May 20, 2010

Building Eden, but NOT in a Day!

I am NOT a gardener

Yet because of the wonderful hardscaped garden terraces we created in our front hard, I have to become one… fast!!


Sure I’ve managed okay – not great(!) – with potted flowers… in fact, I’m pretty excited about the pretty ones I planted last week. 




Don’t ask me what kind of flowers I planted because I haven’t got a clue!! Do I like the colours? Do they cascade out of a basket? Do they have a nice aroma? These are the questions I ask myself when I’m at the nursery… all while feeling this overwhelming, fluttery tummy because I have no idea what I’m doing!!

Every year though, I make my flowery purchases, bring them home, plant them and water them… and I seem to do okay. Of course my baskets and pots don’t get as lush and dramatic as some I’ve seen… even though I give them a drink of yummy fertilizer every once in a while.

But I’m determined to get good at this! I am!!

Let me show you what I’m working on right now…

DSCF0579See this photo of our pathway? Well… on either side are mushroom-like path lights. They look fantastic all aglow in the evening! They’re kinda lonely looking, though ~ a long skinny post with a mushroom cap on the top just sitting there all by themselves. Not only that, I’m worried that some punks will come by and – attracted by their fragile appearance – kick them over or pull them out. They’re very obvious sitting there, and very vulnerable!

The best and most attractive solution… surround them with lovely plants! Here’s how things look today. We’ve cut away some of our new-born and still growing grass to make room for some scrumptious plants – beauties recommended by the nursery owner/landscape designer that we consult with.


And here are the plants I’ll be planting tomorrow!

RamapoThese beauties will hug each of the two path lights… they’re Rhododendron Ramapo, or dwarf rhodos growing to only about 2’ high, and each spring they’re festooned in a sweet little purple flower! It’s already bloomed this year so I can’t wait to see what these little shrubs will look like next year!

Then, framing the Ramapos will be an assortment of other plants – some nest spruces, a variegated leafy plant with a name I can’t remember(!) and this fabulous ornamental grass called Elijah Blue.

Note: Chania from Razmataz tells me that the variegated leafy plant is called Eunonymus. Thanks Chania; I need all the help I can get from my blogger friends!


I love the texture and complementary colours! It’s going to look gorgeous!

Come back later today… I’ll post a photo or 2 showing how this little segment of our gardens looks when all planted!

Since our readers LOVE to see before an afters, let me show you what I tackled today.

The photo below shows our upper terrace sitting just below the house and our front deck. Before we built the retaining wall there was a slope of large stones… thinking I could pretty things up a little, I put the barrels you see at the foot of each deck post and at the top of the slope. I also installed these trellises in the hope that the clematis I planted would flourish. Nope. Did I say I wasn’t a gardener?! I’d better learn… fast… because…


Those old barrels are now gone and in their place…

Climbing Petiolaris Hydrangeas!

They’ll look even more beautiful when they work their way up and trough the deck railing!!


This is what the flowers of this wonderful climbing hydrangea look like… lovely clusters of small white flowers that have a fragrant aroma! It’s deciduous, but the bark of the branches are cinnamon-brown in colour and peel away a bit… like a birch… so even in the winter it will be lovely to look at!

I’m so excited about these vines!!

Please keep in mind that we’re a work in progress… the wood and ladders under the front deck will be removed eventually, I promise!

Want to hear something funny? As I was planting the vines this afternoon – in the pouring rain, by the way! – someone driving by stopped their vehicle across the street and was taking photographs of our house and our handiwork! I can’t tell you how many people stop as they walk past, and drive past, to tell us how they love watching our yard and house’s transformation! My son says I need to put a sign out that says “Follow our progress” with the URL to DesignTies and my business name… why didn’t I think of that?! Now I have to figure out how to make a great looking sign at little expense!


I obviously have some more plants to place in this terrace… heck I have a gazillion plants that I have to place in ALL our gardens!

So much work to do! So much for me to learn!!

Now I need to confess…

While all our energy is going into creating a beautiful front yard, our back yard is looking hideous! It’s filled with house renovation junk making it challenging for Brian to keep it cut back. He’s definitely going to have to head out there soon with the whipper snipper!

WE may not like all that long grass, but it’s proven to be a bit of heaven for a certain lion in our household!

DSCF0581What a guy!! Every chance he gets he’s hiding here and peering out at us between the blades of grass! It’s particularly funny to see him scamper to this spot when ever we come into view, thinking that he’s hiding from us!! If you don’t know much about our cat Scotty, you HAVE to read about him here. He’s truly a character!!

