little less wild and unruly, more like a garden and less like an unmown lawn which is exactly how the side bed between the houses began. That is correct. The Financier was gently persuaded to allow a wide section of what had been cut grass (mostly weeds, CRABGRASS) to grow undisturbed. Perennials were added as they became available and cornflower seeds were sown last fall to help fill in the space more quickly. A strip of boxwood hedge on the front portion of the property line added definition and a row of lavender in front of the boxwood added pizzazz.

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This is what it looked like a year ago, from a slightly different vantage point. Look for the pale lavender of the Allium christophii on the far right side in the present day shot above this one for reference. Everything else is so large, the Allium is dwarfed now. The lavender has grown much larger than expected. The boxwood is just a row of sticks, barely visible as darker green wands behind it.

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The fenced back gardens have shown improvement, as well. The image above was taken last May, a year ago. Garden art and containers were set willy nilly and sugar snap peas were grown on bamboo teepees. When the time was right, meaning when I felt like it, cardboard and mulch were laid over the closely mown lawn after the art and containers were relocated. Again. I have entirely too much art and too many containers. Many and much were left behind at the old house, too!

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More lavender, more fall seeded cornflowers and a young Rosa ‘Veilchenblau’ are helping the south facing fence resemble the beginning of a respectable garden. That rose is one that was grown first in my Texas garden and again on the shed at the old garden. The photo below shows it in full May glory in 2011.

While only a once bloomer, I adore the prolific, dark flowers. It helps to give a sense of continuity to my gardening life. May the new Veilchenblau grow to match that same abundance.  I feel confident that it will.

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The opposite fence is where the garden began. After we closed on this house but before we even moved in, a dump truckload of planting mix was delivered to form the nursery. All the potted and bagged plants from the old garden were stuck unceremoniously in there after it was spread out a bit. Another truckload was added that winter to form what is called the lower nursery. That bed is shady and more moist. These two beds are my pride and joy. Many a pleasant moment is spent sitting in the shade contemplating the gardens and making plans for improvements. Last year Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ offered immediate impact and bloomed all season with the help of a couple of haircuts as blossoms faded.

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The current view reveals the growth and filling in that has taken place in one year’s time. Johnson’s Blue has only just begun flowering, but there is plenty of visual interest with leaf form and color from the assorted Heucheras, Hostas, ferns and grasses. This photo is taken from the corner of the fence, where the above mentioned navel gazing often takes place in comfortable chairs. It is shady, cool and not too breezy as to be a bother during the languid summer months. The shed is an anchor to the changing seasons as the years roll by.

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Zooming in always gives a more pleasing capture. It can showcase small treasures that might be missed in the long shot, like the dark red blooms of Lysimachia atropurpurea. But I also wanted to share what my eye sees, the real warts and all view. There has been toil and treasure expended to create a new garden here, starting from scratch. So far, so good. May the garden continue to progress as long as the gardener can still draw a breath. Onward.


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23 Responses to A Gardener’s Progress

  1. Linda T. says:

    Gorgeous is all I can say.

    Thanks for reading, Linda!

  2. Barbara H. says:

    Beautiful – what a transformation! And I’m sure there is much more to come. Thanks for sharing, Frances. I love it all.

    Thanks, Barbara, for the support! It should get better as shrubs and trees grow to be more than mere sticks.

  3. I love when you post! The garden is progressing beautifully. it just gets better and better xoxoxo

    Awww, thanks, dear. The garden would love for you to come visit it! Me too. xoxoxo

  4. Your garden is coming along so fast. I have no doubt that your rose will grow, bloom and be as prolific as it was in the past. One just needs a little patience. It is great fun to watch your garden evolve. It looks lush this year. Keep on…

    P.S. Can one have too many pots and things in the garden?? I don’t think so. They will soon blend in and you will be whining to yourself about not bringing more with you.:)

    Hi Lisa, thanks for being such a loyal reader and friend, too! The garden is so much more lush this year. It makes me happy. All those pots were gifts from family over the years, birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, etc. It is hard not to check out the beautiful pots at the local nurseries while shopping, they call the siren song!

  5. Laurie Brown says:

    What a wonderful post! Love seeing things as they progress, both close up and far.

    Thanks for stopping by, Laurie. I really like your blogname!

  6. Deborah says:

    Where did you find that cool pot in the front… with the “wind” face on it? Love it>>>

    The faux bois stump planter with the face was purchased at a now defunct nursery, but it was made by Al’s Garden Art. http://alsgardenart.com/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=790-S&p=1

  7. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Just beautiful, Frances, like the gardener herself!

    Aw, thanks, sweet Cindy!

