Keeping it real since 2014

A Not-So-Secret Garden

garden plan

My rough design for the front garden

I’ve always wanted a lovely cottage home with a garden. Climbing flowers and window boxes have always been the epitome of a lovely home to me. The Secret Garden was my favorite movie as a kid- I loved the grumpy Mary and the pleasure she took in hiding away in a place of beauty all her own.

original resting bitch face

OG Resting Bitch Face

My time working at the White House sharpened the want of a perfect garden; if you’ve never seen the Rose Garden in the spring, you’re truly missing out. It does take an Army of gardeners to keep that place looking perfect, but it’s so lovely and peaceful. The White House Rose garden is one of my favorite places in the world.


White House Rose garden in the spring = heaven (as long as Trump isn’t there)

Specifically for my own garden I want roses, tulips, hydrangeas and a kitchen garden. Last year I planted a few annuals, and made some compost, but not much more than that. This year, I wanted to focus on building the infrastructure required for these plants in the long term. As you can see from the below photo, it didn’t work out so well. The area now is overgrown with weeds and sort of raggedy.


Current situation :/

this old house

I’m on a limited budget (I’ve got rose taste on a dandelion budget), so I figured I’d start small. My focus this spring is prepping and planting the flower beds in the front of the house. Plus I figure enhancing the curb appeal won’t hurt either, as previously it slightly depressed me to pull up to a junky looking house. It might not be the secret garden of my dreams, but it’s an area with full sun and hoses nearby. How hard could it be? Anyway, here is my to-do list:

  • Dig up the old tree and weird bush on the side of the sidewalk boxwood
  • Trim the holly and boxwoods so they are the same level
  • Extend the house’s side bed down to the hose area
  • Remove some of the old dirt and level it off
  • Add gardening soil and compost to soil
  • Add mulch
  • Add stones to outline the beds
  • Add plants: sunflowers, climbing roses, lavender, hydrangea, coneflowers, and pansies & morning glories. It’s going to be a mashup of pink, lavender, yellow and blue.

the plan

Gardening is one of those things I feel like I just started learning in the middle. For example, I want to grow roses. I just buy a rose plant and stick it in the ground, right? Nope. You’ve got to test the soil. How big will the plant get? What kind of bugs are going to eat your plant. How much do you need to water it? What’s loamy soil? On and on it goes. There’s so much information, it becomes overwhelming. Plus there are a million kinds of roses, shrubs and Tea roses, climbing roses.

My last gripe is that it’s terribly difficult for me to find pictures of real people’s gardens. Just like trying to find pictures of real people who do DIY projects, it’s been the same with gardens. As previously mentioned I know what it takes for a rich person’s garden to flourish, so perfectly photographed gardens from Better Homes and Gardens doesn’t help me. Mostly I just try spying on real people’s front porch gardens as I drive around the fancy part of Alexandria. Well, at least you know reader that I’m a real person, with a real budget, who might really fail miserably at gardening. You’ll just have to wait and see!

Now for some gratuitous photos of my inspiration and aspiration of what I hope my front garden looks like eventually.




3 Responses to “A Not-So-Secret Garden”

  1. wsteele80

    You have to start somewhere– and you are doing a great job! I too, have a small Cape Cod, and I am slowly but surely making it into the Little English Cottage of my dreams! Love your blog!


    • Julianne

      Thank you! It does seem daunting at times- there’s so much to do! Thanks for your feedback, I’d love to see your cottage too!



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