During our home renovation in 2012, something about the land outside the kitchen windows spoke to me. I knew instinctively it was the perfect siting for a very special garden.

When we first bought the house in 2009, my husband was beside himself realizing that the cars visiting the neighbors splashed their headlights across the entire side of our house. We quickly found and installed a tall bamboo fence that’s evolved into an important landscape feature. The fence screens the front of the property but given its height on top of the hill, it also offers a beautiful flourish above the gardens .

This garden has meditation potential! The wooden Serenity statue we bring inside in winter and back out again in Spring. It requires a lot of maintenance as bugs really love living inside it.

The garden siting was not without problems, from heavy shade and poor soil choked with dense roots throughout the yard; we had a wet mess when it rained. Standing water was also fed by water streaming downhill from the property above us.

The original house, before addition and new exterior. The cluster of sugar maples tower over the yard, their roots filling the land in the front of the house. We tore up the brick sidewalk and re-used it for a patio. The Japanese Maple is still with us, a beneficiary of careful pruning and fertilizing to keep it healthy, and off the house.

One thing was clear, the only way this place would work as a garden was with extensive engineering and drains throughout the entire yard in order to create planting space. We had the fence installed and azaleas planted on the hill before I took the measure of the remaining ground. The grass was hardly growing and it was pretty clear we needed to find an alternative.

Notice the grey brick patio to the left. We used bricks from the original sidewalk. I planned, measured and piled stones to prepare for excavation and drain placement for the new garden. The garden beds, sit strategically placed above and between the drains so as not to destroy large tree roots allowing the plants to sink their roots into the ground.
Dirty messes can sometimes be a work in progress, heart-stopping as it was.

Such an extravagance- when we first moved in, it was pretty clear that few gardeners had worked the land for any reason but to sell the house. I think it was the challenge of it all that was so interesting to me. I’d also never worked a shade garden so the learning process was intense. The drought of the last several years was an impetus for starting the new garden as I couldn’t easily water and manage care for garden beds far from the house. Having a garden right outside your kitchen window pretty much ensures it won’t be neglected. Now, if I could just figure out how to sit and chill in the garden, it would be perfection. I’m inviting people to drop in just so I can enjoy it!

A new garden resident: Goldmop Cypress replaced the Fire Chief I only put in last fall! I like to watch a YouTube video before planting bushes and trees.. And I try always to buy plants that are “northern grown” so they’re better acclimated to Litchfield’s CT Zone 5. It’s cold here in the hills.
Aqua Darling is one of our most popular scarves. It looks great on all kinds of coloring and times of year.

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