a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Jun, 2014

How does your garden grow? One “before” photo, and another that’s still a “before” photo

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

I’ve written about my love/hate of backyard gardening before. For the most part, I don’t love gardening. I love it in May and June, when the garden centres open. I love to see progress, and things growing. I love harvesting things from the garden, whether it’s compost or the fruits of our labour. And I love sitting down and enjoying a well-groomed garden. But I don’t love the heavy lifting and the weed pulling and the mosquito bites, and I definitely don’t love gardening in August when my half-dead plants are pleading for their lives, making me feel guilty for buying them in the first place.

This is what the backyard looked like in April 2013.

Backyard, April 2013

This is the current view, taken roughly from the same general perspective. (You can click either photo to enlarge.)

Garden panorama

It’s still an untamed jungle back there, but with a lot less mud than the Spring of 2013.

Yesterday I picked out a bunch of low-maintenance perennials, hoping they’ll survive and save us money in the long run. But as I was planting them it was abundantly clear that we’ll need to buy some good dirt and amend the soil in the flower beds, which consists of too much clay and construction dross. (Sidebar: Mark found a rusty hammer out there yesterday. I’m not even kidding.)

We’ve done quite a bit – I’m out there almost every day doing a little something – but there’s still a lot left to do, and there are two large expenditures looming on the horizon. (1) Our trees need to be trimmed, especially the maple on the left side of the photo. It’s lovely, and it shelters our back deck and provides fantastic shade, but it’s also killing the hedge and it needs to be tamed back. (2) That geedee flagstone patio needs to be completed before it drives me crazy or I twist my ankle, whichever comes first. I originally thought we could do it ourselves, but Mark insists that a retaining wall needs to be built into it to prevent the rocks from eventually sliding into the yard. I know it really just involves picking up the phone, but it still feels overwhelming.

Where are YOU on the gardening spectrum? Do you love it, or leave it?

1 Response to "How does your garden grow? One “before” photo, and another that’s still a “before” photo"

1 | green thang

June 3rd, 2014 at 8:53 am


I absolutely love gardening. I have very little time but manage to pull together a food garden and maintain a very decent perennial garden. Not because I’m amazing but because it makes me so happy.

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  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Look who I found! - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] He (or she) was just hanging out on a hosta. He’s the only one I’ve seen from our brood. […]
  • andrea tomkins: Me too! I am REALLY looking forward to it. We didn't get to go last year so I'm really counting on it this summer!
  • Ginger: I hope COVID-19 doesn't take away your camping trip!
  • andrea tomkins: It's going to be tough. The problem is that everyone seems to have a different tolerance. Some people think it's no big deal, while others haven't lef
  • Ginger: I'm that person too. I liked my personal space before this, but now...I would prefer even more than 6 feet please!
  • andrea tomkins: We have a natural gas BBQ but we bought this portable one a few years back fo camping and/or picnics. I loooove the smell of burning charcoal! And yes
  • Corvid: You have a charcoal grill *and* a gas bbq? Or just charcoal? I have both. Charcoal flavour is unique/delish. What restaurant is that?

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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