New Flower Garden

Starting a garden of any size fills me with anticipation. Ideally, I would begin the process after the threat of frost on May 15th, but downsizing and moving have taken up all of my time and energy until now.

At the start of the day.

I was at Lowe’s on Monday, buying dirt and garden tools before 7 am. Since the front of the house gets full sun until late in the afternoon, I planned the plants around the summer sun pattern for that area. I purchased them last week and left the pots near the space to allow them to adjust to the changes.

Lots of chores and grocery shopping kept me busy until the shade arrived later in the day. The summer dress was from Old Navy earlier in the year, and the sandals are two years old from Dillard’s.

The small entryway section has remained mostly empty for years. The lone boxwood was overgrown and not at all healthy, so I pruned it way back to give it a better shape as new growth fills it out.

At the end of the day.

I am in my socks since I had to wash my sneakers with the water hose, so they were drying in the sun. I was exhausted and sweaty but very happy with the results.

The plants form a perennial foundation that will return each year. They include, from left to right, Queen of Hearts, Coral Bells, Heartleaf Brunnera, Bee Balm, and Lavender. The three low ground cover plants are Thyme ‘Doone Valley.’ The placement will allow each plant room for growth and the addition of other plants in the future.

Have you ever seen a cow pigeon? They are so named because they have similar markings to black and white cows. This lovely one has been visiting the roof of the house next door daily and watching me while I work. I’ve named her “Bessie.” She is an oddity because no other pigeons visit the neighborhood.

Thanks for your comments and questions. I enjoy hearing from you!

  1. Your little garden will give you both much pleasure. Another plus to a garden that size…less weeding! I love lavender and so far have not had one to overwinter. Bessie looks like a good gardening companion.

  2. Your gardening hat is pretty and useful. I appreciate hats and think it would be wonderful if they came back into style!

  3. Bessie may be someone’s pet. My family had a pet pigeon that followed and waited for us when we visited a neighbor’s house.

  4. Your new garden is lovely. Gardening is one thing that always gives me such satisfaction and is so all-absorbing that I am ultimately exhausted, even though it always wreaks havoc on my back the next day! But the results are so satisfying and the creative possibilities are endless! I love using variegated green plants to create color.

  5. Your perinnials are great choices for that areaI It’s so convenient to not have to replant each year. When I saw that empty bed in an earlier picture, I knew you’d be busy in no time!

  6. It is so good you are able to garden at your new home.I love gardening also but physical changes make me unable to do so.Even so I take pleasure in others beautiful gardens .
    I also bought 2 of the old navy dresses one in black and blue.Perfect for our hot California summers.
    Thanks for sharing your life adventures with us and thanks to Mr.Mickey for encouraging you to continue with your blog.

  7. I love how you’ve transformed the empty area at your entry into a beautiful green garden! Your choices have inspired me to add them to my shade garden.
    You manage to look chic and sophisticated even when gardening!

  8. The bird is so nice. I love when animals watch us. And from your past posts animals must be drawn to your kind spirit. I really enjoy your posts and appreciate your good taste. I have been noticing several other posts from other women who are modeling their bras. Totally inappropriate. Thank you for displaying nice clothes in a tasteful manner. I will continue to follow your blog.

  9. I must have missed something. Are you in your new house now and not stay with Mr. Micky?? Your garden will be perfect.

  10. I love your dress! I bought three from Old Navy last year and have so enjoyed them all. Your plant choices are excellent ones! My entire three acres is fast becoming a huge flower garden surrounding our little hobby farm. It has taken a few years but it’s getting there. Mostly lilies, daylilies and dahlias, as well as begonias, caladiums, petunias, impatiens, callas and cantas. We added about 10 rose bushes this year to the two we planted last year. Only one did not thrive. We have a bee balm that we planted last year and thought it had died. We tilled the soil in the area and over the winter added chicken pen “castings” which amended the soil beautifully. I had been out of town for 10 days and when I came home my daughter asked me what this plant was. I was astounded to see a 6′ tall Bee Balm plant growing out of a cement block at the edge of the vegetable garden! Did not know they could get that large. We are letting it remain where it is for now. And it IS a bee magnet. Your pigeon companion is beautiful. We enjoy free range guinea fowl in our yard, they are wonderful companions and love to eat ticks.

