The Creation Of A Garden

When I began gardening I stuck to rows. Just like my grandmothers did. One row dug right after the other in whatever space I had. Lined up like soldiers headed to war.

Then as time progressed so did my gardening skills. I realized that many elements make up a pleasing garden space, regardless of the space you have.


First you have to take the amount of space you have into consideration. Then plan accordingly. I have a cement patio, so I garden in containers.

My preferred containers are galvanized and plastic.

Ceramic planters will often crack in the winter. Terracotta pots let moisture seep through, and in this heat I strive to keep moisture in.

But a garden isn’t just flowers and vegetables to me.

Implementing Your Plan:

I think of a garden much like a room I’m decorating. A room needs furniture. A garden needs focal points. Like furniture and garden art and natural elements such as pieces of driftwood.

So when I design a garden, I’m thinking of where I need to put containers, in consideration of how much sun the plants will need. And I’m thinking of my backdrop for those plantings.

And then I fill in the blanks.

A rugged and faded privacy fence is my backdrop.

Choice Of Containers:

I use a raised container garden along with round pots and galvanized tubs to create diversity and lend various textures to my space.

I choose a small group of colors for my containers.

And of course the galvanized containers lend a rugged look, the patina of age.

Bringing Nature In:

Then I think of how I can draw nature to my garden.

A bird bath is essential to me, since I love birds.

If I didn’t live virtually in the backyard of a Sonic, I would have bird feeders. But I learned quickly that that wasn’t a good combination.

Garden Art:

I have short and tall garden art made up of metal from a local artist. I actually used the tall garden art as trellises for my vegetables this year.

Adding Trees In Containers:

In my garden I have two trees in containers.

One is known more for the shape of its leaves, the Gingko Biloba Jade Butterfly tree, which I refer to as “Jade.”

And the other tree is known more for the color of its foliage, which is the Japanese Maple.

Both are doing well in large containers. They give height to my garden space and help to shade flowers and plants that wilt under the intense heat.

Pleasing The Senses:

I love the sound of moving water, so I have a fountain, which also lures in the birds.

I have a rose bush in a large container that lends both height and a sense of roundness to the garden. In the base of the plant I have sedum that drapes over the edge.

I mix flowers, vegetables, ornament grasses and herbs because I love them all and they all serve a purpose for me.

The flowers are for their beauty. The ornamental grasses are for background height and texture. The vegetables and herbs are for cooking and flavoring food.

Garden Tool Storage:

I have a potting bench where I store things I need throughout the garden season. Like tools and soil.

And I also add decor to my privacy fence to break up its “sameness.”

So when I open the French doors and look out on my patio, I see a painting of sorts.

No longer do I garden in regimented straight lined rows.

Now I create a space that pleases both the senses and encourages nature to visit my garden.

I have an abundance of bees and butterflies and lady bugs. Dragonflies and birds.

The Ultimate Creation Of A Garden:

Combining all this, not all planned out but created over time, I have an eco system really. A little world right within the perimeters of my cement patio.

All these things together, in my opinion, make for a successful and beautiful garden space.

No matter how much space you have, you too can do this. Even if you just have an apartment balcony or a small patio. Scale it down and you will have your own little paradise on earth that will please all your senses.

An extension of your home you’ve created for your own enjoyment. And it is all so rewarding.

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in – what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” – Victor Hugo


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  1. I think you certainly have an eye for decorating…. inside and outside. Yes, you can learn that but some people just have a sense of how to put things together and I think you have a natural ability. I’m guessing you have honed your skills over the years but what you’re doing now is sublime.

    1. It has always been something I think about. When I was a child I never even had my own bed. I had to share one with my grandmother. I always wanted my own space so I could do what I wanted with it.

  2. Lovely post as usual. We are planning to move. Our garden will be much smaller. I have gardened for over 30 years but there is still much to learn!

    1. I prefer smaller space gardens. I get a bit overwhelmed with a lot of space. I don’t know where to focus first.

  3. If I lived right behind a Sonic, I’d have their ice every day…that’s the correct one with the great ice, isn’t it? People rave about it, but I’ve never been close enough to try it.

    1. Yeah and I could go get my iced tea half price from 2-4 I think it is. But I only have once I think! I tend to forget until about 5 p.m.

  4. What a beautiful patio garden you have!
    How do you keep birdbaths and fountain clean?

    1. Well I change the water in the bird bath once or twice a day when I’m out watering anyway. And I pretty do the same with the fountain. It’s just right there outside the door so I see if I need to clean it.

  5. I agree that our outdoor spaces are an extension of our homes! I play around outside with my plant containers and garden decor until it looks pleasing to the eye, just as you do. You sure have made your small patio garden space a beautiful haven. Now if it would cool off a bit for you, you could actually sit out there and enjoy it!

    1. I know! Just when things start really growing and thriving I have to stay indoors due to the intense heat. Well, at least I can look from inside.

  6. Can you explain why the Sonic is an issue with having bird feeders? Do birds such as starlings and grackles hang out at Sonic looking for dropped food, and then come to your patio? I think starlings are handsome but they can be a pain. When we took down our suet feeders they quit coming around because they can’t come up with a way to eat from the tube feeders. I used to grow very large gardens back in the 1980s, all in rows. Over time my gardens evolved into beds in which I did the least amount of digging possible and used a lot of mulch on top. I’ve only had a few flowers for a few years but this year I planted more flowers and also added some zucchini, butternut squash and pumpkins in a new bed. I planted yellow squash and it didn’t come up. I have two cherry tomato plants but they seem bored and have only produced a few tomatoes. Quite a few people in my neighborhood started gardens back during the lock down since they were at home and probably thought it would be a sort of victory garden. I noticed the other day that at one house, half of the big garden plot now has an above-ground pool on it! I guess someone got tired of gardening.

    1. Because there are rats that feed around the dumpster behind Sonic. I see the rat control containers at their back door. I’m just a short distance away and putting out bird seed brings the rats to me. Have you read or heard about the rats being so hungry in NYC because they closed down the restaurants that were clustered together? Now that they’re opening back up they’re back with a vengeance. If I had a large area, I’d probably garden in those same rows again. There’s something relaxing about seeing rows of veggies, etc.

  7. I’m so glad you wrote this post.And your garden is so beautiful.Thank-You. Have a great day Brenda.

  8. I have a mirror hung on the fence. It reflects the beauty of the flowers blooming on the other side of the garden. I’m getting lots of color combos from your serene garden.

    1. Just be sure the sun does not directly shine on your mirror. I’ve heard they can start fires. I have no personal experience with this of course. Just a precaution.

  9. You are so right about having a small ecosystem when you have a garden. My little front garden is made up of mostly plants and cuttings I’ve replanted a little over ten years now; not the lovely flowers and variety of plants that you have, but it is a mini ecosystem, like you said. Birds, butterflies and the occasional bees enjoy my little jungle. So many lizards seem to make a home here too; I’ve had to stop my youngest cat from from hunting a few.
    It is the prettiest view, right outside my window, of green thriving plants.
    Next up flowers.
    I planted a gardenia plant right outside my window three years ago. Not much luck the last 2 years.
    Any suggestions?

    1. I don’t know much about gardenias. I had one last a winter but then it died. I love seeing front yard gardens. Not carefully manicured landscaping but actual gardens.

  10. I too love this post. Thank you for writing it and posting it! I’ve added it to my home screen so I can revisit often.

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