Gardening Journey

Can you believe how fast time flies these days? Just as you think you did something "just the other day" turns into years. Case in point - looking back on progress of my gardens.  4 years ago on the same day (St. Patrick) I was totally exhausted from shoveling loads of dirt into the newly build beds that my hubby put together for me after I nagged him that I wanted something more useful than a brown lawn on the front of the house. Or more precisely, I really wanted more space to grow something as our original 5 beds on the side of the house was just not enough. But I guess I should step even further back in time to see bigger picture. Growing up in Ukraine we all gardened - that's how you got your food. You either grow it or foraged for it. And after moving to US I've missed that part of my life. Oh of course I had plants on balconies and patios but it was never the same. So the moment we moved into our home 6 yrs ago, Peter had build be a nice little playground on the side of the house. It was only one side that had more or less sunny location as the back side was filled with very old trees and to grow anything productively you need at least partial sunlight.
He had to work around the protruding fireplace on the side so decided to get creative and build beds in semi-circle design. As we quickly realized that wild life would be an issue given all the deer and groundhogs we saw on the back yard we had to fence it it. And put two "twigs" - cherry trees with the hopes that it will be nice and pretty eventually. And they've been growing into very pretty and productive darlings over the past few years.
It even looks pretty in spring, but of course by the end of summer everything gets overgrown with  grapes sprawling on the fence and pole beans climbing up the supports and sunflowers towering over everything. Still pretty in my view but I'm biased of course :)
And as I said - 5 beds was simply not enough. So my very patient and loving hubby set out to create a new garden. Since back yard was out of question, I finally convinced him to use front lawn. Not everyone would go for this choice, but we had a line of trees separating us from main road and not very visible from sides to the neighbor so we collaborated on the design and he build it. One of the deciding factors was that trees were on the northern side of the lawn and it got a lot of sunlight from east south and some on the west side. It is partially shaded on west, but it worked to our advantage as the garden got shielded at the hottest time of the day but got the beneficial sunlight in morning and early afternoon.  This was crucial for the vegetable garden. And for the shaded part on the left side I wanted to use shade-loving greens.
It was no easy task by any means. We started in first week of March, and as indicated above by St. Patty I was shoveling. Oy. We worked non stop for several weeks, and as soon as the beds were in place and soil was in and amended with peat and perlite to make it lighter (soil was very heavy clay) I started planting. Potatoes were first.
And we kept building around it. The borders were next, then he made an Arbor for the entry. Yup, by hand all by himself. Did I mention how much I love my hubby?
 And we kept shoveling more dirt and planting more and more to make it pretty and tried to keep up with the spring planting season. It was definitely a race as I was determined to have it up and running.
 After the structures were in place and basic seeds were in soil I tried to make it "pretty". A lot of work went into it. But I also wanted to make it functional for a long term so we added grapevines to grow by the fence so we'd have our own grapes for next 30+ yrs.
 That summer it flourished! Outside the garden we paired a lot of flowers like peonies, daffodils, lavender and mixed with herbs like thyme and oregano and some annual flowers to attract pollinator bees and beneficial insects.  And of course by mid-summer it's a green maze! But I love it.
But the journey continues and I'm looking forward to cleaning up both gardens and planting them up in next few weeks and see how they'll do this year. Because this year I'll be traveling a lot more than usual I'm restricting myself on what I'll be planting and sticking to basics.  And of course still working on building out back yard patio, but update on that will be in another post. One step at the time. For now I'm just happy to move along and share all ups and downs with you :)


  1. Great job - your garden looks fabulous! And good job taking all those before photos - in my haste to get things going, I often forget and always end up regretting it.

    1. Thank you, I have to remind myself to take "steps" photos and not just final ones all the time.

  2. You have WONDERFUL gardens! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Nancy