Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Five Years of Blogging

As of last Friday, September 5, I have been blogging about my garden for 5 years. Because I started the blog when we first moved into our new house here in Washington state, after having lived in Massachusetts for all of my 50+ years, this blog has also served as a record of all the changes I've made in my garden here.

The Back Garden

When we came for the home inspection, I took photos of the back yard as it appeared when the former owners lived here. I also put this set of photos in my very first blog post, which you can read here. The pictures proceed from right to left across the back yard. Sorry about the very contrasty sun and shadows in the Now photos.

Before, taken from the back porch:


Here is that view now:



Before:


Now:



Before:



Now:



Before:


 Now:



Before:



Now:



Finally, Before:



Now:


And one more, the view taken from the gate in the photo above now, down on ground level:



Here's a panorama view of the back garden taken with my iPhone (click on it to embiggen).



The Gravel Garden

The second major overhaul we made to this garden was installing the gravel garden. When we bought it, the house had one entire side of the yard devoted to a gravel parking pad for trailers and boats, neither of which we have. I decided to put in a low berm bordered by boulders, mulched with gravel, and filled with drought-tolerant plants.

Below is a shot of the "Scorched Earth" parking area before we started working on it:



Here's a scan of the crude drawing I made showing my hardscape plans for the space:



Although work didn't start until March, 2012, I took that photo above back in August, 2011, not long after seeing Shelagh Tucker's gravel garden during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Seattle. Hers was the inspiration for mine. Also, while visiting Lorene Edwards Forkner's garden during the Fling, I saw tall gabions like I planned to use in the gravel garden. And I saw the culverts and stock tanks used as planters at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Equal Opportunity Theft here all round.

Here are some photos from today showing the gravel garden, now 2 years old.



Here below is a closer view of that first set of gabions and culvert.



Here is an iPhone panorama, distorted as if taken with a fisheye lens, of the gravel garden.



The Front Garden

For four of the five years that I've been blogging, we made very few changes to the front yard, which was primarily a large expanse of grass. In January of this year, just before we started working on it, the front looked like this:


And now, it looks like this:


From another angle:



And in the front, this is the view from the front door:



The house has one foundation bed that wraps around the southwest corner of the house. Early on in our occupation of the house, it looked like this:



And here it is today:



Here are some other views of the front. I don't have matching Before shots for these, because...well...basically just imagine grass.




And below is the front, taken with the iPhone.



That's the end of big transformative projects around here. From now on it's just tweaking.

Happy Blogaversary to me!

34 comments:

  1. Your garden has come on so well Alison, and it's an absolute delight following its progress through your blog :) Happy 5th Blogaversary!

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  2. I like how you did this. The photos very clearly show the changes. Very clever what I think is now called "repurposing" with the children's play area turned into a beautiful adult patio and especially the adult-toy gravel area turned into a gravel garden.

    Yes, yes, Happy Blogaversary to you! Well done.

    Jane Strong
    http://janestrong.blogspot.com/

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  3. A Happy Blogaversary to you! What fantastic changes you have made. I really love seeing before and after pictures.

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  4. Spectacular. You have an eye for design, and a real sense of how you want to live in your outdoor spaces. Changing the gravel parking lot, the kids area and the front grass desert into separate beautiful areas was genius. I do love such clearly documented before and after shots -- nice! Doesn't it feel rewarding to see it all so utterly transformed?

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  5. I love before and after photos. You have done a lot of work and you give me hope of making that move like you did!

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  6. You have such a good eye for possibilities, Alison. Your ability to incorporate details you saw in gardens and at garden shows is incredible.

    The fledgling Fortnamesque tropical garden duly noted. I may have to consider riding the bus from 3000 miles with a tall piece of lightard wood on my lap to make you a tree, freight rates being out of the question.

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  7. Happy blogaversary! It is really inspiring to see your progress from as-it-was through planning to completion. And I like Jean's comment!

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  8. Oh, you have done lovely things to your yard! It looks wonderful! I really like your water feature. It must be very enjoyable to sit in your backyard and listen to it. The plant choices are wonderful.

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  9. Great before and after shots Alison, this also helps me understand how your whole garden "fits" together better than I ever have before.

