Fishtail Cottage Garden Journey from 2006 to 2018
My journey of the garden landscape here at Fishtail Cottage began in 2006 when we built our home here in Bothell Washington. I had to do a lot of forward thinking, as starting with a blank slate can be overwhelming. I focused on my vision as if every inch of the garden was its own room. I would stand, and sometimes pull up a chair to plan, scheme and dream about what I someday wanted to see. I would go to different rooms of the house and stare out the windows so I could see what the view from inside would be - all the while doing my best to focus on only one area at a time.
I spent hours searching magazines and even more hours online looking at Pinterest for inspiration. Writing down names of plants, trees and shrubs in a journal and then taking time to research each plant to decide if and where I would put it. My three youngest kids were 2, 4 and 6 - so I'd stay up late at night to do the research and make the most of school hours for time spent in working in the garden.
I drove around neighborhoods to see what was blooming and took photo's of peoples gardens. This was back before I uploaded photo's digitally, so I would print the photo's and bring them into local nurseries who's staff would help me identify the plants in the pictures. I wasn't very seasoned of knowing plants, flowers etc when I first began this garden, I did have some experience from the garden we had in our previous home, but I really wanted to do this yard entirely my way - The passion to learn kept me motivated and inspired. Honestly my knowledge of what to plant and taking care of what I plant came from trial and error.
I found that it was way less expensive and easier for me to purchase online - however when I ordered online I didn't really understand the size that I was ordering and because I was ordering massive quantities - I went with the least expensive option. When I would receive my plants I would be disappointed that the photo I saw of this massive mature tree I saw online arrived standing only 6" tall. My family had to laugh at what started out as a miniature garden, much like the ride at Disneyland.
Here are few snapshots of what the garden looked like in 2006. The only thing I had help with in the beginning was having dirt brought in and laying sod and bark where I wanted it. We also had to hire someone to pour my cement steps where I wanted them. Now don't laugh that I had pots set out and teeny tiny flowers planted before anyone could say "go".
Immediately we put up the picket fence and I got to planting. Within the first week I realized I will never put bark in my gardens - I will only put high quality fertile mulch. Doing so will save my hands, and knees from multiple splinters and will nourish the dirt we paid to have brought in. We also had to terrace an area of the back yard because of rain run off, which has since become my rose terrace. The gravel path along the side is now my flagstone path. The side yard where you can see the bunny hutch is now my "Secret Garden".
I've learned that buying small works out in the end because everything will grow. I've learned that having a vision and being patient is necessary when you want to see your garden grow into something beautiful. I've learned that my favorite garden plants are Bleeding Hearts, Old Roses, Hostas, Heuchra, Bearded Iris and Boxwood. I've learned not everything should be rounded in shape (which is what my eye was initially attracted to) and that textures of all different shapes should be welcome. I learned that Evergreens are just as amazing as deciduous plants. I've learned that every landscape needs "good bones" - arbors, birdbath's large trees for focal points. Garden art is amazing, but not too much, there is a difference between "focal points" in the landscape and "clutter". I've learned that just like rooms in your home, you grow and mature and it's okay to not keep everything - purging and replacing with something new is acceptable.
I've also learned that this garden of mine has made me a better person. A better friend, wife and mom. I am a nurturer, and want to try to please everyone, which I've learned is impossible....just as I can't please every plant I've planted. The garden is my escape to do what comes naturally to me and care for it unconditionally. I've also learned I still have more dreaming to do.
Here are some updated photo's of the garden landscape to see how far it's come since 2006.
Thank you for coming over to see this newest blog post about my garden journey. Happy to answer questions & look forward to reading who came to visit. oxox, tracie