I'm celebrating my blog's eighth birthday. I wrote my first posting on Thursday, February 21, 2008, nearly three years after I began creating my gardens. This is what I said,
"Like many of you, I long for springtime to arrive! As my garden is currently covered with snow and ice, I have a little more time on my hands, so I feel this is a good time to begin a blog that shares with others my passion for gardening.
I'm repeating the 'before' pictures from that first posting and adding more recent 'after' pictures as my gardens continue to evolve into a space that better reflects my dream of creating an English cottage garden in the Poconos.
THE SHADE GARDEN
Nothing would grow under the old cedar tree, so I tried no-dig gardening, sometimes called lasagna gardening.
|Marked out the new garden with rocks -- lots of those in the Poconos.|
No-dig gardening involves layering newspaper, organic material, peatmoss and soil.
|I soaked each layer with water, made top soil the final layer.|
I planted the new garden with shade lovers like hostas and many native plants such as lamium and foam flower. We put a fence behind the shade garden to frame it. We added a swing as a place to relax.
|Shade plants provide wonderful texture. A peaceful garden.|
Last year we replaced the 'naked lady' (grandsons' name for the statue) with a new one.
|The statue is the focal point of the shade garden.|
We built a patio from Pennsylvania blue stone given us by a friend who didn't need it when he moved to another state. We did most of the work ourselves.
|H.H. tamped down the base of sand before we laid the stone.|
We positioned the slabs of bluestone like completing a jigsaw puzzle. A small retaining wall was needed and I made that myself, well most of it. As the summer heated up I worked slower and slower. H.H.'s brother-in-law, a mason, came to the rescue and finished the top few layers.
|This is how the patio looked when first completed. We were terribly proud of it.|
The patio is wearing well. We removed the small stones in the cracks and put in a more durable material.
|The patio is small but serviceable. It is now a private, fenced area.|
|Last year, I added the herb garden to a corner of the patio.|
THE COTTAGE GARDEN
H.H. used a rototiller in the area I marked out for the first cottage garden bed. The following picture is interesting because there is no kitchen garden across the driveway. Also, the driveway wasn't blacktopped back then. The first photograph on this posting shows the entrance garden and blacktopped driveway installed a couple of years ago.
|Our grandsons call this machine 'Pappy's tillerator.'|
|The first year.|
|Improvement on the first year.|
|This is the exact area H.H. is tilling in the tillerator picture.|
THE KITCHEN GARDEN
I grew vegetables in containers before designing the kitchen garden. The kitchen garden began with a potting shed. It was placed further from the house than I wanted because of the specifications in the township permit. We enclosed the area with fencing.
|The sloping glass window gives the potting shed some attributes of a greenhouse.|
|The potting shed is the focal point of the kitchen garden.|
|I practice square-foot gardening in raised beds.|
|Cottage garden flowers on each side of the fence attract pollinators.|
Cottage-garden herbaceous borders surrounded a lawn where we decided to place a pond with a waterfall. With the help of friends and family we did the work ourselves.
|I marked out the pond with white paint.|
|We installed a simple waterfall|
Unfortunately, we didn't know what we were doing, and the waterfall and pump weren't sufficient to keep the pond clean. We called in a pond company to rework the waterfall.
|New waterfall with two tiers.|
There are many gardening challenges in the Poconos including rocky ground and a high deer population. One of the worst problems on our property is the large amount of invasives. Multiflora rose was everywhere when we started. H.H. works every year to keep them out of the main garden.
|Wall of multiflora rose covering a tree.|
|The pear tree to the right of the swing is the one previously covered by multiflora rose.|
In spite of the challenges, I love this journey, and I love recording it through my postings. Happy eighth birthday, dear blog!
|Grandson and I made five miniature gardens|
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