Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jennifer's Garden - Then and Now

Gardening has always been a cathartic exercise for me.  It brings peace and tranquility for hours at a time.  The world just fades away.

Even though I can no longer get down on my knees to dig and move in the garden, I can still move plants and plan the space.  Javier, the gardener is my helper in these endeavors now.  I move the plants to exactly where I want them and he digs the holes and plants them for me.

But, back in 2004, shortly after my daughter passed on, one of the main gardens on the property became an obsession and filling it with the flowers that my daughter had loved became the aim of the project.  There was no Javier back then.  Just me, the dirt and the plants for hours on end.

Planted at that time were butterfly lilies, azaleas and various annuals to add a bit of color.  The butterfly lilies
bloomed a lot.  Not so much though, did the rest of the plants.  The rather small at the time aloevera bloom
in October with huge spikes that the butterflies love.  They have grown and bloomed without any help from me or anyone else.

Everything had doubled and tripled in size.  It was time to prune, move and redesign.  It helps for me to do this during the rainy season.  The dirt is easier to dislodge and the new plants have a better chance of settling in with plenty of rain before the dry season is upon us.

Here's a "before" photo of the garden two weeks ago.  Okay, but no symmetry or organization.  Still it was a place that I liked to sit to drink coffee and watch the butterflies and hummingbirds swooping and darting, especially in the early morning.
Everything was removed except for the monster aloeveras in the back!  But they form a nice backdrop and
a divider for another private garden behind them!

All the butterfly lilies were grouped together in front of the aloes.  The azaleas that were kind of lost in all the foliage are now grouped together at each end of the lilies. Plants that bloom only once a year with light purple blooms now surround the little boy statue.  Everything in the garden now is in shades of white, lavender and purple.  A nod to Jennifer's favorite colors.  Previously it was all in whites.

Here is the redesigned garden.

Interestingly, in the past the shape of the stone retaining wall was not much of a feature.  Now it really stands out as do all the different flowers.  (You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see more detail, if you wish)

Now, this has just been planted and it will fill in in a couple of months so the dirt is not so noticeable.  But I love the mixture of the hydrangeas, daisies, lavender and pansies.  I don't know what the more intense purple plant is in the back near the hydrangeas, but I do like the texture and color of it.

Of course, not only is the little boy statuary in the flower bed.  He's been part of my life for about twenty-five years, but also a few cantera angels are peeking out from here and there.

Since completion last week, I cannot begin to tell you how much joy and happiness this little change of plants and flowers has brought to me and others.  Just to give you an idea of how inexpensive plants are in Mexico, all the purchases did not even add up to $50USD. Close to fifty new plants were planted.

It truly is the little things in life that bring much joy!


La Tejedora said...

Barbara, your garden sanctuary is absolutely beautiful. It's easy to see that you find peace there. xoxox N

Peter Kouwenhoven said...

Your entire garden brought us much peace and joy last winter. But Jennifer's garden redone looks fantastic. A really nice design and kudos to Javier on the planting. said...


Retired Teacher said...

What a gorgeous garden! Unfortunately, upon my return, I found my garden to be a disaster. Between the drought and heat that we have had this summer, and the deer munching on my hostas, it is a mess. But at this point most everything has already bloomed, and in less than 2 months it will be time to chop everything down. So, I'm not going to worry about it.

Christine Barrely said...

Beautiful, just dreaming to see it some day !

Cheryl said...

Beautiful! I need your creative landscaping eye for my garden. Tranquil is what I am wanting as well, and your is lovely.

Babs said...

Thanks all for your compliments. I thought it would be nice to
share it with all of you. By the way, as I was writing this post yesterday I could not remember the name of the tall plants with the lavender and white blooms on the top - it is agapanthus! I was so glad after I had posted that the word came to me.....

Bill, your garden up North was so so beautiful in your photos. I know it
was such a disappointment to come home to it being a "mess". There is always
next year though.....

Christine - I want you to see it when you come "over the pond" from France!
It will be here waiting for you.

Cheryl - it would be fun to see your space and help you in your design. I've learned a lot in the years here as to what will and won't survive! It definitely has been by trial and error!

Scott said...

Pretty! You'll have to post photos in a few months once it has all filled in.

Unknown said...

So very pretty, I love that I can picture exactly where you sit looking at it.

LynnB said...

What a beautiful tribute to Jennifer. When I saw the "before" picture, I thought "What could she be possibly be doing to that "belle melange"? Then when I saw the "after" photos, I understood exactly. You have a perfect eye and it looks absolutely lovely.

Babs said...

Scott, I will post photos when it fills in which will look so much better!

Shelagh, I can envision you and Peter sitting there as well. Thanks for your comment.


Lynn B - I actually liked it both ways, but it did need thinning so I decided to take a new approach. I LOVE all the flowers now in this bed and I know Jennifer would as well.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous. I remember years ago when British gardener Thalassa Crusoe (I'm sure I've misspelled her name) admonished people to not be lax and to take a firm hand with the plants. Your work shows her advice in action :)

The gardens in the house I've rented in La Cieneguita are on life support. Poor, compacted soil. But that's fixable. And I had an opportunity to experience the gardens at the Rosewood. Talk about inspiring!

Next year your garden will hit its stride. Nice work!