After much procrastination I recently undertook a mammoth task of going through most of my garden pictures and deleting at least some of those I don't need. Several thousand files and a burned dinner later, I found just enough pictures to do a post on what our garden looked like when we just moved in....
... and now that we have been gardening here for over seven years.
When we bought the house, there was no garden. The elderly couple we bought it from didn't garden, so all that was in the yard was a lawn and automatic sprinklers, and a "mow and blow" crew to take care of it.
We have never had any ambitious plans for what our garden should be. We never had a big budget for a large-scale makeover either. All we have been doing over the years is dig out bits of lawn and plant, one plant at a time.
Looking from the street to the house across the same space 7 years later
When we started digging it became obvious that we would have to work very hard to get things to grow.
This was a narrow fenced-in strip of grass running east to west along the south wall of the house. Picture from 2009. All plants have been put in by us
The soil was never amended. Especially around the house, it was extremely hard and full or rocks. Rocks, interspersed with squashed soda bottles, rusted nails and rotten shoes were the only things the garden had an abundance of.
It took years of amending, mulching, watering and feeding to see worms, ladybugs and birds.
We took the most effort with the back yard, which at first was nothing but an expanse of lawn with a long planting bed along the back fence. Just about the only plant growing in it was a sadly neglected climbing Cecile Brunner.
Our "mow and blow" crew retained from the previous owners in a fit of misguided politeness, propped up its few canes against a fan shaped trellis and we left it at that. For the first couple of years, we resisted planting in that bed because we wanted to redo the ugly cinder block retaining wall, but that project took longer than we thought. However, my husband soon grew tired of looking at a long grey fence, so we started putting some plants in even though the cinder blocks were still firmly in place.
It took a while, but finally there is no fence to be seen. The cinder blocks are gone. But the fan-shaped trellis is still there somewhere :).