the beds now wrap around and connect

sparse but full of potential

back breaking work

Just because I've sworn off shopping for a year does not mean I cannot participate in my favorite pastime. I won't lie, the urge to drive to the nursery this weekend was huge. Larry had to "talk me down" and encourage me that we could do this. By dividing the perennials that I already have we created a whole new garden bed. It doesn't look very pretty right now, but I'm hoping that by the end of summer it will be taking shape. My goal is to slowly but surely eliminate most of the lawn. Each year or season we (mostly him) will cut the beds a little larger and allow the plants to expand and create a sort of English garden look. That would be my dream. Then after wandering through the front garden full of flowers and plants you would go inside to a very simple, pared down interior. White walls, old floorboards, a white slipcovered sofa, a few pieces of meaningful art, music playing. Maybe something good cooking on the stove. Not a lot of clutter or distractions. A girl can still dream on a budget.


  1. Love your dream! It sounds like you're well on your way!!! I'm looking forward to watching the fream develop.

    But to swear off shopping for a year!!!!!!!!Now that's impressive - don't think I could do that. I'd have a problem doing that for a month! LOL!!!

    - The Tablescaper

  2. Wow, Janet, creating that bed was a ton of work! I love the curving lines and how your yard will be wrapped in flowers. The English cottage look is my prefered type of garden also. The tree in the photos has an interesting shape. What kind is it? I am all about a simple, pared down interior. Clutter is becoming intolerable to me, leaving my mind to feel cluttered as well. By the way, I'd love to come over anytime! What part of the US are you in. I am in southern Illinois, close to Kentucky and Missouri. And you are right about dreaming-- doesn't cost a thing! Take care.

  3. Your garden looks beautiful and your interiors are perfection!

  4. Love your garden! I am so impressed that you swore off shopping for a year! that would be my husbands DREAM!

  5. I love your photo of the two pairs of sneakers on a post entitled "Teamwork." Not only is it a great composition, it's perfect nonverbal communication. I don't think there's anything better than expanding a garden. It's lots of hard work but also lots of fun to create. I love the shadow shapes cast by your tree too.

  6. It looks beautiful, I love the curvy lines! And, I commend you on your restraint not running over to the nursery--I know how strong that pull feels. Great job.


  7. Great work on the garden. Yes, it is back breaking, but in your climate, you will reap the rewards daily!! Your garden and home philosophy are wonderful - all about simplicity and meaningful things. Love it. I am about to write a blog post about simplicity if I ever get time to put it together!!! Hard when you work full time to get time to eat well, exercise, take care of the house and write introspective thoughtful blog posts these days!!!

    P.S. My chakra massage was great - I chose Intention (balsam fir, lavender, lemon) which smelled wonderful and the concept fit in so well with where I am at right now.


  8. Sounds absolutely wonderful Janet. And the flower beds I'm sure are very happy to be growing. I also love your big beautiful tree. It looks like it's been there a very long time...perhaps she and your house are very old friends. xoTrina

  9. I am enjoy your blog...I have been doing the same thing with my yard - making the beds bigger every year - I only have a small amount of grass to maintain. Keep up the good work!!!

  10. Congratulations. It's a real accomplishment.

  11. I love teamwork makes everything better... and your flower beds will be full before you know it.. wonderful Janet. x

  12. I love your dream! Are you going to have a guest room where online followers can stay when they need to rest their minds? Put me down for a week!

  13. Janet, did you receive the beach bag? I hope so.

    Please stop by my blog to read about our house renovation.

  14. Janet,

    I loved reading this post - the picture of the two sets of sneakers is perfect! What a great hubby you have! Your garden will be beautiful! When it's grown in you and Kelly (P.P.) need to do a garden tour! I'm still so impressed with your no-shopping willpower!


  15. It looks beautiful already. Must be the time for new gardens as we hauled out a load of old rubbish from one of ours and have just got 6 new things to put in it. It'll need an awful lot more than that, but it'll do for now!

  16. Hi Janet! Your yard and your dream are fabulous! In no time, everything will fill in and you'll soon have your English garden where you can get lost lost among the pathways surrounded by beautiful flowers...
    Hate to be a copycat but I love how you envision life to be with flowers all around, a simple home and a few meaningful things surrounding you ~ it seems like you're already there ~

  17. Janet, There is nothing better then doing what you did, and having someone to do it with. It's looks great and by the way, smart to listen to your husband, divide the plants, they actually like it.

  18. I love your dream. If I didn't work full time (and shift work at that!) I would love to have an English-style cottage garden with little lawn. However, I know (from previously having had one at another house) how much time they consume and I wouldn't be able to keep up with it at present.
    The picture your dream evokes of the garden and then the interior is beautiful to me though.

  19. I love that little peek of your porch and the converse sitting there, so cute!
    That had to be hard not to go to the nursery this weekend, good for you! Your yard is beautiful and I can't wait to see it filled in later this year.
    My husband is the $$ provider for our family and last spring his company let him and half the company go without notice. We ended up having the best summer together the three of us...besides having some $$ stress of course. We took advantage of our free time and cut a whole new garden in the front. We searched craigslist for free plants. I did make a few purchases and you should see it now. I will be sharing some pictures of it soon. Sometimes its fun to see what you can do for very little.

  20. I was having a mild case of withdrawl, just reading about your stop-shopping commitment. SCARY! I really know I should join you. What will you do when you really do need a necessity, for instance?

    Bless your heart!


  21. That first photo of the sneakers is great, Janet! Your garden is going to be beautiful and it seems like with your climate (?) it won't take long for the new plantings to fill in. I'm looking forward to seeing more photos of your garden.

