Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beginning an English Style Garden From Seed

I've spent many years in a cramped apartment dreaming of a yard filled with fragrant traditional english garden flowers. I could barely keep a houseplant alive while I was there though.

After years of saving my husband and I bought our first home. We love everything about it. Its the perfect place to raise our young daughter. However, the yard came bare of all life. Other then an acre of grass and creeping weeds. We had 2 pear trees when we moved in during May of 2008, but in less then a month heavy winds destroyed one. All we have left is one which doesn't seem to be doing well.

I've laid out a plan for the yard so far. HUGE plans.... tiny budget. So this leaves me with an acre in need of life and soon. So I've purchased, traded and was giving hundreds of seeds I've been saving for month to start my dream garden.

Since august I've managed to lay a traditional brick path with pea gravel as a foundation to the front door. Adding several perennials I purchased on clearance to line the short 20 ft walk. The small plant bed includes the beginnings of my English garden style. There is Hydrangea, yellow cone flowers, Lobelia, Cleome and Cosmos thus far. I added creeping jenny to fill inbetween those plants.

I've also made a small bed that includes Dianthus and Foxglove on the side of the porch. Very small steps to try to break up so much bare land. So what will I do with the rest?

I've begun a raised bed flower garden at the end of our deck, which is completely empty other then a white hibiscus shrub, a house warming gift from a dear friend. We have 2 raised beds set in the back yard waiting for a fence to go up, the perfect place for a veggie garden to work on with my daughter. Hopefully, the fence will be up before spring so the Chickens don't make there way inside to snack on my lettuce and tomatoes.

As for the rest of the yard, I have a plan in Photoshop for more beds...some patios...walkways... and little details like bird houses and bathes. I started 100's of seeds I've been gathering in my bathroom for this plan. They all sit sprouting under lights just waiting for spring.

So I've come to share the story of these fragile seedlings and how they take to my yard. Keeping tabs here will help me learn what I'm doing. Figure out what is working for me, and figure out what is failing and why. As ideas hit me I will come jot them down here, and as things emerge from the dirt I can document their growth. Maybe my trials and attempts at an english style garden will even help others with dreams to design their own landscapes. Perhaps I'm not the only one on this tiny budget of a few measly bucks a month?!

Before I forget, one special set of seeds are going in my kitchen right now. I will be documenting their development much closer then my lists of other blooms. In a warm bottle over my sink, I've started 5 Red Lotus seeds to go into a pond on our property. I'm scared to mess these up because of how delicate they are, but here's hoping they make it! I put them in the water 1/5/09 and I am waiting for the seeds to crack and sprout. It could be any day now... then I have to figure out what to do with them next!


  1. What a wonderful and ambious adventure. And thank you for taking us along. It is a great idea,We too are in the process, on a limited budget so I am sure to learn a lot from you. Thanks. Best wishes!

    P.S. Are you going to replace that 2nd pear tree, don't quote me on this but I believe like apples you have to have 2 of them, at least to produce fruit.

  2. oh how fun, Shannon....I will garden vicariously through you instead of having the heartbreak of deer eaten plants to worry about!

  3. Thanks Alma, I hope I do help. If you would like some seeds to get you started, just let me know and I will send you a few. A good thing I was let in on is planting my seeds in a peat moss mix, and then I stuff that in old paper towel rolls I cut down. Put them in trays and keep them wet under a light while inside and you should have strong seedlings for spring. Just put the whole paper towel roll right into the ground.

    Lauren, I have deer and chickens to worry about. I'm putting up a fence around the veggies... but I found out that Lavender deters deer! I bought 400 lavender seeds this year to use as hedges to help keep deer away from everything else.