Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Supersized {Garden} Life…. Aka, Brooke the Plant Hoarder

Notes from a Country Garden, Feb 16, 2011
Welcome back friends….  It’s a chilly, but mild winter day here in Indiana.  The ground it too wet to even try to play in the garden, so it is a good time for us to chat.  I have been thinking about my garden style, well… our life style as well.  And have came to the conclusion, that we live a supersized life.  Really, we do.  I think everything is big around here.  Big house, big dog, big truck, tractor, kids…. EVERYTHING!  But lets talk about the garden….
Here is where we started, in 2006 after construction.  Nothing, nada, just my rocks and a path to the front porch…. a blank slate.   Which is a gardeners dream of course, but it was almost too much possibility.  Where to begin?  We are way up on a hill and you can see it from a mile away.  I love that we are up high and have great views of the water, but it tends to dwarf everything around it at the same time.  Some times all you see is the lake.  Which is why we live here, but then again, I am a gardener! 
Now, I have been planting trees every year and I know in time I will have grand maples in my front yard, but they are all under 12 feet tall and thin…. but growing…. slowly…. But as you can see, it take a bunch of plant material to make an impact from these distances.  Here in the house from the front last summer.  You can definitely tell there is big progress, but even the tall arbor looks tiny from the road.
Once you get closer to the house, things look much different.  Here is where my supersized dream is more reality.  It feels lush, you feel you are in the garden, the plants encircle you like a warm hug.  Okay, maybe that is just me…. I love to be surrounded by the plants.  One of my favorite titles  of a blog is Cielo’s “A House in the Roses.”  I want my home to be “A House in a Garden.”  Doesn’t everyone?

But if I had to tell someone about my garden that has never seen it before it might just be “SUPERSIZED.”  Lush does not cut it, full to the brim, bursting at the seams might be more like it.  And to me that is perfect.  I find that any place I struggle with in new areas it is not the plants, it is wanting an instant look of an full, mature landscape.
One of the main reasons, beside the look of course, is…. I find it much easier to garden in “full” garden border.  There is not as much room for trouble like weeds.  It is survival of the fittest, and you have to be firmly planted to survive.  I laugh and say there are weeds in there, but they have to be taller than the flowers to be seen!
That is another point, l tend to love large, tall plants.  I love to sit in the garden and watch the movement of the birds and bugs and the sways of the breezes. I actually spend hours just sitting in the garden with a good book or enjoying the many animals that play around me in the foliage.  With having an very open piece of land, it is a challenge to me to create nooks and corners…. Tall plants, especially fast growing shrubs give me that opportunity.
That has been key for me and my garden plan.  Finding reasonable plants that give big impact in a short amount of time.  Some I highly suggest are crepe myrtles, butterfly bushes, knockout roses, hydrangeas, viburnums, dogwoods, spireas, ornamental grasses, sages, coneflowers, daylilies and irises.
And one of the things I did have was a borrowed view of trees.  They may not be on our property, but they are on the big hill behind the house.  It makes the landscape feel more done having a vista of woods in the background.
I could talk all day about lush borders.  One way I think you can add so much interest is by adding different foliage colors. I love plants with variegated or dark leaves they add so much beauty with dramatic highs and lows.  This works with any size garden.

As I have often said, what helped me with plant costs is starting things from seed.  I love annuals like candytuft, moss verbena, marble salvias, sweet alyssum, stocks, baby’s breath…. they all bloom for months on end and are so easy from seed.  I will be planting seed directly into the garden from now until early April.  I do not mess very much with indoor seeds, I prefer to just scatter them right into the garden like fairy dust…. then be fascinated when and where they come up in a few weeks.  Mother nature scatters them where she wants… and she is a much better gardener than me!
So, I guess I should state, this is not my husbands dream garden.  He is not “in love” with plants “getting him” when he mows.  And I often hear “Do something with it…” (meaning it is in his way).  His big joke is if something happens to me he’ll mow it all down.  I have no doubt my garden club friends would be here in droves with their spades and buckets!  But he married me for better or worse… and I came with a garden.   Now if “Hoarders” gets a call from my husband----I’m up the creek…. because those people clean out their houses (somewhat)…. but I’ll be *amn if I am giving up one single plant out here!  Lol…. Wouldn’t that make for good reality TV!

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All Photos From My Own Home and Garden ©Brooke Kroeger

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  1. Lovely tour of a lovely garden. You certainly have been busy! Nice job!

  2. Your gardens are beautiful! Makes me anxious for spring so my little garden (compared to yours) will come to life.
    I'm your newest follower, Mary Alice

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  4. Your garden is beautiful. Thanks for sharing at Potpourri Friday!

  5. You have a beautiful home and a gorgeous garden!
    Can't wait for spring!

  6. I'm planning on trying the "fairy dust" method this spring! My husband never liked the trees I planted in the yard because they are rather difficult to mow around. So I understand what yours is saying! Beautiful yard and garden!♥♫

  7. My name is Teresa and I am a plant hoarder! :) If you need any help, give me a call!

  8. Hello, My Name Is Teresa and I am a Plant Hoarder. :) If you need any help, give me a call!

    Loved the tour of your garden! Simply beautiful!

  9. What an absolutely beautiful place to live, Brooke! I remember seeing your house a while ago while blog surfing and drooling over your awesome gardens! I'm glad I found you again! :) You have me dreaming of summertime, girlie! :)

    xoxo laurie

  10. Thank you so much for your insight... I have a plain plot of land with nothing but a house and some weeds, and I just don't know how to start! I love your list of fast growing plants!!

  11. I looks wonderful. You have really put in a lot of work there.

  12. You have me dreaming of spring and I love all of your roses. Can you tell the Florence Nightingale rose (white) easy to grow or does it require lots of maintenance. I am wanting to plant a row of white roses along a fenceline and am looking at the white-out rose but the Flo. Nightingale looks so much fuller and prettier...thoughts? I am going to feature you as my blog of the week, I hope that is ok! I'll also be posting a link on my facebook page. Have a great weekend! I look forward to using your site as a resource for my landscaping projects this spring.

  13. I have never met a plant I didn't want! It is hard to start with such a lot of space and make a cozy garden, but you will.I really like what you have done so far.

  14. Brooke - love, love, love your house and garden. I am also one of those that wishes I could garden every day. We moved from So. California 3 1/2 years ago to Kentucky (near Louisville) different gardening here. I'm wondering about your fabulous roses. Do you have problems with Japanese Beetles? I've only grown knock-outs but I so miss the roses I grew in So. California - the beetle problem is a little overwhelming. Any advice?

    Catt from Kentucky


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