Bohemian Patio Hangout





First let me say that I hope everyone is staying safe through this severe fire season.
We are fortunate, at the moment our city is not being evacuated. On the day I am writing this post, the smoke is heavy, but I feel like that is a good thing. The wind has died down a bit and we had a tiny sprinkle of rain.  Hopefully helping to get a little control over the fires. Not that they are reading this but...THANK YOU to all those fire fighters!!!They are all so very brave.
   



With all the fires all around British Columbia, we are encouraged to stay indoors.  I have stayed inside, for the most part.  Except for this morning.  Our patio was covered in dried flower petals and cob webs. Not very welcoming.  I just couldn't leave it any longer.


I gave the whole patio a good sweep, and washed down the tables. Some of my flower pots were
not fitting in to the colour scheme. They went to the front entrance where their pinkish-purple flowers work beautifully.
As I fluffed the pillows I did a little re-arranging and editing.
Through the summer I find my plants start to struggle a bit. Leggy and tired, they
get a little trim and a gentle wash. If they are in a smaller pot I put them in the kitchen sink for a lukewarm soak. They seem to enjoy the tlc.


Our patio is filled with my collection of flower pots and baskets.  It's hard to resist all the lovely
new pots available each spring.  So I don't. My collection has grown to be an eclectic assortment of shapes and sizes filled with an assortment of random plants. Tucking some of them into the garden adds permanent colour to a foliage heavy garden. Smaller pots can be stacked on top of and inside larger pots for a easy cottage look. On the patio, they soften the line between home and garden.


I used to be very strict with my use of colour, or lack there of, but I seem to have a problem with blues and purples...LOVE! With my tastes changing, and my collection growing, it works well with the bohemian style I've been admiring lately.


This is the best view of the garden from the patio. There is a bird feeder hanging on a branch in the
tree to the left, and the waterfall straight ahead, so you get to observe them eating and bathing. This 
is my kind of reality TV.


Succulents and Coleus can sit side by side because of the crazy sun patterns back here.  It's been tricky trying to figure out the right plants for this spot. It goes from heavy shade and quite cool to intense afternoon sun with extreme heat. This succulent planter seems to be managing beautifully.
But that's Costco for you...(#costco) ....no, I'm not being endorsed!


If you are wondering what all the ribbons are about...I am trying to bend and shape my trees
around the patio. The ribbons aren't on the branches long enough to leave any marks or wounds. The ribbon gets wrapped along a branch and then tided up or down to the railing.  Slowly, it seems my crazy plan is working.  In a young garden, wanting a slight overgrown jungle look, craving character and charm, I'll try anything.


Many years ago I made slip covers from painters cloth.  When ever needed, I remove them and throw them in the wash.  They are very low maintenance and they still look pretty fresh!

(Click on the picture to see the difference slipcovers can make!)








Hope you enjoyed the tour,now it's time for a cool drink out here.
Enjoy!

Links
A Crafty Mix/sweet inspiration
Chic on a Shoestring/flaunt it friday

Suburban Cottage Garden


We did it!  We've managed to squeeze it all into our tiny suburban lot.
Yes, it's a little tight, and it has been called 'cosy'...but I love it.





(early spring 2011)

(summer 2017)


If you've visited here before, then you are aware that this is an ongoing process.
Working when finances will allow. So far, six summers and counting.
Challenged with a tight budget and close property lines.
Oh, how I would love to have more money and soil to work with!





(my first apple tree- cortland )

(my first pumpkin!)

(calendula)


Ironically, I feel like all the constraints we've had has made this garden even more special to us.


Click on picture to take you to some before photos of my garden.


(herbs, veggies, flowers and a pool)

(view from patio)



Nestling into this home nicely, with no plans to move, we were prepared for serious sweat equity. Making sacrifices to our household budget to get the projects done. It's not complete yet, there is always room for more changes, at the moment I am eyeing up our side yard.  Currently, the side yard is used as a parking lot, but I see a fruit tree and some three sisters plantings.  Not this year though, I will enjoy and dream....and work on a plan.

Here are a few points that I followed over the years. They have helped when I was feeling discouraged and sore.


1. Make a plan
Decide how much time and money you want to spend on your outdoor space.
Will this be your address for awhile? Or do you know it will be short term.
Draw up a rough copy of your yard, what stays and what goes. Add in your wish list. This is when Pinterest, you-tube, blogs and all those glossy magazines are so helpful.  Now go ahead and dream big, this is when it's easy to make big changes.

2. Prioritize
What do you want the most...flowers, play area, food, privacy, relaxation?
Privacy and grass. They were number one on my list.
With three girls that loved to pass a soccer ball and having a dog, a fence went up and grass was laid.
Shortly after that I carved small corner beds for young trees to get their roots in the ground. That first year was heavy on the sweat equity.  Agghh, who am I kidding, every year is heavy on the sweat equity!

