This is my garden two years after starting from scratch. It was originally a grass lawn with some trees.
For more, also see these other tours of my garden.
My Garden At Age Two
This little tour shows my garden in July. It’s just two years old now, still a wee toddler. Come along as I walk you through and we see what’s going on.
First, here’s how it looked during the summer of 2011 when I first started planting. Before then it was all grass lawn – there’s a photo at the end of this post in case you’re curious.
In the second photo, July 2013, you may notice that the view of the shed at the back of the yard is obscured by the walnut tree branches. A recent storm partially tore a large limb from the trunk and the branches are all hanging by a thread. I’m going to have to get a tall ladder and chainsaw to remove them.
Of course my first thought after the storm was, Yay! I can use those branches to build stuff!
Perennial Beds By The House
My garden has several beds near the house, separated by lawn pathways. I can’t do much with the back of the yard: the big trees hog the space.
There are actually some shrubs planted amongst the perennials but they will take several years to fill the spaces the way I am envisioning it.
We had copious amounts of rain in June, which triggered huge growth spurts with the flowering perennials, but it also seemed to exhaust them. While I would normally have bee balm and daisy blooms for two months solid, both were starting to look ragged within two weeks of blooming.
My beloved purple monardas (bee balm) lasted just one week. Fortunately the reds have lasted a little longer and we have lots of hummingbirds competing for them.
One Very Bossy Hummingbird
We have one particularly feisty hummingbird who believes he is the boss of everything. I have now seem him not only chase other hummers out of the garden, but he also goes after bumble bees, chickadees, cardinals, finches, and squirrels! Wasps must pose a real threat because he will abandon the hummingbird feeder when they come along.
I get the hummingbird photos using my Birdcam (see what I think of it here).
And the chipmunk gets a free pass too.
What Loved The Rains
The spring-blooming clematis vines managed to hold their flowers until mid-July. I guess they enjoyed all that rain…
I had planned this year to renovate my little pond. I was intending to actually convert it to a raised bed pond but then we had our first frog mating night and plans had to change.
As far as I understand, some types of frogs all mate on the same night. The males let out these incredibly loud calls to attract the females. The calls would make them vulnerable to predators, but, because they all do this on the same night, they outnumber the hawks and owls.
Late in May we heard these deafening calls one evening. We knew there must be one loud male who found our pond, even though we had never had frogs in it before.
A week later it was filled with thousands of tadpoles. Now, two months later, they have reduced down in number to hundreds of boxy-looking frog wannabes. At first the tadpoles all stayed near the surface, but as they’ve grown, they all now congregate on the bottom of the pond. It will fun to see how many full-fledged frogs we end up with.
So, that thwarted my plan to change to pond. It’s been fun to watch the tadpole transformation instead.
My old garden was filled with daisies and this tradition has carried on. I start all of them from seed.
I’ve made just a few new garden art pieces and structural changes so far this year. As usual, time outpaces my plans! As posted previously, I got a great deal on a used wooden arbour to replace the temporary one that was getting too shaky.
My favourite junk man also gave me a great deal on some old tools to decorate the fence and a beautiful old gate.
I also made some garden art toadstools. I wanted to have my tacky little gnome in the garden but he looked so out of context on his own. The toadstools provided the perfect little setting both for him and his pet toad.
I have 7 raised beds for vegetables and test nurseries. This year the brassicas (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts) have done very well. They seemed to enjoy the very wet month of June and tolerate the heat wave that followed.
I also have lots of mesclun salad greens (my favourite for dinner every night).
My little apple and plum trees are loaded with fruit —though the squirrels are gradually stealing them. The birds already devoured all the cherries. The grape vine is filled with grape clusters but the vine seems to have caught the nearby hollyhock rust. Boo!
Things which have not loved the weather are peas, carrots, parsley, and a whole bunch more of my usual crops.
I also have approximately 80 tomato plants. They are all growing in large containers, distributed around the garden. They are tall and strong but so slow to flower this year!
But whenever things seem too slow, I remind myself of how it looked just two years ago:
Bees & Butterflies
A lot of gardeners are reporting a decline in butterflies this year. I’ve certainly noticed a drastic change in the number of Monarchs here (Southwestern Ontario, Canada). I think I’ve only seen 3 so far —last year I would see around 25 each day. There are several other types of butterflies around, though.
The wasps and bees, however, are abundant. My flowers and hummingbird feeders attract masses of them each day.
My life as a gardener was deeply inspired by the gardens of Tasha Tudor.