THE SECRET GARDEN(er)

1 (14)It’s a funny thing arriving to the age I am and realizing that I’m too old for some things (i.e. miniskirts and all-night roller skating) and too young for others (i.e. a diary totally consisting of doctor visits and/or reading the obits each morning). This in-betweeness is a bit like being a teenager again except with a lot less energy! Perhaps that’s why this latest fascination of mine has taken hold.

The fact that I (instead of my mother or sister) ended up with this house still makes me laugh. The gardens here are extensive and ever since spring showed up my mother has been green with envy over not only the size of the gardens, but all the different sorts of plants we have that she’s not seen before. 1 (15)1 (6) 1 (11)

From my earliest days, I remember her dragging us to the greenhouse as soon as spring hit to get some new blooms for around the house or to take to the graves at the cemetery. It was something that continued all through spring and summer. Flowers – planting them and nurturing them – have long been her thing. But even through all those trips, the only flower I could positively identify was a geranium.

When my sister bought a home, she too caught the gardening bug preferring to spend her days out of doors planning and planting. These days, she’s almost obsessed by it. It’s definitely her thing.

Me, on the other hand, I’ve never been one to want flowers around. Mostly, I confess, due to my great aversion to bees and bugs of any sort. To me, having flowers was an invitation to bees to come and make getting in and out of my doors a dangerous undertaking.

When spring hit this year – our first spring in this new home – blooms began appearing one by one and soon we realized the gardens were set to bloom in phases…..flowers would die in one place and others would spring up somewhere else – a virtual rainbow of colours coming out of the ground all the time. After spending the long winter here inside looking out upon white day after day, it became quite attracting – this bloomfest we had going on. Happily, the plants in place were ones that matched my own tastes and I really began to enjoy this. I found myself spending more and more time outside checking the changes each day and reporting to my mother and sister with many photos and excited e-mails. 1 (17)However, with the buds and blooms along came weeds! I was told by mother and sister, “Don’t touch! You don’t know what you’re doing! We’ll come and instruct you. We’ll help.” 1 (16)And so we waited. The neighbours nearby all started receiving great truckloads of mulch and spent many days spreading it around their own perfect little gardens. Our gardens sat here untouched. Soon, it was quite obvious the weeds were beginning to overtake the blooms and buds. Finally, my parents came for a visit and my mother patiently took me around showing me which things could be pulled, which should be trimmed, and what not to touch.

Husband and I got busy. It took a couple of weeks but finally it was time for mulch. Mulch was another new realm for us. Thankfully, a neighbour was most helpful in sharing where to order, how much she thought we would need, and what the heck to do with it after it arrived. We ordered 3 yards and spread it all in one day. We were told later the neighbours here were amazed that we managed that much. (Neighbours here a good bit older than us and amazingly must move even slower than I do now!)

Having gotten caught up and with the grounds now passing muster with the rest of the neighbourhood, I got interested in perpetuating this whole bloomfest idea. I passed a garden centre one day and it honestly looked so attractive and yet still a bit mysterious I just had to stop in.1 (2) That first trip to a garden centre achieved a new flowering shrub and a small but awesome ornamental garden bench! After that trip, there were others bringing cool new plants and more flowering shrubs. I’ve acquired quite a few new hangouts….

1 (12) 1 (1) 1 (7) 1 (3) 1 (18)   1 (2)1 (3)  1 (13)    1 (8)1 (4) A whole new world has been unveiled to me – gazing balls, statues, flags, benches, blooms of every colour, size, and shape. What I’ve learned in so short a time is astounding! I have a whole new vocabulary – I’m still not sure it’s even me when I hear myself naming all these flowers and trees. Finally, I begin to understand the attraction to this world my mother had always had. I can see sense in the ‘madness’ of visiting a greenhouse.

Speaking of madness, this is my vote for weirdest garden statue ever!

1 (9)Another excursion earned us a new tree! There is a great fulfillment in planting a new tree of your choosing. I’m so happy we managed to do it this first year in the house. Now it will be part of our story here and we’ll watch it grow along with us. As a matter of fact, it felt so good to plant that tree (okay, to watch my husband plant that tree) that yesterday I came home with another new tree!               1My husband is beginning to see a pattern…..when I brought him out to the driveway upon my return yesterday, he got that certain look in his eye….the look that knows it’s time to get the work gloves and shovel. I wish I could reassure him. However, I am getting pretty good at recognizing growth – even the growth of an obsession. There’s a children’s book called, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie which talks about all the accoutrements that mouse is going to need to go with the cookie (i.e. glass of milk, a straw for the milk, etc.) I think that idea applies here too……if you give a girl a garden……

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70 thoughts on “THE SECRET GARDEN(er)

  1. A fascinating glimpse into an alien – to me – world, Torrie. As always, fabulous pictures and glorious writing! Although I LOVE nature, in our household it is my husband who is in charge of greenery. I greatly enjoy the fruits of his endeavours, though, and am delighted that you are making such a roaring success of your garden.

