Written by Heather Zubiate
About a month ago, we decided to give growing vegetables another go. We have never been very successful at growing vegetables, flowers seem to be our thing. Recently, I -- we really, have drastically changed our diet since my thyroid cancer diagnosis, and getting 100% organic veggies from the stores is getting to be rather sketchy these days thanks to the greed and sub par organic standards allowed by the U.S. government and their agribusiness corporations. We tried to grow veggies in the southwest facing backyard, but the veggies just fried. So we decided to give the northeast facing front yard a try, and it looks like that move is paying off!
First, there was a debate about what to use to make the raised beds. Robert wanted to use wood, aesthetically speaking, it's much prettier than the concrete block, but it would require a great deal of investment. Not to mention it will deteriorate over time and will have to be replaced -- more money. I pointed out that we have the concrete blocks already. Sure, they are the prettiest things in the world, but you can plant flowers, like marigolds, in the holes to add beauty and utility. Marigolds are supposed to ward off unwanted pests. Robert agreed, it was the best option for now. If we really want to "upgrade" to wooden planter boxes in the future, then we can do so.
There will be two beds, of three beds in total, they will flank a straight path to our front door. I measured and set the blocks in place. Robert spray painted a live around the blocks to mark their placement. Yeah, I know, spray paint isn't exactly environmentally friendly, but the grass is going in the waste bin to make our resident garbage man happy.
Robert handled this part of the operation, he wouldn't let me help -- he deemed it too strenuous for me. Fortunately for him, it was a perfect day for digging, nice and overcast!
Robert then broke up big clumps, we have clay soil in these parts, and picked out any big chunks of grass and roots. Then he replaced the concrete blocks and leveled them. The next few days I filled the cavities with raised bed soil purchased at Home Depot. It took 1 1/4 bags to fill 44 holes packed pretty tight with the crumbly mix. Then I planted the marigold seeds and kept them moist until they sprouted. It is taking forever for them to grow up into decent plants, but that is the trade off. Time is money. If you want to save time and buy mature marigolds, then you will pay more than starting them off by seed. Since we have more time than money, well, I'm just going to have to be patient.
We make our own compost here on the Zubiate suburban homestead, and it's pretty good stuff, If I do say so myself! Thanks to the chickens and our higher consumption of veggies, it doesn't take us that long to make a fair amount of the gardeners black gold! When we were scooping and filling the bed with our compost, we discovered quite a few beetle larva -- ewh! But our chickens were happy to snack on them -- ewh again! When the layer of compost was down, then we added about 3 of the 2 cuft. bags of Kellogg raised bed soil.
In this bed, and for the time of year, we chose to plant spinach, lettuces, red cabbage, broccoli, and some volunteer mystery plants we saved that were growing thanks to our compost heap! They are probably squash plants, but we'll see! We even tucked in some Walla Walla sweet onions in the rows. We are making sure they are well watered, and fed. Robert is using an organic kelp fertilizer. I think that is where we failed in the past, not fertilizing the veggies. I should put a straw mulch down to help keep it nice and moist, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
As you can see, the veggies are thriving, and they are nice and tasty! There is just an indescribable joy in growing your own organic veg! You know exactly where it came from, and what you have fed it. We've noticed that those annoying little white moths aren't even touching our cabbages and broccoli. I have read that organically grown veggies don't attract pests! I have seen it with my own eyes, it's true -- well, for these crops anyway. I hope to learn much more, we are encouraged by our success, and we will be expanding our veggie growing capacity soon! There are carrots, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, beans, and peas to plant!
Written by Heather Zubiate
My husband Robert is the "Johnny Appleseed" in the Zubiate home, whatever he plants -- it grows. And he just loves it when he hears passers-by praise his garden, and it is quite a sight to behold in spring time! The pictures below just don't do our front yard any justice, it is a much better spectacle to behold in person. When we first moved into our little home, we didn't do much work at all inside, or outside. We both worked full time, I was not yet The Whittier Housewife I am today. Our 50 year old neighborhood is, or was rather, a silver maple lined street, and they were also the model homes of the area. Slowly the maples have begun dying off due to age and disease. Our tree finally bit the dust about 5 years ago, and my husband replaced it with a bed of flowers which he has added to over the years.
