Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In the Gardens...

The good, the bad and the ugly!

A work in progress...

Learning as I go!

Two hundred tulips waking up!

We had three stamped concrete patios installed last Summer. The color is integrated as well as applied atop the uncured cement.  We chose three colors to mimic the patina of slate. The boxwood will eventually form a lovely hedge. Boson Ivy will soon flow over the wall and column like a green wave!

Close-up of one of the patios.  I love the results!  I really labored over the colors. The gentleman at the concrete company talked me out of going darker but I think I would have really liked it darker.  I still love this, however!

Back patio off the sunroom.The pergola will be built this Summer. The armillary sphere is encircled by boxwood and three types of reblooming black-red daylilies.  See the Wisteria in the lower right corner, waiting for something to climb?

View from sunroom door.  I planted the arborvitae close together so they form a hedge to block the view.  I have not mowed around the boxwood because there is a mama bunny under there!  This area will be pea gravel.  The grass does not like the clay soil.

I need to block the view of the neighbor's swingset. This is the beginning of the pea gravel path and Shakespeare Garden that lines the side of the house.  There is another just like it on the other side.  The front and back yards are formal and the sides have an English garden look. All garden ornaments found on Craigslist, including the limestone column capitals from a bank in Wisconsin, to the upper left in this photo.

Lion on the left side of the driveway.  The 200 tulips I planted in November are about to bloom!
I need to block the view of the other neighbor's house and garbage cans on this side.

Newly planted Autumn Blaze Maple toward the back of the front parterre.  Hopefully it will block the primary colors of the neighbor's swingset! You can also see the English flower garden path, closer to the house.  There are hundreds and hundreds of perennials ready to burst into color!
Oh!  How I love garden ornaments!  I am in the process of thinning the herd! THAT is the hardest part!

Craigslist gates, installed at the front of the English pea gravel garden path on opposite side of house.  You can see the roses in their packaging that I am going to plant today!  The espaliered apple trees will go against this wall.

It has proven difficult to get a photo of the entire boxwood parterre!  It is over 20 feet long!   The boxwood circles are six feet in circumference to give you an idea...
The circles are filled with lavender, which has just begun to wake up after a long, cold Winter.  I will be changing the design somewhat.  Also, the larger boxwood will be replaced with lilac standards, which are lilacs grown into tree form.

This is the view from the parterre.  :(

We will also be planting a Yew hedge from the sidewalk and around to where the new tree is, to block the neighbor's yard (see the swingset?) and view from the street. I am still trying to decide what type of Yew to use.  Any advice?

We are also having a retaining wall built so we can plant our potager, which is a fancy French word for fancy French vegetable garden!  
Our entire backyard is on a slope and it is not very large.  That's why the large boxwood parterre was planted in the front.  
Once the retaining wall is built we can plant the potager and build the reflecting pond.

This pavilion was free on Craigslist!  It is difficult to tell but it is surrounded by boxwood.  Soon the red rose garden that encircles the pavilion will be in bloom! This is the third year for the climbing roses, so I hope they begin to cover the iron facade!  The grass will be replaced with pea gravel.  What was I thinking when I put grass there?
The dog statues represent our beloved Max and Lola, our rescue pit bulls.
Lovely view of the empty lot next door, don't you agree?  We are planting more arborvitae behind the structure to block the view.

This cherub fountain spitter from Craigslist has been patiently waiting for the reflecting pool.  Most likely, next year. See how close my back neighbor is?

I just purchased this patio set from Craigslist!  This is the Craigslist photo. I think I will paint it black.  It sits near the pavilion. 

This is where I have been spending my time!  How have you been, friends?



Sharing with Alison at the Polo House Blog, Favorites On the First!


  1. Everything looks so beautiful! I am so envious of all your wonderful yard pieces. I can't wait to see more flowers as they bloom. Our poor little yard gets so neglected. We farm in 4 locations for our herbs so, it seems that is where all our time and effort goes.

  2. Oh my word, you have the basics all in place for such a stunning garden. Wow, I love it all. Hugs, Marty

  3. That patio set is perfection, and I can't believe the pavilion was free! This is the first time I'm seeing your yard, and it is all so lovely.

  4. Hi Andie,
    I can tell by your photos that you are in a development type of neighborhood (with gorgeous homes!). I would bet money that your yard is the envy of all the neighboring ladies! Your vision is well thought out and you will soon have your own private retreat when coming home.
    So lovely Andie.

  5. Andie,

    You are as, my great aunt Harriet would say, "An Eight Day Wonder." Exactly what she meant by that was never very clear, but you could always tell it was a high compliment whenever she said it.

