Friday, August 10, 2012

The Making of our Garden

Hello everyone,
                     Today I have been asked to do a guest post for Kathy at A Delightsome Life for her Summer Series'  How do they do it' so I thought I would share a little information on the making of our garden. I seem to remember I promised awhile back to answer some of your questions also, so today is the day!
    Our home and garden is on Prince Edward Island and we have 10 acres of land. We garden on aprox. 3 acres of it with the rest being a small woods with a brook and a  pond - new last year.We have lived here for 36 years and I started gardening when the youngest of our 7 children started kindergarten. The garden slowly evolved until about twelve years ago when we did some major expansions for a couple of years.
     For a number of years I watched almost every garden show and poured over garden magazines and books looking for ideas to incorporate into our garden.Fortunately,my husband Andrew was always helpful in making new beds etc. Our red soil here is pretty fertile on it's own but when we made new beds we always added several inched of mushroom compost. If you live in an area with poor soil it is very important to build up the soil first with manure,compost etc. Also, when making a new bed it is a good idea to make it wide enough to hold several different perennials so you can have color all season. I usually followed the rule of tall plants at the back,medium in the middle and short at the front but pulling a taller one forward here and there to give a more natural look. Some of the books I found helpful was The Art of Perennial Gardening by Patrick Lima when I was designing as well as Lois Holes Favorite Trees and Shrubs.I also enjoy The English Garden magazine and P.Allen Smith books and Suzy Beales garden books-to name just a few. Now, there is so much info about care of plants etc. on the internet as well.
  Our garden is an English Style garden with shrubs and perennials closely mixed in every border. We don't use any pesticides or chemical fertilizers on the garden so it is a safe haven for birds and bees etc.
 Sometimes I am asked about garden pests - we have no deer here and rabbits are not a problem either. So far, we do not have the Japanese Beetle in our garden but it  arrived on the Island a few years ago so probably only a matter of time before it discovers our garden. We do have some slugs,Japanese Lily beetles,aphids,however.I did get rid of most of my lillies because of the beetle-it was too hard to keep ahead of them so I gave up.
   We live in a zone 5b but we have had milder winters lately so Zone 6 plants will often survive here now,especially if we have good snow cover.Most of the plants in our garden are hardy and need no extra protection for winter with the exception of the English roses which we cover with several inches of mulch or compost.Our garden season here starts somewhere in April (depending on the year) and we do our last garden chores somewhere around the middle of November when the garden is put to bed for the winter and we enjoy a little break for the winter.
    Many people ask how many hours we spend in the garden as we have done all the work ourselves. In the spring there is always a few weeks that we would spend aprox. 40 hours a week getting all the cleanup done but after that it would drop to 20 hours for a few weeks and by midsummer probably 10 hours a week. It is a good thing we enjoy it! Although the garden started out as my hobby now that my husband is semi retired he also enjoys spending time in it.
    For the past several years we have many visitors from Japan tour our garden through local tour companies but also guests from several other countries as well. This sort of evolved as was not the plan when we started gardening.
   Our garden includes many old fashioned plants such as peonies,lilacs,rose,delpheniums,phlox,etc. but also newer varieties of perennials too. For awhile I was always on the hunt for new varieties of plants but now our garden is very full and probably as big as we can handle so unless something dies or gets removed there is little need for more.That being said,if something looks very interesting,I can always squeeze it in somewhere!
   I have often been asked where I got my love of gardening ,often thinking it is the 'Dutch" in me,but it was my Dad who enjoyed gardening and encouraged me to start by giving me some plants from his garden which I still have today.
   I tend to love pinks,purples, whites and pastels in the garden as opposed to hot colors but having bought many plants at yardsales etc. there are sometimes little surprises that pop in.I have noticed that I have several orangish daylillies this year that I don't think I had a few years ago-I am guessing that some are reverting back to their parents color-anyone else notice that?
   Andrew has built most of the fences,arbors,birdhouses and structures in the garden over the past number of years which really add to the gardens appeal. I also love having pretty seating areas and garden statues tucked in various places in the garden ,adding a touch of romance.
   I think much of gardening for me has been trial and error-so if something doesn't work in one spot don't be afraid to dig it up and move it somewhere else. The garden is always changing and evolving. I read somewhere that it takes 15 years to make a garden so be patient!  My advise is to take lots of pictures,study them to see what you like and what you don't like and then improve the things you don't like. I study the garden every winter,making notes about what improvements should be made in the spring. Little by little you make a big difference!
  Well, I have probably totally bored you by now but if you have any other questions please feel free to ask and I will answer them here shortly.
 This is a picture of our home shortly after we moved here. You can see that not only did our garden grow and our family but also our house as we added a wing onto it. The verandas are facing south and the side is west-now the picket fence area is there.
This is a  diagram of the layout of our garden taken from the Canadian Gardening magazine  June 2004. The garden was expanded since then so I drew in the new additions.

