Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pay No Attention To That Man Behind the Curtain.


I've been having a great time sitting on the patio looking at the sky above the garden
 watching the birds and  asking myself...the age old question!
"Why,  did I wait so long to finish this garden?"

I'm sure my reasons were good! 
NOT!  
It was my biggest gardening  character defect!
Procrastination!

It was a mess out there!
How messy?

It was so messy that when Frances
came to visit last fall
I requested she ignore the garden.

I do believe I even said...
"Pay no attention to that garden out the door!"
She was a very kind guest.

The tulips are for you Frances


When I finally decided to seek help...I knew it needed lawn
and just a few shrubs.

There was a new home for a Rosemary
that had been living in a giant container for ten years.
It was a perfect time to put it in the ground
...when a crew could dig a 2 foot hole for the roots!

Sod was laid~~and it looks lovely!
Not perfect, thank you
and waiting for me to tuck a few  Spring Beauties (Claytonia) underneath the sod.


But, who knew that a bit of lawn could cause so much consternation!


Everyone knows, I am not a fan of a perfectly manicured monoculture. 
Preferring wildflowers, prairies and almost anything to acres of uninterrupted lawn.   
It's true and I've not been shy with my opinion!  
 So, you can imagine the surprise my friends and family felt 
when I opted for a little patch of green. 

My son was in complete shock! "What, Mom has a lawn?" 
A surprised friend wanted to make sure her husband saw the changes! 
She made an appointment to stop by...
Are you wondering if 
I am in denial over what might seem to be
 a totally incongruous decision?....A clash of values?

No, none of those!

 It's just a little patch of green.  
An oasis of calm.
Now the Garden of Benign Neglect
doesn't look so disheveled...

It looks exactly like a wildflower garden ought to look. 
 A little wild!  Well, okay, a lot wild!
 In a few weeks Practically Perfect Pink Phlox, 
Penstemon X and Baptisia Twilight Blue will bloom.  
 The new grasses,  Amsonia hubrechtii,  Heuchera villosa 
and other perennials will fill in the gaps...
(VP, I am watching to make sure there are gaps before I get more plants)



It's wild qualities are enhanced by the neatly manicured lawn!

What do you think of the view into the patio? 
If you enlarge this photo, you'll see the red bench in its new home, 
 Oakleaf Hydrangeas to the right and itea and witch hazels to the left. 


The view from the bird houses,
up the hill  where you can see 
the end of the dry creek and 
through the garden to my Mosaic Shed.

I'm planting  Autumn Ferns.
They are semi-evergreen here and will be 
a nice bit of color in the winter.
 
The raised bed with  itea and witch hazel ready to be underplanted with 
Spring Beauty, Toothwort and other spring ephemerals.


I love sitting on the patio now.  When you visit we can sit out there, well,  for those few weeks before the mosquitoes arrive!

Gail

I am so glad you stopped by today~~Have a wonderful garden filled weekend;  whether it's garden dreaming  and planning or gardening, I hope it's joy filled!

89 comments:

  1. Thanks for the lovely garden tour, Gail. I especially love the shot to the patio along the new stretch of calming grass. I can just imagine you sitting on the red bench surveying your wonderful gardens. I noticed the pine needles you have on your beds - makes me think of when I lived in Georgia when I was 9 and picking up pinecones was my chore. Have a great weekend.

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  2. Hey, you don't have to explain your new lawn fetish to us--that's between you and the tiny blades! LOL! A little patch of lawn is a fine thing--it's just that when that's ALL people have that it's a problem! I too love spring beauties! Happy weekend!

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  3. It is a wonderful view and I would enjoy sitting on the patio chatting about flowers, family and friends while admiring the surrounding beauty. And of course I love that fresh pine straw mulch! I just spread 32 bales recently and have 10 more to go :-) Have a great weekend enjoying your new garden!

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  4. Gail, you've used lawn grass as it should be used, as a backdrop to set off the garden and give the eye rest so it can appreciate the more interesting plants. (Water, and I suppose, mulch or asphalt could do this, too, not to mention brick, stone, etc.) Your garden looks great!

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  5. It looks wonderful Gail! Your new patch of lawn is a nice addition, and the GOBN looks beautiful. Love the bench - what a great place to sit, relax, and enjoy your wonderful view!

    Have a fantastic weekend!

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  6. Thanks for the tour! Contrasts is what makes it, isn't it. Wild and manicured, dark and bright, tall and small, larged leaves and little ones. I am still working on creating that in practice (it's just easier to start saying the theories). Have a lovely weekend you too.