    May I suggest that you might want to use LEYLAND CYPRESS for the hedges destined to screen out your neighbors' less attractive, less imaginative, less extravagantly beautiful yards? Leyland Cypress can grow two to three feet a year in height, if it's well planted and gets a generous supply of water. It may not be as fine as English yew with the beautiful red berries, but it grows much faster than arbor vitae, and though coarser in texture, has a similar plumy sort of pine needle structure. In three or four years you'll have a hedge 7-9' high. At least it worked that way in Delaware.

    You sure do have a knack for finding the Best Buys on Craigslist.

    Keep on keeping on.

    I hope your husband knows how lucky he is to have you? ;-)

  6. Wow Andie, you have been one busy lady!! Everything looks divine, and gorgeous! I love your parterre and all the stunning statuary.....wonderful!

  7. Andie your gardens are stunning!! I love the patio!

  8. Andie I am just amazed! Of course you have the best taste and everything in the garden is beautiful!
    Craigslist! I have to start looking there.

    PS I am having a Paris Book Giveaway!
    Art by Karena

  9. your skills on craigslist is over the top andie! i'm speechless, and also speechless over your gardens, really very european like!
    no my friend, i am not going to give you a list of "not's", never! well, except this one; do not use leyland cypress, not hardy in our zone. if it is yew you want my favorite for your style is taxus 'hicksii', growth pattern is columnar, vs most yews which develop a wide girth.
    my fav arborvitae is 'hetz wintergreen' grows fast and the biggie; have a single stem = no splitting! a great look, once mature is shearing off the top so all are 'flat tops', very formal looking.
    keep the pictures coming!

  10. Oh I am so glad to see Debra, the expert on these matters has weighed in to give you some guidance! I know nothing of these matters but I love your plans and your ability to find such dreamy things to create these magical vistas for your home, Andie!

    You are a dynamo. I am so impressed with your projects and all the phenomenal things you get done inside and out!

    Can't wait to see it in a month. So nice to have these few warm days,right!
    Get ready... here comes the temp drop again. Spring time in Chicagoland, we've gotta love it, right!?

    Thanks for linking up today sweet friend!

  11. Andie...your yard and garden beds are absolutely lovely (as well as your home!). I love all the statuary and the different hedges you use to enclose areas. I love boxwood, we have that at the lake, as well as wisteria. I know it's supposed to grow up anything but we added little trellises to get them going. They are almost up to the 2nd floor balcony.

    Can't wait to see more!


  12. Wow, have a very impressive yard!!! Well, maybe I shouldn't call it a really should have a better name with all of the lovliness in it. I am really impressed with your Craiglist skills! I saw your post over at "The PoloHouse" blog party.

  13. You need a bigger yard. ;)

    Kawanio che Keeteru, Andie!

  14. Andie, your amaze me. This project is a huge amount of work. Love seeing your design and all the fantastic Craiglist finds you discover for both your home and your garden. The design of the parterre is wonderful! I want to design one for my herb garden. I could use your expertise. Want to come to TX? '-)
    ~ Sarah

  15. Andie, this is lovely! I hope you will share more pictures once everything is in bloom. I can just imagine how gorgeous it all is! Thinning the herd of lawn ornaments? That's a shame. I love lawn ornaments! They really add character, don't they? Have fun with all of your gardening projects! Hugs, Leena

  16. You are slowly turning your vision into a beautiful reality - how fantastic! My visions seldom get off the drawing board! Maybe you should sneak over and paint the neighbour's swingset dark green - so it blends into the background a bit more - it is most inconsiderate of them to blemish your gorgeous garden like that :) xx Sharon

  17. 'Hicksii' yew is good here, and the only one I'll use.

    when your garden is done you should consider selling garden ornaments.

    you are a great 'picker'. that won't stop because your garden is done.

    perhaps a sale twice a year or every spring.

    love all you've found, can't wait for your hedges. they are the walls of your rooms and crowning touch to the magic you've already created.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

  18. Bom dia,
    que lindo sei jardim. E grande. Amei suas esculturas, e também esse belíssimo portão de ferro. Aqui temos que ter cerca, por que tem muito animais solto e eles estragam meu jardim. Ontem fiz uma limpeza no jardim. Tenho que plantar mais flores. Acho que tulipa não nasce por aqui. É uma bela flor.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.

  19. Your garden is looking beautiful, Andie--I love all the statuary, ornaments, columns and structures that you have placed throughout. My garden is always in process, but that is part of what I enjoy about it, because it's never boring:) Best wishes for a happy weekend and enjoy those tulips!

