gardening season two begins…

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Gardening30 Comments

Just an FYI that the first Lucketts Leftover online sale will start tomorrow (Thursday, June 2, at 9:00 pm EST.)  You can click over to my online shop HERE.

Our house has a ways to go before it looks really charming from the curb.  It has a 1940’s sweetness about it and the landscaping is getting there, but we’ve put much more time and attention to the inside of the house and it’s only been in the past couple of years that we have started really working on some projects outside.

But, it’s all coming along.

Now that Lucketts is over, I hit a local nursery to get some flowers for the window boxes and spent some time sprucing things up.


See the dead weeds in the window boxes?  Yeah, nice.  The topiaries, Eugenia, flanking the front door are leftovers from Lucketts.  I shopped my own sale!

The holly bushes under the windows have been the best bushes ever.  Over the almost ten years we have lived in this house, I have tried three different varieties of bush and these ones finally did what I wanted.  Well, more accurately put, I finally bought the bushes that thrive in my front yard.  They are low-maintenance, evergreen, can handle the full sun, and are fast growing.

See how they looked just three years ago…


Pruning helped a lot.  My mom came and pruned them a couple of years ago and it was amazing how they took off.  You see, I was under the impression that I knew better than every master gardener on earth and I thought that pruning would make my bushes smaller when I wanted them to grow.  Of course, everyone else is right and I was a moron in this matter.  Pruning is awesome.  I’m still a little bit scared of it; that I’m doing it wrong or in the wrong place, but I’m getting more comfortable than I used to be.

I bought some petunias for the window boxes.  I planted them last year and actually watered and dead-headed them and even got fancy and used some fertilizer.  Guess what?  They looked pretty darn good.  I had all white last year, but I branched into purple this year, which ties into the lavender that flanks the steps.


It’s kind of interesting.  I am not a purple person at all.  I don’t buy clothes that are purple, I don’t like purple decor, and it was even rough for me to add a purple to my paint line...  (Sorry all purple people, but wait!  There is a BUT coming.)  BUT, I seem to gravitate towards purple flowers.  Actually, I love purple flowers.  Go figure,

While the petunias in my window boxes did well last year, they get full sun all day long, so they tended to dry out.  This year, I bought some of that scratchy/fuzzy window box liner fabric to put in the bottom.  Let me tell you, it was a total pain to empty all of the dirt, line the boxes and then add fresh soil and THEN plant the flowers.  It was hot, dirty work, wedged between my full holly bushes, but after the first watering, I saw the benefits.  The water was actually staying in the box instead of running right out the bottom.

I’ll share some progress on how they do this year, my second season of really trying at gardening.

I also planted some anouk lavender in the concrete pots at the bottom of the steps.  That’s another variety of lavender planted behind it, but you can never have too much lavender.  Right?  Amen?


And speaking of that lavender planted on either side of the steps, I did that on a whim and I love brushing by it each day.  Here’s how it looked when I planted it three years ago…


…and now it’s really thriving.  The sprigs grow through the railing of the steps, which I love.  It has a wild way about it that makes me smile.  It’s still pretty closed right now, but the purple is just starting to peek out.


While I was walking around the yard, pulling weeks, I found a little surprise…a weed that wasn’t a weed at all.


It’s a baby black walnut tree!  I don’t know why this was so fascinating to me, but it was.  Of course, I don’t want a walnut tree growing in a garden bed 12″ from my house, so I didn’t replant it, but I did take a few minutes to appreciate it…


…and marvel at the little baby tree growing out of a nut.

It’s like a little pep talk to all of us “nuts” in the world.


I spent the day photographing and listing more pieces for the sale.  Here are a few more previews…

mms-8036 mms-8044


gardening season two begins…

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30 Comments on “gardening season two begins…”

  1. Marian, I am the same when it comes to purple- not my favourite for home or wardrobe, but I adore purple flowers outside in my garden! They look so fresh and pretty especially in the spring with all the shades of green and white! Love your little walnut tree – I would have been tempted to plant it somewhere in the yard 🙂

    1. I’m the same way with pink. Don’t own a single pink thing in my décor or in my clothing, but I LOVE pink flowers, any shade of pink flowers. Go figure.

  2. We just planted lavender for the first time & I love it. We planted in around our side porch & it’s so nice being greeted by the scent whenever I leave the house!

    I really love your stone border! We’re still trying to figure out what to use as a border for our flower gardens, but this looks really amazing!

  3. I love yellow flowers, especially roses, but I never buy yellow clothing. Purple petunias are great; purple roses, meh. Make sure you prune your lilacs (or get your Mom on it). They can get very woody and unsightly if you don’t.

    Have you ever thought of painting your brick house white? I was amazed by the transformation it made to Traci’s (Beneath My Heart) house. White would be so Miss Mustard Seed.

    1. All the time!! Yes, that’s on my list, but it’s just never been a priority. I keep asking if we can just do that “one last thing” to the house and we might. Jeff agrees it will really increase the curb appeal.

      1. If you ever do paint your brick house please do a tutorial cause I’m dying to do mine but afraid of the outcome. I’d definitely trust you for pointers on that.
        I found a baby walnut tree just like that at my parents house in Missouri so I took it home with me to Colorado. I’ve had it for about 7 years now and it’s only about 6′ tall. A slow grower here on the plains.

      2. Before you paint your bricks white, check out the “German Smear” that Chip Gaines used to reface a “fixer upper” in January! I think you may love it too! Very cool!!

  4. I loved reading about your little walnut tree. We have oak trees and every year the squirrels bury the acorns around the yard in the fall for their food. Some of the acorns never get eaten so we have little oak trees popping up here and there. The cycle of life is amazing to me.