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  7. i am so happy for you. it is so nice to have a place for rest. just to sit and reflect. i really love the look of the new lawn and the things you have chosen to edge it with. i bet that rosemary will go wild now that it is out of the pot. i hope you spend many wonderful hours with family, friends, and by yourself too, out there on your patch of green.
    it is so nice to have a project finished.
    happy soggy spring day to you!

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  8. Marmee, Did you get the pouring rain and hail? What a mess! It is soggy out there...
    gail

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  9. Your new garden is so peaceful and lovely. You even built a village for the birds;) It's going to be so nice sitting out there reading and just watching the birds and insects.
    Marnie

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  10. Love the new look and so will nature's critters.

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  11. Your garden is almost as pretty as a speckled pup :-)

    That patch of green certainly does enhance that area, Gail. I love your wild look. Wish I had enough space to be as wild.

    Enjoy your new scenery.

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  12. I think your garden makeover turned out splendidly. The grass will draw a person out to the lovely natural area you have. Aaaahhhhh yes, sitting on the porch sounds marvelous. Pass me a cup of tea please.

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  13. Lovely! I too am like you. I like a bit of a mess. My things are mixed in, with the thought that if one is not blooming, another will be and there will not be too many "holes". Love your pics, I get so many ideas from garden blogs. What did we do before them? Lol....Brooke

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  14. I love your new patio and lawn. It looks beautiful and ties it all together(-: I love the wild look too but I do have a wild lawn inbetween. I say wild because its not sod its whatever grows...I would love to have a sod lawn someday.

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  15. Gail,

    I think the new patio area is quite inviting. The curving stone wall frames it so well. I think the garden "calls" to you to come out across the grass to see the flowers.

    Cameron

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  16. I think it just beautiful and you will enjoy that patch of green! You can even spread a blanket out there, have a seat, breath deeply and take some really cool photos. The whole area is great!!

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  17. It's fabulous Gail. I know what you mean by "why did I wait so long?" I've said that a million times over projects that bring me so much joy upon completion. Just like yours is doing. It's beautiful. I think your patch of lawn is perfect and if your husband is happier for it, all the better, right? You procrastinated so you would appreciate it more when it was finally done! How's that?!!!

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  18. HA Gail, you are so sweet to link and post beautiful tulips for me. I love them! Your new garden looks so inviting. I can imagine spending time looking at the sky, the wildlife and the flowers, and yes even the eye resting lawn. It all is wonderful and I am ready for the flowers you mentioned to show themselves. PPPP, where are you, we are ready for you!!!
    Frances

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  19. Lovely pictures! Isn't it wonderful to be outside and look, and enjoy?
    But here's my question: Will this be an organic lawn, fertilized with compost and free of herbicides, or will it be the usual expanse of chemicals with some green underneath? I'm always curious whether a "green" lawn is really possible...

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  20. Enjoy, Gail ... all looks wonderful! You will love your Oakleaf hydrangeas and autumn ferns, two of my favorites! (I covet your huge rosemary by the way :) Happy, happy weekend!

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  21. Hi Gail......like you I am not a lover of grass.....although I have plenty of it......each year I take turf up and add another flower bed.......the lawn that is left is full of buttercups, daisies, selfheal and other low growing wildflowers and I just love that.......

    I love what you have done, the lawn edges your wilder areas perfectly.......I can imagine your garden in the summer and cannot wait to share it with you......to sit on the patio with you would be an absolute joy......

    Enjoy your beautiful garden this weekend......

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  22. Town Mouse, As I said to a friend..."Have you taken bets on how long I will have this green lawn? You know before I stuff it with spring beauties, bulbs and other flowers!" I have Western Daisies that would look stellar out there! It will be organic and won't be green like this after this spring! But it is pretty right now! My orgainc/natives garden guru has told me how to keep it healthy!
    Gail

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  23. Gail I love that stone wall, and the view through the woods to the shed -- just lovely. I, too, have plans to put wildflowers into the lawn, as soon as it's hospitable enough for them. Isn't that what a lawn is for? ;)

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  24. Sweetbay, Yes that is exactly what a lawn is for! Do you have spring beauty (claytonia) in your lawn plans? gail

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  25. You are a very talented person. I really like what you are doing in your landscape. I went through a lot of different garden styles and then settled on something for the wildlife so mine "ain't" pretty anymore. We just planted some dward bamboo today and are looking forward to it reaching its maximum 10 foot height this summer.

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  26. I'm not a big fan of grass either Gail, but it does give the eye a place to rest and really sets your garden beds off beautifully. It looks wonderful and I would love to sit & have a cup of coffee with you before the mosquitos start biting that is. ;)

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  27. It is a small lawn area and you shouldn't feel guilty for it. It looks beautiful! I love that red bench!

