Some times I wonder if I was born with dirt under my fingernails.... Was it my destiny to be in love with plants and tending to nature? I suspect it was. It was how we were raised. Gardening, taking care of pets, tending to wild creatures, appreciating nature around us.
Then there was Mrs. Baxter. She was our next door neighbor and they had a plant nursery in the field next to us. I don't recall ever going through the nursery and I'm not even certain it was.... or just greenhouses where they grew their own flowers. She had THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GARDEN IN THE WORLD. Or at least in my world. It was full of dahlias. She lived in an old, rock house filled with antiques and outside were gardens and pathways that we could get lost in. I never wanted to leave.
Today, I'm still trying to live in that garden.... Without knowing it, or understanding why until recently, it appears I'm recreating my past into the future. Tending to the birds and squirrels. Adding a small creek bed and pond. Designing my gardens with pathways that wind, secret rooms, quiet places to sit and reflect, accents to surprise you.
For me, it's not so much about plants that bloom, but having a place where the dogs can romp and roam and the grandbabies can explore. When I make a new garden, it has to be dog-friendly so if they do happen to wander recklessly inside the boundaries, any damage won't be devastating. I try to fill my garden beds with hearty shrubs and plants that will bounce back if they get trompled on.
I also love to incorporate what you find in nature, into my landscape. Ferns, driftwood, naturalizing ground covers, rocks.
I LOVE FERNS! They make such a great backdrop for plants. You can put ferns next to iris or sedum or astilbe or most anything and it looks good. I love ferns just as much as I love the actual bloom on a flower and I probably love Fall colors more than I do actual flowers. When I buy shrubs, I often seek out those plants that will provide something back to nature, like berries for the birds, and then the Fall colors.
Yard art is another necessity for my gardens. Whether it be my little gnomes resting lazily on a boulder, watching the world go by, birdbaths which are nothing more than a ceramic saucer filled with water and sitting on a rock. I think rocks and wood rounds also make great accents in a garden. They add a certain charm and an inviting feel to the garden. Often, a garden's focus is not a plant at all, but some kind of yard art whether it be an old bucket filled with old soil and covered with moss or a weathered piece of driftwood I found along the beach.
One day when I was outside working in the back yard, I found the entrance to what I believe to be a garden fairy's home! Could it be??? I've yet to see the little fairy girl that lives inside this moss-covered tree stump, as I suspect she only comes out at dusk when all dangers have passed. I believe she sprinkles her fairy dust over my gardens and casts her fairy charms in such a way that it's the real reason my gardens look as lovely as they do. Yes, this little door holds all the secrets to my garden.... One day, when I'm wandering down the garden path with my little Hunter or Ellis, I think she'll show herself.... But until then, she'll continue to watch over my gardens, dusting it with fairy love.
Happy gardening! Nancy