Friday, August 27, 2010

Rejuvenating an Old Garden

I have an exciting new project on the go, I have been asked to help rejuvenate an old garden. At one time, the garden must have been glorious, but has been somewhat left to it's own devices and could use some care & attention.

There are loads of bellflowers, globe thistles, phlox, goldenrod, snowdrop anemones, lamb's ears, irises, clematis, rose bushes and many other shrubs & trees (including spirea, potentilla, ninebark, cranberries and cherry tree & 2 large spruces).

View of the backyard. The area to the right, at the back seems to have been 'rounded up'. It will be seeded to grass with an area left for vegetables and some flowerbeds will be added for interest. The area with the 2 trees on the left will likely be mulched with a rock edge to the lawn. I think a few shade containers against the shed and possible a hammock under the trees would make for a nice shady place to relax.

Yellow species clematis growing rampantly on an arbour.

A flowerbed in the backyard, full of bells, globe thistles & phlox.

A cherry tree that is so overgrown and heavy with fruit it has taken a weeping form. Some pruning is needed, although I'm not sure what to recommend. The fruit is quite tasty! :)

A vigorous vine is taking over an old deciduous tree. I'm not sure what kind of vine it is, although Honeysuckle keeps springing to mind. Hopefully it isn't on the noxious weeds list, since it is very interesting and attractive.

This lovely shrub is in the front yard, it looks like a diable ninebark to me, but I'm not 100% sure. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my Lois Hole books with me (note to self, don't do this again!)

The front corner of the house. To me, it just needs some thinning but I like the way it looks.

There is an old rose garden along one side of the house. The wonderful Morden Sunrise still looks beautiful.

2 other roses are in a worse state, but still have lots of new growth and must have bloomed well since they are covered in rosehips. I suspect a hard rejuvenation pruning is needed, although I'm not sure what the best timing is.

There are many Lambs Ears in the beds, and babies on the lawn. I hadn't seen seedlings like this before. Probably not the best place for them, but still kind of cute.

Here is a wildflower mix in a pot.

I brought over a bunch of heliopsis seedlings, as well as some shasta daisies, platycodon, stella d'oro daylilies, Campanula carpatica, ornamental garlic, dwarf irises, silver brocade artemesia and an Asessippi lilac. Some bulbs will be added this fall, although I suspect there may be some already there.

Since this house is being rented, the budget is limited, but I think (hope!) that with a little work it will be beautiful and regain some of it's former glory. Any advice or comments would be very much appreciated.


  1. When I read your posts, it always makes me think of home. Mention Lois Hole, and I'm instantly transported...

    I wish I had planted a cherry tree that actually produces fruit. That looks delicious! Happy for you to have such a fun garden project :D

  2. Oh quel beau projet !

  3. I love the clematis and cherries... you must have a ton of birds eyeing them. Good luck with your garden project. ;>)

  4. It has so many great plants in it Rebecca. It will be hard work but it should turn out beautiful with some TLC.
    We want to see your end results.
    Have a terrific weekend!

  5. I love the echinoops - wish you could send me some! The cherries look good too. We grow cherries, but ours are the pie cherries and are bright red in color. Good luck, Rebecca! Should be fun. I sometimes think about what I would do if I were starting over!

  6. What a fun project for you, Rebecca! I am sure you will bring your special talents to this project and create something beautiful. Look forward to seeing some of your achievements! :)

  7. I always enjoy new garden projects. They bring out the creativity. And I am sure that you will do a great job, even with a small budget.
    I don't have any advice, but I know if it was my garden, I would love to keep the cherry tree.

  8. Hi Kyna, I know what you mean, I feel the same way about anything Montreal lol.

    Bonjour Elisabeth, Merci Beaucoup!

    Hi Carol, thanks so much for your message, the berries are very ripe and I'm sure will be devoured if left on the tree.

    Hi Lona, yes, I agree completely. There are great plants which makes for a fabulous foundation. TLC is exactly what is needed. :)

    Hi Beth, I can't imagine starting over, especially not with a blank slate. I joke that we'll never be able to move since we have so many plants growing here. But it's a lot of fun to help others. The echinops are truly spectacular. :)

    Hi Ms S, I hope I can offer some good advice. I really don't think it will take all that much work, it really is a great space already.

    Hi vrtlarica, I'm sure the cherry tree will stay, it just needs a little pruning. It is heavy with fruit which probably makes it look even more unkempt than it is.

