I love gardening. Love it. Even though my youngest son and DIL are now living in my former house, we have agreed to let me (ha! Yes, they “let” me) continue to do the gardening.

“My” garden has developed over 12 years. Thankfully my husband, albeit sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes graciously, and sometimes begrudgingly, worked with me to bring my ideas to life.

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This project, for example (not my beautiful grand-daughter Leah, but the fire pit project – she’s a 2011 project :)) was one of our first major yard changes, in 2009. Though we had done bits and pieces here and there (enlarging flower beds, planting shrubs) before this, the fire pit project was our first major “rip-out-the-grass-and-build-something-large”. That project led to this project

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And that project led to this one…

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And this one!

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That photo was taken mid-summer last season. It looked quite glorious in the fall when the holly hocks and other shrub were in full bloom.

Here are some other spots we’ve developed:

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I’m not anything remotely close to an expert. Many of the plants in my beds are mysteries to me in terms of their names, common or technical. I have far too much quack grass and can’t seem to eradicate the ants despite my best efforts. I need to stay more on top of wayward invasive plants and I could deadhead more diligently.

But I’m not in love with pristine gardens. I really like the more natural look. I like my garden to look like I take care, but also give room to let things develop as they wish. I could do more research and weeding. But I don’t want to. I’m not here to serve my garden — it’s here to bring me and hopefully everyone around me joy. And it does! So much so that my daughter decided it was just the place to have her wedding last summer.

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I used be intimidated by gardening – I’d never deign to call myself a “gardener”. I thought that to garden I needed to know a bunch of stuff. I thought I had to research and talk to expert and spend all my time tending it and so forth. Today I can cheerfully say that I spend whatever time I want and can spare happily digging in the dirt, being creative and inventive. Gardens don’t scare me (well, there was that one HUGE spider…) My nose runs like a tap and I’ve had to make peace with many species of bugs, but this is some of the most cathartic, therapeutic activity out there.

How does your garden grow?