    I always enjoy your blog. You are quite inspiring and instructional. Thank you!

  11. Love, love your selection of new plants for the empty spot at your entrance. Can you tell me the names of the plants already growing on the opposite side? They look lovely too! Gardening is good for the soul.

    1. The plants on the other side of the walkway are holly bushes, monkey grass, and a pot of Casa Blanca Oriental Lilies. When they finish blooming, I will plant the bulbs in that area.

  12. Looks very lovely and well-tended! Will search for some of these plants myself! Thank you for this post!

  13. There’s nothing like gardening for soothing the soul – mucking about in the dirt, finding the right plants for the right position and then wandering daily to see how they adjust. I think a garden is the epitome of belief in the future as one watches plants move through the seasons. Comforting.
    Lovely choice of plants and did I catch a rather lovely white flower in the urn behind you?

    1. The black entry urns have been with me for years, but this is the first time I have placed snake plants and white million bells in them. I like the layered effect.

  14. I don’t think I’ve ever commented. We live in a similar detached condo in an over 55 community and I still enjoy planting a few things around the home and on the patio. When I saw that empty bed, I thought to myself “I’ll bet Susan places some plants in that bed” LOL! And sure enough you did. Fairly new to your blog, I went back and read your older posts. Enjoy your new living situation. You guys are a great pair! Hugs from Virginia! Debra

  15. You are such a lovely writer Susan! Whether you’re talking about fashion, health, or gardening, it’s always interesting and delightful. Thank you for sharing with us.

  16. You have done so very much with a small space. The walk up area looks beautiful. Good a variety of plantings too. You must have a green thumb! I find gardening such a pleasure as well. Thanks for sharing Susan. Hello to Mr. Mickey.

  17. We are alike Susan. I even have that dress (thx to you). Isn’t a great feeling to be out and about early? Your plants look lovely and it’s a sweet touch for Mr. Mikey. I have a huge coral bells that should have been divided but now its so huge and healthy I think it may be too late. I work outside alot and have a pretty yard. My neighbors and passersby really have no idea how nice I really look.

  18. Nice job Susan. Love seeing things like this. I’m in Fl and its already so hot here feeling more like July and August .
    This makes me want to get out and plant something new. Thanks for sharing…..

  19. What a lovely addition to the front yard. My husband does all the gardening around here and uses Lowes for a lot of plants. He is now waiting for his tomato plants to get bigger and have cherry tomatoes in August. He has used the seeds from the plants and kept them all winter then puts them in pots and then in the ground when they are big enough and our Midwest spring is warm enough. He has done this the last 8 years with huge success. Have you ever grown any veggies or tomatoes to eat? The grandkids love picking them and eating them – super fresh.

    Say hi to Mr. Mickey for me.
    Patty V

  20. Your choices look incredible.

    May I ask what are the dimensions of the foundation garden; I am looking to include some of your picks in our similar (but I think ) somewhat smaller front door bed?

  21. You are amazing, even after toiling in the garden and without shoes you are stylish. I really enjoy your blogs. Thank you

  22. Susan, is this at a new house you have bought? I thought you were renting a room from Mr. Mickey at this time.

  23. Love the dress and, as usual, you are so well ‘put together’ even in your gardening clothes with the cute hat!

  24. Hello Susan – I am enjoying your blog and look forward to each new post. The plants you mentioned above all do well in afternoon sun? My house front gets a lot of afternoon sun as well and I’m not sure what can survive the light and heat – I’m in Charleston, SC so the heat is a big deal , haha.
    Have a great day,

  25. WOW!! You have been busy!! The plants look beautiful, what a great idea letting them sit in their containers and adjust to the their new space. Have a wonderful day!

  26. Hi Susan, Your front entry was just waiting for your lovely touches. It’s going to be just the right touch for the entry. I did my entry 3 years ago and the flowers look wonderful, however, my walkway needed to be pressure washed. After it was cleaned the entire front area was bright and beautiful. Thank you for your blogs, love them. Hi to Mr Mickey too.

