About Me (Wanda Simone)
Hi! I’m Wanda. So glad you stopped by!
I’ve been gardening for as long as I can remember.
While it started out as something I had to do for my mother (more about that later), once I bought my first home, I realized that gardening was in my blood.
At the time I was living in Toronto, Canada (that’s American gardening zone 5A / Canadian gardening zone 6A…and yes, I’m Canadian).
That first house had a backyard that was 18 feet wide and 60 feet long. (No that’s not a typo…18 feet wide!) Very long and narrow.
With nothing in it but some grass, a large overgrown forsythia bush and a huge maple tree at the back.
Both sides of the yard had ugly chain link fences. And the neighbors felt like they were right on top of us.
So after reading a lot of books on how to design a garden, I set out to make it into a space I would actually want to spend time in.
After building a deck, putting down a flag stone patio, getting that forsythia under control and planting a lot of bushes and flowers, I finally succeeded in covering up those chain link fences, and creating a relaxing (and private!) retreat that worked equally well for entertaining my friends or just reading a book.
Then life happened (I got divorced) and I had to move.
Into a town house that only had a balcony for an outdoor space. A fairly large balcony, but still just a balcony. That overlooked a parking lot.
So I went back to the gardening books to learn everything I could about container gardening.
And created another relaxing, private outdoor space for myself. There were A LOT of containers on that balcony!
Then life happened again (I got a new job) and I moved again.
To an apartment in South Florida (zone 10B). Which had an even smaller balcony, and totally different growing conditions.
After more reading, I learned how to keep container plants alive in the Florida heat and traded in my favorite Clematis vines for Bougainvillea.
Then along came another life-changing moment (another job change) that required a move to Greenville, South Carolina (that’s zone 8A), which is where I live and garden now.
I bought a brand new house with the largest yard I’ve ever had.
It’s actually a standard-sized suburban lot…a little less than 1/4 acre in total size. But to me, it seemed HUGE. (It’s pie-shaped so the dimensions aren’t square, but the backyard is about 100 feet wide and 60 feet long.)
And it had absolutely nothing in it. Not a blade of grass. Not a single tree or bush. Not one flower. Oh…except for the weeds…that it had lots of!
So I started all over again from scratch, creating a private garden retreat where I can entertain and relax. In another gardening zone (and heavy clay soil!), that I didn’t have any experience with.
It took many years, a lot of DIY projects and hundreds of plants, but I finally got there with this house, too. (Which doesn’t mean it’s finished, because of course, a garden is never done.)
Now I’m sharing my favorite DIY projects, plants and gardening tips that I’ve learned along the way.
Because the one thing that’s been constant through my whole story is that any outdoor space can be turned into a relaxing garden space…no matter what the size.
About My Mother (Flora)
The “we” part of this site is me and my mother.
My mother, Flora, grew up on a farm and has gardening in her blood. So she is the one who got me started on my gardening journey.
From the time I could walk, I was helping her plant impatiens, pull weeds and pick up hedge clippings. (Which I have to admit, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about until I got my own house.)
My mother lives and gardens in Toronto, Canada (that’s American zone 5A / Canadian zone 6A) where we give directions to her house by telling people to look for the purple house that has no grass (the whole front yard is a cottage garden).
As you can see, her yard is tiny (it’s less than 20 feet wide). She lives in a very small house close to downtown where the lots aren’t very big and the neighbors are very close by.
But she has still managed to create a gorgeous, relaxing garden in the midst of all that.
This small garden has won many awards over the years, the most recent in 2019, when she was awarded third place for best Environmental Residential Garden for the entire city of Toronto!
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