Early on, I shared descriptions of the gardens I knew as a child (here and here). Although my parents no longer live in the house I grew up in, their gardens still have a similar feel and I thought it might be fun to let you see them.
Once, I was describing to a friend where my parents live. “Oh, yeah,” she said, “That’s the house with all the flowers!”
Though the gardens are smaller now than they were then, I think you’ll still be able to see why she said that. 😊
Here’s a view into my Dad’s garden if you’re standing in the driveway looking toward the house.
Below is a photo taken from a different angle. Eastern bluebirds, tree swallows, and house wrens have all fledged families from this bird house.
Coming up next is a photo of the kitchen garden. You’ll see grapes trellised to the right and another trellis with pole beans growing behind the flowers.
Raspberries grow to the left, outside the frame. (Nothing yummier in the summertime than ripe, sun-warmed raspberries!) Also outside the frame is an elderberry bush that’s beloved by all the robins and catbirds in the neighborhood and a bed bursting with chives and onions (along with a dusting of red poppies).
I love the photo below. Because, I ask you: Why shouldn’t poppies, a sunflower, a cherry tomato, a pole bean, and a black-eyed susan grow all together in one happy jumble?
It might not make for efficiency, but it does help to stymie bugs (who bow down and thank us for monocultures).
Now, would I want an entire garden like this? No, probably not – no more than I’d want to eat a bowlful of cinnamon. But in dashes and dabs, as “neglected” nooks, visual spice like this is lovely sprinkled in to enliven otherwise squared-up, soldierly rows. (At least that’s true to my eye; I know that’s not necessarily so for everyone).
Mum’s aesthetic is a lot more tailored and traditional than mine. I don’t possess in my whole body the consistency she contains in one little finger. (I wish I did; I struggle with that.)
She always kept right on top of her garden, deadheading and weeding. In her mid-eighties now, it sorely vexes her not to be able to keep up with it just the way she used to.
She thinks it looks ragged.
I think it looks beautiful.
The coneflowers and black-eyed-susans bring in clouds of butterflies. A bit later in the season, there’ll be flocks of goldfinches, feasting on the seeds.
And see the grapevines in the background? A catbird couple has a nest in there.
Earlier this year, a house wren couple raised their family in the bird house that’s mounted on the arbor (above).
I wonder if house wrens are the singing-est birds in existence.
Papa wren would perch atop the arbor and sing for hours while Mama incubated the eggs. He’d even burble away while flying! In fact, besides nighttime, I think the only time he didn’t sing was when he was flying a beakful of insect goodness back to the house for the babies!
Enjoying the Garden
My parents’ house has a front porch that runs the length of the house. So you always have shade and can enjoy the garden even on a rainy day.
Mum hung a hummingbird feeder from the overhang, so you also get to enjoy the aerobatics of dueling hummingbirds, who all seem to think that the feeder should be theirs and theirs alone.
Here’s my Dad’s reading nook, where he ensconces himself with the newspaper each morning.
And this is my Dad. Something I love about him is that he’s a man who befriends bunnies and nesting robins. He has a calm, quiet, gentle presence and it doesn’t take long for the critters to accept his presence undisturbed.
(Lest you think I’m leaving my Mum out, that’s in deference to her. She doesn’t mind having photos of her garden online, but doesn’t want any photos of herself posted.)
The Home of the Wood Thrush
There are woods behind and on one side of my parents’ house. And across the street are acres of conservation land, also wooded.
So my parents get to enjoy birds as an everyday occurrence that I probably never will, so long as I live on the outskirts of the city. It’s a delight to me whenever I visit to keep my ears peeled for the lilting strains of the wood thrush’s song!
Here’s the kind of setting that makes a wood thrush feel happily at home. (Photo taken at edge of woodland behind my parents’ house.)
In no world would I exchange the song of the wood thrush for any so-called improvements to this picture!
A place that gives shade, serenity, and surprise (because you never know when you’re going to hear or see something interesting) really cannot be improved upon, to my way of looking at it.
But that’s me.
What do you think?