An urban garden retreat

It has been almost three years now since we’ve downsized and moved closer to the city.  I’ve spent the past 3 years trying to get a semblance of order into the flower beds of our town home.  A while back I  blogged about our old garden and compared it to the postage stamp lot that we now enjoy.  You can read about it here. I definitely don’t miss cutting the grass every weekend, we now have flower beds in the front and back of the house.  The backyard has a lovely courtyard for entertaining, and did I mention I did not miss the grass?   When we were house hunting, this was something I definitely had high on my priority list, so when we found this beautiful home, with absolutely not a blade of grass, but wonderful flower beds, I was sold.  I also volunteer in a garden once a week.  This year we’ve put in quite a few vegetables in some of the raised beds, and since I live quite close to it, I’ve been put in charge of these beds.  So even though we don’t have the room for vegetables here, it is just a hop and a jump down the road, it’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to pick your own vegetables and herbs.  If you’ve missed the post, you can click on the pink.

After re-designing and re-planning at least a dozen times, I believe I’m starting to feel that my plants are happy and so am I.  As a gardener, I’m sure you’ll agree that you’re never really content unless you’ve moved everything around at least more than once. Do you ever find yourself doing that? I never seem too happy when I first plant it in the ground, it either does not match the rest of the foliage, or it gets far too big for the spot, or it gets too much sun or not enough shade.  I’m constantly uprooting plants, but now I finally feel a bit more settled with just a tad more shifting come the cooler weather.  Come walk around with me and enjoy these gorgeous flower beds which bring me so much joy.  With just a little space, one has to really work hard at making these gardens a welcome respite for butterflies, bees, birds and humans.

The front beds and porch

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Coreopsis and a rock

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The front porch

Moving onto the side yard now, I’ve managed to create a space for some shade loving plants with hostas and ajuga , next year I’d like to add some annuals in between, perhaps white begonias as it feels a restful spot that can be seen from the side of the front porch.  Sitting outside on the porch on summer evenings, I enjoy this little patch.  Wind chimes blowing in the wind, the fragrance of the petunia basket, reading or enjoying a glass of vino and saying hello to all the passers-by. City gardening is just wonderful.

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Variegated aucuba with red berries in the winter time

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Hostas and variegated liriope line the driveway

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Daylilies and Evening Primose

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Now onto the backyard – there’s still a bit more work, but I am definitely enjoying the shape of things to come. I acquired a few Asiatic lilies, some scented and others not.  I was not sure of the colors when I first got them, so I initially potted them, but will put them in the ground in the Fall.  It should provide a perfect backdrop against the ugly fence, with the other shrubs and perennial plants in front.

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IMG_3727These two-toned beauties were picked up at Walmart of all places, they’ve come back year after year.

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Here are the lush and incredibly delicious fragrant lilies that perfume the air.  The non-fragrant variety bloomed about a month ago, the fragrant ones are blooming right now, they can make exquisite bouquets (minus the stamens, as they stain).

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After all that hard work, don’t you think it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of vino?  Cheers!

IMG_0669I’d like to link this post to two gardeners whose blogs inspire me.  Garden Walk Garden Talk has a wonderful garden in an urban setting.  Garden In a City is another wonderful and informative blog.  Click on their links and get ready to be inspired too!  Enjoy gardening my friends, it is quite therapeutic.

