Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring 2009 – Now What ?!!

Ok, it’s a “blank canvas” – all of it, front yard and back yard!

My view off the front stoop… March 2009

My view from the 3-Season room ...March 2009

(See those Redtwig Dogwoods in back, with a potted perennial – not so inconspicuously hiding behind it?) 

More naked back yard – more mud and leaves… March 2009
(Oh! Another potted perennial!)

Even the bunnies were coming to the door going --- “Hello! What is up with this mud slick, my babies are hungry!”  (You think I kid about this?)

April 2007 – this was in the big pot on our back deck. Bunny Foo Foo opted to ‘repurpose’ it for a bunny nest. My daughter went crazy – with lots of “oh’s & ah’s! She actually took this shot. But once Mama Bunny saw us checking out the babies through the window, they disappeared over night. The ‘Bunny Buffet’ had become the “Bunny Bed & Breakfast. (But I digress…)

I had been tirelessly researching plants, clipping pictures from garden magazines with garden features I liked, and drawing up garden plans on graph paper. Yep, I borrowed my daughter’s colored pencils too – it was great therapy!
This was one of my sketches for the garden in the front yard.

Another sketch for the backyard – didn’t get to color this one! I was even roughing in an idea for the shape of the paver patio. I have a whole other set of drawings for that!! But this gives you an idea of my thought process.

The planning started with target areas for where I wanted gardens. Then what did I want for “anchor” plants? Would they be bushes or large perennials? And WHAT grows fast – but isn’t invasive?

(Deep cleansing breath … don’t freak out! This was usually where my husband would step in and say something profound like, “Relax! Remember, you don’t have to do it all in a day! If it was done in a day, what would you have to do each year – for the rest of your life?”  Ha!  Goes to show what he knows?!)

So in the spring and summer of 2009, I paced myself with the ‘cash & carry’ concept. If I had ‘cabin fever’ and there was some extra cash in my wallet – I would go to one of my favorite nurseries and window shop for plants. After months of planning & garden ‘journaling’ about the yard, it felt refreshing to be spontaneous! I knew I wanted to start with the ‘Shade Garden’ next to my 3-Season room, since that was where I spent the most of my time.

Here are the initial results:

I am very proud of the stepping stones, as I mentioned in a previous blog – they were repurposed from the sidewalk that was demo’d during construction. Again, my husband handled that ‘big job’ – God bless him!


  1. Loved the 'my babies are hungry' line. And your colored originally thought it came straight out of Garden Gate mag or one of those garden kit catalogues...amazing. Keep up the good work...looking forward to seeing this season's plantings.

  2. Shyrlene, I am so impressed by your drawings. I don't seem to have the ability to think this big (very bad spatial reasoning skills). Instead, I have to take one area at a time and concentrate on designing and planting it. I really love the tall metal sculpture in your shade garden, and the stepping stones are beautiful. It will be fun to see how much these plants have filled in this year. -Jean

  3. Shyrlene,
    I'm enjoying this process... the drawings are fabulous and hearing the way you think is very fun, too. Gardening takes a lot of planning and research to do it correctly or I should say to do it with space, maturity of plants, placement etc. in mind. Those stones are wonderful... you did a smart thing repurposing them.

  4. Wow, you really went through a lot with the renovations! I don't know if I would have the patience for that. I'm a very high-strung person lol. Not in a make-everyone-miserable way (I don't think), but in a give-myself-ulcers way :P
    Love the blog, I'll definitely be back :D

  5. Years ago we did a renovation much like yours in Calgary. I can relate. I'm enjoying your drawings and your writing. I'm a big fan of gardening mags as well to learn about gardening. We've both started at Blotanical at almost the same day and I'm sure I'll be checking back to see your garden's progress. BTW, the baby bunnies are cute, even though I know that you must be totally annoyed at their ravenous ways. Here in Victoria, lots of gardeners are dealing with deer.

  6. It's a good thing it was rainy & nasty out today! I've been online, visiting garden blogs all afternoon! The brain-trust of experience and creativity is fantastic.

    I can't thank you all enough for your comments and feedback! For the last 5 years my garden network has been my 2 best buds, Lizz & Judy - and I think I drive them crazy (but then, THEY were responsible for getting me into gardening - so turnabout is fair play)!


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