We also get many compliments on our house color, by the way, it is called "stuffed olive" from Dunn Edwards, if you are curious. I was considering a red door to complete the stuffed olive look, but our 16 yr. old  objected, since it is his rival school's color, imagine the humiliation! Robert and I decided on brown for the front door color, and someday we will actually get our craftsman door we bought years ago hung, much less painted! When the painters started putting the green color on at the back of the house, they called us over to check it out. The patch they had painted was about 3 ft. square, and our house used to be 'afternoon tea' brown for many years, so it was quite a shock to see the green. At first I thought, "I hate it", but then I said, "Keep going, we can't turn back now!", because we had 15 gallons of the stuff. The more paint that was laid on, the more I liked it. Yay me! I can say that now, because it turned out so well, and I was the one who picked the color.
Written by Heather Zubiate
This is what the cottage garden entrance looked like about 4 years ago.
Well, there wasn't much of an entrance really, the garden was all open, and the grass was all the way up to the patio, so there was really no direction for foot traffic. Later we added the fence dividing the walking path from the orchard, the side bird house fences in order to help direct foot traffic under the metal arbor, thus making a deliberate entrance into the cottage garden. We planted a bower vine to climb the arbor on one side, which is finally taking off, and a honeysuckle (peaches and cream) on the other side, which didn't make it. So in its place, we planted star jasmine, which will take a while to catch up to the bower vine. Over time, the grass was starting to look really bad, the ground was hard packed so the grass started to die and give way to weeds. And so I decided that something had to be done!
Enter my inspiration image. This is the kind of path I will have leading into the cottage garden, starting at the arbor. I like the rubble look, but I will also be adding some concrete stepping stones I made by using decorative glass and pebbles. I'll show that later on. Oh the suspense I'm building here!!!
Right now, I'm at the beginning stages, which involves the arduous task of excavating. This part is not fun at all; it is a LOT of back breaking work! I now understand why those big bulldozers seem to be just randomly pushing dirt around. It's not random dirt pushing, they are breaking up clumps, grading, leveling, and even compacting the dirt. Dirt is HEAVY, in case you didn't know, and I'm sure to loose a few pounds. Not to worry though, I'm sure I'll gain it back in no time.
I've removed some dirt to get down to the level I need to be at and I will eventually add sand. The sand will help make leveling the field stones, brick, and stepping stones easier. I think I will cement in the brick edging, that way there will not be any movement over time, and will help keep weeds from creeping into the path between the bricks.
I've got the ground pretty much where I want it, all level and tamped down, now all I have to do is cement in the border bricks. Then I'll lay down some rosin paper as a weed barrier, and pour in a 2" thick layer of sand, and then start placing the brick, river rocks, and stepping stones into a pattern similar to my inspiration photo, and fill in with smaller river rocks. I will keep you posted on the path progress.
Until next time dear reader...
Written by Heather Zubiate
Do you remember this pathway project I started dear reader?
In March of 2014 (nearly one year ago) I started scraping out this pathway near our apple espalier. I promised y'all that I would update my progress and now you don't have to wait any longer, because here is the finished path...
What a change, right? Here is another before shot facing south toward the coop...
And here is the after shot!
We have Roman chamomile growing between the stones, and nearest the coop there is creeping thyme. We started with only six 4" pots of the chamomile planted nearest our covered porch, then my husband noticed that it was filling in and dug out some runners and planted them in the remaining spaces. How serendipitous! We don't have to buy any more plants, which is nice since they are rather hard to get a hold of at our local nurseries. I can't wait until all that dirt is finally covered with the appley scented herb, which will also keep the stepping stones a lot cleaner.
Some day soon these little clumps of feathery green leaves will be dotted with the cutest little white daisy like flowers.
Here is a closeup of the chicken mosaic stone near the egg boxes that I made from a stepping stone kit my mother-in-law gave me, she knows I like doing this kind of stuff - love her!
This area is starting to come into focus, all I need now is for the berries to start thriving, and the lilac bush to come into maturity and start filling that back space with its delicious and intoxicating purple blooms. For my readers that are in the north west and east of this great land, in case you are wondering, this picture was taken today, February 5, no joke.
Pathways in a cottage garden, are like little country roads that meander gently through the idyllic and picturesque countryside. So for the last week, I have been hard at work carving out some meandering thoroughfares of my own, in our cottage garden. Well..... nothing as grandiose as this...more like very short and not so curvaceous walkways.
Do you see this area? It is where we planted our Dorset apple trees.
