Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Geez........ it sure felt more like LABOR Day!

OK, maybe it WAS the 4th of July, but it sure felt more like Labor Day!  I was a woman on a mission to get at least ONE garden I could call "complete".  After 2 summers of looking at clay, dandelions, and bunnies with an attitude - I wanted to say, "Here!  I really DID have a plan! ... for real !!"

A reminder...... "The Before":

Then, (reminder #2) there was... "The Plan":

Then ("Ta Da!") there was the 'execution of the plan' -- the "After":

The 'key' ingredients are my "anchors", as I've mentioned before.  The Royal Purple Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple') has doubled in size since last year.  I just LOVE that baby!  It will be a cornerstone and top out at 15 ft tall (and 12 ft wide - according to specifications, give or take).  The Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') will be another 15 footer, and if I can keep it alive - the Berri-Magic Royalty Holly ("Blue Prince"/"Blue Princess" Ilex x meserveae) will mature to an 8 ft tall/6 ft wide evergreen just west of the front stoop.  (I'm trying to stay patient as they grow - as I normally look for instant gratification.  Not something I'm proud of!)

Here are a few close-ups, for a detailed peek of what's growing...

I snuck the New Guinea Impatiens ('Painted Paradise Red Improved') behind the Hostas for a "pop" hit.  The Purple Fountain Grass is a 'must have' annual in my gardens.  I usually cave and buy many in any given year.  I also like how it complimented the color of the Smoke Tree next to it.  Always a guppy for Cosmos - this year I planted them in the front, to have your eye travel around the shape of the garden - following a white/pink theme, ultimately landing on the front stoop where the New Guinea Impatiens ("Sonic Sweet Purple") (...looked like hot pink to me?!!) is perched.

Look at the new growth on the Purple Smoke Bush and the 'clouds'  of pink!  This is the 2nd growth spurt, the first came in late spring.  Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

So my mission was to do one final weeding, then mulch like crazy - so the garden looked finished, not just a work-in-progress.  There was not a shred of daylight by the time I finished, but even my patient neighbors across the street stopped by to say how nice it looked!  These are the folks I apologize to all the time, because they have looked at our 'clay & weeds' all last year from their front picture window!  (It had to be one 'butt ugly' view!! ... and let's not go down that road.)

If getting one garden finished felt so good - getting two done would be 'Nirvana', wouldn't it?!! ......

So after a day of "Independence" revelry, I engaged the services of my dear betrothed to help me in the back gardens.  I heard mumbling ..something about him being "just the laborer"... and "when was he going to get to plant 'pansies'", or did he say he felt like a Pansie?  I get confused after a full day in the heat, wind and sunshine!

What started off 2 summers ago, looking like.... 
Ended up yesterday, looking like....
Believe me, I know I have a long, long way to go!  Some of you have been gardening for years and have gardens that look more like an Arboretum.  I envy you.  I covet your gardens.  But in the end, I'm a simple 'girl' with big aspirations.... so some day 'when I grow up', I'll have a 'big girl' gardens too!  (and as little grass as possible!)  Happy gardening my mentors and fellow enthusiasts....


  1. From one simple girl to another, I love your garden! lol. I had to start with a blank canvas, and most days I still feel like my canvas is nowhere near being filled lol.

  2. Well here's another simple girl ... no arboretum or fabulous show garden at my place ... and I'm also impressed by your work so far. The front garden is coming along so well ... and the back garden bed looks great. Love the pots and plants near your back door.

  3. looks you have to invite us over for drinks and a garden walk about. Wishing a day in the future for you when you say...hmm the beds are getting crowded...I must expand.

  4. Isn't it satisfying when something finally gets finished? It's right up there with that third year of growth when plants suddenly look established and mature. I'm very impressed with how much you've accomplished here. I've had to adjust to the fact that it takes me years to get even a small flower bed completed. Ah, but that feeling of satisfaction when it's finally done! Congrats on a job well done. -Jean

  5. Your garden looks great! I do love your purple smoke bush! You have worked hard, and it's great to see that work paying off so beautifully. For sure, gardening is for both body and soul. It teaches us many life lessons and instills godly qualities in us. #1: Patience!

  6. Your hard work is paying off!! Looking magnificent!

  7. Hi Shyrlene,
    Oh, I know what your purple smoke bush is going to look like since I saw several while in Buffalo, NY with the garden bloggers. Otherwise I wouldn't have any idea what you were talking about. I LOVED them and yours is perfect where you sited it. I'm a simple girl too. You have to feel really good about getting your plans from paper to the soil. It all looks really great. Gardening is all about a little at a time and every plant counts toward making our dreams come true. Great job.

  8. Fabulous transformation! i love seeing the before & after photo's! Thank you for sharing at Cottage Flora Thursday's garden party & looking forward to seeing your garden as it grows this summer! oxox, tracie

  9. Oh my goodness I just love what you have done here!!

  10. It's coming along nicely! I remember when I first moved here...nothing but weeds and bad soil.
    Hang in there!


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