Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hello Secret Garden!

If you've been following my blog, you know that I had to spend the weekend breaking down my side garden due to the landlord wanting to pave over it.  Well, where there's a will, there's a way.  Here's what has happened in the past 24 hours.

Let's start with some images of of the side garden I had to give up....

Here I had plants and flowers planted in the ground and not just in containers.  There is a huge Autumn Fern, Hollyhocks. Morning Glory, Day Lily, Yarrow, Butterfly Milkweed... and more.
Here is the herb bed my husband built for me in 2012.  It was full of Lemon Balm, Lovage, Sage, Feverfew, Valerian, St. John's Wort, Chamomile, Thyme, Parsley and there were a bunch of new seedlings sprouting up... not sure what they would have been.

Fast forward to Saturday morning... I woke up at 5:30 am to begin, "Project Save the Garden".  This is me in the herb bed looking miserable.  From here I salvaged the Valerian and the Feverfew.  Outside the herb bed I had a beautiful Rosemary which I also had to dig out.
Below is a view through a bunch of wilted Morning Glory after we cut the vines.  At this point the garden was just a heap of plants (mostly Summer annuals that were almost ready to be retired anyway which I pulled to save the pots.)

I should note that in this post I'm only discussing work we did to the side garden.  We also needed to reorganize the entire front garden and push all of the potted roses back closer to the house so that they won't be damaged by the bulldozers and construction.  A lot of blood and sweat was literally shed due to the size of the bushes and the thorns.  I will save those photos for another time, but needless to say, it was a full day's work in the hot sun, but we were determined to get the job done.

So... After setting aside everything I had salvaged and deciding on what to keep and what to sacrifice, the only question left was... Where the hell was I going to put everything????

The resolution:
Friday night I asked my husband about our small outdoor patio which you can only enter through the living room.  It is completely private and for the past 2 years, we haven't used it for anything other then a storage space for some of his old work things.  Since he hadn't used any of it for the past 2 years, he graciously offered to clean out the space so that I could have a new area to put what was left of my garden.

Let me start with some BEFORE photos:

This photo shows the entry through the double doors in our living room.  
I had one sad little succulant sitting in the corner.

My husband's work things under a tarp, a bike, a ladder, some extension cords... guy things.

And here is what happens with a little hard work, imagination and determination:

The AFTER photos:
Sunday morning 8/24/14

Through the doors the white rabbit welcomes you to enter the Secret Garden....

 So at the end of the day, the results are better then I could have imagined and Pumpkin gave me his approval (see below).  His catnip plant is actually next to that big pot of Cosmos behind me on the top shelf.

Losing the side garden wasn't a complete loss after all.  Yes, I did have to sacrifice quite a lot, but over the past few years it taught me so much and I am a wiser, better gardener for having had the opportunity to plant in the soil... to know the satisfaction of growing something from seed... to  experience the taste of a home grown, delicious ripe tomato... and so much more.

In conclusion, I love my new space.  Waking up to it this morning felt like Christmas!  I could even go look at it in my pajamas!  I love the fact that it is private, and no one will ever even know it's there.  I was able to accommodate almost 60 plants, herbs and flowers.  

Gardening in a smaller space will be a challenge.  I will need to learn to be more selective in what I grow, but I think I am ready for that.  Over the past several years I've come to know what I like and what I don't like.  I've learned what grows well for me and what doesn't.  
I am ready to level up to Small Space Gardening 2.0...

So welcome to my new, Secret Garden. 


  1. Wow, I bet you could kick yourself for not getting your husband to clean out his rubbish and work tings a long time ago! Such a lovely space should be used and enjoyed, well done!

    1. Thank you! I am enjoying it very much. Today was the first day I got to do some work back there and I love it. I can even listen to music while I'm gardening now, since the patio is just outside our living room. :)

  2. The solution for your delima was already there.
    Life is waiting to assist.

    1. It was! Somehow things always seem to work themselves out. :)

  3. You took a bad hand dealt to you and made it into a winner! I love your creative solution and your beautiful secret garden. It is my kind of place. Looking at your photos it just beckons me to go out there and putter around. Two thumbs up!

    1. It's a wonderful solution. I'm very happy we were able to work it out. Glad you enjoy!

  4. I have a Secret Garden off of my bathroom with plants both in ground and pots. Only a few are in ground, a mimosa tree (good for shade), ferns and a few shrubs, gardenias, and the rest in pots large and small. This way I can move them around, change them up, and 'redecorate' every once in a while. Also have a fountain nestled amoung the ferns and it would be a nice feature in this garden. Isn't gardening fun? Lot of work, but fun, and so rewarding!

    1. That sounds lovely. I had been thinking about adding a water element to the patio, although now I have too many plants! haha! It's nice to be able to readjust as needed and move things around for a refresh. I find myself doing that quite often! I need to revisit the idea of putting in a small fountain, even if it is just something small like you can find at Target. I agree with you... gardening is a great amount of work but very rewarding and well worth the effort.

  5. Great creative solution! What material are your shelves made of?

  6. Love it! I think I like the scaled down version even better because it has more charm and you don't get lost in the jungle so to speak. Just like in a home (less is best) and things can take stage (like the bunny).

  7. Love it! I think I like the scaled down version even better because it has more charm and you don't get lost in the jungle so to speak. Just like in a home (less is best) and things can take stage (like the bunny).