39 comments

  1. Just lovely Loretta – you seem to have quite a bit of space to surround your home with bright colors, foliage and beautiful plants. You could squeeze some herbs into your garden as they do not take up too much room. Love my herbs… I like to mow my acre lawn as it is on a riding mower and I just love the fresh air and really no work, just drive around! Thanks for sharing such gorgeous pictures. One day I hope to downsize more (first 75 acres, now 1 acre) and only hope I can have such a lovely place as yours 🙂

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    1. Thanks Judi, that’s so sweet of you. I too miss my riding mower, I used to feel on top of the world, and I used it to gather my grass clippings and leaves in the Fall for my compost heap, so it kept me very busy. But I really do love it here, and if I’m surrounded by flowers, I’m in my happy place. I did have herbs one year, but now that we have the gardens where I volunteer, there’s just a ton of herbs there, so I help myself :). Thanks for the visit, would love to see your garden someday in one of your posts. xo

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  2. You have such a great eye for the yard. It looks beautiful as your home here always did. I miss the times spent at your home when you opened it to the neighbors for events. Most of all I miss you! 🙂

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    1. Ahhhh welcome Lisa, I couldn’t quite figure out which Lisa this was initially. Thanks so much for posting on my blog…it means a lot. I did take some of my shrubs from the old house, but I yearn for all the various hydrangeas I had there, I just didn’t have enough room over here. Miss me? Well we can remedy that can’t we? :). Bring some of the gang over, I do a great “Capano Tour” – it happened all around these parts, and then we can grab some drinks and a bite in Trolley. Cheryl Lugo, Laurel, Kim etc… should be fun!

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    1. Thanks so much Elaine….you have boys and a dog huh? OK, you’re forgiven :). I don’t blame you though, cricket, football, and a doggie to boot? I don’t think I’d have wasted my time either. xo

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  3. I just love your gardens, and would love to share that bottle of wine with you. We still have a LOT of yard to mow, but several planting areas too. I am always adding a perennial here and there especially when they don’t come back after winter. I always have an herb garden and a few veggies. This year we planted strawberries but the birds know right when they are ready to pick. I don’t mind, we don’t have enough plants for a pie or anything yet. I grow annuals in my pots and always love pouring over the nurseries in the spring. I would love to downsize the way you have but still have my private green space and want a gourmet kitchen. I’m a spoiled brat!

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    1. Thanks Julie… now wouldn’t that be just tickety-boo? A bottle of vino and surrounded by the birds and the bees? My kind of heaven! Wish we lived closer…but alas Nebraska is so far away :). I too try to visit garden centers in the spring and get attracted to so many new perennials, but I have to be good, as I don’t have as much room. Annuals always fill up space when everything else is done flowering in the height of summer eh? I thought long and hard before downsizing, Bert is not a “suburbs” type of guy, he loves it here, and I’ll have to admit I do too. It’s a wonderful spot, tree lined, the river just a 10 minute walk, and everything within walking distance, we donated our second car when we moved here. I do miss my large kitchen though, we used to have plenty of parties, now we have limited space, but we’ve had some great themed parties here too, both inside and out. I hope you get your wish for a gourmet kitchen, you deserve it, you produce some wonderful stuff. Thanks for stopping by xo

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  4. Hi Loretta, I love it, you are such an amazing writer and an even better chef. The pictures are so bright and colorful. I think it’s fantastic that you share your passion for cooking and gardening with everyone. One of these days I am going to cook something from recipes and Im sure it will be good but not as good as your cooking. Maybe next year I will try and make a trip to Delaware and we can cook together. Thanks for sharing, love always Stuart.

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    1. Oh my dear cousin, thanks for visiting my space, and how lovely to have you here. You make me blush with all the compliments. I just love blogging and putting things together, I’m improving on my photography too, and really learning all the technical jargon that goes with blogging. Would love to have you visit DE and have you cook with me, that would absolutely make my day/week/month/year! I just remembered that I forgot to send you what I said I would, so I’m doing it right now. Thanks again Stuart, you’re a love! xoxo

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  5. You did a great job with your garden. Lots of texture and loads of color. The containers are very nice too. It looks like you live in a really nice neighborhood too. Some day you will have to give us a tour or your kitchen too. I am sure the way you organize it is very professional. If you want to see my kitchen, it is on a blog I no longer make postings. http://greenapplesgarden.com/2011/01/04/in-the-kitchen-with-blue/ Thanks for the shout out. Much appreciated.