They have been espaliered. Not very spectacular now, I must admit. You can barely see the charred remains of the yucky green fig tree is nearly hidden by a rose bush. These obstacles have long since been removed to make way for our chicken palace, that I call: Le Poulet Chalet. Anyway, this area needed something. And that something it needed is a pathway! It will connect out back patio to the walking lawn. The pathway that I have envisioned for this area is a stone pathway that will have chamomile planted in between the stones. As many of you may know, chamomile is an herb, and it has an apple-like scent. Did you know that chamomile comes in two different forms? German and Roman. German chamomile is upright and grows to about 24" tall, while Roman chamomile sprawls and crawls and gets to about 6" in height. That is why Roman chamomile is chosen as a lawn substitute. Both types of chamomile have lacy green leaves and pretty daisy like flowers. I think this area will look and smell just heavenly. Well, it will smell appleicious for sure.
Inspired to bring this pathway I've envisioned to fruition, I broke ground a few days ago. On a side note: As you can see, we've planted blueberries in the closest wine barrel, and raspberries share another wine barrel with a blackberry that has been struggling for about a year now. We also have an old wheelbarrow in the corner, we just haven't figured out what to do with it. In front of that, we planted my lilac bush. I'm hoping it will actually live and give us lilacs. It gave us about three flowers on a tiny stalk. So I put it as close to my nostril without actually putting it in my nose and took a deep sniff. Well, okay. I did practically put it up my nose, and I was rewarded with the heavenly scent I adore. Mmmmm. Lilacs!
Now I'll have to wait another year for another snort. Anyway, Robert found a cast off piece of lattice and brought it home. It looks pretty nice for a cast off huh? Well, that is because I cleaned it off and stained it. Then Robert hung it behind the raspberry barrel and we are going to use it for a trellis. Hmmm. I think I got a little too side tracked.....back to the pathway.
I finally got some border bricks laid. Next comes the stepping stones, and finally the chamomile will be planted. This is going to take some time, so let's sneak a peak at a finished pathway that shows what I'm aiming for.
I hope my path will look something like this, even though the planting between the stones in this pathway isn't chamomile. But, I think you get the idea. Nice huh?
Sorry dear reader. I forgot to take a "before" picture of this next pathway project. But I did get an in between picture! This short pathway leads from our garage into the cottage garden. It consisted of the stepping stones set directly on top of the clay soil. Which quickly became engulfed in weeds, and were almost completely sunk into the clay making it look rather blase. So I dug up the weeds and measured how wide I wanted the path to be, and dug down a bit and set in some cedar bender board. After back filling some dirt behind the board, I made sure it wasn't too high for me to trip on. And believe me, that is an important step! I can trip on a grain of sand. Then I tamped down the ground and set the stones to make sure they were the right height. Once again making sure I wouldn't trip on them. Then I took out the stones and put down some newspaper for a cheap weed barrier, relaid the stones, and then poured in the pea gravel. Whew!
Don't worry. Your computer isn't crooked, and your screen isn't off level. This is my trademark cockeyed style. Anyhoooo....after I got all the pea gravel leveled out; I then donned castanets, cranked up the Spanish guitar music and stomped those little pebbles down. Click click click! Stomp stomp stomp. Ole! Not really, but I did stomp on them. All packed down. Then I added some pretty glass stones for some colorful pizzazz! I'm SOooooo happy!
And now all I have to do.... is finish this....
Look. Even Kyle seems completely unenthused at this point. Hopefully I'll get back at it in a few days. You know. After I can operate my back and arms again without mooing in pain.
Update: I revamped my garden webpage to a blog page, so the blog date is newer than the original content.
Wow! Feast your eyes on this photo. Such a difference from April, right? A lot has happened since then. Oh. There's Gerkins the cat. She is making a rare appearance just for you today. Usually she is hides from strangers. And us. She only likes her boy, Timothy. Hi Gerkins!
Okay. Let me back track a little. I have a lot of photos and I don't remember when I took them, because I'm just as good at labeling photos, as I am at taking them! So. Please, bear with me.
Here are some photos of our cottage garden flower beds in their early stage of planting. When was that you may be wondering? Sorry, I have no clue.
Anyway, when looking out into our back yard, this is the nearest quadrant on the left, surrounding the center apricot tree. This is where I planted our herb garden. This quadrant doesn't get as much sun, so the herbs won't fry. I realize that many herbs like full sun, but I have not had much success with them planted this way. Since the herbs seem to be thriving here, then this is where they will stay. Thrive little herbs. Thrive! Look. A blue lobelia is struggling for its life in the nearest corner. I hope you make it lobelia!
