Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Story of Our Dooryard Cottage Garden

When we bought this farmhouse in 1990, the front yard was just grass. Moving day was so exciting and I really didn't see this little house the way you probably see it now in the picture below.

I wasn't even thinking of its possibilities. To me it was beautiful just the way it was. Even the pile of wood in the yard and the rusty tin roof. See the red barn to the right...

I loved it just as it was but I did look forward to spring to see what marvelous plants would come up. Surely the farm wife from the 1920s had planted flowers and bulbs here in this 24 acres. When spring finally arrived here at Valley View, the only things that bloomed were some old yellow daffodils and a Festiva Maxima peony that still blooms beautifully each May. There are fat buds on it right now. There were wild roses on the fences and honeysuckle vine. There was a wisteria vine on the porch corner.

And that was it.

Never fear, R.H. to the rescue!

One of the first things he did was to fence in enough space for a dooryard garden.

He and our sons built the fence and a pergola. Here is R.H. teaching Zack some carpentry skills.

They built geometric beds.

The first paths were made of bark. Yes, it got tracked in all the time. I didn't care. At last I had the framework to make a dooryard cottage garden. This was to be my project now. And I had sons to help me with the weeding.

To be continued.

[If you would like to read my first post at Across the Way about how we found this dear little farmhouse go here. Brenda at Cozy Little House was kind enough to include my first post in her Welcome Wagon Friday and I met so many nice bloggers through her.]


  1. Deweena, it's beautiful, and look how young R.H. was!!!

  2. That's some super gardener husband there. I can see why you've kept him! :) I love gardening stories!

  3. Wow! That is beautiful! It's worthy of a magazine article.

  4. What a long, long way you've come!! I really love the hill beside the house. We bought this place in 1981, and expected the same thing- lots of flowers, but no. The women who owned it, a mother and daughter, lived here only in the summers, and I guess didn't garden much except for a few annuals - oh and painted white stones. :<) I have been mulling over a post about the beginnings of our life here.
    Now I'm off to read that first post.

  5. Gorgeous. The lay out of the beds is so well thought out. xo, olive

  6. oh dewena.
    i am pure dee enchanted. and i am going to read how you got this beautiful house and rescued it and made it a beloved home. thank you! and . . .
    thank you for such wonderful pictures!
    it looks so inviting. and warm and welcoming. just as the dewena who lives in it.
    yes. that should be 'whom'. i don't like 'whom'. it's pompous.
    and we are not pompous here. we're friends! LOL.

  7. i wrote my last comment there at 8:53 it says. and now it's 11:56.
    i have just lingered in this beautiful blog. i have read every word of every old post. i laughed at rh discovering his cookie jar empty and making them. with supervision by his wife. i loved the picture of defee between the trees on the hike up the hill to the waterfall.
    the first christmas with the little 'precious moment' named nora. the proud wallace and defee. all the handsome grandsons and drake with his grandmother.
    oh dewena.
    a big warm wonderful family. a home of love and grace and beauty. every bit as enchanting as mrs deering's!
    i am going away happy now. to fix myself a little lunch.
    and by the way... like one of your commenters... though my beloved bob and i seemed to talk non stop to each other about everything under the sun! (one of the things i loved most about him)... seeing the hotcakes... i wouldn't talk either. i'd be EATING!!!! love. dear heart. love. xo

  8. Dewena, I'm in awe of how you've transformed the space and can't wait to hear more about the process! Also, I'm envious of your hills, living on the flat as a pancake coastal plain as we do.

  9. I've always loved the word/phrase dooryard. There's a line from a poem. I don't know who it's by: "When lilacs in the dooryard bloomed..." What a beautiful piece of earth, you lucky girl.

  10. I'm crazy about your little geometric beds. I love the way they are defined and you can walk around them to admire all the plants. I can't wait for tomorrow's episode to see what it has become!

  11. How wonderful! Right up my alley although I wasn't lucky enough to own one!

  12. So beautiful, Dewena! Your cottage garden is wonderful.

  13. You have a beautiful and blessed phamily and your garden is delightful. Thank you always for visiting me. You are a kind heart! Enjoy the weekend!

  14. Dewena, it looks like an English cottage garden. So inviting, and so many beautiful things to treat the eyes and the other senses, I'm sure. Love your arbor. You and your family are very talented. laurie

  15. Those photos bring back old memories. I had forgotten how bare the front of the house was.

  16. Your garden is so beautiful. Fun to see its beginning stages.
    Mary Alice

  17. Lovely post, Dewena. I enjoyed both of them. Can't wait for the next chapter.

  18. OMG, what a beautiful cottage garden. Honestly, it is the garden of my dreams! You are very lucky to have such skilled Men Folk!

  19. I love your parent's next door neighbors have a similar house and it's always been a favorite. The amount of work y'all have done is absolutely amazing, Dewena!

  20. Beautiful, beautiful gardens! I can sympathize with not being able to weed anymore. I have arthritis in one knee and it's already hard to get up and down to weed.

  21. OMG! I love your dooryard . . . @Jodi from Walt Whitman... BTW... It is gorgeous! Please take a picture and post of each season as it comes now that you are fully landscaped. This is one of mt favorite blogs. Blessings for your day!


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