Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Before & After - Yard & Garden Tour

Our Painted Lady Butterfly 'Shirley' - August 13, 2012.
Three years ago we moved to a mature neighbourhood in our Zone 3 city where we loved the trees and the birds that live in them.

The yard at our new 44 year old house was sadly neglected. A small budget and hard work really can make a difference in three years...


*BEFORE pics taken two months prior to moving in when the Home Inspector was doing his thing. On his official report he noted that the kitchen was 'hideous'.
Oh wait, maybe that was me.

Spring 2009
August 2012
There is still a lot to be done in the front shade garden up against the house, but we're getting there. The small tree is an amur cherry; we had two at our first house and they are a gorgeous, easy to grow tree. Hopefully the new front deck and stairs will go on next summer. It's time for that 1965 railing to say good-bye.

Spring 2009
August 2012
We knew the backyard needed a lot of work...
little by little we've made some changes.

We love sitting out in the yard now watching the birds at the fountain and the feeders...

Wait... that's no bird!!

Spring 2009
June 2012

The house had not been parged or backfilled properly after the addition to the house and the garage were built. Hello loads and loads of clay, black dirt & hard work. Thank you Mr. C.F. & Uncle Bradley. Now it's perfect for running through the sprinkler!

Spring 2009
August 2012
We removed this lower deck and walkway the first summer. I say 'we' but you know it wasn't me that did all the demolition & digging out of the footings.  We added stepping stones, grass seed & a serviceberry tree. The flowering raspberry was added summer 2010.

Spring 2009
July 2009
This is what was left for us at the spruce tree. (The upper pic, not the sweetie in the lower pic.) The garbage was annoying but far worse was the fact that they had used the poor tree and fence for a paintball target. I scrubbed and scrubbed. The tree had already been limbed up so... we used the wood & screws from the deck we removed beside the house to build this deck under the spruce. Nothing brings small birds to a yard like an evergreen.

Left  Checking the insulation on the addition.
Not my department.

Right  Mr. C.F. and I built the arbor two summers ago; the honeysuckle, left, is making slow progress. Our neighbour friend Louise gave us some canary creeper seeds (an annual), right, and they are growing like mad. The sweet peas were a total failure this summer.
Not sure what is up with that.

July 2011
In previous years the south side of the house was the perfect place for our sweet peas and monkshood.

By September 2011 we had to brace our sweet pea jungle.

Canary Creeper - An annual that grows like crazy and has funky leaves and delicate flowers.

July 2011
July 2012
The flowering raspberry was planted in July 2010. It is a wonderful zone 2 plant that flowers in the shade. I wanted it to hide the view from the gate so we didn't have to look at the wheelbarrow on the side of the garage. It will grow to 10 feet wide and about six feet high. It is supposed to have small berries, but ours hasn't produced any fruit yet. Unless, that is, a small black fruit-loving dog has been nibbling them.

Spring 2009
August 2012
Not quite the same angle, but you get the idea. We made our first attempt at planting pumpkins in the 1/2 oak barrel beside the lavatera this spring. I found out last week that pumpkins will flower, but not produce in a container. Oops. Luckily I planted one in the bed out front by mistake. It is taking over the front yard.
We may have Baby Boos after all!

Clustered Bellflower and False Sunflower (I think)
Lavatera and Mandarin Honeysuckle at the base of the arbor

Summer 2011 hail storm and view of 46 year old corner hedge
August 2012
My new front flower bed that you're all on a first name basis with by now. :)

Orange Cosmos & Zinnias - Super easy to grow from seed!
Orange Cosmos & friend

Creeping Bellflower, a perennial weed.

This poor little bed has seen better days. Our cute globe spruce that was in the center didn't survive our winters  and the sunflowers are courtesy of the birds. There are oodles of Creeping Bellflower taking over but I had to leave them until they were finished flowering as the bees love them. These pretty weeds are very invasive and thrive in part shade. They totally crowded out my purple coneflowers. Apparently they are tough to get rid of. Wish me luck. 

Macy is on SLUG PATROL. We have been invaded back here and I learned from a bloggy friend that slugs love mulch. Hello - we have a slug hotel here! Diligent removal by my number one slug slayer is the key. That whole beer bait thing is icky. It is no fun disposing of the bodies from the beer soup.
Mr. C.F. prefers not to share with the slugs anyway.

I have all winter to plan my revamped fountain flower bed. We have had plans for the garden shed too but I am not sure if it will be the front deck or garden shed that gets our time and small yard budget next summer. Or perhaps staining the deck. Hmm. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime I'll just leave you to wonder what Doughboy was up to in the fairy garden, eh.

Thank you for visiting!

Linking up to:

Rooted In Thyme
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


  1. That dough boy sure gets around! Love your green thumb.

  2. What a beautiful home and yard. I know it's lots of work--but so worth it! Wish I had that arbor!

  3. Lovely post...lots of work goes into such prettiness! I LOVE the little corner sitting place under the evergreen! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for your sweet comments! I have really enjoyed my visit here...I am a new follower!

  4. Wonderful trip from then to now. Enjoyed seeing all your flowers. Where I live in Oklahoma, we have had such a hot summer (again) that most of my plants are "toast". :(

  5. You have done such an incredible job on your garden. Everything looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing the before and after pictures!


  6. Wow! You really have gotten a lot accomplished in just a few short years. I'll have to check out that amur cherry tree, because I need to replace the trees in our front yard next spring.

    The sunflower photo is amazing! And I'm curious what doughboy has been up to with the wood block in hand. Hmmmm....the letter A.

    Please let him know we ran into many of his relatives while hitting the antique shops on the road. They said to give him their regards. :@

    Great before and after photos!

  7. This has been a horrible year for my flower gardens - thank you for sharing your lovely ones!

  8. woow.....that is a great job......just Lovley :)
    and do not miss...




    it is FUN :)
    Håkan ( The Roseman)

  9. I loved the tour. The transformation from 2009 to 2012 was amazing!

  10. Oh, My! You have been quite the busy bee! I'm amazed at the progress you have made in three years!! Just lovely. Visiting from Funky Junk. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  11. Your gardens are stunning Tracy!!! Your opening photo of a sunflower was very captivating!
    A lovely tour.
    Hugs Rosemary...xo

  12. Tracy - I love everything you've done with the yard. Your stone paths through the grass, the mini deck under the tree, those sweet peas and that arbour! All so lovely! We're zone 3 too and it's not easy to find plants that can withstand the cold winters ~ somehow you've done an amazing job.


  13. Hi Jenny,
    I'm over from Vickies blog. I'm glad she directed me over here. I love your garden and your sense of humor. I can't wait to scroll further down!The dough boy story really cracked me up! Have a good day!

  14. I love your garden success story. It's fabulous! Your photos and descriptions are wonderful.

  15. Amazing work! I especially love the deck under the spruce, the arbor, and the zinnia and cosmos fence line. Thanks for sharing such beautiful pics!


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