Walking down the lawn path to the right, this is the next flower bed quadrant, and it borders the future espalier apricot trees and will meet with the Dorset apple path. This quadrant also gets the most sun all day. I finally decided to plant more apricot trees in our orchard, nearest the walking lawn. I L.O.V.E. apricots! But, I'll probably change my mind a billion times before we plant any trees. Truly, I obsess much!
Moving on down the grass path, to the right, this quadrant at the far right corner of our back yard grass path, it is nearest to where the raised vegetable beds will go and the chicken coop. It features a hollyhock, daisies, and a few other wild wispy type flowers.
This final quadrant is nearest the Meyer lemon tree, which is behind our garage, and where I hope to be the site of our Secret Garden some day. I look forward to when Robert calls for me and I can answer back to my love: "I'm in the gaaarrrden! " I don't think there's enough room back there for a rope swing though.
Wow! Our cottage garden is well on its way! The sunflower hedge has given me an idea on what to put as a barrier between the walking lawn and the future orchard. A fence! Not a huge fence mind you, just a picket type. We acquired a huge dog house this May, that someone cast to the curb. Whenever I look at it, I see a LOT of free lumber.
Yet another stellar photo. That tree that looks like it is a growth from our garage is our amazing Meyer lemon tree. We scored big time on this house when we bought it, if not for that tree alone. Just imagine some sort of fence with greenery on it, that is tall enough to give you a peek of the lemon tree. A fence hiding a secret. A secret garden that is! So exciting! Moving on....
The grass is looking okay, but since I didn't really condition the soil before I transplanted the sod, it is doing the best it can to grow. Sorry grass. We have CLAY soil here in Whittier. And the worst thing you can do is walk on it after you water it, or after it rains. The soil gets more compacted and it is very hard for the grass, or anything else to grow. Except for weeds. Weeds have no problem growing in compacted clay soil.
I really don't know what to do to remedy this sad situation. I worked so hard to transplant this sod, and now it isn't looking very attractive. I will have to research for the solution.
But as the saying goes: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Next time I really need to prepare my soil better, before I plant. Did I mention that I'm not very patient?
The Fence Goes Up
Considering how much I HATE CONSTRUCTION, I sure am doing a lot of it! My guys helped me construct and set up the carcass of the fence that will be separating the walking lawn from the orchard. You can just see the branches of the kumquat tree on the left of the picture. They are the original SweeTart! Focus Heather....focus. Getting back to the fence...
Truth be told, I had the boys remove the fence from its holes after seeing it was very crooked. I'm sorta anal that way. I like my fences to be straight. Sorry guys. After they re-positioned it for me, and it was mostly where I wanted it, they filled in the dirt and that is where it is stayin'. Then I arranged the pickets into a Mission flavored pattern and Robert helped me screw them into place.
Next item on the list.... finish the chicken coop! (you might be noticing that our beloved apricot tree is no longer in the garden. That is because it had gotten sick with canker. So it had to be removed. (Sniff )
Finishing The Chicken Coop!
For more details on this construction adventure, see I HATE CONSTRUCTION!
September. Time To Get Our Birds!
All done! We put the chicken coop and run in this spot, near the back wall of our yard, until I can get the HUGE fig tree stump out and the weed tree removed. They currently occupy the space where the chicken coop's permanent home will be. Then, I will be moving the raised veggie beds over in this spot because it gets A LOT of sun. I hope our birds don't bake until then; it is super HOT today! For the rest of the story on bringing the girls home, read: They're Here! They'll only be in this local until the end of the month, when I get the huge chicken palace I ordered. So I urgently need to get rid of those stumps. PRONTO!
Le Poulet Chalet Is Here!
AT last! Le Poulet Chalet is up and ready for business. Well....come spring. You see, I decided that it is much too large for the girls to winter in. So, they will be spending the harsh California winter in their little coop that I built. Come spring, then they will be moving into their summer cottage. They are spoiled little birds aren't they? Oh, I did eventually get rid of the excess coop wire that is dangling between the coop and the run. And I looks so much better now!
Update: I revamped my garden page to a blog format instead of a webpage format, so the blog date is newer than the original post.
A lot is happening here in our back yard! Can you see the little
scalloped bricks on the ground in the middle of this photo? They were taken from the back wall planting bed that was there from the previous owners. I don't really like the style, but we have'em, so I'm using them. Some of them are currently separating the walking lawn from the future orchard. Something more substantial will have to go there in the future. I'm just not sure exactly what will go there at this time. But I'm planning on something going there. Fortunately, gardens are a work in progress, and I'm flexible. I mean my plan is flexible, not literally me. Did I mention that some days I can't feel my arms, that is until they start to ache?
