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2 years + sunshine + a bit of rain

Two summers ago (our first summer in our little pad), we dug up a big ugly bush in our front yard, built a garden box, and planted a few little plants. Remember this?

We didn’t really know what to plant, so we chose things that did reasonably well in medium sun (it can be pretty shady during certain parts of the day) and were budget friendly. That was the same summer as our basement renovation, so we were definitely pinching every penny we could. We ended up with a pink peony, two purple irises, three yellow lilies, two lavender plants, and a small pink flower bush whose name is escaping me right now. Anyway, they all looked pretty little and sad to begin with.

However, after two years of sunshine, rain and a bit of love, our wee garden bed is doing pretty well! We lost the lillies and one lavender plant (had some squirrel issues to deal with..!), but the rest have grown a ton.

We threw in a few pink annuals this summer and were also given a little buddha from my parents, who sits happily in the garden reminding us to relax and be grateful. Oh we also threw down a bunch of dark mulch to help keep in water and make the whole look look a little more polished.

This is that pink flower bush I can’t remember the name of. Can any green thumbs out there give me a hand here? (Update: A Potentilla!!! I can’t believe I forgot that one… Thanks Sarah K!!)

And since I took these photos after our irises and peonies bloomed, I just thought I’d throw in a peony pic from my phone that I snapped about a month ago. Love these pink beauties with all of their delicate layers.

We still have a long way to go in our landscaping and haven’t even touched the backyard yet, but it’s definitely encouraging to see these little guys grow. I’ve never been a gardener, but there is definitely something pretty satisfying and peaceful about it. I think I may be getting hooked.

What about you guys? Have any good before and afters of your own gardens? Have some good gardening tips? Do tell.

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  • Sarah Kuczko

    My name is Sarah and I am a big fan of your blog! My husband Eric Kuczko actually directed me to it (I think you guys are travel buddies from way back!) anyways, I love the DIY projects you post and the stuff from pinterest. I am a huge gardener and was checking out your little garden (very cute) and the shrub is called a Potentilla. Just thought I’d let ya know!
    Sarah K

    • gemma

      Hi Sarah,

      Firstly – thank you for naming that plant! It was driving me crazy!! :) Secondly – thanks for stopping by (and thanks to eric for directing you to it)! Funny how facebook keeps the world so small and connected. I remember seeing a lovely wedding photo of you two!


  • Loving the garden! Looks great :) We recently just finished building our deck and it was a pretty big project and the garden…its slowly but surely getting there LOL

    • gemma

      Haha – don’t worry… I know how it feels!! I find gardening takes a bit of patience, but is totally worth it!


  • Hey, I don’t usually comment on your posts, but was confused with that shrub on the very end. Is that the Potentilla? Up here in Alberta, I would have said that was cinquefoil. Meh, just interesting is all. Adding perennials, to me, is pretty much the greatest gift we can give a house:) We just chopped down one of the three spruce trees in our front yard of a house we just bought, and I’m having major guilt, even though I know in a couple years it will be beautiful with plants. Wish I had a more-viewed blog to get some feedback, because I feel like a jerk cutting down trees, but I think most readers would say flowers are better??

    • gemma

      Hi Jackie – Yep it’s the potentilla (I’m not sure what cinquefoil is?). Maybe there are some different varieties? I totally agree with you about adding perennials – makes such a difference! I’m usually a tree-saver, but sometimes there are just too many and you want some sunshine and places to plant flowers. Totally get it, and your house had some BIG trees out in front!

      Good luck with your landscaping and the rest of your projects!!


  • landscaping is a huge face lift to any home. you guys have done a great job! looks awesome

    • gemma

      Thanks Ali! Still have a way to go, but we’re happy so far.