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    1. Thanks so much, your approval means a lot :). I loved the pictures of your kitchen, it’s amazing what you’ve done with the limited space. The colors and arrangement are fantastic.

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  6. This is such a great idea! I, too, have gotten tired of grass and weeds. Although I don’t do anything with it since we have lawn service and my hubby does the fertilizing, etc.. but still… We are definitely planning on downsizing some time in the future… and a townhouse/condo would be a good place to move into. I love your plants and flowers! I wish I was a natural green thumb like you! 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Belle. I’m definitely not missing the grass cutting, but love a splash of color all around. I did not start out with a green thumb, but I guess by trial and error, it is what it is now 🙂

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  7. Loretta,
    Thank you so much for sharing your garden with us. I loved taking a walk with you through your garden. it is truly a work of art…..and lots of hard work, I am sure.
    I am heartened to read that you plant and replant. I cannot make up my mind many times about where some plants should go.
    Love, love , love the post and the pictures!

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    1. Thanks Sandhya, gardening is very satisfying and therapeutic don’t you think? Oh yes, I keep moving things around all the time, with the limited space that I have now, I have to keep on top of it all, or else it would soon appear as one large jungle. Thanks for visiting Sandhya, so glad you enjoyed the post xo

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      1. A beautiful garden like yours requires an artist’s eye, knowledge of the plants and hard work and you have all the qualifications ! Yes it is very rewarding indeed. I am trying to grow one kaddipatta (curry leaf plant) that is growing ever so slowly and teaching me to be patient:)

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  8. Thank you for giving us a peek into your slice of heaven Loretta! The flower beds are absolutely beautiful & the work that you put in them shines through! I must admit I have been neglecting my garden. You are inspiring me to get my fingers into the mud 🙂 Thank you for this lovely post 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Naina, it is a lot of work albeit very therapeutic and satisfying. This small garden is really quite manageable compared to the other, so I do try to fill it with bright colors and textures. Thanks a bunch for stopping by and taking the virtual tour with me. xo

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    1. Thanks Nandini, if ever you’re in the area, would love for you to visit. I may not have bebinca to offer you, but we can definitely walk through the beds with a cuppa and cake 🙂

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    1. Thanks Angie. Well, after downsizing and being in the new place for the past 3 years, I finally feel there’s a plan and it’s shaping up nicely. Thanks for stopping by, always appreciated 🙂

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  9. Love your garden Loretta! You have made such good use of all the space you have. I have a small terrace and I struggle with a few pots that I have! My biggest problem is that my plants get infected with some bug or the other like Epid or something and then I feel very bad when my plant dies! Do you know of any resource that would help me keep my plants healthy for a great part. Happy FF!

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    1. Hi Suchitra, thanks for stopping by, and for those positive comments. It would really help if you could send me pictures of your plants, so I know what you’re struggling with. I can send you my email address and we can discuss “gardening”. I have a special section on the blog dedicated to gardening, one of my other passions besides cooking :). Don’t give up though, I learned through trial and error. Insects will be insects, it’s disheartening when other critters like deer, rabbits, moles etc. destroy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve, but never fear…..there’s ways around it. Let me know if I can help further.

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  10. So happy I could tour your lush and beautiful gardens Loretta! So jealous of your downsized yeard. I am nursing another poison ivy breakout after trying to weed after too much neglect during travel this summer. We are talking of downsizing a lot as our sons are finishing up college and I long to surround myself with flowers and no yard maintenance. Just lovely!

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    1. Oh too bad about the poison ivy Johanne, I know how rough that can be. I think downsizing is definitely the way to go. There’s just so much work with maintaining a large garden and home. We did that when our girls were at home, but now it gives us that extra time to have fun and enjoy life. We actually have travel plans for September too (visiting some southern states) and then in October, England to visit my mother. Enjoy this beautiful Sunday. Lovely to catch up.

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