I am totally a novice at gardening.  My parents are fantastic gardeners.  They have won awards locally for their property beautification and their gardens have been featured in a garden tour.  My mom is convinced that lurking somewhere deep inside me is the gardening gene but that it hasn’t shown itself yet because I haven’t had time to get outdoors much and get my hands in the dirt.  I’m not sure she’s correct.  What I did inherit from my parents is their vigour and DIY mentality.  I really enjoy working and trying to make things look better.

For the past five years or so, my mom has been asking me if I have a garden plan and annually I’ve disappointed her by saying, “No.”  Now that my boys are older and don’t require constant supervision and I have a yard that is just begging to be developed, I decided to put together and execute a garden plan.  My plan was two-fold.  First, I was going to try to maintain and improve the front garden that the previous owners had started.  Second, I was going to try to create beds for future gardening endeavors on the side of the house.

Both parts of the plan are going well.  I have put weeding, clipping and watering on the regular schedule of things to get done.  To improve the front garden, I expanded it, added a natural rock border and filled in some of the holes with stuff.  Here are a couple of pics:

The rock border became part of my exercise regime.  Every time I went for a walk, I carried back a few rocks I found on the way.  I saved myself from buying rocks and weights and increased my workout.  It’s totally rustic looking and has taken me a while to complete but I think its simplicity adds something to the country style garden I am trying to create.

I had no idea what plants to buy to fill the holes in the garden so I didn’t buy any.  I simply took what I had on hand – a rusty blue milk jug left behind by the previous owners and a strawberry pot that I had bought years ago at a garage sale and plunked them down where the green stuff was a bit sparse.  Those decorative embellishments just sort of add something to my garden and the expense to me was nil.

On the side garden I added a weathered window that I picked up on the side of the road.  Someone else was done with this window frame but I couldn’t bear the thought of it going in a garbage truck to be unloaded at a dump.  I rescued it and now it too has a place in my garden.

If you have junk, reconsider it and see if it might look nice in your beds.  I’ve seen people use old doors, picture frames, mirrors, headboards and a host of other stuff quite effectively amongst their plants.  It’s worth a try.  (As an aside, try to ignore the “grass” you see in this photo.  My lawnmower conked out and is in the shop hopefully getting repaired.  The green stuff in the yard is too long and really doesn’t add to my amateur garden photo shoot attempt!)

On the side of the house, I have been slowly digging up that weedy grass to make what I hope will be future plant beds.  Little by little, I have made progress on this project and little by little I have been buying red cedar mulch to cover up the naked dug up earth.  It takes a lot of mulch to do this and to buy it all at once would have been overwhelming for my budget.  Doing it little by little has kept me from having a heart attack over it.

Since I love colour, the contrast of the red mulch with the white siding and the green plants works for me.  It also comes in a more natural brown and even black if the colour is too much for you.  I moved the tree from the front to the side of the house.  It was growing out instead of up so I tied it to the deck to get it growing the way I want it too.

Yes, I am totally a novice at gardening but my parents assure me that they were once at that level too.  Like me, they tried things and got better and better with each effort.  So, I will keep trying and will keep sharing what I learn and what I think works for me.