When we went looking for a new home five years ago, I didn’t want a garden much larger than a postage stamp. I was tired of being a slave to managed nature. Even though it had just been a little condo, the tiny garden I’d created was a fair bit of work to keep under control.

Crimson Berry

That particular criteria went out the window – literally – when we walked through the door here and the solid wall of glass looked out onto what was a little less than a blank slate of yard, complete with massive hemlocks, cedars, and rhododendrons. Some of that is now gone; the hemlocks were dying and had to go, and a heavy snowfall took one of the rhododendrons down this winter, though we left part of the fallen trunk and it’s now growing leaves out of the sides, so we may have a new and possibly more interesting bush in years to come.

Tiger lilies

I put a lot of plants into the space over a three year period and more or less left it alone this spring, just to see how it had filled out and what might need to be relocated. It has gone a bit bonkers this spring, a warm dry May seems to have sent it into a growing frenzy and things that have been limping along the past few years did exceptionally well this spring. A bit more sunlight in the absence of the gloom of the hemlocks probably helped a great deal.


Once the spring weeding is done, and that’s no small feat, it does more or less take care of itself leaving it a space that can provide some relaxation, reflection, and peace. As much as I didn’t want it, our little oasis is a wonderful place to retreat to in an otherwise hectic world.

Reflective Places