I lived in USDA Zone 8 (Western Garden Zone 6) for most of my life and relocated to Zone 5 in 2011. My first garden project was to establish a butterfly habitat and multi-use space for a young family. The next project was the development of an urban pollinator habitat and a 10 month edible garden. This blog chronicles the planning and establishment of a 6,000 sq foot Suburban lot, the subsequent transition to a 5,000 sq ft Urban lot, and currently chronicles my projects on 7,000 sq ft lot in a historical district.
Growing up I did not have any exposure to gardening. My grandmother kept pots on her deck, mostly herbs and succulents, and was surrounded by native landscaping on the Oregon Coast. My mother kept a tidy suburban landscape of barked evergreen beds, with a few maples.
Our first home was a 1947 cape cod with an overgrown garden of roses and lilacs and bulbs that appeared like magic every time we turned the soil. There was a large golden poplar, or tulip tree, in the front yard and a side yard my husband reclaimed from a long neglected grape arbor. We tamed and reclaimed, but never gardened.
Our second home was a mid 90s suburban tract home that came complete with a square front lawn and maple sapling. The backyard sat overgrown and vacant for 8 years while we juggled a small business and two small children. In 2004, we had sold the business and I found myself "at-home" for the first time. I began to garden. Well, I began to take classes to learn to garden. I had the idea that I would create a butterfly garden. Over the next three years the garden evolved and I found myself a gardener.
In 2007 we made the deliberate choice to move to an urban neighborhood with older homes and great values. We claimed a 1942 cape cod, very similar to our first home together, and developed a plan for an urban garden. I say we, because by now my husband was fully engaged in the garden, claiming he wanted to be more than just the handy man. We had plans to retire in this home, the kids were soon entering high school and time was moving faster. We spent four years developing a pollinator garden and 10 month edible garden.
And then we were relocated from the Pacific Northwest to Michiana. We drove around looking for homes and noted the stark lawns, evergreen shrubs and apparent invasive nature of hostas. We found a early 1900s farmhouse along the upper St Joseph River. The deed reads 1926, but title abstracts indicate the home is most likely pre-1900. As we started to pull wallpaper and research what is quickly becoming a renovation project, rather than a quick cosmetic fix, it occurred to me how the home and garden function and flow together.
This blog will journal not only the garden but the renovation of our new home in Indiana. Both projects are intertwined, as our lives flow through the home and garden each season.