  5. I laughed when you said that you really like purple in the garden…I do too, and I don’t love purple. A master gardener friend of mine recently told me that purple and white in the garden is the closet you can get to blue and white in the garden since there aren’t that many blue flowers. Your decor sense prevailed in the garden!

  6. We found a seedling from a pecan the squirrels had buried and I put it iBIG pot. It is now 7′ tall in three years, and going on the deck to start providing shade. As we are in Louisiana, and I found a huge bag of Mardi Gras beads, I think I’ll throw a few of those up on it for some flavor!

  7. Gorgeous! I am exactly the same about ‘purple’! But the blues and purples in the garden are some of my favorites!
    The bushes under your window look like Boxwood in the pictures to me. Are they really a holly?

    Love reading your posts.

    1. Yes, they are a holly. They have thicker, waxy leaves with a point on the end. I have to find out the exact variety, though…

  8. Be careful about those Black Walnuts – appreciate them but get rid of them anywhere close to your garden. They exude a poison that is lethal to many plants. I have a gorgeous stand of Black Walnuts in a property behind my house. I have had to experiment with plant material to see what would and would not grow because of the poison. Here is a list so far that will grow: Purple leaf Sandcherry, Pyramidal Cedar, one kind of hydrangea (not the Snowball), lavender, Dwarf Korean Lilac, daylily. Here is a list that will not grow: peony, Ninebark, hydrangea (any other than the one that has flowers that are half open, half closed), clematis – this is by all means not a complete list but gives you an idea about the struggle with Black Walnuts. Yes, pruning is difficult and your garden is looking really nice!

  9. Marian, it’s funny how some of us are so much more in our element in the garden than, say, with the paintbrush. I don’t have any issues with whacking down, yanking out, and moving plants around, but I get paralyzed with the kind of furniture work you do so well.
    I’ve already harvested a lot of my lavender three separate times this year. Once you start doing that (and they will push new bud growth afterward), you’ll be surprised what new projects you’ll find for your sales (sachets, wands, bath scrub, etc.). I love my lavender plants, and mine are about 10 yrs strong. What we don’t use for sachets, etc., I stash in my closets and drawers in paper bags to deter insects from wools and cashmere. Plus, I’m addicted to the smell, but that’s just a side benefit. 🙂
    Happy June and Happy Gardening!

  10. I love your lavender by the steps! I wish I could get it to grow well at my house. The Minnesota winters seem to be to cold for it and my plants die every winter in spite of being marketed as “perennials.” I think they don’t like it quite as cold as we get here. I keep trying and buy new ones every spring because I love them so much.

  11. I’m not a purple person either, but when we started our gardens about 7 years ago, I kept picking out purple flowers and still do! I have to force myself to buy other colors to mix in! Purple is beautiful in nature!

  12. Marian, I remember you talking about painting your house last year or so. I think you and Jeff should just go for it. It will change e v e r y t h i n g. Many years ago, I had a brick fireplace that was an ugly dark red and some black. It was Chicago brick and I can appreciate that, but it made my living room even darker. My husband was being somewhat of a “purist” and thought painting it would somehow ruin it. I was an antique dealer back then in a shop that his old high school friend owns and she had painted the brick a soft white. So I took him there and showed it to him…he actually liked it. I have now painted two ugly brick fireplaces in Behr’s “Decorator White” which is a match to Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White”. On your exterior, a soft white or perhaps BM’s Revere Pewter or Edgecomb Gray (which is on the same chip as Simply White) would turn your cute Cape Cod style home into a darling cottage overnight. Your greenery and lavender and flowers would pop. It would look so fresh. Also, I can see your door and shutters a gray-blue. I would love to see you go for it!

      1. Oh, and yes, with the brick painted, I would build custom shutters and paint them, the window boxes and the front door a pretty blue.

  13. I painted both a brick fireplace (inside) and a brick facade (outside) and loved it in both instances. DO IT — you will never look back! Amazingly, the brick outside did not peel in 10 years while the paint on the shingles peeled after just a few years. FYI – it was a very neutral gray color – not white.

    As for lavender… needs to be pruned judiciously after blooming because it becomes woody and will die back if not pruned properly. Yes, it will look ugly for a little while but, if you did it right, it will come back for you. And there is nothing better than having all of that dried lavender to play with.

  14. I think you should do a “German Shmear” to the exterior brick of your house. It would be “you” in so many ways. It’s sort of a painting technique, it’s “German”, it is “light and bright” and also distressed in look. I saw it on Fixer Upper and have been wanting a brick house ever since to “schmear.”

  15. I love purple flowers, too. I have some purple orchids hanging on my garden. I believe they have put some magical touch in a home.

  16. You could add water beads to your window boxes. They soak up water when you add it and slowly release it as plants need it. I use them in my smaller potted plants here in Florida. Keeps me from having to water twice a day

  17. Not sure if this was mentioned already, but look for a product called Soil Moist at a garden center . I buy mine at Lowes. Found near the fertilizer. You’ll pay around $12/8oz but for your needs it will last you years. It’s an additive to your containers that will absorb and slowly release water. I call it my “plant insurance”. You’ll still need to water your plants but it will help keep them from stressing out over extreme watering conditions. Follow the instructions and don’t add too much. Good luck!

  18. Always love your posts! We are 75 and 77. My hubby was sick for a long time but is good now, so we have been catching up on yard work. Our house (built in 1897) has white aluminum siding. I want to paint it a blue/gray with a red door and red shutters. So far, he doesn’t like the idea, but I am trying to wear him down. The house does have corbels and gingerbread which would remain white. P.S. I think your house would look good painted! Good luck to you and me both!

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