Planning a Potager Garden

It's almost Spring!!!  Hooray!  
Every year, my dear husband plants his garden.
This year, he is letting me take over and make a few changes to the overall layout before he starts planting.  
We are excited to get this process going.

As I map out a plan, I googled Images of a Potager Garden.  
This one by Douglas Vanderhorn Architects made me gasp...

Brick! Brick! Brick! and a darling little potting shed.  
Be still my heart!!

But alas, we don't have the space or the moolah for this, so we will have to figure out something a little more cost effective. 

This garden has more of an "Eleven Gables" feel.  I love the stacked stone wall, concrete planters spilling over with flowers, an open gate begging you inside, the crunch of a gravel path underfoot, clipped boxwood, and ivy climbing up an old potting shed.  It's the perfect English Garden to me. 

Here is the side yard that we will be transforming:

This view is where the entry to the garden will be.
Can't you just imagine a little pergola covered with roses leading you into a beautiful garden abundant with food and flowers?

This is the opposite end looking back toward the "entry."  At this back end will be a greenhouse some day.

We have approximately 90 feet total in length and 20 feet in width.

The only issue we really have is that the previous owners bought this little strip of land from the neighboring property years ago.  It juts into their property.  When the current owners built, they didn't follow code and drain to the street.  Instead, their entire property drains onto our property.  This has made for a very awkward and sticky relationship with the neighbors.  Anyway, it looks like we will have to incur the costs of rerouting their water so as to prevent further flooding to our property.  We could possibly attain this with french drains and retaining walls.  

As I ponder over the next steps, I want to share some of my inspiration I have found with you..

THIS edible garden design book shows you how to mix florals and edibles together in your landscape.

And THIS book is my very, very favorite gardening book of all time.  

There are only a few copies available at the time I am writing this....  hurry and pick one up! You won't be disappointed.  It is full of gorgeous images and ideas on what makes the perfect southern garden.  Buy a copy HERE!

Today, I have taken the time to get some of my thoughts/ideas on paper.  I always pull out the graph paper to begin my process.  This allows me to visualize the garden and get an idea for placement.  Every square represents one square foot.  I can start shopping for the appropriate sized raised beds and other accessories that will be needed in order to get this process started.  We can also figure out how we want to deal with the neighbor's water run off.

I'm going to ponder this over the weekend and see what my dear husband thinks of the direction we are heading.

I always love your thoughts and comments.

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My favorite faux topiary for Outside

Spring is right around the corner and I am busy planning our garden.  One of my little gardening secrets I want to let you in on is FAUX Boxwood Topiary.  Yes, I said it.  I'm sure it is frowned upon within the elite gardener groups, but here in Oklahoma, I can't seem to keep topiaries alive.  The dry winters and hot hot summers have killed my expensive topiary year after year. I'm sure it has nothing to do with my forgetting to water them.

My favorite topiary:

I ordered these five years ago and they have held up so well.  I will be placing another order for two more so I can keep two on either side of the bench and two on either side of the front door.  

You can purchase them
(as most of you know, if you purchase them through my links I get a commission.  Commissions don't increase the price to you, but allow me to make a small amount of income so that I can continue to blog.  Thank you for supporting me!)

When you receive your topiaries, they come in a box like this: 

See that tiny pot? That is simply for weight....

Just pop the topiary into a larger planter....
 I used THESE
They look like antique iron boxes for less than $50.00 each!

Place old rocks or bricks inside planter and around the small topiary pot to give weight and keep the topiary from blowing over.

I live in Oklahoma, so we get pretty windy over here... make sure the bricks keep the topiary from moving at all.

Finally, top the planter off with mulch or moss to hide the bricks inside.

Last but not least, FLUFF THOSE BRANCHES!! :)

I know the topiaries are a little pricey, but I really consider them an investment.  I have wasted so much money by throwing away dead boxwood topiaries.  
Another little thought... I don't know whether these perform well in full sun.  They are on my covered porch.  They do get some morning sun.  ***UPDATE*** I have had several reports from happy topiary owners who purchased these years ago saying that the faux topiaries are holding up wonderfully in full sun!!

What are your thoughts about FAUX plants?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

Be sure and watch my Instastories for Gardening tips and life with "the Girls of Eleven Gables"

Happy Gardening!!

xx,  Emily

Happy New Year!

Another year has come and gone.  
It's been full of joy, pain, happiness, and sorrow.  I've learned a lot, but always ready for new beginnings.  The Lord has impressed upon my heart a few words for the year.  Yes, I know that is the trend these days, but when the Lord spoke to me He did it so clearly.  I wanted to write it here, on the internet, so it will be burned forever upon my heart.  

Throughout His Word, the Bible, God commands us to 
"Fear not (Do Not Be Afraid)." 
Why would He say that to us so many times?  It's been said he used that and similar wording in the Bible over 365 times.  The enemy's most popular weapon against us is Fear.  
"The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?" 
Psalm 27:1

God is with me.  God is with you.  He gives us the 
we need to live in peace... feeling safe, stable and free from fear or anxiety.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 28:7

May this reminder from Psalm 91 give you 
 as you approach the New Year!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' He will save you from hidden traps, shielding you from deadly hazards.
He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and defense.
FEAR NOTHING-not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.  Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you.  
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.  Yes, because God is your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door.  He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.  If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.  You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.  
'If you'll hold on to me for dear life,' says God,
'I'll get you out of any trouble.  I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;  I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!"
Psalm 91 The Message

What are you afraid of?  My prayer is that you place it at the feet of God.  Just tell Him.  Fill your fearful thoughts with His word of Truth... 
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  Philippians 4:8

You are beautiful.  Thank you for supporting me in life and in this blogging journey.  It means more to me than you know.

xx,  Emily