Living the cottage life, Alaskan style!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Garden Tour

Yesterday, my son suggested we let the garden go for a day and enjoy life a little.  Go fishing, he says!  Well, I love to fish, there's no doubt about it, but I also love to garden.  It is my hobby.  My addiction.  As you can probably tell from these photos....

So grab your cup of coffee and come along for a visit of my back yard. 

It all started in 2003 when we bought this home.  The back yard was overgrown with Nature.  Cottonwoods and weeds took over most of the yard.  Not a garden in sight.

The trees were cut (36 total!) and the weeds were pulled.  And pulled.  And pulled. 
 For a couple years before I started building my beds. 
Now, the dilemma....  We have dogs.  Active dogs.  Big dogs.  How was I going to keep the dogs out of my gardens? 

I built individual "rooms," or pocket gardens, around the existing dog trails.  My thought was that the dogs would stay on the trails they were familiar with and not go through my garden.

And it worked! 
The other problem I had when designing my gardens was making sure the plants and shrubs could withstand the weight of a 75 pound Lab running after a misguided ball! 
So you won't find a lot of small plants in my yard, but mostly shrubs and ground covers that don't mind getting trampled.

Other plants, like this beautiful iris, will have some kind of protection in front of it (like a short garden fence) until it has a chance to grow.  It has to be hardy or it won't survive in my garden. 
Winding paths and trails were built.
Secret gardens were built.
Eye candy was around every bend.
Yard art is a huge part of my garden.
To me a garden isn't a garden without some other focus to break up the foliage. 
In some places, I just let Nature take its course.
Like this adorable Foamy Flower with its little flowerettes. 
When we cut down all the Cottonwoods, we left stumps to use as yard art.
Now, they're covered with moss and serve as a great pedestal for bird baths.
I love looking out at the back yard. 
Mostly I love watching the grandkids as they stroll along the paths,
just enjoying life.
To me, that makes all this hard work worthwhile.
And even though they're only three years old, I hope that when they're old and worn out,
that they'll remember these strolls along grandma's gardens.
Just like I did, walking along Mrs. Baxter's garden paths. 
And who knows....
Maybe when the grandkids are adults, they, too, will find the same love for gardening that I do.
All because of a pathway that wound through the garden walls.
This is Hunter's "secret" path.   
And, I have to admit, it's one of my favorite areas, too.
I hope you enjoyed a stroll through my gardens. 

Later!  Nancy
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Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Just gorgeous! I really really want ferns and moss in my garden but I know it's going to be tough. The moss may not happen but at the moment I have 4 ferns that I'm struggling to try and keep alive in the new garden. With any luck at all they'll be back next year bigger and better. Your garden is definitely an inspiration.
Have a great week!
Maura :)

Larry said...

I do like your "secret" path and must also say that I've never thought about protecting the gardens from dogs... it's the raccoons and skunks that do much of the damage in my gardens... Larry

Jacque Ferreira said...

Hi Nancy, my first time here to visit you and I very much enjoyed your garden, all the paths are wonderful. I love that you have made it so your dogs can play and enjoy the garden too. Our dogs come first, the garden second and they have learned to not damage it as they enjoy it. The gophers on the other hand are slow learners! Happy Gardening ~ Jacque

Anonymous said...

Very, very pretty, Nancy. I'm going thru the same design issues as to how to keep Gibbs out of the garden. He's pretty good if there's some type of border around the bed he won't go in it...unless he's chasing a cat. All bets are off at that moment!

Fishtail Cottage said...

Thanks so much for linking up to Cottage Flora Thursday's last week! What a gorgeous garden tour. i love the stump covered in moss - so pretty! Hope to see you again this upcoming week! xoxo, tracie