 This is part of the bed at the road.
 The house as seen from the driveway. Going through the arbor takes you into the picket fence area. This part of the garden was one of the first that we made.
 The east side - shooting from near the pond.
 Inside the picket fence- shooting toward the barn.
 We had this little garden 'cottage' built several years ago.
 Picket fence garden. As you can see our garden has several rooms.
 This is a corner of our Chelsea Garden. North of the 'cottage' and to your right coming in the driveway.
                                   This is shot from the upstair balcony.
                               Looking into Chelsea Garden.
                    The hillside garden looking up to the house and shooting from the woods.
 Martha's Garden is tucked in behind the barn and enclosed by a fence and an old hedgerow of trees.
                                            We enjoy all four seasons in the garden .

                                                        Our Autumn colors
                      Last year this pond was added to our property on the east side of our house.
                                                 South gardens in summer.
                                                     Summer morning.
                                               Color combos I like.
                        More color combos and some favorite flowers peonies,roses and meadow rue.
                   The garden is sleeping beneath the snow for the winter.
Well,this is definitely the longest post I have ever written. I hope this has answered some of your questions and not put you all to sleep! I have to say gardening on this scale is not for everyone but we love being outdoors surrounded by nature and I feel blessed to be able to do it.

 Thank you,Kathy for asking me to be a guest on your lovely blog A Delightsome Life and to you my delightful readers!

I am also joining My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday.




Wendy@Once upon a rose haven said...

Hi Carolyn,
Thank you for such amazing feast to my eyes, and for all that great information! Your place is a piece of heaven on earth. May your days be filled with His blessings!

The Tablescaper said...

Oh Carolyn, I have long enjoyed your blog and your amazing gardens but I am completely blown away with what your home looked like when you purchased it. You have worked miracles! It is simply amazing.

- The Tablescaper

Doni said...

Carolyn, you inspire me with each post I read, and look at! I can't imagine all the work you've done, but it indeed incredible and well worth all the kudos you receive from all over the world. LOVELY would be a good word. Thank you so much for the tour and background. I think I might want to go dig in the dirt now....

Michele M./ Finch Rest said...

So awesome I am speechless.

What a wonderful wonderful garden - and I LOVE you shared the early pic of nothingness.

You are truly inspirational - taking nothing and making magic.

WOW is all I can mutter!

cvet na mesecu said...

Thank you so much for all the info that you provided. Your garden is beautiful and a real product of love.

Kathy said...

This is a post I've been looking forward to! It is not boring or too long. I will read and reread it and study all your photos. Your gardens are truly beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. I was amazed at the photo of your home before the gardens were added! You are an inspiration! Kathy

flowersandhome said...

You're so lucky your husband wanted to help you 'build' your garden. Ours looks a bit like in the pictures you show us with all lawn. That was ideal for when the children were little but the swing and the sandpit are all gone since they grew up and now I have that big lawn I'd love to make garden beds in but our clay soil is so heavy and dense, I'm unable to work it, it's really a man's job. But when the man isn't interested in doing the job, then the garden stays as it is and as he likes it best because "it's so easy now to mow the lawn with no gardenbeds 'in the way'", as he says... No, he doesn't have the gardenvirus at all ;-) Oh well...
I have to say, your garden is like a dream, I enjoy every post you make, from the garden or from your house. It's all so romantically beautiful , like a fairytale really. So glad you share it all with us. Thanks!

flowersandhome said...

My daughter especially likes the stars on your house in one of the pictures. She's so much into stars these days ;-)
Oh, and, our garden is not at all as big as yours, I wanted to add that as well.

Annie's Journal said...

What a great inspirational story! You've done a lot and have gone a long way! Well done! I'm sure you hear this all the time but I'm saying it as well: "We love your's beautiful!"

Timi said...

It was so wonderful to read about your garden! Thank you for the post and the photos!!!

Cotton Peony said...

It IS a life time of soul cleansing, love, hard work and your hearts. Thank you for sharing as this wee bit of information opened up my eyes and I'm sure others as well.

