Sunday, 14 December 2008

welcome to my little garden

In July my husband and I moved into our first home. This home had a very little garden. We wanted something small and low-maitenance - my husband certainly wasn't interested in doing yard work, and I didn't want to take care of a large garden by myself.

I quickly surprised myself with how much I took to my garden. I had never particularly enjoyed my parents' gardens growing up, though I did spend one summer during uni as a junior groundskeeper. But there's something about it being MY garden - I love it to pieces.

Here are some photos of what we had when we moved in.
This is the view from inside the house into the front garden. A patio, a mosaic, established kumquats, ficus trees pruned into cute little lollipops. This area hasn't changed much since we moved in.

The back corner of the garden, however, has seen some major changes in the last few months. The previous owner planted a lot of beautiful plants to pretty-up the property before they sold it. Sadly, they neglected most of it afterward, or planted things in bad places. To the left are dead camellias (I think it's too sunny there). Then we have a dead cherry tree - it's meant to "weep" but they never cut off the branches growing up from below the graft. The crown was almost completely dead. Then there's that over-grown bed next to the pond - there are two gardenias, two roses, and a lilly-pilly in that bed. That bed could maybe fit ONE of those shrubs, not all 5!

This is the other half of that corner - a scummy goldfish pond and another over-grown bed. You'll also notice the white pebbles. They used them as mulch in the raised bed. Sure it's pretty, but it's not very good for the plants. Instead of barkdust that breaks down and adds organic richness to the soil, rocks ... well, they just make the soil rocky. It took me weeks and weeks with a bucket and a spade, but I eventually dug out every single pebble and replaced it with wood-chip mulch.

I did have a lot to work with though. Look at this fig tree - it's almost three meters tall! It must be over twenty years old and beautifully pruned into a strange and lovely shape.

And here's a young lemon tree at our front gate.

This is a row of birch and plum trees. They didn't get the water they needed, so the crowns of the old plum trees are dead. They should survive with a good hard prune. They were so stressed they didn't make any flowers this year so I don't know what kind of plum they are. With a bit of pampering and a bit of luck, maybe I'll get plums next year.

But probably my greatest assets I had to make myself ... using lots, and lots, and lots, of pots. This was just the beginning of the collection. But more about that later.


M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

Quite the fig. We just got one. Will probably be 25 feet tall in time, as we have more space. I've never had a garden area as small as yours before. I like seeing the small area garden photos online to see how folks maintain and design them.

M. D. Vaden Portland Landscape Design & Trees