Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Feature: "This Week In My Midwest Gardens"

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My "birthday angel" in the garden.

I am a Gardener.

Like most things that I do, I'm passionate about it.  I'm the type of gardener who, each spring, removes  large sections of my lawn and plants more stuff until it has gotten to the point that there's barely any lawn left. This suits me just fine. I also have window boxes and planters full of stuff that most people can't pronounce.I grow them because they're pretty, or unusual.
I'm what some people call a "plant collector".   I've been studying ornamental horticulture, landscape design, and taking Master Gardening classes since I was in my early 20's and I began my garden design business shortly thereafter.

Here are a couple of photos to show you what I mean. 

My Last House:  Front yard "before"



and "after" (six years later)

Rear yard "before"

and "after"


 Eight years ago, I moved into my current home. The lot was a "tear down".  This meant that they took the existing home, pushed it into a huge hole, and scooped the debris out to make room for the new house.

It also meant that the ground was stripped bare and driven over by heavy equipment for the nearly two years that it took to complete the building.  The "soil" was hard- pan, yellow clay with broken glass, bathroom tile, bits of roofing material, leftover rocks and construction debris with about 2 inches of black topsoil spread over it.  When I tell you that I started with "ZERO", I mean it!

My current house, when we moved in on January 1. There wasn't even grass. We grew it from seed in the spring when the weather warmed up. Until then, we had mud and a plywood sidewalk.
Front yard "before"


Front yard, last spring: (eight years later)

I've done all of  the design, 90% of the hard-scape, 100% of the planting (with help from family and friends for the big trees, eight dump trucks full of compost and nine tons of stone that we've used in this yard...so far) and 100% of the maintenance.

The only "professional services that I've used are:  the low voltage company for the installation of low voltage in the front yard and a contractor for the building of the pergola in the back yard. I also had someone build part of the fire pit in the back yard. The rest is all  "DIY".

Trust me when I say "I've done it ALL". From laying two flagstone patios to pouring concrete footings for a stone terrace. Planting trees, shrubs and perennials. I've installed a 2,800 gallon pond, built stacked and mortared retaining walls, and not one but TWO fire pits with limestone seat walls. 
Pond and waterfall

Cutting and Herb Garden


I thought that it might be fun to share with you some of what I've learned over the last, oh, "twenty or so" years, doing garden design and installation not only for myself but for others. To that end, I've decided that, beginning this Friday, I'll be doing a "In My Garden This Week" post. It'll contain tips, tricks, what's in bloom, projects that I'm working on, and anything else that YOU would like to see.  How does that sound?

My current back yard, midway through the "remodel" in summer of 2010. I'll explain what we did and why in a future post.

Let me know your thoughts. First post this Friday.

xo,

S