Happy Spring!

"Sea of Love" blue Bearded Iris 

I thought today, in celebration of a Spring I'd give you a tour of the "gardens" surrounding our 1930  English style cottage. This year is a very special year for us, our first spring.  With that first spring are daily surprises.  The cottage had a loving owner about 8 years ago who implemented an extensive landscaping plan including the development of several separate gardens, a large patio punctuated with a lovely fountain, as well as foundation plantings. The design plan was an English cottage garden to accent the architecture. While that owner knows without a doubt what was planted, we have no idea. Everyday is a surprise, waiting for something to bloom, to see what color and or variety we've inherited.  It's a bit of fun. 

Google Maps Photo of the Cottage as it looked 8 years ago with a tree dotted yard 
Unfortunately, the last owner of our English style lady fell ill shortly after his purchase of the cottage. She feel into disrepair; lack of time, also ability took its toll over the approximate six years of his ownership.  The once beautiful gardens were unattended.  Weeds, poison ivy and other vines grew wildly upon the walls of the cottage.  The extensive work that needs to be completed is overwhelming. The total lot is just under a half acre with several large flowerbeds laid out.  A redesign of the gardens is a must. Our plan includes using as many of the inherited original plants as possible.  We will relocate plants to better locations based upon their habitat needs of light exposure and water to provide them with the best environment to flourish. 

At the time of the original garden design there were mature towering oak trees providing a shade canopy creating a park like setting.  Unfortunately, Oak Wilt struck a few years ago claiming seven of the oak trees. The once shady lot is now mostly full sun.  As a result we have several shade loving plants popping up in full sun exposure. I'm scrambling to relocate them into new sections of the garden where they'll live happily ever after.  Tender shade loving Hosta were my urgent concern.  

A large oval garden features wild Gladiolus, two varieties of Hosta and a sprinkling of poison ivy. 

Our patio has the cover of two large trees.  I chose the patio beds for the Hosta's new home.  Firstly, beds had to be cleared, they were filled with Monkey Grass and Asian Jasmine ground cover.  The ground needed to be turned and prepared for transplant of the Hosta.  Along the fence, in addition to the Monkey Grass there are three Crepe Myrtles, the color is a mystery until they bloom.   

The light green Hosta relocated to the back of the patio where they will flourish in the filtered light. Hostas are interesting plants; some varieties enjoy filtered light, a good rule to follow is the lighter the leaf color the more light the species requires, the dark blue green varieties prefer a more shaded environment.  The back flowerbed of the patio has filtered light throughout the day. I thought I'd try these almost citrus colored variety of Hosta here, I believe they may be Sea Fire, a bright green variety that thrives in filtered light and whose flowers are lavender.  Wishful that I'm right!  

Beneath the Crepe Myrtle we relocated the variegated Hosta, I believe are Fortunei Albomarginata, a cream edged Hosta that can thrive in a variety of settings from full shade to part sun. Again this classic variety has purple flowers.  The crème edges create bight accents beneath the shady, tall Crepe Myrtles.  We are looking forward to the Crepe Myrtle blooming with great anticipation while we wonder what color their blooms will be. 

We ordered outdoor LED light strings for the patio for some nighttime ambiance. We hope to have those up soon. 

The fountain is leaning a bit, we are working to set straight. We'll do a foundation  planting of flowers beneath for color. 

There are interesting remnants from previous owners hidden throughout the garden. This petite footless angel sits beneath a large tree just off the patio, snuggled between roots.  We feel its been sitting there for many years. We've wondered if the angel is a remembrance of someone. 

A view of the vine free façade. Unfortunately in order to remove the vines we lost the foundation planting of Buford Holy. The vine roots were intertwined with the Holy.  We plan to relocate some of the standard size boxwood from the front flowerbed to the foundation.  The sphere shapes of the boxwoods will add some architecture to the façade. 

It feels as though the cottage is longing for shutters. The façade looks plain now that the vines are removed.   We've got to paint soon.  Maybe after she has a new dress (paint),  we'll ponder  the ide of adding shutters. 

We cut the unruly pink Knockout Roses back in an effort to gain control in the front garden.  The roses are literally being chocked by Asian Jasmine ground cover. We plan to remove all of the ground cove, then move half of the boxwood to the foundation. Our eventual plan is to create an herb garden between the roses. 

At the center of the bed a climbing white rose bushes and Cedar stump covered in Jasmine, we plan to erect a large trellis over the stump where the roses can climb to their hearts content. 

I added a pair of Gardenia topiaries to flank the main front double doors, along with clay pots filled with gifted Raspberry Cheesecake Petunias and Neon Geraniums.  The Gardenias perfume welcomes guest. 

Once all of the vines were removed, we
organized the chimney flowerbed; relocating all of the Hydrangea, a few Lilly, Hosta, some Dwarf Boxwoods that will be evergreen to provide some color in winter.  We've created a base to build upon.  We plan to add full size boxwood against the foundation, along with Japanese Sky Pencil to flank the chimney with height.  Our goal is to create a well balanced garden of spring then summer seasonal blooming plants paired with evergreen shrubs for winter interest.  


This front right side bed is our next project.  We inherited red Knockout Roses, yellow Daylily, pink Tea Rose, blue Sea of Love Iris, some sort of daisies, as well as another variety of lily we haven't defined. The birdbath sits atop a cedar tree stump, that is literally petrified. There's no cutting it down, or grinding it off.  I've drawn up a plan for this bed that will utilize what we have inherited and provide a little architecture to the garden.  

Presently an unruly mess this flowerbed is to the right of the walkway leading to the double front doors. 
The flowerbed redesign includes a lattice work obelisk to be erected over the old stump, a matching obelisk at the opposite end of the bed.  Each obelisk will be surrounded with Iris, they'll provide beautiful blue spring flowers then spiky greenery the remainder of the year.  At the center of this garden a cone shaped Wax Myrtle evergreen will be added for winter interest.  Each side of the bed will be lined with a row of three red Knockout roses. Between the roses four evergreen dwarf boxwoods. Each end of the bed will feature a pink Tea Rose.  Again our design plan is based upon seasonal blooming plants combined with evergreens for interest all year. 

Further projects include the rusty iron fence.... who desperately needs a life saving coat of paint. The birds don't seem to mind. 

For the past few weeks between the spring rains, we've been working in the garden.  We hope to sort out the front flowerbeds, front foundation planting, along with the chimney wall flowerbed.  Over the summer months we plan to clear the remaining flowerbeds, then leave them to rest until fall.  There is so much to do around the cottage.  I often remind myself the current condition of the gardens happened over years of neglect. It will take a few years to bring them back to life. One project at a time we are making progress.  We feel we have our own garden center to shop for plants, plucking plants from one section of the garden and relocating them elsewhere.  Everyday when something blooms we are surprised and thankful for the inherited treasure trove of blooms. 

Until next time, wishing you all the best...



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