    One question. In shot 0524 that you describe by saying "The house has one foundation bed that wraps around..." I am curious about the gravel up against the house. Is it filling a raised bed, or???

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    1. That strange little gravel area had me stumped too, when we first moved here. I wasn't sure of its original purpose. It's right next to the front door, under the front porch. One of the first things we did when we moved in was to take it out and put in a concrete pad.

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  10. P.S. I hit publish too soon! Also Happy Blogaversary!

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  11. Alison, you have created an amazing place here, and congrats on your anniversary! Thank you for sharing your photos, the before and afters are always a treat. Lovely...hopefully I can see it in person one day!

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  12. You have an amazing skill there Alison - you have created a wonderful garden. The difference is really quite immense. Love the panoramic views - give a good perspective on how it all fits in.
    Happy Blogaversary!

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  13. From zone-whatever Massachusetts to this! You must be pinching yourself every day. I love how the gravel garden turned out. Yes, like Picasso, lots of EOT when it comes to inspiration! Congrats on your Big 5 Blogaversary!

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  14. First, happy 5th blogaversary! I'm so happy I discovered your blog and I'm pleased to have the chance to get to know you a bit through it. Second, you've done an absolutely stupendous job in transforming your garden in 5 years! If my garden looks half that good within 5 years (I have 1.5 to go to hit that milestone), I'll be pleased. Third, the difference you made in the front yard is - what's bigger than "stupendous"? - supercalafragalisticexpedalidocious (with apologies to Mary Poppins who is no doubt appalled by my spelling)! I loved that last panoramic shot of the front of the house.

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  15. Those are incredible photos Alison, what a transformation!
    Happy Blogaversary.

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  16. It's amazing how the garden has changed in these years, you did a very creative and good job and can be proud of the result. Congratulations with your fifth Blogaversary!

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  17. That was really fun to see the befores and afters! Your new front garden is already filling in beautifully. And all around you can tell a plant lover lives here.

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  18. Aren't you glad you got so many before photos? I wish I had done the same, but a blog was not even a glimmer of a thought in 2001. I did take some pictures, though, and it's always mind blowing to see how far you've come. You have a beautiful space there.

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  19. Wow! I´m impressed! so many changes and it looks beautiful! congratulations for your 5 years of blogging!

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  20. I have no words. I've been reading your blog for five years and I've always been so truly mesmerized by your gardening & design skills. My hat is off to you and this wonderful accomplishment. It truly is a work of art. Hugs, Jenni

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  21. What an amazing difference you have made, each photo showing such an improvement! Congrats on your 5 yrs, of blogging.

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  22. How beautiful! And how quickly the front yard changed! I'm in awe of the changes & beautiful beds you've established!

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  23. What an amazing job you've done! It's really beautiful. An oasis! Happy Blogaversary to you!

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  24. Congratulations on your fifth Blogaversary! You have done an amazing transformation on your garden. It is so much more useable, I love the concrete patio in the back, and the changes to the gravel parking area, and front yard. It's great that you have a lot of photo documentation, too. Your borders look wonderfully diverse in plants.

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  25. Happy blogaversary to you my friend. The transformation of your garden is amazing! How beautiful everything looks now. Congratulations on both blogging for five years and on the magic you've created in your garden in that time!

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  26. I'm very partial to before-after pics, and what a great transformation ! Well done, and I have enjoyed your blog and getting to know you 'in person' ! Hope our paths cross again the next time I venture up to the PNW..

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  27. Happy 5th Blogaversory, Alison! Great job! I bet the house is very glad that you bought it!

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  28. A wonderful transformation! Congrats on your five years!

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  29. Happy Blogaversory! I love your before and after pictures! You have a beautiful garden!

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  30. Happy Anniversary Alison...your transformation is astounding and really quite lovely. I am buoyed that eventually I will get more changes made. We had a completely bare patch here when we moved in so i am happy with what me made but after 9 years here I am looking for more changes...you have given me many ideas.

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  31. You've done a fabulous job landscaping your property.

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  32. Congrats! You've done a fabulous job (gardening & blogging about it) over the 5 years.

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  33. Happy 5th! The transformations are enjoyable, but the gravel parking-to-gravel garden is my favorite...serious form there.

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Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.