Monday, 24 May 2010

Greetings from the Midwest

Here I am, visiting my parents, in the small, delightful suburb of Chicago where I grew up. Where, 7 years ago (it doesn't seem that long!), I planted for them, or tried to, an English cottage-style garden. I get to revisit it from time to time, sometimes in inclement weather. But when the weather is like this, I make improvements. Or so I hope.

Like most American suburban homes, my parents' house has a lovely big backyard, mostly lawn, with a flower border. The man who lived in this house many years ago was a keen gardener, and his legacy remains in the beautiful lilacs by the side of the house, and the peonies and roses that grace the left border.

My task was to transform a small patch next to the house, into an English cottage garden. It all began in 2003, when my father sent me the dimensions, and my challenge was set.

Planting time was October, when I was here to run the Chicago Marathon. The grass of course had to be dug out, but eventually, we successfully cleared the patch, and the fun began - choosing plants, and planting them.

The initial palette was predictable: Lady's Mantle, Lambs Ears, Clematis, Cranesbill Geranium. Phlox, I believe, a Heuchara, Dianthus. I can hardly remember what all went in at the beginning. Lavender was attempted, twice, but didn't take.

Like most gardens, some things died, some things thrived. This is two years later.

Note the dainty Hosta in the centre, just behind the fountain. Every time I come and the weather is good (so, not at Christmas time!), I work.

I have an interesting challenge this year, to do with that Hosta.

It has grown rather larger than expected! Something must be right in that soil. Stay tuned as I mull over this situation ...


  1. P.S. I love the pictures of the project in its initial stages :)

  2. I know - can you believe it was 2003 it started?