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  28. It looks wonderful! A small bit of lawn is just the thing to set off a wild garden. I'm not in the least surprised.

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  29. Diana, I do love pinestraw...the smell is one of my favorite fragrances...and it's fun to walk on! I am glad you like the garden and the red bench is fun...but the table and chairs get the most action! Gail

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  30. Monica, You are so right it is between me and the lawn...but I will plant it with all kinds of stuff! I can't help it! Have a fantastic weekend...gail

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  31. Skeeter, So is pinestraw cheaper in GA then TN? I could spread 32 bales easily...I love it! It is my preferred mulch...although, soil conditioner..finely ground pine tree bark is second! I hope your birthday was fantastic!

    gail

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  32. OFB,

    it's not too bad and I am pretty pleased with it...We have way more asphalt then we want...and it doesn't set off plants like a bit of green! Have fun this weekend. ...gail

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  33. Linda, I hope you have a good weekend, too...Are you getting this odd weather system with rain/hail and cold? It's been here already....I am glad you like the new look of the GOBN! gail

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  34. MMD, It works nicely there...I'm glad...now if it would dry up and warm up we can hang out there before the mosquitoes arrive! Gail

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  35. Robin, Glad you like it...the red just invites smiles and the garden is coming along...I hope you have a good weekend in your garden. gail

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  36. Racquel, I hope you know that you would be welcome to come sit with me on the patio and if the mosquitoes get bad we have a screened front porch! gail

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  37. Old Man Lincoln, I think that pretty really is in the eye of the gardener. I do trey to look at my garden with kind eyes but it is sometimes hard not to get judgmental. I love wild gardens and think they are comfortable. The bamboo looks healthy and so sorry you had to dig three more holes! gail

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  38. Cheryl, I love grass with sweet flowers growing in it..This obsession with a total monoculture is driven by advertising. I surely don't expect this little bit of green to be green all the time....not with my love of daisies in the grass! Have a sweet weekend...gail

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  39. Joey, I wish you could have a giant rosemary. You would cook with it all winter long! It can live outside most winters in a big pot and only come inside if the weather gets below 25. But now it will be on its own in the garden! I hope it survives..it is a good looking plant. have a wonderful weekend... gail

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  40. Frances, PPPP is budding...and if we have some fine weather and not this nasty cold that is rumored to be heading our way...it will be blooming soon! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to see it! last spring was delicious, but I can see that this one isn't as fantastic...several plants aren't budding like last year...maybe it was the summer drought and the extremely cold winter...Have a good weekend...hope you get time in the garden! gail

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  41. Kathleen, That is the best reason ever for my procrastination! I am going to use that one! But, it's true I am totally enjoying it!
    How's the pond coming along? gail

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  42. Darla, Now that is a good idea...a picnic area...I can lay in the sun...I think I will. Thank you for the great idea! I will use it to lie on my back and stare at the sky! maybe I can capture a photo for Skywatch Friday. gail

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  43. Camellia, Thank you. Theorizing is so much easier then putting it all into practice! The contrast is what I love, too. Have a lovely weekend...gail

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  44. marnie, I am trying to find a spot for a hammock...there used to be a place but the trees grew over the hooks. I love trees...Do you have a place to read outside? It's fun isn't it! gail

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  45. Balisha, I think they will...the birds have already adjusted to the place and chickadees have scouted the houses for nesting! I love spring! gail

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  46. Carolyn Gail, A spotted pup...tell me more! It sounds like a southern phrase but since I am from the midwest but live here I don't know all the southernisms! You are a southern relocated to the midwest! gail

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  47. Lisa, If you're ever in the area, please let me know and you can have tea on the porch. I have the best tea cups I love them! Gail

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  48. Creative Country, What did we do! I gardened and kept my house cleaner...and watched a bit more TV! I don't think I know what's on the television most days! How about you? gail

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  49. Cameron, Thank you...Once the plants come in I can see if there are holes and even move perennials around...but right now I just want to see what the PPPP looks like when it blooms. Especially, where it is growing! I am going to have to clean out the dry creek...erosion has created a dam and it is now a pond!

    gail

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  50. I am not a huge lawn fan either, but in this case I think it not only looks good but will make your backyard more user friendly to non-gardeners.

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  51. Gail, I am sure you were just waiting for the right to do your patio garden. These things can't be rushed. :) And now look how beautiful and peaceful it is. Well worth the wait!

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  52. Your lawn is just what a lawn should be: a soothing and restful oasis of green. I so wish I could be there to sit with you and gaze upon all that beauty. As for the stone wall around the raised bed, I am lusting after something similar. I must remember to refer to this post when my pallet of rock arrives next week!

