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How Does She Do That?

I walk you through my garden projects and share tips so you can create your own garden sanctuary.

Baked Earth

 I wanted to expand my lawn and garden space so devised a plan to clear the overgrowth. Instead of hiring a backhoe to dig everything out (too expensive), I decided on a DIY two year plan. I decided to bake the weeds.

Berry Beautiful Invasion

Porcelain berries are also an invasive ornamental and have similar habits to bittersweet.

Bitter Enemy

I am on a campaign against bittersweet.  I have been fighting it for fourteen years.  I find it and kill it.  I cut it, pull it, mow it, dig it, and grind it into the ground with my heel. 

Bulb Gratification

It is fall and it is time to plant bulbs.  If you plant them now, in the spring you will have a colorful show.  It can be hard to motivate when the results are months away.

Dirt on Spring

After spending the winter largely inside I am eager to get out into my yard. I jump into spring clean-up mode which reconnects me with the different areas of my garden. 

Divide and Multiply

I recently moved some hosta that was squished between other large plants. The bed was crowded and unattractive and the plants had no more space to grow. From one over-grown clump of hosta I divided off nine separate plants, leaving two good sized ones behind.

Fall Farewell

Spring may be my favorite season but fall is a close second. I love the cool weather, changing colors and transformation of nature into winter hibernation . . . This fall I focused on pruning my shrubs and trees and planting bulbs for spring.

Fast Fall Makeover

Now you are ready for fall!

Fence for a Gate

Perhaps strangely, we started with a gate and built a fence to go with it

Garden for Feasting

This season holds another Shy Gardener first, a vegetable garden. My sweetie, Eric, built beautiful raised beds and the kids and I are planting a garden. 

Grass Sass

I bought my house in January so it wasn't until the snow melted that I saw I had a huge electrical box in my front yard.  It looked awful.  I was disappointed but soon came up with a plan to hide it.  I decided to ring the box with decorative grasses.  I wanted to experiment with grasses and was excited to have the chance.

Hip to be Square

In spring 2012, I decided to build a stone patio off the side of my deck.  I wanted a place for my grill and an additional seating area at ground level.  There was a 100 sq. foot area to the left of the deck, under the kitchen window.  It was the perfect spot.

How to Grow Up

I am excited about building my vertical garden next spring.  The more I learn about it, the more fascinated I become.  There seem to be endless ways to grow up a wall.  Sometimes a wall isn't even necessary.  I love the dress.

Lotsa Hosta

When I was growing up hosta had plain green leaves and lavender colored flowers. It was a hardy shade plant that was easy to grow. The problem was that this hosta was boring. It made a good back drop for more interesting shade plants or as filler in hard to grow places but it was too plain, too green.

Made in the Shade

At my previous house I turned an overgrown side of the garage into a fantastic shade garden.  I used plants I bought from the local garden club plant sale. When I moved, I was able to bring many of the plants with me.  I put them in a temporary bed while I figured out where to plant them.  Almost a year later I was ready to plant my new shade garden.

Mini Succulent Garden

This year I created my first mini succulent garden. I chose a shallow, wide mouthed container that had lots of space to plant in and filled it with special succulent potting soil.

Mulch of May

This year May has become synonymous with mulch and mulch with May. As my gardens have expanded, so has my time spent mulching. I tend to forget this correlation when I am digging a new bed. It usually dawns on me as I finish planting and survey my excellent new space.

My Tiniest Garden

We love all things tiny . . . tiny humans, tiny houses, tiny versions of our favorite foods. Why not create tiny gardens too? As a childhood dollhouse owner and lover of anything miniature, this idea was made for me. When my sister gave me the sweetest mini garden bench, I was excited to create my tiniest garden yet.

Rocked Garden

I decided to turn a steep, otherwise unused, slope into a rock garden. The rocks would stabilize the soil and keep the plants in place. I started small and used rocks from my yard.  I planted dwarf iris, primrose, hens & chicks, sedum, bloodroot and mini hosta.

Path to Nowhere

My shade garden is under a huge tree at the back of my yard. I have planted flowers among the exposed tree roots. The roots make separate areas or mini gardens within the larger space. I have always loved that. A path ran through the garden allowing me to enjoy the plants. The problem was the path just ended abruptly, it was a path to nowhere.

Permanent Path

I did it! After eight years I installed a permanent path though my beloved shade garden. It is no longer a dirt track covered with upstart plants. As weeding my path had been necessary and ridiculous, I've longed to build one that would last. Now I have a path that is attactive, strong and DOES NOT NEED TO BE WEEDED!


My mind immediately envisioned gaping holes in my lawn with all of the new grass torn up.  I asked him how he planned to remove the stumps and he said by chopping them to pieces with an ax.  When I heard the word ax I began to understand what was happening.

Summer Curb Appeal

In the spring I planted pansies by my front steps. They looked great until we were well  into summer and they became small and spindly. I realized that the house was lacking curb appeal and decided to give it a summer make-over.

Up a Wall: Trellises

I wanted to turn the empty space into a focal point so I decided to go up a wall.  I did this by installing three over-sized trellises.  They had to be custom built in order to be tall enough to fill the space. 

Up a Wall: Vertical Gardening

I want to create a green wall, or in my case, part of a wall.  I saw my first vertical garden in Madrid in 2008. I was really impressed by the results of what would have been a challenge to create.  The wall was just stunning.

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