This tour of my garden is seven years after I started my garden from scratch. In that time I have added lots of flowering perennials, fruit trees, shrubs, raised beds for vegetables, privacy screens, and garden art.
Want to see how it started? This shows garden photos year by year as it changed from a bare lot to a healthy flower garden.
Home Garden Tour
I start every day by looking out the back window and taking a photo of my garden.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you know I do not regard gardening as a project with a beginning and an end, but a lifelong experience to—as corny as it sounds—work, play, and grow.
My garden has super-sandy soil. This means some plants spread like complete maniacs—daisies, evening primrose, bee balm (Monarda)—and, others, quite mysteriously, vanish without a trace. Poof.
You may notice in the photos that I have a bunch of bamboo sticks in the garden beds. This year I’m marking certain plants to see if I can determine which ones disappear. I want to crack the case!
It’s no big deal in the great scheme of The Wonderfulness of Having a Garden: just a puzzle to solve.
As I have said before, it’s really not about the garden itself, but the process of being in it, while things grow, change, and transform, that makes it wonderful. Healing. Therapeutic. Encouraging. Intriguing. Enjoyable. And all that.
My Empire of Dirt
I took these photos and the video after it rained. It’s early for many of the flowers, which won’t burst open for a couple of weeks yet, but there’s something about the green-fulness of this stage that I love. Perhaps because it contains so much anticipation, yet it’s still fairly calm.
I have several projects underway, as you’ll see. I don’t really like to leave things half done (perhaps to a fault), but I make exceptions when it’s worth waiting for free materials to find me.
Ok. Let’s walk around.
The first photo (below) shows the view from the screened patio.
Keen readers may notice the new circular bricks and brickwork along the edges of the garden beds.
I found these bricks buried in other parts of the yard (another symptom of sandy soil—things gradually sink!) and thought they would look great by the patio.
I’ll share the whole project when it’s ready. I still have to find more (free) bricks to finish it.
Here’s the garden in 2011:
Here’s June 2017. The shed did not move. I just photographed from a different vantage point. You can read about the shed paint makeover here.
I’m debating which creeping thyme to plant between the bricks. All in good thyme.
Okay. Let’s walk around.
I got the white birdhouse at a yard sale. This year I used leftover shoe bags from another project you will see (below) to put flowers on the roof.
The birdhouse is sitting on the legs of an old kitchen bar stool. It works nicely on the swivel stand. Wrens nest in it each spring.
The blue ladder is the same paint color as the shed door. One of my daughter’s chose it and it has become the theme color for the garden.
The pond has attracted a lot of frogs and toads. Plus I have a lot of goldfish. Good to know the frog population will be growing. Ahem.
This next photo shows the pond I installed last year.
I did not give it a spring clean-up because the frogs were mating early and I didn’t want to disturb the 100,000 tadpoles.
Then, after getting the water clear (using the Empress of Dirt pond batting method), I accidentally dropped a flower planter into the water, spilling the soil. Oy!
Now, when it rains, the water gets murky until the soil settles again. Silly, Empress. But, the fish and frogs are happy and healthy, so all is well.
The floating planters (free instructions here) in the pond offer shade and hiding spots for the fish.
This junk art door came from a roadside find.
See: Farmhouse Door Makeover
The delphiniums (below) really like this spot so that is where they will stay. It took a few tries as they did not like the sandy soil.
Now that it’s loaded with compost (and holds more moisture), they are much happier.
Related: Delphinium Growing Tips
My mini greenhouse (made from roadside free windows a few years ago) got a green roof this year using shoe bags to hold flowering annuals.
Next, we are by the black walnut tree, which is squirrel and chipmunk central.
In the back corner I have my asparagus patch and a lot of weeds.
It’s also my garden nursery area where I stash plants until I have a place for them in the main garden.
The planting area in front of the shed is a work in progress. I am not fond of the hostas.
On the other side of the shed (below) is the site of our former swimming pool.
The year after posting this I turned this area into a yard waste area including my branch crib.
We always have huge numbers of bees (many species). This year I’m also seeing a good number of butterflies.
Five years ago, it was Monarch-mania. Then the die-offs happened, and I’d see just a few each week.
So far, this year looks promising for better numbers. No photos. Just a note so I’ll remember this.
Here a bee is going deep for nectar:
My obsession this year is groups of three. These pots are old sap buckets. I spray painted three and let three of them rust:
The raised bed with privacy wall was added last summer after I built the pond.
It’s been great for better privacy, weather protection for the plants, and more garden art display opportunities.
The wood screen in the next photo was found at the side of the road. I eventually moved it from this location and built a different gate. It didn’t quite do what I hoped.
More delphinium beauty:
There is an espaliered apple tree in the raised bed (below).
I installed guide wires, though I’m undecided about how much I want to train or prune it. I don’t like things to look too tamed, as you have probably surmised.
Other food sources in the garden include several dwarf apples, a cherry tree, currants, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and veggie crops in the other raised beds.
I grow strawberries in containers around the garden but it has become evident that the chipmunks love them as much as I do.
The new plan is to start them outside and then continue growing them in the screened patio. The chipmunks do find their way in there sometimes but it’s a slower theft system.
This is the view from the house:
These final photos were taken from my favorite, mosquito-free resting spot on the screened patio.
I’ve got the seed feeder for the goldfinches (and friends), and the hummingbird feeder. I do enjoy sitting on the porch swing, watching the birds go about their business.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. It’s not an award-winning, gobsmacking garden. Just my little piece of the world.
With July on the way (peak garden season), it will be a whole different color show in just a few weeks.
If you have garden pictures or creative outdoor projects to share, you can post them any time on the Empress of Dirt Facebook page. We would love to see them.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