  22. Thank you all so much for your kind words and encouragement.

    Tablescaper - Thanks for your encouragement, it's going to be a long year!
    Anne - I live in Southern California so maybe popping over is out of the question!
    Sue - Thank you. Are you the Sue I think you are?
    Grace - My husband is pretty happy about this too.
    Steve - Thanks for the compliment about the shoe photo. It was a totally random shot that day and turned out to be a perfect metaphor for the day of hard work.
    Monkey Grass - It was so hard not to jump in the car and go purchase. It's a natural reflex for me.
    Teri - Thank you a million times! Glad your massage went so well
    Trina - The tree and house are old friends. It's a 80 year old Camphor.
    Jenny/Darroch Cottage/Lynne - I once had an English type garden with huge deep beds and little grass and loved it. I found it easier to maintain than a lawn.
    Sarah, LPC - Thanks for you support!
    Lillian - I tried to leave a comment on your blog but was unable to. I'm jealous of your small wardrobe!
    Melissa & Melissa (seagrass interiors) - 1st Melissa, got the gorgeous beach bag, will post soon. Melissa, my garden will never be on the gorgeous scale as Kelley's but thanks for thinking it would!
    Sarah at Yellow House - You are too sweet! How's your no shopping going?
    Kevin - Your comment made my husbands day!
    London @ 65th - Thanks. Business was bad last year for my husband but has improved this year. You learn so much from going through something like that don't you! Never thought of Craigslist for plants.
    Spencer - Necessities are allowed. But they must be a true necessity!
    Deborah - Thanks for the compliment on the sneakers photo. I will keep you posted on the garden.


  23. Hi Janet,
    Your garden is my dream garden. It is sparse now but I cannot wait to see it when it is flush with blooms and really starts spreading. Well Done. You are very strong not to drive to a nursery and go nuts with seedlings and pots of colour. Do you do salvia? I think they grow well from cuttings and am fond of black knight and Joan. If you lived here I could give you cuttings and maybe some shasta daisies and some pelargoniums. Meanwhile if I get one more snarky comment on my blog telling me that I need to get a life and other mean spirited things of that ilk I will vomit. What's wrong with people? Please post lots of close ups of your new plants so we can do a comparison next year. In other EXCITING news the Black and Spiro sale starts this weekend. I am arriving at 8am to snag something. Anna Spiro commented on my blog which was exciting-that shoppe has lovely products. If you lived here you could come with me-I'll take photos xxxxxx

  24. Wish you lived closer...I have lots to me your address
    I am'd like to send you something!

    BTW, mammoth job in the garden, well done, looks great and I love the is so magnificant.

  25. FF - I love salvia, they are just re-emerging from last year. Hopefully they survive and I can take cuttings. I truly do not know what is wrong w/people. I wish I could close my gate and live in this garden/home and never leave! Why would anyone leave you a nasty comment? I'm so jealous that you are going to Anna's sale. It's a good thing it's on the other side of the world for me.

    Hostess - Thank you. I will email you. I hope you are sending me a necessity!

  26. Hi Janet,
    Do you have foxglove in your garden? If not, I'll send you some seeds. Mine are just about to explode and I'll have A LOT of seeds once the blooms fade. I usually just shake them around and move them around once the new plants start popping up. I have a bunch after doing this every year. I think they are such a spectacular flower. Gardeners share--that's not shopping :)


  27. lovely! We are making our beds bigger... my husband hates to mow! You are such a trooper with the spending. I really don't think we could do it. Your garden will be a beautiful entrance to your home!


  28. Julie - thank you for wanting to send me some seeds. Wouldn't that be fantastic if they work. Foxgloves are tricky here but I will try!

    Michelle - thank you, we hate to mow too. i hope one day the garden will be a beautiful entrance to our home.

  29. wow, i am sure it is all worth it...something to look forward in your future post in a few months! have a great one...verbena cottage

  30. Dear J
    If you leave your email address as a comment I won't publish it but can email you directly. Let me know if you want anything from the Black and Spiro sale. x

  31. Hi Girlfriend, divide and conquer!

    The best method I know of, that and lots of bug stray and wine at the end of the day, will you join me. Pleeeseeee

    I'm still waiting for that door knock in Ojai


  32. Love your "tennies" photo.
    You'll be shocked at how fast your divided perennials grow- thank goodness we don't change that quickly!


  33. Mary Ann - thank you. I hope it's worth it b/c my back is killing me!

    FF - Do I want anything from Black & Spiro? Ummm, yes. Everything please.

    Kelley - Is 3pm too early for the wine? Swear to God, I'm gonna knock one day!

    Slim Paley - I'm so honored that you liked the photo! You are amazing.

  34. Good Morning! I have tried to email you but for some reason, it says my default mail isn't working!!! I just wanted to send you an update on my progress of no shopping and some things I found out - if you wanted to, you could drop me and email so I have your address.....
    I'm working in my own garden today-dividing a few things. :)

  35. Cheering you on as you continue your goal.

  36. Dear Janet, how I Love, love seeing you gardening and making a beauty of your garden, it`s going to be sooo beautiful, although now it looks wonderful. Working in a team is the best thing, how I wish I could say the same...
    I love english cottage gardens too!!!
    May you continue working in your garden, is the best for the soul, emotions, body... well for the whole wellbeing!!
    Many hugs to you my darling,
    Maria Cecilia

  37. This is great, Janet! We've been talking about the same thing. Lots of folks around here will thin out their perennials and then list them on Freecycle, so I'm hoping to get a bit from there. We're also working on some hard-scaping: a picket fence and a brick walk-way, which also means Freecycle for battens and bricks. You really have a vision ;).

  38. That is an incredible tree! Great bones to this garden - its just lovely.


kindness is never out of style.

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