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  53. I am speechless girl! Do you have to check the address every time you pull in the driveway? It is an amazing transformation. I love the birdhouse row, the stone wall, the elegant lawn ;), the clean yet artistic lines, and most of all it is still you.

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  54. Gail, it is a charming patch of green. It gives the eye somewhere to rest before taking in your lovely planting :)
    Have a lovely weekend.
    K

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  55. Lovely view into the patio, Gail. You made the right decision, but like you I'm not a great fan of lawn. I'd prefer loads of flowering beauties in its place.
    I LOOOOOOVE your birdhouses and can't wait to see them all filled soon.
    The tulips are such beauties! A perfect gift.
    Hope Rosemary settles in her new home well. Good luck!

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  56. Gail, Personally, I like some green lawn--it does provide a balance for your wildflower garden. Besides, I always think there needs to be a place for the grandchildren (and future grandchildren) to play:)
    Thank you for the tour--everything looks beautiful now that it's finished from the birdhouses--I love those!--to the blooming daffodils and wildflowers. You are going to be begging your visitors to come see the garden this year:)

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  57. Gail, It looks great and I love the lawn. I think lawns are needed though many don't want them for the maintenance but yours is surely manageable. Funny your son was in shock. Have a great weekend and when is the wildflower sale at Cheekwood?

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  58. Gail, You really are the sweetest person. You do realize however, that by issuing blanket invitation such as yours, you might just end up with a CROWD of gardeners come for brunch? ;-) And I hope I'd be one of them!! Have a great day! Aren't we loving Spring?

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  59. Hi Gail,
    I am so proud of you for not procrastinating one more spring season. Isn't that always the way it is -- asking ourselves why on earth we waited so long... but now all the better to really enjoy every minute of that marvelous patio view. I'm a big fan of green grass (as you probably know)but every season I'm taking more and more of it out for more beds. Our gardens are very different but I absolutely LOVE your garden of wildflowers and the other wonderful plants you've included. I'll be eagerly awaiting the arrival of PPPP.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend... filled with joy!
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

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  60. How pretty that lawnette looks, Gail. I agree that a calm stretch of green grass adds a lot in contrast with a wildscape. Enjoy!

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  61. Fantastic, Gail. Love it.

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  62. I think it looks great! You are going to enjoy it so much.

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  63. we have been getting rain for days but no hail. some thunderstorms even.

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  64. Tina,

    It looks like it has been shrunk from all weekend to just Saturday April 4! I will let you know if that is wrong. Hope it's not too wet up your way...gail

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  65. Thank you for the tour. The lawn looks fine - a useful, take a stroll on me lawn - not a perfect work of art!
    The red bench is in the perfect spot.

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  66. Oh, I nearly clapped my hands with delight at all of it. I like your lawn (of course I also have a small one so I am prejudiced). I think the eye needs somewhere to take a breather. It is all so lovely.~~Dee

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  67. I love it! The little bit of lawn outlines and features the rest. And I love the red bench!
    Brenda

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  68. It looks lovely! Just the right amount of calm oasis and a good balance of wild profusion. It will look even better as the warm weather returns. I am a lazy gardener, and your Garden of Benign Neglect describes my style perfectly--sure wish I had thought of that term! LOL!

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  69. Almost like a real visit to your yard, Gail, and I enjoyed every photo and every word. It doesn't look like a garden of benign neglect to me, but a much - loved and much cared for one. Thanks for the visit.

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  70. One more comment! First of all, I wrote the other at 9 or so this a.m. and it was okay outdoors. This afternoon we've received a couple or so inches of snow. I'm sure it won't last long, but it certainly has changed the landscape! ;-)

    Secondly, Who is behind the curtains that we're supposed to ignore??

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  71. It all looks lovely Gail! And remember, the lawn gives your busy eyes somewhere to rest. The only name on my columbine is Red and White Columbine. Not very imaginative, huh?

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  72. Shady, Sorry about the weather...we went from 70 degrees to 40 and tomorrow it will be close to freezing! What a weather system. The title was in reference to my telling Frances to ignore the garden out that window, in other words, Don't Pay attention to that man behind the curtain! It worked when I told her not to look at the garden but obviously missed in the post!

    Gail

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  73. I can't believe I was away so long. Last time I was here this was only a pencil sketch :) I knew then it would look good and it does. Enjoy!

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  74. Henry Mitchell observes in his books that you need to get the architecture right first and then the plants will follow. Looks like you have a great setting with that rock retaining wall. The plants will surely be in place as they are required to contribute. And yes the grass does help set the rest off.