This view is looking north at the back of our home, with the back fence behind you.
The photo below is another view looking east at our garage, with our raised garden beds behind you. We have started some plantings and they are coming along - sloooowly. Real slooooowly. Part of gardening is learning the "p" word - patience. [SIGH] Hey, look at the grass! In only one months time, it is looking a lot better, and filling in nicely. Love that weed- uh I mean St. Augustine grass !
You can't see them in this photo, but my little tree has lots o' apricots on it! I can hardly wait until they are ripe for picking in June/July!
Robert got a steal of a deal on a little pitcher fountain, so we placed it near the entrance of our garage where the we are growing some succulents, geraniums, irises, and lilies. And that spot also happens to have an outlet. That is really why we put that fountain in that spot. But hey, it works. The plants we put there seem to really love their home. This spot doesn't see sunshine until just after noon, because the garage blocks the morning sun. But it gets a lot of heat in the afternoon though. So at least they get to hear the sound of water from the fountain as they bask in the hot, summer afternoon sun! (ha ha ha)
Here is my darling, doing one of the things he does best, and that is planting more flowers! Yay Honey! As you can see, my transplanted lawn is finally filling in! I also was able to use more of the salvaged brick that I'm not too fond of to edge this bed. I dunno.
It certainly goes with the 50's style of our home, I suppose. But as soon as we can afford it, I will might change it out for something else. Sorry for the crappy photo quality here. I bake better, much better, than I take pictures.
Here's a little better photo of the corner fountain and one of our irises. I just love the way their frilly petals sparkle in the sun, and their fresh lemony floral scent is so dreamy! I have no idea what that shrimp colored succulent at the base of our fountain is. Robert picked it up at our local bargain store. You can just see a red kalanchoe in the corner, a coleus in the opposite corner, and some purple leafed plant I can't remember the name of.
I can't remember exactly when this picture was taken, but I'm putting it here. Do you see this dirt alley? It is going to be our future orchard! This is where I harvested all the sod I laid down in the cottage garden walking lawn. Right now my Robert has planted corn. I don't know if you can actually see it in this awesome photo. Anyway, can you see the sticks against the brick wall? Those are Dorset apple trees in espalier we planted this past February. They are doing great, because Robert planted them. I just stood there and supervised.
Here is a little better photo of the west wall that gets eastern, or morning sun. Did you get that? For those of us who are directionally challenged, I'm sorry to have confused you.
Anyway, you can see the Dorset apple trees are lined up very close to the wall. I didn't use any support trellis for them since they are free form espalier, and I'm kinda lazy. There's that darn green fig tree stump. Technically, we couldn't go with the dynamite, so my husband is slowly burning it. Soon, I'll be digging around the roots to help it along in its demise. That rose bush is also in the way of our future chicken coop, so it's gotta go bye bye too. By that I mean it has to be moved, not killed. Roses are one of the only plants I can't kill.
That's all for now folks! Stay tuned for more of our cottage garden adventures!
Remember this? This photo of our back yard was taken in June of 2012. I think. I'm not very good at labeling photos with dates. Sometimes I can't even remember what day it is. What was I saying? Oh yeah. The photo. That isn't just dry and dead grass your seeing, it is mostly weeds. Well, come to think of it, I guess most grasses are weeds. My husband's favorite grass is St. Augustine. He says it is heat tolerant, goes dormant in the winter, but always comes back green in the spring. Well, that's good enough for me dear, St. Augustine it is! Now it's time to do some sod sowing!
See how much greener the St. Augustine is now? This photo was taken in Oct. 2012, a few months after the June photo above. I think. The grass around the roses was the greenest and thickest, so I slowly relocated it to the paths surrounding the planting beds. Dear reader, did you know that sod is heavy? Especially when it is wet and full of dirt?
The area I took the sod from will one day be our fruit tree orchard. Maybe we can get a whole two trees in it! Anyway, it will take a few more months for the grass plugs to fill in. It is hard work and I already know the grass won't be completely level. Oh well. By doing this method I saved $300 to $400 in sod. Yay me! The rest is a matter of time and patience. Yes. Gardening requires patience as well as a strong back. (Uh oh.)
Ah well, I can always add some dirt to the divots and pot holes in the walking lawn later on. Stay tuned for more cottage gardening adventures and updates!
Update: I'm reformatting my garden page, so the text is older than the date of the post.
