A year in review, part 1

lilac albert f holdenLilac ‘Albert F Holden’ a most recent addition to our new garden

This April 13 will mark our 1 year anniversary in this home and recently Jesse asked me whether I was going to do a “year in review.” I wasn’t planning on it, initially, as I already wrote a 6 month progress report and since then I’ve posted a lot of progress shots. Obviously I changed my mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Butย after this, I’ll just let future posts and photos be as they are without so much scrutiny. (This is Part 1. Part 2 will be the side of the house which Jesse & I think has seen the most transformation.) I’m going to have to apologize one more time for the photo quality. I’ve decided to sell my Nikon and eventually upgrade to a full-frame. That means more cell-phone photos for a little while longer. Sorry!


march 2016Top photo: April, 2015 – Closing day | Bottom photo: March, 2016

Something I love about this part of the garden is all the sun it gets and how much fun I’ve been having planting out those raised beds. Last autumn, I planted some pink Muscari which are just now starting to bloom and recently planted some of these gorgeous Papaver nudicaule ‘Champagne Bubbles’.

pink muscari

champagne bubbles poppies

champagne bubbles poppy


march 2016 - 2Top photo: April, 2015 | Bottom photo: March, 2016

IMG_7001March, 2016

Want to know what my next project will be (besides the sunflower patch)? It’s this oddly shaped border that flanks the gravel path. Here’s the deal: the septic tank–a very strange and new concept for me–is buried right were you see that soil in the grass area. It’s brand new andย the ground keeps sinking as it settles–hence that bare patch. My goal is to broaden this bed and make the whole thing look like part of the garden and not an afterthought while still keeping the area around the tank free from anything too permanent. Hmm, a bit of a challenge!

IMG_7042Left: April, 2015 | Right: March, 2016

march 2016 - 3March, 2016

That’s a cherry tree we’ve planted to the left in the photo above. It’s going to be espaliered but we haven’t gotten around to finishing the setup, yet.

the new garden in spring

Whenever I get new plants, like these Bleeding Heart, I bring them first to this area. It’sย quickly becoming my favorite place to be in the garden and makes me feel a little bit like I’ve got my own private garden center!

IMG_6991Admiring the new Lilac…

planting the bleeding heartLet’s get a close-up of that Dicentra. I’m thrilled to be reintroducingย them.


IMG_6993Top photo: April, 2015 | Bottom photo: Same shed, different view. March, 2016



IMG_7012Top photo: April, 2015 | Bottom photos: March, 2016

IMG_7045Left: May, 2015 | Right: March, 2016

IMG_7048Top photo: May, 2015 | Bottom photo: March, 2016

IMG_7043Top photo: Autumn, 2015 | Bottom photo: March, 2016

clematis twining

What you can’t see in any of these photos of the garden are the close to a dozen Clematis that I planted last spring. They did not bloom very much last year, preferring to sleep the season away. Sometimes Clematis take their sweet ol’ time getting going, but this year they seem to be coming up gangbusters. I love watching their leaf stalks curl around their supports as they wend their way up-up-up!

IMG_7049Left: April, 2015 | Right: March, 2016

IMG_7051Left: May, 2015 | Right: March, 2016 (I get a weird pang when I see photos of that old Honda. That’s the car I was in when I had my accident and it was destroyed. Basically, it saved my life. They’re good cars. But I digress.)

shabby chic garden fence panel

We’ve had a problem with people–myself included–and perhaps a naughty spaniel, cutting through the rose hedge and adjacent border to get to the yard beyond. Enter these fence panels. I plan to go back to get a few more to blockade the area!

IMG_7041Left: April, 2015 | Right: March, 2016

sorbet violas pink halo

See you in April!

30 thoughts on “A year in review, part 1

  1. Wow!!!!! Amazing transformation ๐Ÿ™‚ really looks great!!ยก love the house white. Can i asked where you got your beautiful blooming lilac with all the flowers !!! So gorgeous!!! Have left a few behind at other houses and it breaks my heart not to have one blooming. They take forever here in the South. Though we are in zone 7.

    1. Thank you so much, Phyllis! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I do completely understand about leaving lilacs behind…I planted a hedge of all different varieties the year before we moved so I never even got to see them bloom. We got this new one at BB Barns in Arden. Hope that helps!

  2. Wow. Can it be possible that is the same house? Plus all the work you did inside. I love your new lilac. There is nothing like that smell. So grateful that you have your own house again, and you demonstrate what it is like to make something beautiful!

    1. Right?! I feel like we haven’t stopped working on the house since the day we moved in! I just love lilacs, too. I can’t stop going over and smelling the flowers on the one we bought. Heaven!