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  75. What a fabulous garden tour. can't wait to see the changes as the seasons change.

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  76. I don't know what your yard looked like before, but it is lovely now.

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  77. Congratulations on your garden makeover and new lawn! It looks absolutely smashing! Such instant gratification compared to seeding. Blech. I hope you have some wonderful weather to enjoy your "new" backyard!

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  78. I am really in awe of your new lawn and garden...everything you did is gorgeous (and I'm not into 'gorgeous' or 'neatness', certainly not 'perfection' (!) but yours is as close to perfection as I've seen, if there is such a thing!
    I have serious backyard makeover NEEDS and my husband even agrees! Get that! He's not fighting it, he's admitting it;-) We used to do all our work ourselves. We're older and our bodies are NOT cooperating like they used to. I have felt 'ashamed' to post about having to hire people to do our work for us...don't want to sound 'uppety' or 'lazy' or like we have so much $$$ we can resort to that! (which, we don't...$$...and we're not...uppetty...and we're also not...lazy...!!). It's just a big brown blank slate out there, save for a few areas we've got perennials in...it's just depressing to look at all winter, especially, but also right now--when I look at it all and see the potential I just want to get it DONE NOW!! ha ha.
    We did have a garden designer give us an estimate for $14,000 but hey! That's not in the cards! So we are scaling back some. And may still do a lot ourselves. We haven't signed any contract yet, but I think something is going to happen. Just not sure 'what' or 'when'.
    Maybe I should do some posts on my yard. I used to just want to show pretty pictures of flowers and butterflies (!!)...kind of not dealing with reality!!!!
    Maybe reality is what needs to be faced afterall. Geez. I sometimes don't like 'reality' at all;-)
    Anyway, your birdhouses are adorable too...if I haven't already mentioned that in another post? I love how they are on the posts, and I like your bench better on your patio rather than out where it was. Looks great!

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  79. It looks great Gail! As the spring wildflowers continue their sequential blooming it will just look even betetr!

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  80. Hi Gail - so glad to see you're heeding my advice!

    You said over at my place that you wanted to us a wider posting and sidebar area on your blog. Check out the other Blogger templates that are available. A couple of them have a variation with Stretch in the title. They might be what you're looking for. It means no fiddling around with HTML as you're still using a Blogger provided template and because it's one of these you can preview how your blog will look before and if you make the switch!

    Hope this helps!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend - we're having a lovely sunny day here!

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  81. Jan, Thank you. We like it. It was a fun project. It's hard to not be able to do everything we used to do...but, I will share this with you! I dug all those stones myself! Some last month, but most over the years. They were used as stepping stones on the paths...which are now pinestraw...

    Seek other opinions and bids on the projects.

    gail

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  82. Thanks VP...I am interested in the stretch template...thanks! I will migrate over to it...once I remember how to stretch my header....I am sentimental; the clouds were shot on a trip to celebrate my mother's life.

    Cold and gray here. Have we switched climates?

    Gail

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  83. The garden is a WOW form start to finish, and I totally see about the lawn. It works very well.

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  84. Gail,

    I agree that your patch of lawn really makes the GOBN stand out and look even prettier! I think it was an excellent decision!

    We are also slowly admitting that we are not as young as we used to be and need help with some of the work on the house. The painting is wearing me out!

    We went to a nursery this afternoon, walked around and looked at shrubs and perennials. We need a few more plants - DEER RESISTANT plants - to set off OUR new lawn and shield our deck a bit from the street. I need to contact your friend....

    xxoo Lynn

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  85. Lynnie, You guys...hit the ground running when you got back to Austin! Please call Pam! She will help you tremendously with the garden!! She might even know someone to help you paint! xxgail

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  86. I think it looks lovely -- nothing like a patch of green lawn to set off everything else. Lawn's not so bad, unless you fertilize and herbicide and water (none of which I do, and I imagine you don't either).

    It makes a nice contrast to your beds and stone wall!

    Lisa

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  87. Gail, your new garden is beautiful, and definitely enhanced by the curving patch of lawn. I love that curved stone wall too.
    The design is lovely, and I can picture you sitting on the red bench, enjoying your newly completed garden, and chatting with a friend while the birds are busy at those pretty feeders.

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  88. Gail - I think you can just reload your Header picture and it fits it to the new template.

    That's what I did with mine as the new template's slightly wider than my previous one and it worked!

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  89. Gailie,

    Painting almost done, next lee is refinishing the floors, then we clean....our furniture is coming on Monday and I leave for Missouri on Wednesday!!!!!

    I promise to contact Pam soon after I return to Austin....

    xxoo Lynn

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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