Sunday, August 16, 2009 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

Coreopsis 'Redshift'

Coreopsis 'Redshift'

The week, the month, the year…where has it gone?  Some will say the month is only half over; others will say we have half to go.  For me, the eternal optimist taking a misstep, say its half over – because my kids go back to school tomorrow.  I’m not ready.  They’re not ready.

Between this mind shift of back to school, and kids and hubby in Indiana, I set out to get as much done  in the garden as possible.  And since I made such a big deal in a blog post about me messing around in the garden The best and hardest thing you can give your garden is time I needed an outlet to tinker with something other than the garden per se.

My direction became clear when my client and I worked out the design details of their booth for the Garden Writers Association conference held this year  in Raleigh in September.  We are going to use my potting bench.  The potting bench would need to be cleaned up and green-washed to match the bench seat.  Ok.  This is good.  The push I needed.

Without a garage and an active family of 5, we have stuff like everyone else – bikes, canoes, surfboards, boogie boards, lawn mower, potting bench, bird seed bins, potting soil bins, left over nursery pots, and a holding table for plants to grow out or hold until I know where they will go.  We have a shed.  Not the most attractive, but very functional.   It holds a lot of family stuff that a garage would otherwise hold…without the guilt of not being able to fit the car in it.

But like a garage, over time, I would put things down to deal with later.  Before I knew it, my space was no longer efficient.  The shed is just a part of this really cool garden prep space.  The shed is in the middle with space.  On one side of the shed is the area for wheel barrels and nursery pots.  The others side is the potting bench, growing table, rain barrel, potting soil bin, hoses, etc.  In front of the shed is where I keep the yard waste cans, bird seed bins, and canoe.  All of this is neatly hidden behind a tapestry hedgerow of Rose of Sharon, Osmanthus, Forsythia, and Camellia.  The hedgerow is only 3 years old.  In another year or two, complete privacy will be obtained in this space.  Basically I have a cool garden prep area, hidden from the back living space, street, kids play, etc.  A dead corner of the lot utilized for a gardener’s (and life) stuff.

August GBBD 122

Actually, the description above is how it looks now, not before I started.  Before it wasn’t well organized.  There were umbrellas no longer used since the back porch was built, other useful garden stuff that needed a good home, and garden accents that never got put back after the winter.  I pulled EVERYTHING out and divided piles: trash, keep, Raleigh Swap Shop.

The Raleigh Swap Shop is a great resource to give a second life to life’s stuff.  They take items such as bakeware, bicycles, CDs cookware, mowers, pictures, tools, toys, videos and such.

I dropped off 4 chairs, 4 garden umbrellas, little tables, and big black 4 inch drain pipe.   I went by a day later and it’s already all gone.  Doesn’t take long for good items to find a new home.  Free and easy to do.

Now, I will wait for nice weather to dry out the potting bench so I can green-wash it.  I have a month, so I  should be good.  If it were not being used, I would not have felt the need to get into the space and tinker.  I’m glad for the excuse.  The 15 hours spent over a 3 day period was exhilarating.  I loved every minute of it.

My friend Tina at In The Garden told me this really cool garden prep space was one of her favorite parts of my garden.  You should see it now Tina!

If you missed it, here is Helen’s Haven August Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I didn’t put as many photos as I normally do  since I was working on this garden prep redo.

Sore muscles led me to take a seat to enjoy the garden…something I don’t do often enough.  There were monarchs, tiger swallowtails, cabbage whites, gray hairstreaks, red-spotted purples, eastern black swallowtails, various larvae, various birds, box turtle, dragon files, frogs, bees, wasp, chipmunks…Ahhh, THIS is why I garden for wildlife!

Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence



  1. Lovely post, Helen. Seeing the coreopsis reminds me that a profuse bloomer, C. Autumn Blush’ (a trial plant from Terra Nova) did not return this year, and I miss it greatly. It bloomed like mad for a few years. A new one, ‘Lightning Flash’ has pretty foliage but has yet to bloom.
    Look forward to hearing all about GWA and seeing many, many pics & posts.
    Cheers! Alice
    …aka Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel

  2. tina said

    Your garden is cool and I loved this spot. I like your description but unless folks see it they really cannot not know just how hidden it is and how shady and cool and perfect for you it is. I was reading Joe Lampl’s book the other day and he was talking of garden rooms. I can think of no one gardener who does it better than you. When I grow I want to be just like you with those rooms!

    We are coming to NC next month. I wish we had the time to head over your direction but we are only coming for the weekend and hubby’s 20 year class reunion will be occupying us. That GWC sounds like fun. I’d sure try to fit it in if it weren’t for Jimmy’s school. BTW, tell the kids to have fun tomorrow. The first day of school is always exciting. Jimmy’s been back for two weeks now and I’ve been working inside. I’d much rather be doing what you are doing though! ttyl

  3. […] Between this mind shift of back to school, and kids and hubby in Indiana, I set out to get as much done in the garden as possible. And since I made such a big deal in a blog post about me messing around in the garden The best and … Go here to see the original: Sunday, August 16, 2009 Puttering in Helen's Haven « Gardening … […]

  4. Wow Tina, I’m blushing! Hehe, it is a cool space for being nothing more than a corner carved out.

    At least with school starting, I can get back on a schedule! H.

  5. Hey Alice, I’m sorry I wont meet you at Garden Writers. Thanks for stopping by, and nice tweeting with you! H.

  6. Lynn Rader said

    Your article is inspiring to me. Like yourself, I have a family of five and the children will be starting school in the next couple days. I am quite anxious to get started in expanding my garden when the kids are off. Thanks for the motivation!

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