When I was in 3rd grade my teacher read The Secret Garden to our class. To say I was captivated would be an understatement. I could so clearly see that garden in my mind. From the first description of its neglected state to its revived glory later in the book, it was vivid in my imagination. That may have been the first garden to touch my heart but there would be many more inspiring gardens to come.
Some of My Favorite Inspiring Gardens
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As a little girl I lived next door to my paternal grandparents. Grandma didn’t plant a vegetable garden in those days but she loved flowers and had lots of them. There were rose bushes all around the fenced front yard, pansies in a little bed beneath the living room window, hollyhocks by the back door, and my personal favorite – huge lilacs! Every spring she would cut a big bouquet of lilacs for me to put in my bedroom. To this day, the scent of lilacs takes me right back to my childhood.
My maternal grandfather was a gardener and also an incredible cook. During the war he grew a victory garden in their Santa Monica backyard (there is a picture in the Victory Garden blog post linked toward the end of this post). I don’t recall seeing his garden myself so I’m not sure if he was still growing one when I was a child or not. I do, however, remember that he grew orchids. That’s something I’d love to do myself.
Aunt Dee’s Garden
My Aunt Dee has long been an avid gardener. She lives in a small city in California with a relatively small yard. However, she manages to cram a lot into a small space. The pool takes up much of the backyard but it is surrounded by beautiful garden beds containing roses, and lots of other flowers. She has a peach tree that produces the most delicious peaches I’ve tasted, as well as Meyer lemon trees, and an avocado tree. There is a bed alongside the driveway that contains grapevines and she often plants a few tomatoes, as well. One of my favorite childhood memories is the scent of the huge gardenia bush she used to have by her front door. After visiting them she would cut off a gardenia and my dad would tuck it into the visor of the car. We enjoyed the heady fragrance all the way home.
Lately I’ve been drawing inspiration from several gardens I’ve seen on YouTube. Here are some favorites:
This family started with pretty much a clean slate and are gradually creating such a pretty garden. I love the way they mix flowers and vegetables together.
The owner of this 3 acre property in Ireland has worked tirelessly since 2004 to create a magical permaculture haven. She has planted over 1000 trees! The before and after photos on her website are amazing.
Can you imagine producing 3 tons of food on a 1/5 acre lot in the city? This family has done just that. They also raise chickens, ducks, goats, bees and more. Very impressive use of space.
This reclaimed, walled potager is providing food for a French chateau. I love the refurbished green house, too. And can we just take a moment to appreciate this woman’s gardening outfit?
Finally, we have Christopher Spitzmiller’s glorious little farm. Picture perfect isn’t an exaggeration. I was absolutely smitten by this video and simply had to buy his new book.
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What about you? Are you a gardener? Or, like me, merely an aspiring one?
For some “nuts and bolts” information on vegetable gardening, check out this site:
A Modern Homestead
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