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    • It still feels alien to me too, Anna, though I will admit these trees are something quite fun right now! I, too, have a husband that is ‘in charge’ of the greenery….I am mostly Planning and Purchasing, with the occasional “stand beside him and make impressed sounds as he works!” Hah! Have done my fair share on weeding and mulching this year….from here on out, I think I’m just going to stick to the easy stuff!

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  2. How lucky you are to have inherited a garden from someone who lovingly put it together!! I can just imagine the suspense and joy as it has unfolded for you.

    I confess I’m still in the category of the hopelessly inept gardener. I’m delighted from year to year if something survives the summer and then resurfaces in the spring.

    Having said that, one corner of my world looks pretty good today after I spent several hours weeding. My reward for all that work is a shoulder that is emitting enough pain to feel like I’m having a heart attack … and no, I’m not really having a heart attack, I just have a chronic injury from a cycling accident 4 years ago.

    I need a gardener. Interested 😉

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    • “Hopelessly inept..” about describes us as well, Joanne. We muddle through it but it’s very much figuring things out as we go along and constantly asking people this or that. But I guess that’s how we learn and all part of the process……I am already worrying whether my additions to the gardens here will last through the winter……it still amazes me that I just pick up a pot at a garden centre, bring it here, he plonks it in a hole, and it doesn’t die! What a novel experience! I think we’re not the people to become your gardeners, though……am quite sure you’d watch us for a few minutes and decide any pain in shoulder was less than we would be inflicting on your mind! LOL.

      Am so very sorry to hear about that shoulder! I hope you’re resting it and not aggravating it further in the name of a few weeds! You have to stay in shape for Thailand!

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  3. You’re so lucky! Your garden sounds wonderful and so enjoyable! The statue clearly is slightly alarming – I wonder whether you hide it behind a door or secret path and it scares the living daylights out of any unwelcome visitors? Make the most of such beautiful environment to live in – sounds idyllic! I’m exceedingly jealous 😊😊😊

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  4. Ha, ha, welcome to middle age! I have a friend who is in a similar situation to yours, where they inherited a garden from the past owners of their house. Like you, they stepped up to the plate and they are falling in love with gardening. All the houses we’ve had came with gardens that were already in horrible shape, albeit a few self sustaining plants and I always considered myself rather lucky because I always thought that I surely have a black thumb…although honestly that remains to be seen.

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  5. You’re fortunate to have inherited such a well planned garden with flowers blooming in phases. I just love that! Your garden looks beautiful, and I’m sure your additions will enhance it. I agree that a lot of the fun is in the planning/ purchasing aspect of gardening. Not only is it great exercise and fun, but it’s so good for the soul. Wonderful post!

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    • I admit your own blog was in my mind when I was crafting this post….you always make outdoors look so attractive! Am glad you enjoyed (and how nice to know it’s not just me that’s into the planning/purchasing aspect!)

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  6. Seems my garden tour arrived just at the right time. 🙂 It’s funny how these things can creep up on you. I remember thinking how English countryside was so boring. All that green! Now me and trees are best buddies 🙂 I do like this post.

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  7. You mean to tell me that you’re not going to buy that statue?! He would certainly frighten all the bugs away. 😯 Your photos are glorious. I love those little purple and mauve flowers in your second pic. There’s something so alluring about gardening centres, as long as someone else is going to do all the digging and weeding when we get the plants home. 🙂

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  8. I loved your first paragraph. That’s me too! But the rest of it was foreign. I have never been and never will be a gardener. My one concession is the veggie patch. I do like to watch thing grow that I know I can eat. Such lovely photos in this post, though. All that colour!!

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  9. Wow. What a wonderful ride through your garden. And I can relate because I have a friend who bought a house, with no garden. And after a couple years, people were coming to her for gardening advice. Lovely photos, lovely story.

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  10. Oh to have the space and soil (my part of the state is loaded with hard-to-manage red clay) for something like that! Just like every garden is unique, so too are those nurseries. There are many near where I work, and even if I don’t buy anything, it’s fun to stop in.

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  11. What a spectacularly colorful post today, Torrie. Pure eye candy. And it was an entertaining read to hear about your transition. I’m hoping you might occasionally indulge us on the Great Garden Growth as it occurs.
    As an aside, it’s always astonished me how house values are not greatly affected by the landscaping homeowners have arduously created. The man hours, the cost of the greenery and blossoms – they really should be reflected in the home value too.
    You are one lucky duck. I hope the summer is filled with further fabulous blooms.

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    • Am just hoping to be able to keep up with it all, Shelley! Trees much easier than some other things, so there is hope! RE: home values……..an interesting observation you make about the cost of the home not being affected, but certainly the landscaping is a big factor in drawing people in, yes?

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  12. Oh I would love to have a big garden with lots of flowers… but of course only have to do the work I would actually enjoy… having said that… I remember how much my mom enjoyed doing every little bit of the gardening. I think it gives you some you time… Those flowers look amazing and I could spend days in garden centers.

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    • I haven’t found that “work I would actually enjoy” yet other than the purchasing and meandering around garden centres…I’m sure there’s a place for me somewhere in all this, I just haven’t found it yet! LOL.

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      • Haha… yes, I understand… I’m not there yet either. But then we don’t really have a garden, just a backyard with not a lot of plants in it. One day… one day 😉

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