    I'll be sure to post 'after' pics in the future! :)

  9. Sounds like a lot of fun. There are so many of my favorites growing there, kind of a cottage garden style. I've never seen Lamb's Ear seed like that either. My littlest one loves picking the leaves from them and today was using them as "trophies" :)

  10. Quite the diamond in the ruff! That cherry tree looks divine! My only suggestion is the obvious. Dig out the grass from the beds, and reassess. It will look so different cleaned up! Looks like you have a lot of hard work ahead. I hope we get to see an 'after' someday attached to this 'before'!

  11. Rebecca, What a fun project! You certainly get a sense from the existing garden of what kinds of plants like to grow there. I hope you'll share your progress and the "after" photos with us. -Jean

  12. Looks like a fun time Rebecca, maybe the start of a whole new career. Do show us some pics of your progress.

  13. Rebecca, There are so many plants already there... this will help you a lot. :-) Will you have help at all (digging, dividing, etc.)? I'm excited to see what you do.

    I have a friend who's invited me to her house to see her "overgrown garden." I hope I get to help out!! :-)

    Think we're on the same wave-length here?

  14. Oh. You got a lot of plants and flowers there in your garden. I really envy you. I just have a couple of flowers in my garden and about 4 fruit bearing plants such as peppers and tomatoes. But your garden seems to be doing great. Just a little maintenance and that would look really wonderful.

  15. Hi Rebecca..oh my gosh i love photos #3..all the purples and blue!! wow!! I love the baby lambs ears of my faves,,they are so soft and sweet! Lovely post as alwasy! And thankyou for your beautiful words and appreciated always!

    Enjoy your garden...

  16. Hi Catherine, Yes! Cottage style, that's the term I was looking for.

    Hi Laura, I think it will be much easier to get under control after being cut back this fall, new spring growth will be easier to assesss/modify than late summer. But your suggestions are spot on.

    Hi Jean, yes, it's fair to say that Globe Thistle is happy as a clam! :)

    Hi Deborah, since my friends know me as a plant fanatic I have helped a few with their beds, it's fun, and an excuse to go plant shopping!

    Hi Shady, I won't be doing much if any of the hard work, just offering advice etc. Fun coincidence that you will be visiting an overgrown garden soon too!

    Hi Isabelle, Welcome! Thanks for stopping by! I think it will look terrific with a bit of work here and there.

    Hi Kiki, Thanks so much for your comments, I agree, photo 3 is lovely. A wonderful blend of colours. :)

  17. My globe thistle never bloomed this summer.

    I wish you luck in this enthusiastic endeavor of yours.
    Thanks for giving me some tips.

  18. I see work - but I also see an amazing opportunity! Can't wait to see pictures of the progress.

  19. Hi Rebecca,

    Oh, I am just transported whenever I think about renovating an old garden. Actually, it is one of my favorite things to do.

    One piece of advice I would give is to keep some of the larger foundation plants (maybe give them a good pruning). Too often when people renovate a garden, they pull everything out and install new plants. What you end up with though is a bunch of small new plantings that will look sparse for some time to come. By leaving some larger plants and mixing in some new plants, the look is much more balanced.

    I can't wait to see how wonderful it will look once you are finished :-)

  20. Yep, a lot of work, but you have what to work with! A lot of 'garden material'! There is enough plants here to supply another garden! Good luck Rebecca!

  21. Rebecca - thanks for visiting my french garden blog - this posting reminds me of this place when we arrived but here was 100 times worse - you could hardly see the flowers! One thing we were blessed with were loads of Echinops and Golden Rod as two of the plants - there were many more - it's great bringing somewhere back to life in a more controlled way! Enjoy your weekend - Miranda x

  22. I am envy with all of your gorgeous flowers. I can’t help to look at these flowers anytime when I have like those in my garden. I really like the Yellow species clematis. They are really small cute living things.

  23. I think starting with an established and overgrown garden is better than a blank slate, since you don't have to wait a long time for the growth of trees and shrubs. Many of those beds look like they just need a little thinning, dividing and rearranging. Your friends are lucky that you can share some plants, too. Have fun with the project.

  24. Hi Noelle, Thanks for the advice. I have seen exactly what you describe, 'clear cutting' and old garden is a big mistake, imho.

    Hi Tatyana, you're right, another garden could be supplied!

    Hi Miranda, it's hard to believe that your stunning garden was ever overgrown and out of control.

    Hi Melanie, You're right, they are small & cute!

    Hi Northern, I agree, it is better and more interesting to start with something overgrown, emphasis on the GROWN. Especially when there are some great plants in place.

  25. I love the Yellow species clematis! Small but super wonderful! The mix wild flowers in a pot are really great if you just cut some stems to make it look cleaner. The color combination of it makes it really cute. Good luck on your renovations.

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