Remember this painting? It is my inspiration painting for the cottage garden we are going to create in our back yard. In the center of the garden painting, it has a fountain flanked by two fruit trees. In our garden, the apricot tree is going to be the main focal point and will be surrounded by 4 somewhat equal corner beds. Please don't grade me on my surveying skills, because I don't have any! Again, the look is formal, but our beds will be planted in the trademark cottage style of seemingly wild and chaotic abandon! This planting style will help offset, or contrast, and soften the formal layout. As well as the addition of some handmade garden art and fixtures, that will also give the garden a more cottage like, or rustic feel. But not too many tchotchkes, and baubles. I don't want our cottage garden to look like a crazy artist colony.
The apricot tree and the flower beds will be encircled by a 4 ft. straight rectangular path of grass, but about mid-way of each path a small 4ft. by 33" path will lead into the apricot tree's lawn. These tiny paths might be laid with stone and inter planted with something like wooly thyme, rupturewart-green carpet, or ajuga 'Chocolate Chip'. If you could fly over, the yard, this creates a cross design "+", and it will allow easy access for a mower.
This arrangement can be changed simply by removing one or more of the center paths, allowing for more planting space. Or an urn, bird bath, other sculpture can be placed on the little stone paths for more interest.
Look at that! Can you see who the garden is taking shape? I'm very excited! I started by measuring out four feet from the garage first. That is the first walking path that will lead into the garden from the back door. Then I measured and staked the other paths using what ever scrap of twine I could find and some old 4th of July flags, and screwdrivers. I know! Only a woman would use a tool such as a screwdriver as a stake. Hey, it worked!
Only one more bed to cut out of the rock hard clay. Yay! It actually is starting to look like my inspiration painting. Well, maybe if you squint at it and use you imagination. But remember that this is what it looked like before I started:
So much better the the before photo right? Right? Well one thing is for sure, I'm getting a very good workout! Cutting out sod, even dead sod, is hard back breaking work! Stay tuned for more updates! I gotta go and rest my back.
Update: I'm changing the format of my garden page, so the date is not going to reflect the older text.
This is such a wonderful painting. I can see Robert and myself in it, as
we spend time with each other out in our front yard, enjoying the time we spend tending it and each-others company. But our back yard is a weed's paradise! Soon, I hope our back yard looks as wonderful as this painting. And this is what I want, a cottage garden!
With chickens. That is really what started me on the kick to finally get our back yard into shape.
When looking for paintings and photos for this article, I got to thinking - what is it about the cottage garden that fills us with such wonder and romantic notions? Romance was not the original intent of the cottage garden to be sure, because it was a functioning necessity for those that planted them. I have heard cottage gardens described in many ways. Some define them as unplanned patches of chaos, while others say they are an orderly planned garden containing flowers, fruits, and vegetables. So which is it? Who cares?! All I know is that they are simply divine to behold, and a joy to be in, and I want one!
But on second thought, with most things in this life, a plan is a good idea. A good plan can prevent expensive errors by making you think about what your needs are, by observing what will work in your space and it will give you direction of what needs to be done to accomplish your plan. Planning. Are your palms starting to sweat? I'm a strange mix of a planner and a "fly by the seat of my pants" kinda gal. But really, this is not hard to do, making a plan that is. We all have a measure of common sense. Ooookay, some more than others, but if you are still daunted by the thought of planning and designing a cottage garden, thankfully there are a myriad of books on the subject, and videos to aide you in your quest to gain some knowledge and a plan, before jumping in head first and going hog wild.
Our back yard faces southeast, so it gets full sun all day, and is the the
perfect place for our semi-formal cottage garden! This inspiration garden could be considered formal because of it's squarish shape, and it doesn't have many informal curves. This holds true for our back yard. It is decidedly square. And with the apricot tree in the center, it makes it difficult to get those lovely mysterious curves that lead to those secret little nooks, where you can sit in quiet reflection on an inviting bench, surrounded by soothing sounds and nature's splendor. Yes, I feel that this painting perfectly illustrates what will be aimed for in our garden. Not quite the picture one gets in their mind regarding cottage gardens, because it seems more formal, but if you notice, the side plantings are quite informal.
This is known as contrast in the design biz, and this plan is what will fit our back yard best. And like all good gardens, ours will have a surprise or two! One surprise we will be working in an area for chickens, and some subtle curves here and there, and even planting a Secret Garden! It will be located behind our garage, where there is a wonderful Meyer lemon tree. The secret garden will be small, but really cool, and I'm hoping- functional.
However, a whole heck of a lot of work will have to be done on its entrance to achieve that air of mystery I'm after, but more on that later!