Back in 2011, my house had been unoccupied for 18 months, two summers' worth. I think it showed:
And we started pulling the front perennial beds apart, getting rid of overgrown ornamental grass, a half-dead flowering plum, and weedy wild garlic.
There were days it was hard to sort the worthwhile from the compost pile:
But my sons helped me dispose of the concrete rubble and build new retaining walls:
And every year I worked on mulching, and adding just a little bit more. I wish I could say I had a plan, but I didn't. I feel like cottage garden style doesn't need one, so much. Thank goodness, because I gave up having time to plan a garden out on graph paper years ago.
This year, we've been enjoying the bulbs, like these daffodils. I wish the pesky squirrels had stayed out of them:
The big hit this year was the new globe alliums, white and purple and nearly three feet tall. The neighbors stopped by to admire, and I even had an in-town school classmate contact me to find out what they were:
Speaking of oniony-garlicky type things, we also have a nice clump of chives in the garden this year. I want to add more herbs as we go along:
And the irises are at their peak. This one is called Tennessee Gentleman:
Overall though, the pleasures of the perennial garden are in the close-up views in May. The larger view shows it in its pre-peak stage:
The foreground above shows what's left of the daffodils and pink yarrow. The blue salvia "May Night" is coming along, and behind it are mixed pastel (coral, pink, white, and yellow) lilies and a mystery variety of white penstemon (with reddish foliage). Over on the far left is a clump of Joe Pye Weed that volunteered in my garden that I've let stay, because the butterflies and bees go absolutely nuts over it. Behind the penstemon you can see a pile of weeds that need to be bagged and the garden hose. Real life gardening!
I always have a few containers of annuals around for all-season color, and this year I chose purple, yellow, white and orange to go with the new house paint color:
Yes, my deck desperately needs staining, doesn't it? It's not faded though. I've decided it's got "patina."
Here's a finished container, with African marigolds, calibrichoa, lobelia, alyssum, dahlberg daisy, and annual salvia.
After the long winter, the garden feels glorious even when it's a little weedy and with not enough blooming. What have you got going in your little patch of Eden?