Monday, May 21, 2012

Garden Designers' Roundtable: Garden Love

Hello, my name is Jocelyn, and I'm a gardener. 
I'll admit that I have a problem, but if loving you (dear garden) is wrong, I don't want to be right!

Here are the top five things I love about my garden:

#5 It’s a labor of love
When my husband, Jim, and I purchased our house in 1985, the landscaping consisted primarily of wall-to-wall bluegrass. The backyard was ringed with worn out honeysuckle and dogwood hedges and the front yard was graced with the ubiquitous punctuation-point juniper placements of the 1950s “design” era. We’ve come a long way, baby. 
Blah has been banished!
Plenty of blood, sweat, and (only rarely) tears have gone into the making of our garden, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be done because we truly enjoy the process.  I distinctly remember a Mother’s Day some 15 or 20 years ago when I was prepping and planting a new bed in front of our house. A neighbor stopped by and said, “You shouldn’t be working out here – it’s Mother’s Day!” As fellow gardeners will know, my day-long, uninterrupted gardening marathon was a much appreciated gift!
Pfitzers, be gone!

#4  It’s my professional laboratory
Just how dry can we go?
Over the past 27 years we’ve planted trees, shrubs and perennials in ever expanding beds. We’ve created a water garden habitat for our pet koi, and a wild, grassy meadow. We’ve grown veggies and herbs and lovely containers packed with colorful annuals. 
The super-xeric side yard - who wants bluegrass here?!
However, despite my professional training in horticulture, my gardening know-how has been won mostly by experience. For every success there have been failures, too.  I have killed viburnums, cotoneasters, spruce, crabapples and more. Countless perennials have met their deaths at my hands. The lessons learned here have been invaluable, as I channel my experiences directly into my professional design and consulting work.

#3  It’s a wildlife oasis
Honeybee and Geranium
Sadly, many post World War II neighborhoods like mine are still boring wastelands of bluegrass lawns and overly manicured foundation shrubs. My lush and diverse landscape, on the other hand, provides food, water and habitat for a myriad of small critters. Birds? year-round. Dragonflies? a favorite. Butterflies, moths, and bees? delightful. Foxes? love.  Squirrels and mice? ummm…entertaining (in small doses!).
Blue grasshopper and little bluestem grass
 As my garden continues to evolve, I’ll focus on introducing more native plants to provide for an even greater diversity of wildlife – and enhance my viewing pleasure!

#2  It makes our house a home
Friends begin to gather for our annual Thanksgiving Day turkey fry
More than the interior spaces and décor, the garden makes our house a home. It’s informed by who we are both personally and professionally. It expresses our interests in the outdoor environment, an active lifestyle, fine art, and good food (not necessarily in that order!). Our garden is where we gather with friends and family to celebrate, commiserate, and live our lives “in the moment”.
Chef Jim and  Dave, a happy "customer"

The #1 reason why I love my garden: It nourishes my spirit
Spending time in my garden – whether I’m planting seeds, deadheading a perennial, turning the compost, or yes, even mowing the lawn – engages me with the seasons and the natural rhythms of life. In our hurry-up, man-made, and manufactured world, it’s gardening that marks the passage of time and gives it meaning.
Beauty can be found in the small things all around us.

What do you love about your garden?


Mary said...

Thank you for the tour, Jocelyn. I adore that experimental grassland you created and your xeric sideyard will be a model for the one I'd like to create. Your garden truly seems full of love and life. Awesome!

Desert Dweller said...

Your addiction is most admirable!! The T-giving turkey fry is such a good use of a space on the 1/2 the times when Denver is delightfully warm in the cool season. But the various spaces that replace the blahgrass really add dimension.

susan morrison said...

Here here! A garden filled with plants, wildlife...and people. Sounds ideal to me.

Rebecca Sweet said...

Fantastic garden tour, Jocelyn! I'm SO with you in best Mother's Day gifts ever - just leave me alone and let me garden! That's all I ever seem to want as it's such a luxury, isn't it?

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks, Mary. We've worked hard to hydro-zone our yard while keeping a lush and lively appearance.

David, the Turkey Fry may be cold and a bit snowy some years, but has never been cancelled. Yay for Denver's perfect climate!

Yes, Susan - successful gardens are always personal (as evidenced by all of the other Roundtable posts today!)

Rebecca, I have little time for gardening in the spring - too busy meeting clients needs - so that Mother's Day treat is always special.

Robert Webber said...

So much more than just design or show. People and love, and expertise shine through. Thanks for sharing Jocelyn!

Deborah Silver said...

Jocelyn, Your garden is so full of life! Lots of thought, lots of work, lots of places for people to gather. I truly admire what you have made here. Deborah

Debbie said...

Jocelyn, I see we have similar philosophies on using our gardens to test out plants before using them in our clients gardens. I love the way you've incorporated all the art into your garden.

Anonymous said...

I love that you put such an emphasis on family enjoying your garden too. Your passion shows!

Pam/Digging said...

You've really personalized not just your garden but your post about it, Jocelyn. I loved hearing how you use your garden and what it means to you. And yes, it's SO much more beautiful and interesting than a boring bluegrass lawn!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Robert, thank you.

Deborah, that's high compliment indeed - I appreciate it!

Debbie, yes - I think we often see eye-to-eye!

Christina, we are a pretty happy bunch here!

Pam, thank you. Even we introverts like to come out and say "hello" once in a while!

Jane Crosbie said...

hi - I love your blog. My name is Jane Crosbie. I am a gardenerholic from New Zealand. Your grass garden is very inspiring - as are your other gardens. Looking forward to receiving your blog posts in the future.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers said...

Thanks so much, Jane - Kiwi's are always welcome in The Art Garden!

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

Hi Jocelyn!
I not only enjoyed the tour of your garden, I loved seeing your family and friends in it! You have a beautiful "lab" going on there. Keep experimenting with your plants, the bees love it too.


Elizaveta Kramer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Katy said...

Wow! This garden was indeed a labor of love; you built this with your own hands and creative mind. I admire your patience and determination! You’re lucky to have green thumbs! Good job!

-Katy Eagles