the Front Courtyard garden in progress

It doesn’t look like much yet, but here’s the Front Courtyard garden so far.  It’s hard to believe there used to be a spruce tree here, isn’t it?!  Isn’t this much more interesting to look at? (Even if it’s not finished yet?)


I have learned my lesson over the years that to keep my big garden more low maintenance, I need to remember to plant shrubs, not just flowering perennials.  There are some bird’s nest spruce here which will eventually fill more space but not get too big:


Here’s looking the other way with 2 yellow genista shrubs in bloom:


And here’s the view from the house (one of my most important design considerations!):


To see how this garden has evolved, click here and scroll down.

making my own sunshine

Enough with the weather.  I’m dying to get digging in the garden but digging wet soil is not a good idea – plus it’s messy.  So I’ve resorted to paint and pansies instead.


Above: The front door freshly painted BM Stuart Gold.

Step a little further back and you will see why I am feeling so impatient…

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… because the spruce tree has been taken down, and…

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… I’m waiting for a guy with a bobcat to come take all these rocks away so that I can start planting.  I don’t want to look at this ugliness any longer.    Spring, please come soon.

counting down the days…


It took me 12 years in my old house to convince my husband that it was okay to remove old trees that were planted way too close to the house or too close together.  We’re both tree huggers, but I don’t feel guilty about fixing somebody else’s tree planting mistake. Especially when it comes to spruce trees.  Thankfully he doesn’t either anymore – one of the first things he said when we moved in last fall was ‘well, that’s gotta go’!!

With all this warm weather I can’t help thinking about spring and the first thing I’m going to do is take this tree down.  Stay tuned!!

the Courtyard Garden plans

I am getting antsy for spring and for taking down this huge spruce tree in front of my new-to-me house!


There was absolutely nothing else but this tree and rock mulch here when we moved in late September 2016.  The rocks right in front of the window, below, were removed ASAP and I plunked a few plants in their temporary home, but this garden area will be totally redone once the tree is down and the rest of the rocks are removed this spring.


It took me a while to decide on a colour scheme for this area, as I really want to put my blue gentians in here – so that everyone who comes to the door can enjoy them!!  But true blue is hard to work in to a garden colour scheme.  And since the colour scheme also has to consider the orange brick and the (will-be-painted-in-spring) yellow front door, I decided on the tetradic colour scheme of blue, purple, yellow and orange (see more at this extremely informative garden blog by Sue, a garden designer in Calgary).  I think it will be fantastic!!


This will also allow me to plant some catmint along the sidewalk – another favourite plant.  I particularly love it beside a sidewalk because it spills over and softens the walk.  It also is looks a little bit like lavender which I would grow if I could (it isn’t hardy enough to grow here reliably).  Other plants which will go in the Courtyard Garden include: delphinium, veronica spicata, blue oat grass, heliopsis, siberian iris, flax, daylilies, and cherries:


Now back to dreaming of spring…