as promised, some before and afters of my little plot o' land, my garden. the back that is. one space at a time! so, i have lots of befores. lots of process shots. still working on getting you a good NOW shot since "after" is still in the works. but i think even from this body of photographs you will get a good idea of where we are at.
and here we go, the big reveal! our befores...
i couldn't find images of the early early days when it was just dirt, before i got my paws in there. so you will see some growth in the works. my ma came out kinda early and helped me start. but the images above pretty much show off the basic idea. there was the tall tropical plants, lots of mexican sage and WEEDS. i also had a lot of weird junk in the garden. leftover sculpture parts. i never removed things that were there already (broken tiki lights and plastic flowers). i also had a ton of blow up balls from an art installation that i still find on occasion dead behind a full plant. my cats loved the personalized cat nip raised bed! but so did all the other cats in the hood. i had no clue what i was planting. if i liked it - it went. big mistake! read your labels! where and when you plant is a HUGE money saver!
the borders were awful. squared off, not fun pieces of wood shoved in to the soil. i of course didn't get the bright idea of playing with the form till i went to the theodore payne foundation and saw this!
now that is what i am talking about (the above is theodore payne ). seeing their garden space was a major transition moment. it was when i realized duh! i can expand, transform, use found materials like rocks, concrete, wood! make it big! erick and i got hard core one day and leveled the soil in the back and discovered a crazy amount of concrete under the ground. it is now one of my primary materials for the borders. finding all that concrete allowed me to build out the planting beds and make for a more organic finish. and even then... i was still keeping it kinda conservative in size.
until i realized, my lack of patience bit me in the butt. i kept planting everybody so close in an effort to make the garden look more lush. well, that made for a jam packed world! oh man, i have had to go back and divide and edit since. always plant with the future in mind! even if your plant looks small for a year, be a calm soul. that little booger will grow grow grow!
the last photos show case my garden a year ago, although the very last is from this year. that last image shows where i am now. patiently and more aggressively expanding the space. even since that photo i have expanded and planted more clippings in that area.
like i said in my earlier post, my garden is not a "designed" garden. it is an experiment. a plant hospital. and existing on a very tight budget. almost all of the plants you see were grown from clippings from my mother and grandmother's gardens, given to me by folks who had no hope they would survive and i nursed them back to life mixed in with the occasional native plant splurge and lots of wild flower seeds! i have also been planting lots of my terrarium reject plants in the little pockets between the rocks and logs. i went on lots of garden tours while taking a class a horticulture class at ucla, and loved the way the gardeners created all these surprise moments between the rocks in the borders. suddenly a dudleya (a a california native succulent) would sprout out and create a beautiful hard form to contrast the soft sage above it.
ideally if i had the funds, my garden would be 85% california native plants mixed in with cacti and succulents and other drought tolerant buddies. but in the meantime i am doing the best i can with what i've got. but basically the lesson learned from this post is to research first! go for it be brave! expand! go big! and mostly to have fun! i will continue you to show you the process of my little land in hopes to inspire you to say hello to your own green thumb. if you have a garden (indoor too!) to share - please do!
p.s. that is my cute friend megan's butt in the first photo next to the photo of my cat children. her mother is one of my big garden inspirations. a garden tour of her space coming soon!