Hi, I’m Nicole Paull. It’s so nice to meet you! Come on in and stay awhile . . . let me hang up your jacket. And can I get you a cup of coffee?

So . . .

Most people who visit me here love beauty and love nature and they love the idea of having a beautiful garden, but it seems like too much work or too much expense or just too much in general. Or maybe they’ve tried, but were disappointed in the results. Or held back from trying for fear of not getting it ‘right’. Is that you, too?

If it is, good news! I’ve made lots and lots of mistakes in the past twenty-something years and I’m spilling the beans on my blog. Plus, my yard continues to be my Chief Experimental Station, so there are always new successes and failures to share. (Isn’t it great when you can learn from someone else’s mishaps, instead of having to make a whole bunch of your own? I think so, anyway!)

Here’s what I’ve learned: You can add beauty and functional value to your yard in ways that are easy and fun. And you don’t have to break the bank to do it.

Believe me, if I can, you can. I’m not a Master Gardener and I don’t have a list of impressive credentials. And I’m very definitely not dealing with an unlimited budget in my own garden.

I’m just a homeowner with a passion for gardening in a way that shows sensitivity to the environment I’m gardening in and my hope in blogging about it is that other people will feel inspired and empowered to get growing, too.

Here’s a little dose of encouragement to get you started:

Above are three views of the same garden, taken at different times and from different angles. It’s a little meadow, sited at the top of our driveway. (I hope you like it!)

Full disclosure, it did need some nurturing in its baby years. But I say baby years deliberately. As a parent, you spend the first months literally having to dress your children, feed them, tie their shoes for them, and so on. But every year brings more independence and so it’s been with this garden.

As it’s matured, it’s developed into its own almost completely self-sustaining mini-ecosystem. All I have to do is pull out the occasional weed (and I do mean ‘occasional’ literally). Plus, I remove the old plant stalks in the spring. I don’t even really have to do that latter task; it just makes things look neater.

For that modest amount of work, I get to enjoy flowers from spring through fall and a bouquet of dried seed heads in winter. And so can people around me, from neighbors to passersby. And so does the local wildlife.

In warm weather, the garden is always abuzz with bumblebees, which I recognize, and lots of other bees which I don’t – iridescent green ones, metallic black, shiny blue, from teeny-tiny to slim, wasp-waisted ones an inch long. And butterflies! And birds!

And you (yes, you!) can have all of this, too . . .

So if you’re a homeowner with an interest in adding habitat value (for wildlife and your family, too – everybody wins) to your yard, all the while decreasing maintenance needs and increasing beauty, this site is for you.

I’m so glad you’re here!

I’m a person who likes to grow deep roots personally, too. I’ve been married for 25 years and lived at the same address for 23 of those, 20 minutes away from my parents’ house. Although I love making new friends, I have lots of old ones, too – some of whom I’ve known since my early childhood.

My family is somewhat new to this country; my father immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s and, though my mother was born here, her parents were immigrants.

My husband’s family roots here go back further than mine by far, the original Paull coming ashore in Newport, RI in the 1600s. In fact, one of my husband’s cousins lives today on land that was once owned by that great (many times over) grandfather!

I have two sons (one still at home), two cats, and three hens, plus visits from all the little wildlings who come through my yard and sometimes stay for awhile and raise families.

In fact, it was the latter that inspired the name for this blog – a pair of Carolina wrens who’ve been around for years and become great favorites of mine. They’re smart, spritely, sociable birds, generally staying pretty close to one another and calling back and forth when they’re not – a pleasure to me since they have clear and beautiful voices. And they’re inquisitive! Every nook and cranny (including interesting things like sheds and propane grills) receives a thorough exploration.