Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Special Post

Today I told the Yuppy Puppies that I was taking pictures of the Garden to put on the blog. I'm so excited to show you all that my gardening last year actually took, that I just couldn't wait!

Of course, Abby & D thought it a bit premature! "That's ain't no garden, DAD!" But I'll share anyway - it'll be a good series of before shots!

Last year Scott and I planted out an area of our backyard, making room for what we thought would eventually be a flagstone patio in a round(ish) shape. After the beds were planted, however, we decided that we liked the green space, and therefore focused our patio efforts to the garage area which are "in-progress". I didn't plant too many perennials last year because I was so eager to get everything ready for the garden walk that annuals gave me the most bang for my buck. Those few perennials I did plant though, are coming back with strong arms, and I'm sure will be even bigger and better this year!

The allium is beautiful, a purple ball of small petals. It's actually from the onion family, but so decorative, and when they dry, they make the most interesting and textural yard ornaments. Sputnik like. Very cool.

My asiatic lilies must really like it here, along with my creeping evergreen. When I planted the two asiatic lily bulbs last year I never dreamed that they'd divide so beautifully. I now have 10!

This is either Salvia, False Sunflower, Coreopsis, or well ... or. I'm not sure what I planted to be quite honest with you - so it's a surprise! Oh what a lovely surprise.

Along with this surprise.

And this surprise. Though my guess is that this is the salvia.

Now, this garden is laughable at this point, I know. It's barely May here in the frozen north east and we're so happy that things are popping out of the ground we're a little quick to say that we have our "gardens" ready. It's particularly rough when you have gardening aficionado's living right on the street! One of them, a very close and dear friend to me had a big birthday today, and I thought I'd share with you her garden, and her gift.

Melisa is a mother of 4 beautiful children, and probably the best friend and neighbor you could ever hope for. She's always got something going on, as many mothers of young children do, but Melisa is unique in that she somehow finds the energy to tear on a pair of wind pants at the end of a long hard day, and walk 2 miles with her group of neighborhood friends most every night. It's at these brisk, (well sometimes brisk) walks that we all get to share in the joys and burdens of everyday life, console one another, laugh at each other, and build an even deeper bond and friendship. Above - Melisa's garden is one of the most beautiful on the street. Her shaded front yard is a wild wash of color throughout the season, with blues, pinks, violets and creams - she has an interesting garden philosophy: If I like it, I plant it. Who cares if it grows!?

I think she knows more than she lets on, don't you?

I recently had the pleasure of decorating (redesigning) Melisa's living room - which I'll share with you in another blog, but I have to say her impeccable taste inside and outside are a delight.
Melisa and I met through "Margaret" who lives directly across the street and has children the same age. They carpool, team swap, babysit, sleepover, coffee clatch, and admire together, and luckily through my friendship with Margaret I've also built one with Melisa.

Today, a big birthday, we (Dorothy, Margaret, Scott, and I) decided that we would buy her something she'd hinted she wanted since early March. A topiary. But not just any topiary. No - she wanted a figurative topiary. Of what you ask?

A dog. A lab in fact, to resemble (on a smaller scale) her HUGE black Labrador retriever. Available at http://www.rittenhouse.ca/ these "Gone to the Dogs" topiaries range in price, but are a solid investment piece perfect for a whimsical garden, dog lovers, or just people looking for fun and interesting home decor. Scott and I are thinking about buying a mossed Boston Terrier for the front porch!

Melisa was very happy with her gift, and we could see the wheels turning in her head when she said: "Now, where do I put it?!" Melisa is a wonderful, beautiful person with so much grace and love. Her thoughtfulness and friendship has meant more to me than I could ever fathom trying to explain. She along with Dorothy and "Margaret", make up a group of my very best friends, and how lucky am I that they're literally only footsteps away?

Happy Birthday Melisa! Thank you for your friendship, but mostly for just being you.


  1. How wonderful that you've got yourself surrounding by wonderful friends/neighbors. Her gardens truly are beautiful!!!!! I hope you'll remember to take pics of her yard too, as the season progresses!

    Justine :o )

  2. Happy Birthday to her! What a wonderful gift. It sounds like you live in a wonderful area. There is something special about having neighbors that are friends.


  3. Happy Birthday to Melisa! Her home and gardens are gorgeous. Of course, I love the Lab topiary. It's absolutely wonderful!

  4. How exciting to see things popping up in the garden, ignore Abby and D's snickering!

  5. Morning, Artieness! Happy Birthday to Melisa and what a great gift! How nice to have such lovely neighbors! Maybe one day your neighbors will let you come into their homes and you could take pix and showcase one a day on your blog! I love looking into other people's homes! I'm a look loo!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  6. Artie, I love this post!

    I, for one, love surprises in the garden. I started my garden blog because I can't remember half the time what I planted where! I have these Mexican Heather in my front garden that die out every year with our slight Northern California frost (bragging here, but hey, I'm a transplant from Ohio, I've lived through those winters!). The first year, I thought about ripping the heather out, but sure enough, come May, there are tiny little leaves coming back. It's a bit horrifying in the spring because it's a sign of DEAD winter next to all the spring blooms that shoot up. But, then, a little snippet, promise of spring and new life!

    Your neighbor's garden is fabulous...can't wait to see the re-do, too!

  7. Neighbor friends are the best! We volunteer usher together at a local theatre one night per show(six times a season) and gives us all a chance to catch up. The age range is thirties to a seventy-nine year old lady and we've been doing it for eleven years.
    Melisa is lucky to have you all for friends! I've had my eye on the greyhound and doberman at that website since last year. (in case you are wondering what to get me for my birthday!)
    You're correct about the salvia one. Alliums are some of my favorite. I've been busy making succulent wreaths and toparies and need to get back to working in the vegetable garden.......ENJOY!
    G in CT

  8. That's really sweet. Great to have neighbors/friends like that. And what a thoughtful gift you gave her. So sweet.

  9. You are too sweet - loved this!!! and you!

  10. What great friends you have! I think the lab topiary is great and will be fun to see (you'll post won't you?) it all grown in.

  11. I love your garden...it is going to be so pretty a little later in the season.
    Your neighbor's yard is to die for. I am thrilled you have such a nice friend...I have the feeling she is just as lucky to have YOU for a friend.
    xo bj

  12. Oh, you have an allium! I adore those, but have never planted one. They look like they should grow on another planet!

    I think you garden is going to be wonderful!! It will give you sooo many hours of pleasure, I just know!

  13. I love how your backyard has a curved garden. It looks so neat like that. And, how fun to show pics of plants you weren't sure of. That actually made it like wrapped Christmas gifts. I am sure it will be fun for you to look out and see what Santa brings to you every morning.

    And, yes, your neighbor seems cool and fun with her yard. It is so manicured! WOW! I am impressed.

    And, your walks seem fun, too.

    The topiary is cool...what a unique gift. They do seem like great neighbors, but, trust me: We all wished YOU were our neighbor!

  14. Artie, Your flowers are coming back very nicely. Isn't it fun to watch them pop their heads up out of the ground. In the past week everything about here has really greened (is that a word, LOL) up.

    Melisa has a beautiful yard. I agree with her totally. I plant what I like. If it doesn't do well I can always replace it. On the other hand if something comes up on it's own I figure it deserves to be there. Not weeds of course.

    It sounds like your have a great group of friends.

  15. OH~~~ Her garden is beautiful. What a blessing that you have built such wonderful friendships with your neighbors..