I have a tendency to keep magazines. Back in 1999, I had subscriptions to "Country Gardens" and "Garden Design". I loved the free flowing look of the cottage gardens in "Country Gardens", full of flowery annuals and perennials. I grew up on two acres of prairie and my parents grew a lot of dahlias and cutting flowers. From "Garden Design" magazine I learned to love modern, high concept gardens with impeccable hardscaping, strong lines, and sophisticated plant palettes.
In 2000, I got job with a Seattle landscaping company and came away with a well-developed taste in garden design. I fell in love with unusual plant varieties and learned how to combine them together to meet the functional and stylistic needs of a particular space. I also learned to create beautiful container gardens featuring beautiful Asian pottery, pricey annuals and perennials. When we bought our home, I was determined to utilize all that I learned to a create a colorful and functional garden that featured all my favorite plants ($$$).
Now it's 2011, and we've developed a love of growing vegetables from seeds. I grew a few flowers from seeds the past couple of years. This year I expanded my flower seed collection and my cousin gave me a bunch of dahlia tubers. I started zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds and statice. I went a little crazy and found that I didn't have quite enough space for all my starts. However, today, with a little creativity and some old black plastic pots I got all my flower starts crammed in- Hooray!!!!
I've also been delighting in self-sowing annuals and perennials. I've got foxgloves coming up all over in our pathways and beds. Thyme, lavender, erigeron, and salvias have self sown in the cracks of our sidewalk. I even discovered a blueberry growing out of an old log (a little birdy must have pooped it out).
Thinking back to what we started with and how earnest we were about our landscaping plans, we chuckle at how wild our garden looks. Despite it's wildness we know exactly what everything is and how it got there. We know why there's chicken wire winding around, irregular salvaged wood steps, and streams of plastic. It doesn't look messy to us. Apparently it does look messy to others. A couple very tidy and regimented, new to gardening, friends of ours were visiting our garden the other day and started gushing about how great another garden looked in the neighborhood. While that garden is super orderly, we know that it just recently had professional landscaping installed. Gardens always look perfect when they first go in. We also know how much cost is associated with such things. We were practically rolling on the gravel patio in laughter at how our garden and our priorities have changed. No longer are we worried about crisp edges, weeds in the lawn, or keeping our beds perfectly groomed. Now we just obsess over how to grow yummy veggies despite a record cold spring. And we are excited when we can reuse scrap wood for something in the garden and don't have to spend money at the hardware store on more materials. Our depression era grandparents would be proud.
While searching the attic for rummage sale items last weekend, I re-discovered my old magazines. While our original landscape plans looked like those in "Garden Design", I've found that our garden has evolved to be like those in "Country Gardens". I guess that is what happens when a prairie girl marries a ranch boy.