  27. Hi Susan, I’m in awe that you moved so many years worth of things by yourself. Your house looked very similar to mine. I thought my family and I were going to downsize from 3,500 sq ft in Boston to around 2,100 in FL. As it turns out, the market there is ridiculous! The houses there are not worth half of what they’re selling for. Bad investment. We’ve always been within 30 min to ocean and didn’t want to change that. We settled on Savannah, GA. We bought a house there that 3,300 sq ft. Ugh!! My 93 yr old mom and my adopted son who is on the Autism spectrum will be coming with us. Everyone needs their own space to keep the peace and this new house has it. My mom has been verbally abusive my entire life but, I promised my dad (my best friend) that I would take care of her if he died first. Unfortunately, he died suddenly at 72 (17 yrs ago). I’m an only child so it all fell on me. She’s tried to mentally abuse my son and that I will not stand for! I am looking forward to putting my personal touches on our new house. Like you, I love gardening! It makes me happy. I don’t think of anything but the beauty of nature around me. I’ll have to wait until fall because of the heat but, have plenty or projects inside to keep me very busy. Right now, we have just started throwing everything we don’t want out or donating. Next will be selling furniture we don’t want to bring with us since moving out of state is insanely expensive because of gas prices. Hoping that packing gets rid of the 10 stubborn COVID pounds I just can’t take off. Hope I didn’t bore you to tears!

  28. Wishing I’d bought that dress when you first posted a picture of it. It’s been brutally hot here in Cincinnati this week – I’m going to check to see if there are any left. Fingers crossed!

  29. Enjoying reading about your lifestyle changes..In a similar situation due to my longtime beau’s health taking a turn..Thank you for sharing.

  30. My husband and I put in our back garden today. All red roses with one pink in the center surrounded with Dragons breath. All of that red with the central pink, I love it! I did not look as glamorous as you though, I wore my old bathrobe and flip flops.

  31. Looks so pretty. Love your plant choices — especially Queen of Hearts — that’s you! Enjoy their growth!

  32. Susan, I hit send before I meant to. Bessie is very interesting. I have never heard of a cow pigeon, but it is prettier than normal pigeons, Happy Summer. Peg

  33. Somehow I missed your buying of a new home…thought you were still renting from Mr. M. Congrats and best wishes on your new home.

    1. I am still renting from Mr. M. I won’t be buying a new home soon since this arrangement is working well. The flower garden is just one of the improvements I plan to make in the surroundings and the decor.

  34. I had been looking for a new place to move when I discovered Johnson City from some of your blogs I looked at last year & I moved here Oct. 2021. It’s a big change from MD & I also have an outside project I’m working on to create a butterfly/hummingbird garden. The area was overgrown with the toughest grass I’ve ever seen & trying to remove the red clay & add soil is exhausting work. We’ve made our share of runs to the HomeDepot & will have many more. Your entrance looks very attractive with the new perennials you planted & I’m a big fan of perennials also. So you’re the reason we decided to check out Johnson City & make a whole new start after 70!

  35. Susan, your flower bed looks lovely but I wonder how you keep the mosquitoes and other biting insects away from you. The family just moved to the DC area and we’re not used to the critters that thrive in humidity.
    Any advice or favorite products?
    Thanks for sharing your adventures. You’ll bring such light and joy to Mr Mickeys place!

    1. Most of the time, I don’t have a problem with the biting critters because the city and our neighborhood spray for them often. However, I use Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray when I am out in the woods or near the beach. You can find it on Amazon, Lowe’s, Walmart, and similar stores.

  36. Hi Susan, I also like your dress, and it looks very nice on you! Do you have any tips for buying a longer length dress like yours? I’ve never bought one because I’m not sure if it will look good and not “frumpy” on me. I’m 67, 5″4″ and 130 pounds. I enjoy your posts, it’s nice when you include gardening and visitors like the Cow Pigeon, which I had never heard of before!

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.