Blessings come from the odds places, one just needs to look.

With much warm felt thanks and love,

Cotton Peony

Barbara Neubeck said...

Hi Carolyn,
Your magnificent garden is a joy to see. Thank you for sharing how it developed and grew into the lovely romantic garden it is today.
Have a good day
Barb from Australia

A New England Life said...

As a gardener myself this post is much appreciated! I've always wondered about your inspiration and layout. Not to mention how much time you put into the garden and whether or not you designed it.

I've worked on our garden for several years now, expanding it as much as my husband can stand. Again, another husband who doesn't like mowing around new plants. After much grumbling I did get him to dig up a rose garden for me and it looks fabulous, though it's fairly simple. One day, mark my words, I will have a garden of my dreams. Though I could definitely use a little help in the design area as that is not my strong point.

Thank you again, Carolyn, for posting this!

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

All I can say Carolyn, is fantastically stunning!
Your garden is truly a work of art and I would love to see it in person someday!


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I knew you must have put a lot of work into making your gardens, Carolyn, and it is apparent that you enjoy it. A true labor of love! I'm so glad that you share it with us, not only to bring some beauty into our world daily but I'm sure many people get lots of ideas for their own gardens, too.

Beth said...

Oh my, Carolyn! You have the most gorgeous gardens ever! They are absolutely amazing. What a joy they must bring to you and your visitors. I cannot say enough good things about the beauty I've seen today and I thank you for the tour.

Carol said...

Thanks so much for posting this. It is so beautiful. I want to rush everytihing in my yard so it is like I want it, but I must learn to take my time and it will all some together. Have a great weekend! Carol

theromanticrose said...

Complimenti!Questo è il luogo incantato!e tu sei la fata!Saluti,Rosetta

Kathy said...

Hello Carolyn,
Thank you once again for sharing with us your home and garden. I am sure there are several follow up posts you could do about your garden. I hope you have a blessed weekend,

Irene said...

Hello Carolyn,

I've been a follower of yours for quite some time now but have never posted. On seeing all the photos of your beautiful garden I thought it about time I introduced myself!

Gardening here in Edinburgh, Scotland is a hit or miss affair with all the rain we get (especially this year - non stop for months).

I pop back to your garden posts every so often for inspiration and now that the sun is shining here (who knows how long it will last!) I'm all fired up to venture out.

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful space.

Two Cottages And Tea said...

Your gardens are so lovely! Thank you for this post and for all the time you give us in preparing your blog. Your gardens have touched my heart and I'm sure many others.

Sistergirl said...

Beautiful garden ideas. I dream of one day having a beautiful garden I just don't have a green thumb and I tend to kill everything.

My Cottage Diary said...

What a beautiful home and garden you have Carolyn. Paradise on Earth! I found everything in this post so very interesting, amazing, and gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing the history of your garden with us. Blessings, Bess

Miss Jean said...

One of the things on my "bucket list" is to be able to see your garden in person. It is spectacular!

Cotton Peony said...

ooooh yes, I forgot the recipe for you Carolyn.. posted it! Enjoy.

dizzyizzy said...

Carolyn, Your garden is enchanting. It is so lovely to behold. Thank you so much for the inspiration and information. You are truly amazing. I would love to take a garden tour if I am ever blessed to come your way. Thanks so very much, your blog is always so beautiful.

Sabelhagens Olivlund said...

Lovely pictures from the change of your garden!!
I love it!! Thank you for the inspiration!
Maria in Gothenburg

Sanna - My Blueberry House said...

Wow Carolyn, this is amazing! I can hardly believe this is the same place, looking at the first photo and all that flat surface you had to work on. It gives me hope ;) Since the very first time I found you in blogland, I have been completely and utterly in love. It is pure joy and such an inspiration to visit and take a (visual) stroll in your beautiful garden.

Happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

Carolyn your gardens have always been such a joy to tour. I so enjoyed seeing the before picture of your home. I so wish I had the same kind of visionary eye that you have. I would so love to have my garden looks like this but I just don't seem to have the eye and know how as yet!

bee blessed

Bernideen said...

Thank you for giving all these details which all enjoyed. I had always wondered if you home were really very old or just built to look old and I guess that is it?

Katy Noelle said...

Carolyn! I wasn't bored AT ALL!!! I was riveted! I've wondered about how long you've had the garden - how you learned - how you keep up with it and this gives me a glimpse.

