Hard dirt and hard work

This week we invited one of our crew to contribute to the blog. Here, she kicks off our Befores & Afters series with her backyard project...

As I find myself in the throes of "winter", my thoughts are increasingly taken with planning for the future. For instance, what should I plan for my garden this year, and I look to the past for inspiration. I.e.: I'm looking back at the transformation that took place in our yard over 2013.

Having lived in the valley for 30 years with the heat and challenge of trying to grow things in a desert, my experience here in paradise has been a fruitful one. ;-) It started with a large, dead yard, a landlord that gave us free reign, a lot of hope, and a rototiller! I'm afraid I don't have any pictures from the VERY beginning but just imagine nothing but a cement slab, some unfinished brick work, and lots of dead crabgrass. We decided to start small and just put in a couple of box beds....and then I thought, but what about some grass for The Kidlet to play on? After getting our hands on that blessed (and tortuous) rototiller it was all over. It took HOURS to till the hardpan for sod and my body felt like it had been hit by a truck in the weeks that followed.

Finally, we got the sod in and my body started to loosen up from it's achy stiffness and I thought, "what about another bed right HERE?" Then, "what about a little bit farther out?" And it spread like a beautiful little plague. My dad came for a visit and was sweet enough to take a day to help me build a pergola (and by help me, I mean, he did most of it and I just nailed what he told me to). And so it was, by bits and pieces, days here and there we slowly pieced the yard together. 

We hung pictures and tapestries, thrifted furniture, and made a "settee" out of planks, cinderblock and blankets. Our garden, our lawn, our outdoor room, finally came together and it's brought me so much joy and satisfaction, aches and pains. 

Isn't it interesting how often we find the things that are the hardest, whether emotionally or physically, often bring the most joy? Maybe because it cost us something. If it didn't cost us anything then the value would be subdued. So here I am, looking back at what we've come through this last year and planning, with some trepidation, for things to come. 

I hope this year proves as blessed in it's challenges for all of us!

-Kendra G. (The Body Electric)

What's Not to Love! Part II.

How did you like part one of the house tour? You've seen the beauty of most of the space but I wanted to share images of the little private area off to the side of the house that could easily be overlooked...it's a little garden and most definitely a labor of love. Here is a peek at the secret garden!


Speaking of gardens, the garden in the movie "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep was a favorite of mine, remember it? It was a perfect combination of kitchen garden and cutting garden. Another favorite was Tasha Tudors. I know she passed a few years ago, but does anyone know what became of her property? Gardens are like anything else, it doesn't matter how large or small they are, it's about the love that is put into it and the energy that it brings to us.

"Earth laughs in flowers" --Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was a very long drawn out winter...one that I cursed, one that was too wet to get into the soil, one that is adios! So much happy happens in spring--green hills, Easter celebration, and yep, the garden takes hold!The "Big Payoff" is what i like to call it! Ralph, the earth is laughing!


With all the to-do lists that are constant, it seems that the garden is never at the top, but I have realized it is oh-so-necessary for the soul. This is the first year that help needed to be called in! Between my husband and I, we managed to revive and nurture our garden. Here's a peek.....

IMG_0618 IMG_0603hydrangeas,

the new rose that just arrived, creamy white with a chartreuse inside.

the queen of the garden

IMG_0614 sweet sweet peas

I think this is a form of vibirnum

the last of the lilac and snowballs for the season

and let's not forget some of the wildlife taking refuge!

What's growing in your garden?