Thanks for dropping by!


P.S. I got to bed after Brian last night only to find Scotty sleeping in my spot. Rather then scoot Scotty out of the way I attempted to squeeze in between them. I found myself so intent on not disturbing the cat that I almost jiggled Brian awake to ask him to scootch over and make room for me!! Am I nuts?! Right then and there I had a giggle fit! Here I was, ready to disturb my husband’s sleep in an effort to keep the cat happy! Fortunately my snickering and giggling didn’t disturb Brian, but it did cause Scotty to indignantly shift his body over a little – enough so that I could squeeze myself in between the two of them. The things we do for our pets!


A Room For Everyone said...

It's going to be beautiful, you've done most of the hard work now. You have such gorgeous areas to plant..look forward to seeing it evolve..Rachaelxx

qerat said...

The new entrance is amzing in the first picture. the vines will look great once grown and covering the terrace above.
I am sure you will do a great job with the plants.

Razmataz said...

The varigated one with no name is Eunonymus. Those beds have so much potential, they are going to be fabulous! I am looking forward to seeing the afters.

Vanessa@decor happy said...

Great job so far Victoria! I'm not much of a gardener but really want to learn too. I love the ornamental grass you chose and can't wait to see everything once planted.

Shannon @ What's Up Whimsy said...

Your house is so cute! And the yard looks amazing so far! My favourite part are the climbing hydrangea. It's my favourite flower!! Can't wait to see when it's all done!

amariaf2000 said...

OH those climbing vines of hydrangas....I need some of those! I am no gardener either. Last year, I bought nothing! This year, I did buy one already made hanging basket and I planted a few pots. Also, one tomato plant...let's see if I ever actually get tomatoes?!?! LOL

~angela @ peonypatch

ps - I think those flowers in the basket are petunias...I think.

Unknown said...


Great job! Think of your exterior as a movie set and keep balance, color and symetry in mind. Expand your plant knowledge by taking snap shots of plants you love then research them on the Internet. Great selections by the way!

A sign and blog address is a great way to teach others and share in the fun of design, make new friends, and increase exposure to a new clients.

The things we do for "Love" even as we sleep is really sweet. Pets rule!


Mary said...

It's looking great - good job!

I'm a new gardener too and one thing I don't have a handle on yet is the weeds. If you find a way to keep them from sprouting all over the place let us know. :)

Lisa said...

Your garden is going to be fantastic! Gardening is all about trial and error and it is so rewarding when they flourish. I am trying to figure out where I can plant clemantis in my yard. Your Scotty sounds like such a character - he reminds me of our late cat Oreo - we had a field behind our home and when we'd call him in he would duck like we couldn't see him in the green grass - he was black and white LOL!

Marcus Design said...

Love your progress so far Victoria, I think my fav part is the climbing hydrangeas too!! And I love the elijah blue grass. So cool that people are stopping by to take a look and admire your progress :) Your kitty is the cutest, he sounds like he has such a good personality!

Kathysue said...

Victoria, It is really coming along beautifully. It will only get prettier as time goes by. I love all the texture and colors you are putting together. I use to be just a flower girl but now I look at plants with interesting shapes and colors as in my octopus fern,hehe, that plant still cracks me up. I read a saying about perrinials after being disgusted with the lack of growth for the first two years. It is first year they sleep, 2nd year they creep, 3rd year they leap!! I was going into my third year on a vine out front and ready to pull it out. I am glad I gave it one more chance now it it crazy with growth and blooms. Good luck, it looks wonderful, Kathysue

Kelly at Kitchen Sync said...

Wow, what a lot of hard work but what great results.

You make me feel better -- I'm also in the school of "does it smell good and look pretty?" for flower selection. I know some names, but that's about it. We have jasmine blooming right now and I have a hard time walking past without stopping to sniff.

Donna @ Paisley and Perspective said...

It's going to look lovely when you are done Victoria. The hydrangeas are going to be stunning when they've grown onto the deck rails! I wish we could grow some of the wonderful plants here in Ottawa that you can on the west coast. I look forward to seeing more of the progress!

We have a side yard that is like your backyard - seems to be at the bottom of the list for clean up :)! One day!

Diane Schuller said...

I'm excited for you -- this is really beginning to look great!

Maria Killam said...

Great job!! Love the flowers, it's all going to be beautiful, but you sure need a lot of them!

Nichole@40daysof said...

I love your flower pots and I want to see your vines in bloom. I love vines, but I don't think I can grow that one here.

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