3. Break it up into bite size pieces
Even though I wanted a lot more then grass and trees that first year, I knew I didn't have the energy, money or time to take on any more. Having a prioritized plan in place reminded me that it was going to eventually happen, just not at that moment.  Sometimes the priority list changes but that is completely up to you. The water feature jumped up quickly after experiencing the tranquility in my sister's garden and that moved the front yard project down a few years.




Click on image to see our xeriscaped front garden.


4. Resources...
Work with what you have; a lovely old lilac, a messy path way of pavers, a pile of rocks, broken furniture or toys. All of which can be repaired, reinvented or relocated.
Compost! Compost! Compost!  Nothing repairs the soil like compost. It's free.
Start seeds, divide your perennials, plant exchange with friends, visit year end nursery sales.
Thrift stores and garage sales can be great resource for flower pots, garden tables or garden art.  Be creative.


5. Get busy
Try your best to get each job done before you begin another. Making sure to give yourself time to take a break and enjoy.

6. Changes
After all is said and done, the dream may change, and that's ok.  In fact it's wonderful.
My tastes have changed and my direction has swayed, making this even more personal then before.

Enjoy!



How our Garden has Evolved...so far


I thought this would be a nice time to look at
a few garden pictures, while we are waiting for the snow to melt!

Let me tell you a little story about our garden and
how it has changed over the years.
Way back in 2010, when we bought our home,
our garden was all grass, dirt.  No fence, no trees, shrubs or flowers.
Just crappy soil and sod.
The tiny strip of plantings in the picture below,
was my first attempt at landscaping.


I guess on the up side, it was a blank slate. 
Completely blank. Void of any character.
I crave character. 
Far from my goal of
 a layered garden, lacking charm,
and privacy.  We had a very big job ahead of us.


Oh, but I had a plan.
Gradually, with a lot of digging, composting, and planting, we started
to create something that was getting closer to my dream garden.


First thing, after we levelled the lot and built
a fence around the whole yard, we planted a tree in each corner.
I felt like that would be the best  and quickest way to
start on the privacy issue.


Then I started carving out some flower beds.
My husband, sweetheart of a man, would take me out and
we would find boulders and rocks.  I would
take photos for inspiring pictures of nature.
Mother Nature has a beautiful eye for design.
I've even hunted down the sound of a trickling brook
so I could record the sound and try recreate it at home.


And if I wasn't adding a garden bed I was carving out a few
 extra feet to an already existing one. Slowly
working project by project as funds would allow.


We have continued to add a tree or two a year to the interior
of our garden.  Strategically planting them
in front of neighbouring windows, or as a view from our windows.
Our Canadian winters are pretty long so a good view from indoors
is invaluable.  I've added a few bird feeders and the trees are
growing nicely, so the view is getting better every year.



One year we added in a veggie garden, built out of recycled
pallets(free).  We will be adding a few more beds this summer.
It's very rewarding to make a meal from your own produce!




Above picture 2011, lower picture spring 2016
You can see that little May tree getting a bit bigger
from the picture above.














 Every spring we add lots of compost, black gold
and then mulch with wood chips. The soil is getting to be rich and it's so nice 
 to work with. Plus my plants are showing me their appreciation with healthy growth.
For the last few years I have started to add fall bulbs.
And that is the beginning of a whole new addiction!


I am looking forward to seeing these bulbs emmerge again this spring...
hope they have survived this winter!








Another year we built a waterfall with a small creek,
this is hands down the biggest game changer in our garden.
Pure joy!
From the sound of the water falling to the birds that visit.
LOVE.

The bench was my Grandfathers and it makes a wonderful
spot for contemplation. So peaceful.


Above picture is fall 2015,
below picture is spring 2016




The picture below is early spring 2016.
I am searching for some garden art for that large bare spot along the
fence. Add some art and then stretch the raspberries down the fence line.





My dream garden is a private oasis in the middle of our 
suburban neighborhood with trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, veggies,and
a bubbling creek...  I don't ask for much do I...:)
and of course a safe place for birds, bees, bugs, and my family.
The process is enjoyable, satisfying, and slightly addictive. 
That's ok, there is always something to do in a garden.

***

As for the front yard, it has had some much needed repair.
With poor soil, weak grass roots and lots of weeds we
did a full garden re-vamp.
You can check the full transformation out 






Now I am sitting here, February 2017,
looking at my potted Japanese maples, hoping that
they will pull through this crazy winter.
But there is still a lot of snow, it'll be a bit before I will know.
Fingers crossed.

Happy garden planning!

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