  20. Dear Andie, your garden has really taken on!!! Remembering the time when you started with. And now - WOW! Love, love the architectual part, like a part from an old French or Italian park garden "en miniature". Well done! Looking forward how it's going....
    Warmest greetings,

  21. Good Afternoon Andie, Your garden is beautiful and when the 200 tulips bloom, you will have a riot of colour to enjoy.
    Interestingly, I am growing two lilac standards at the moment. I took cuttings from my mother-in-law's lilac, as it was a lilac tree my husband's father had planted. So I took lots of cuttings for the family and decided to turn mine into standards. They are small at the moment but will look fabulous when full grown.
    I adore gardens which are full of interest and Andie that certainly applies to yours. Thank you so much, I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit.
    Have a wonderful weekend and I hope your roses blossom very soon.
    Best wishes

  22. Love your yard. The boxwood are magnificent. So is the gate! So pretty.

  23. Ditto what everyone has said. Your gardens are pure magic!
    Thanks for sharing it!!!

  24. Me inspirei em ti e estou renovando o jardim. Depois vou te mostrar minhas mudanças.
    Tenha uma ótima semana.

  25. hi Andie, I adore your boxwood partarre- that is an amazing space. You are definitely the queen of Craigslist! Can't believe those things were free. Your gardens are testament that you are a passionate gardener- so pretty.
    all my best,

  26. Do you get comments from grateful neighbors for the beautiful things you're doing!? I love how passionate you are about these things; the tulips are gorgeous!

  27. What a Gift it is to your Neighbors and Neighborhood to have such a Visually Delightful Garden! It's absolutely Beautiful!!! Happy Mother's Day from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  28. Andie your garden are so fab. Lots of really interesting things to enjoy whilst pottering around.

    Look forward to seeing what happens with the patio set. What a find!

    Paul xoxo

  29. Hi Andie! Oh, my goodness! Everything is so beautiful and I love all of your statues and huge lawn ornies! You really know what you're doing on how things will look in the long run. Just a beautiful yard and it looks huge to me. Our little back yard is about as big as a postage stamp! I've been on a cruise for over two weeks and am just catching up. Thank you for your sweet touching comments to me about Mother's Day. I know you're making precious memories with your darling daughter.
    You are the sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  30. ha, as I was looking at your classical garden I thought, oof too bad that bright colored swingset is there...and the next thing I read is you want to create a privacy hedge!! yay~splendid idea. Privet hedge is nice, an arborvitae hedge will grow very very fast and tall and is less expensive than other evergreens..

  31. A royal garden. All your hard work is paying off and the plants will grow before you notice so everything will be lush and lovely.

  32. Dear Andie,

    I think I just met your long lost twin sister!

    Here we are, June 1st, and I am hosting another Favorites on the First linky party. A new blogging friend appeared and she shares a story of a CList find that you MUST see! Her photos, story and found piece is simply stunning. (Like so many of your acquisitions!)

    Clearly, you two have much in common and need to connect. I sent her a link to your blog and I am doing the same for her. Kindred spirits.

    Here is the link to Victoria's blog post:

    Hope you are enjoying our gorgeous sunny weather here in IL today.
    Have a great weekend, friend!


  33. Andie, dear, it's been so long since we've heard from you I can't help wondering if you are well?

    Maybe you're just exhausted from being so amazingly productive?

    At any rate I hope you are perfectly well and happy as you deserve to be.

    I STILL advise planting LEYLAND CYPRESS. I's the fastest-growing privacy hedge I know, and extremely hardy. I have no idea how expensive it is compared to other plants, but it's certainly worth investigating.



  34. Dear, Andie,

    I gave up my blog on June 15, but I wanted you to know this was one of the last things I said, when you were kind enough to show up and reassure me you were all right. I hope you find it amusing.

    Hurrah! Hurrah! for Andie!
    I'm so glad you're planting trees.
    Leyland Cypress make a handy
    Break between you and the breeze.

    They'll quickly grow and screen you
    From the garbage cans and swings,
    And help protect your purview
    From all unsightly things.

    ~ FreeThinke

    So glad you made contact, Andie. I was honestly beginning to worry about you, since you "disappeared" for several weeks.

    I hope you will return to blogging, yourself, one day soon. Yours is one of the few charming and encouraging personal sites I've ever found. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I know virtually all of us who visit here have become devoted fans of you and your blog.

    Best always,


  35. Hello Andie I feel I have gotten to know you today. Did you ever build your "pool" in the yard? I am a big garden pond person and they can be tricky to get into a yard with the zoning issues, not to mention you guys probably have an HOA as well. You can email me mina at udonet dot com if you want more info / help. BTW Love your rescue animals I was crying every time someone passed on .... I cannot stand losing animals. That has been a big challenge for me, moving to a horse farm. There are so many ways for animals to get themselves killed, it is mind-boggling :-(

    BTW I am sure your kitty from Altgeld Gardens had no idea on the passing of time as she sat on your back porch, she was just glad you made it to her in time before she died. There was probably nothing you could have done for her anyway, IME cats are hardy right up until something bad happens to their bodies after which they are almost impossible to save. Don't feel bad about what happened, she loved you that was all that mattered to her in the end. She is always with you.


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