Saturday, February 27, 2016

See How My Garden Grows

I'm celebrating my blog's eighth birthday. I wrote my first posting on Thursday, February 21, 2008, nearly three years after I began creating my gardens. This is what I said,

"Like many of you, I long for springtime to arrive! As my garden is currently covered with snow and ice, I have a little more time on my hands, so I feel this is a good time to begin a blog that shares with others my passion for gardening.  

My garden began in my dreams long before I retired from a demanding and stressful job. Back then, most of my gardening efforts were confined to containers and hanging baskets that I placed liberally on a small patio and on three porches. Since I retired, some three years ago, I have landscaped the areas immediately around the house. I plan on venturing further once spring arrives. Here are some 'before' and 'after' pictures that show what I have done to date."

I'm repeating the 'before' pictures from that first posting and adding more recent 'after' pictures as my gardens continue to evolve into a space that better reflects my dream of creating an English cottage garden in the Poconos.


Nothing would grow under the old cedar tree, so I tried no-dig gardening, sometimes called lasagna gardening.

Marked out the new garden with rocks -- lots of those in the Poconos.

No-dig gardening involves layering newspaper, organic material, peatmoss and soil.

I soaked each layer with water, made top soil the final layer.

I planted the new garden with shade lovers like hostas and many native plants such as lamium and foam flower. We put a fence behind the shade garden to frame it. We added a swing as a place to relax.

Shade plants provide wonderful texture. A peaceful garden.

Last year we replaced the 'naked lady' (grandsons' name for the statue) with a new one.

The statue is the focal point of the shade garden.


We built a patio from Pennsylvania blue stone given us by a friend who didn't need it when he moved to another state. We did most of the work ourselves.

H.H. tamped down the base of sand before we laid the stone.

We positioned the slabs of bluestone like completing a jigsaw puzzle. A small retaining wall was needed and I made that myself, well most of it. As the summer heated up I worked slower and slower. H.H.'s brother-in-law, a mason, came to the rescue and finished the top few layers.

This is how the patio looked when first completed. We were terribly proud of it.

The patio is wearing well. We removed the small stones in the cracks and put in a more durable material.

The patio is small but serviceable. It is now a private, fenced area.
Last year, I added the herb garden to a corner of the patio.


H.H. used a rototiller in the area I marked out for the first cottage garden bed. The following picture is interesting because there is no kitchen garden across the driveway. Also, the driveway wasn't blacktopped back then. The first photograph on this posting shows the entrance garden and blacktopped driveway installed a couple of years ago.

Our grandsons call this machine 'Pappy's tillerator.'
The first year.
Improvement on the first year.
This is the exact area H.H. is tilling in the tillerator picture.


I grew vegetables in containers before designing the kitchen garden. The kitchen garden began with a potting shed. It was placed further from the house than I wanted because of the specifications in the township permit.  We enclosed the area with fencing.

The sloping glass window gives the potting shed some attributes of a greenhouse.

The potting shed is the focal point of the kitchen garden.

I practice square-foot gardening in raised beds.

Cottage garden flowers on each side of the fence attract pollinators.


Cottage-garden herbaceous borders surrounded a lawn where we decided to place a pond with a waterfall. With the help of friends and family we did the work ourselves.

I marked out the pond with white paint.
We installed a simple waterfall

Unfortunately, we didn't know what we were doing, and the waterfall and pump weren't sufficient to keep the pond clean. We called in a pond company to rework the waterfall.

New waterfall with two tiers.


There are many gardening challenges in the Poconos including rocky ground and a high deer population. One of the worst problems on our property is the large amount of invasives. Multiflora rose was everywhere when we started. H.H. works every year to keep them out of the main garden.

Wall of multiflora rose covering a tree.
The pear tree to the right of the swing is the one previously covered by multiflora rose.

In spite of the challenges, I love this journey, and I love recording it through my postings. Happy eighth birthday, dear blog!

Pamela x

Grandson and I made five miniature gardens

~~ I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. Wonderful story of your garden "growing" through the years. You have so many beautiful spots throughout. I do believe you battle deer and wild roses. Your garden does not look it though.

  2. Happy blog anniversary! Yay, you! These before and after posts are the best. Cheers! And here's to many more years of blogging and gardening ahead. :)

  3. Happy blogiversary and happy gardening. Your gardens look wonderful. It was interesting to see the process of their growth.

  4. What a beautiful garden you have created! Happy birthday to your blog anniversary and congratulations to the wonderful work you have done!
    Have a nice sunday, Monika from Germany

  5. WOW! What a beauty your gardens are. You've done a fantastic job and it must be such a joy to walk around in them. Congrats on your 8 yr. blogiversary.


  6. i LOVE THIS Blog entry on constructing the various garden areas, Pamela.

  7. Happy eighth blogaversary!

    Your garden looks a delightful place to wander round and explore.

  8. Congratulations on your eighth blog anniversary. What a long way your garden has come since you first started and how wonderful that you've taken photos along the way, so many changes and improvements through the years.

  9. Pam, you and your husband created a wonderful garden! I'm glad you have a blog (one of my favorite blogs!) to document a garden progress. Before and after pictures are amazing! All the best to you, your garden and your blog!!!

  10. My goodness, you have really made a difference there on your property! So gorgeous. Congrats to both of you on your hard work.

  11. Wow, you've done so much, and you have such a gorgeous garden!! I am so impressed with your beautiful patio that you built. Having built just a tiny one at our last house, I know how much work that involves! Your kitchen garden with its red potting shed is so adorable, and I just love your pond!

  12. Happy anniversary! How lovely to see your garden from the beginning and how it developed, it looks so beautiful now – and it’s much bigger than I thought.

  13. I was away visiting family for a couple of weeks and am catching up finally Pam. I adore this look back and seeing how your garden evolved and grown....just amazing!

  14. That's a lot of work that I'm seeing. You sure did a great job. Now I'm thinking how much energy I have left to redo my gardens...the dogs did some damage and my energy level is low. Anyway thanks for the reminder how rewarding it is to see your plans come to life. I have plans but there is going to be some fencing that has to be put up...tricky to make it work the way I want.

  15. Your present gardens are wonderful and mean so much more after seeing the before pictures. Although I have had extensive gardens myself in the past, I am on the road in an RV and my only gardening at the present is a small jade plant that can handle the intensity of the dashboard sun and heat, a little hanging philodendron pot that can be moved from place to place in the RV and a small stone planter at the bottom of the steps. Thought to send you a picture of the stone pot plantings this year, but the blog doesn't seem to accept that.

  16. Wow! Your yard and flower gardens are so beautiful! I can only imagine all the hrs you have put in to make your dreams come true. I used to spend a ton of time in my yard but have had some rough summers with my parents passing and my hubby's illness. This has been a calm spring and summer so my yard is getting some much needed attention. Your pics have become so inspirational for me and I'm starting to dig in the dirt. Thanks for sharing!