  8. Dee says:

    My dear Faire, it’s so good to navel gaze with you. I’m so grateful you posted, and the garden is coming along so nicely. Onward my friend. Onward.~~Dee

    Thank you, Dee. Navel gazing is highly underrated. We all need to spend more time doing it.

  9. Lola says:

    What a difference a yr makes.

    Thanks, Lola. Time and a whole lotta work have made a great difference.

  10. I must have some cornflowers now after seeing yours!! Awesome Frances. You’ve been working hard. How do the neighbors feel about your garden? I get told all the time “you have a jungle back here” ~ wondering if that happens to anyone else? I also feel I have collected too many pots & “gardenalia.” I’m going to cull some of it this year (to make room for more!) ha ha

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for stopping by. Our neighbors are very sweet and have been super supportive, to our face. On one side is another hard core gardener, actually, my daughter Semi! On the other side are lawn perfectionists, but they seem to prefer gardens to the crabgrass that was here before, always encroaching to their nice grass. They do ask questions about the plantings and might turn into gardeners as well someday. Many people don’t garden because they don’t know how. We can teach them.

  11. Kathy Sturr says:

    I love to see progress in the gardens – and it is certainly progress you have made. Beautiful! Love the grasses, the vertical accents, the winding paths – okay, love it all. I planted Lysimachia atropurpurea last year in my wild jungle – let’s hope it made it through winter and will offer up those incredible blooms this year.

    Hi Kathy, thanks for stopping by. I bought the Lysimachia two years in a row, spreading the seed heads about. That photo is of the first year’s seeds coming into bloom. There are so many more babies from the next year. These are biennial plants for my zone 7a garden, but will be managed by seed saving and spreading to become a yearly bloomer. I love them. Good luck with yours!

  12. Layanee says:

    Your hard work is paying off in blossoms. Just lovely.

    Thanks, Layanee. It is good to see results from the work.

  13. Renny says:

    Seeing how beautifully your garden is growing gives me hope for mine- and patience.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks for visiting and the kind words, Renny. May your garden develop beautifully.

  14. indygardener says:

    Wow, you have done a lot since moving to your new garden. I’m impressed! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Thanks for the support, Carol. There have been a few hours spent working in the garden, yes.

  15. Alison says:

    That faux bois planter with the green man face is wonderful. I love seeing your progress. You’ve done miracles since moving in such a short time ago.

    Big thanks to you, dear Alison for the generous sharing of so many plants! The columbines are blooming well this year and there will be plenty of seed to toss around. The Walker’s Low catmint has been spectacular, so much so that plants have had to be moved out of their way. The Carex have been split up and spread about. Everything has done so well, traveling from the PNW to hot and dry east TN. xoxoxo

  16. Sebestiana says:

    I am so impressed with the progress you have made in one year! When you post, I get off my duff and head out to my garden. You are such an inspiration.

    Thanks, Sebestiana! I feel like the floor supervisor, trying to encourage more work out of you. HA

  17. stevesned says:

    It is totally delightful to see the results of your hard work, Frances. As always, your choices of blooms eat your camera lens. The transition from one year to the next is mega-transformative. I am so impressed and thrilled. But – wait – where the heck is the Muhley Grass?

    Thanks for the kudos, Steve! The muhley grass is in the front gardens, at the back of the mailbox planting. It was featured in a post last fall here: Starting to Look Like Home

  18. Amazing. I think plants grow faster there because of the heat, because your gardens seem to have made more progress than mine. My blue fescue (which came from you) never gets that big! All that navel gazing (I call it garden dreaming) has paid off.

    Thanks, Kathy. This climate is the best place I have ever gardened in. That includes Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, California and Texas. Plants just want to grow here.

  19. Rose says:

    What an amazing transformation in such a short time! I love that ‘Veilchenblau’ has always been a part of your garden. Though the garden and the gardener change, there are always some constants in our live, and your rose is a reminder of that.

    Thank you, dear Rose. Roses are certainly something to make life more delightful, human and botanical!

  20. How lovely – all except the crabgrass which is so naughty!!!

    Thanks! Crabgrass is the worst weed in my opinion, maybe second only to poison ivy.

  21. I’m sure that your neighbors are enjoying the ever changing views of the new Fairegarden!

    It has improved greatly over the last year, the neighbor’s view. When the trees and shrubs are larger it should be even better.

  22. Les says:

    I have always admired Veilchenblau, and maybe when I get my next garden, there will be room.

    Hi Les, thanks for visiting. That rose is a favorite of mine even though it only blooms once. It can get quite large but I like to prune.

  23. Carole Sarvis says:

    I enjoy watching your progress. You are doing what I would love to do given a more appropriate climate and better health. Well done !

    Thanks for the support, Carole! This climate is very good for gardening and just living. The seasons are not extreme and winter is short but cold enough for tulips and lilacs to have the chill period needed.

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