Patrick Lima's book was my first gardening book. I've had it for twenty years. It's my gardening bible! =] Oh, but, this year, it got left out in the rain.... it's still good, though. I think, now, it's real - like the Velveteen rabbit. ;)

No, this post wasn't too long at all. In fact, it was incredibly encouraging to me to just keep chipping away at it. I moved so much around, this year, in my second year border and started so many, too. I've been out there nonstop, it seems. I figure, since it just takes time, I might as well get crackin'! But, I look at the new beds and I'm not completely sure about what I've got going, there. =/

Well, we'll be surprised next year, eh? =]

Thanks for taking the time to post this all up, Carolyn!!!


Rose Garden Malevik said...

Hi Carolyn
that´s an amazing post.....
loved to see the photo of the house with no garden.....what a great job you have done...just WONDERFUL :)
I say it again
you are Number ONE in the World
and do not miss.....




it is FUN :)
Hugs from
Håkan( The Roseman)

Anonymous said...

Carolyn thank you for sharing such wonderful and helpful information. Your garden is so magnificent and it's even so inspiring that you and your husband created this haven with your own hands. It is pure magic!

xo, abby

Sarah said...

Carolyn, I have followed you and admired your gorgeous gardens, but am even more in awe of all this now that I see the photo of what your home looked like when you started. You and your husband are master gardeners. I can't begin to imagine tending a garden such as this beauty.Thank you for sharing its story and all the lovely photos though the seasons. ~ Sarah

Georgianna said...

Incredible story, Carolyn – your garden is a tremendous achievement and through your blog you've shared it and given so many others lovely moments and enjoyment. Thank you for your generosity and inspiration!


Olá Carolyn,
é uma linda história e vocês fizeram um belo trabalho.E todo trabalho tem sua recompensa.
Você é merecedora disso tudo.
Sou sua admiradora e fico feliz por desfrutar de toda essa beleza que você nos proporciona através de suas imagens.



A Garden of Threads said...

Ohmygosh Carolyn, now more then ever I want to see your garden. It is on my bucket list of places to visit when next we visit the east coast. Take care and have a fantastic weekend.

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

You have done an amazing job of creating your lovely gardens! They are awesome! I'm glad you showed the photo of when you moved in so we can see all that you have done to create these gardens.

Linda said...

So many of us can only dream of having a garden like that Carolyn. I am so glad that you have it, and that you share it with all of us.

You have worked hard to reap these results...and everything is just glorious!

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Unknown said...

Dearest Carolyn your garden is lovely!
Thank you for sharing your photos!
This splendor gives me strength to go forward in a very difficult time for my family!
The force of nature gives you energy!
I wish you and your family a peaceful weekend!
A warm hug!

Bohemian said...

Your Transformation is Truly remarkable and Inspirational! You have Created a slice of Heaven on Earth and all your Hard Work is so evident! If it weren't for the distinction of the House I wouldn't even guess it was the same Property! It is now Picture Postcard Perfect and an Idyllic setting to Restore Body, Soul and Spirit... well done!!!

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

shirlgirl said...

I appreciate so much that you took the time to tell how you do it. You deserve such a beautiful place for all of the time and effort that you put forth. Thank you for sharing the beauty with others.

Simply Simplisticated said...

You are hands down my garden IDOL!!! Words cannot express nor do justice to the beauty that is your gardens! Each one as lovely as the next I stand in awe.............

Cindy said...

What a wonderful and interesting story, your gardens are the prettiest I have ever seen photos of. I love it. You've done an amazing job on them.
Hugs, Cindy

Kathryn Bechen said...

Absolutely enchanting property and gardens; thanks for sharing it!

Sandi O'Connor said...

Thank you for this beautify peak to Spring! Can you tell me how to book your garden tour? My friends and I are coming to PEI in September for the 70 Mile Yard Sale. We'd love to be able to see your fabulous gardens in person. Look forward to hearing from you regarding the tour! Sandi

Unknown said...

Fantastic advise! I have to get in the garden NOW! xoxo Jen

Ellen said...

What a beautiful life you live! Sure do wish you were my neighbor -- I'd beg for cuttings and to walk around your gardens and imitate your all of your handiwork. Happy Spring from Alabama!

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Carolyn
I come to you this morning from the Town and Country Living blog. I am so inspired by your beautiful gardens! I once had a very large garden on our ranch but am now starting anew since we've moved to town. It's been a long time since my senses have been filled up this way and I can just imagine the intoxicating scents that must fill the air of your lovely surroundings. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing all the beauty of your surroundings! Rose from Nebraska