As September 2013 winds down I have some photographs and notes to record. This is the third of several posts.
Sometimes pictures of my garden are just too ugly to show. I think my photography has improved more than my gardening skills since I began blogging, as I try to find ways to show parts of the garden without revealing how it all really looks. No one wants to see, I reason, the spent flowers or unweeded patches, the air conditioner units or brick foundation, the odd item left out of place on the patio, the neighbors’ cars or such. And of course I want to show the garden at its best. So often the views I show are from the same points, where I can compose an image that hides some of the truth.
But I started pbmGarden in January 2011 as a way to plan and design changes for the garden. The blog was to be a way to work out ideas and document the progress of the garden. I was reminded of that point when I looked at yesterday’s pictures of the Southern border, compared to images from when I first began the blog 2.75 years ago.
In the picture above, taken yesterday, I was down on the ground trying to capture the freshness of this Echinacea about to bloom in front of French Lavender. The salmon-colored Salvia should be in the frame as well. Oh, and I told myself to try not to show utility boxes on the side of the neighbors’ house.
Below, here is another view from yesterday of the same area, looking from the middle of the garden toward the Southern border with its Blue Point Juniper hedge. Among other criticisms I was struck by how much flat wall I could see of the neighboring houses.
But it is actually helpful that photographs can go beyond the photographer’s vanity to show an honest record. When I look back at that border just after planting that hedge in February 2011 it is clear to me I have made some progress in this garden.
One of my big goals at the time was to gain some privacy so I could better enjoy gardening. Looking at the Southern border then one could easily understand why this was important. The yards were wide open.
Standing in my yard a month after the Blue Point Juniper hedge had been installed and looking toward the Southern Border (and the neighboring house beyond), I realized privacy was coming no time soon. I began making arrangements for a fence.
The fence was a costly budget item for this garden but when now when the lantana and other perennials die back in this winter, the garden will still retain a sense of enclosure and privacy.
Standing at the opposite side of the garden, again looking toward the Southern border, I notice how much the Blue Point Juniper hedge has grown.
While looking back through some photographs of the garden’s history today I was reminded how helpful it is to have lots of those images that tell the stark, ugly truth. They are useful in evaluating progress and in setting and recalibrating goals for the garden.
Of course for the blog it is always fun to throw in a beauty shot as well. Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) is blooming in several places around the garden.
It is hard to not sound all preachy, but your garden is wonderful. All things in our lives are on their way to someplace or to be something else. The most precious treasure in life is to be able to stand in the middle of a moment and have that gee whiz feeling and see the beauty that is right now. You have done some amazing things. I had a chance to talk to the individual who guided the development of the Seattle Sculpture Garden from the time it was a superfund site to the 2nd and 3rd year of it’s existence. He knew in his head it would not come into it’s own until the 4th or 5th year of the gardens existence, but at that moment it pained him that is was not yet that far along. The ridge along the top of the garden is one of the most beautiful spots in Puget Sound to watch the sun set on the water, that on it’s own makes this a truly special place, and it will only get better with time.
Charlie, thanks for adding your perspective to this. I so much agree with you that we have to enjoy what we have and where we are right now. I had the pleasure of seeing the Seattle Sculpture Garden several years ago and it was a wonderful place to explore. Had no idea it had been a superfund site.
I agree with you on getting some “ugly” shots too Susie, just to remind me of progress a couple of years on… there are plenty of shots that wouldn’t get aired on my blog too! Your garden is, however, wonderful. We gardeners can be far too critical! I find I focus too much on individual plants and not the overall effect, which is probably fine for a visitor’s eye!
Thanks Cathy. Your garden is so dynamic and enchanting. I don’t think it’s bad for us to use a critical eye in the garden–helps us move forward. I too like to show a lot of close-ups of individual plants and that serves a good purpose. I enjoy your Tuesday at Two series and it’s made me pay more attention to specific spots in my garden over time.
It is always good to look back to check on progress. Sometimes too you remember an idea you had that somehow got lost and you can plan to include it again. You’ve made such a difference to your garden, waiting for trees and shrubs to grow in the most difficult thing to do, but you are proving it is worth it.
Thanks Christina. I agree stepping back and attempting an honest assessment spurs me on, and as you say, helps me rediscover those goals I have lost sight of.
In gardening vision & patience pays off! So beautiful!
Thank you so much. Those virtues, vision and patience, help us through all aspects of life, don’t they? In gardening I find I need to revisit the vision every year to see where I’ve been and whether I still want to go in the direction I’m pointing. One thing I’ve learned is that the garden is not going to stand still.
I keep photos and a bucket list of plants, but I’m no where near as organized as you are. I salute you! 🙂
It’s easy to get diverted in the garden so I like to regroup once in a while. Have a good day Judy.
I’ve never seen the before pictures, you really have been busy and it looks great!
I feel so guilty now after deciding not to garden until after we get a decent rain. I might have to take another look around and rethink that…. and get something rolling here too.
Thank you so much–progress is somewhat slow but I can finally see some results. You may be right to wait for some rain, unless you have an alternate watering solution. I seldom water but it’s dry here too and am worried about losing plants and shrubs if we don’t get rain soon. Hope you get rain soon too so you can enjoy this time of year planning and planting in the garden.
Everything is lush and green compared to my fading garden…love the russian sage close up.
Donna, I’m trying to get russian sage established in different parts of the garden. It lives but I haven’t found where it’s really happy.