    1. Fortunately, I don’t have to hide a structure–like hollyhocks once did with outhouses–I just need to not plant anything permanent in case work ever needs to be done on the system. I’m thinking annuals are going to be the way to go. Thank you for the reminder about hollyhocks, though. I love those flowers and think I might need to plant some again! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. You guys are amazing! Everything looks so fresh and you did such a great job documenting. I love seeing a garden in progress, it gives so much inspiration. The grown in ones with overflowing flowers are gorgeous to see but this process with these views helps me break down a garden’s structure as I try and design my own. I’ve learned so much from your blog. Thanks a million!
    Also, the sweet peas you sent me are up and blooming and ARE AWESOME! Long stems and such pretty colors, thanks again. ๐Ÿ’™

    1. Thank you Eve I am so happy to hear you say that, because I’m the same way! I feel like we’re bombarded on Pinterest and IG and the like with photos of these amazing gardens that seem so perfect they can’t be real. Sometimes I feel bad posting these very not pretty photos so I’m relieved that someone is getting some benefit from them! That’s just amazing about your sweet peas–I am thrilled that they are doing so well for you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Oh, how lovely! I’ve so enjoyed these pictures and the ones from your other recent posts. I had at least 50 pots of things in my own personal “garden center” last fall and have planted almost all of them, much to my husband’s relief. Is the pollen bad yet up your way?

    1. Yes the pollen is bad right now….it’s on *everything*. That’s so funny about your containers and good for you to get them planted! I’m sure my husband and yours could commiserate; I had so many containers in our driveway at the old house he had to park on the road. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Oh I do so love all the before and afters!!! So glad you did a year in review!! Gorgeous!!!

  6. Wow! It doesn’t even look like the same place! You can tell there is so much more light and an open feel to the garden. Thanks for posting the before and after pictures – it’s inspiring! I wanted to know which rose you have in the beautiful urn? Can’t wait to see your garden in bloom – have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you Cole! That was the plan–more light–so I’m happy it’s noticeable! That rose in the urn is Lady of Shalott. This time around, I purchased the own-root version and it’s pretty spindly looking. I’m hoping it bulks up this summer and blooms like our old one did. (We also have Jubilee Celebration and Lichfield Angel as own-root in urns and they’re also really tiny.) You have a wonderful weekend, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Can’t believe all the work you guys have done in one year!! Makes me wonder what I’ve been doing with my spare time ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh right, the toddler…

    Also we’re clearly on some psychic plant-sharing frequency, because I just planted a cherry tree, a lilac (President Lincoln for me, though that Holden looks gorgeous!), and some fringed bleeding hearts. We’re going with the “small fruit tree” pruning method instead of espalier, but there was a crazy moment when I thought about making the whole front fence out of espaliered apple trees. :}

    1. Hahaha! Yeah, a toddler is like a full-time job, and then some. That’s so funny we are buying the same plants these days….definitely a psychic moment because we talked of doing a fenceline of espaliered fruit trees, too! Actually, what I’d truly love is apple trees trained over an arched tunnel. *sigh* Someday? Have a wonderful time enjoying your lovely spring garden! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I have been catching up on so many posts! Your house and garden are really moving along. The snow is done melting here in Utah and we have had daffodils for two weeks and now tulips. I really cannot wait to see what your beds fill with this summer.
    Here it will be more xeriscaping for us and a dry creek bed. A good thing I love ornamental grasses!

    1. Ahhhh I love a dry creek bed. I have a memory of helping my mom build one in our old garden when I was a kid. Back then, I thought she was nuts making me haul rocks from one place to the next but it was lovely when it was completed. Your garden just sounds so amazing…I love what you’re doing with it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Oh my goodness, what a big difference, beautiful transformation!!!! I can’t wait to see when all the flowers are in full bloom ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you Alma! I can’t wait for those beds to fill up, too. It’s been so chilly but I do have some seedlings going in our little greenhouse. Soon, soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Love the white on the house…love the openness and the light. Love the gravel paths and the raised beds too! But I really love that fence panel! So cool! Definitely get some more of those!
    It all looks wonderful!

    1. Hooray! Thanks Holly! I’m having a bit of a snafu with that panel. I picked it up the other day to move it into place and a shower of paint chips came off of it. Grr. Onto plan B….. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Dreams coming true through such hard work. Congratulations on your progress. You encourage us all to keep moving forward on our own dreams. And you give us courage to take clippers and diggers in hand for the good of all in the months and years to come.
    Beautiful on every level. Thank you.

  12. Mercy, Laurie! …..and, you can’t really count winter, so all this in maybe 9 months? You need a vacation! but what gardener wants to leave home during growing season?! ๐Ÿ˜ถ You certainly have a vision and a knack for design.

    1. That is so kind, Andrea! Most days I feel like “what the heck am I doing?” so I’m glad it’s starting to look pulled together. And yes, we need a vacation, haha! I was just saying those exact same words. ….Beach-Beach-Beach…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Wow! Everything is looking wonderful! What a lot of work you’ve done, Laurie! Looking forward to seeing it as your garden progresses (and when it’s in full bloom!).

    1. Thank you Anne! I can’t wait for the weather to settle down a bit so we can really get to the fun stuff! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Just beautiful, we started almost from scratch too, I love a good transformation! All that you’ve done is wonderful, I esp like that you painted the old shed dark gray!

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