Ferny You Should Ask…

Flowers and fruits are the focus of many a blog, but in the cool, quiet corners of the garden, ferns flourish.  Fronds unfurl curling upward as they unwrap from their coil.  Sword ferns, native to North America, favor shade as they fearlessly stand guard beneath the orange tree.  Asparagus ferns are fond of climbing and twining, sending out long straight shoots.  Within a fortnight, feathery emerald leaves should follow.

Southern Sword Fern ‘Nephrolepis Cordifola’

Gian Chain Fern ‘Woodwardia fimbriata’

Asparagus Fern reaching for the fruit tree

Fern about to unfurl

Other Worldly

Sharon’s Way: Accessible Landscaping

Our landscape designer recently asked for video of my sister using the garden ramp.  From what I gather, it is fairly unusual to see ramps incorporated into landscaping.  The more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes sense for all of us.  We’ve worked hard as a society to create accessibility in the work place, on the corner sidewalk, in schools and even sporting events.  I think there is a wonderful niche market for creating inviting landscapes that also allow all our friends and family to visit with ease.  It’s also an investment in our own future; a way to age in place.

Do you think this trend could catch on?

Design by Bergez & Associates.
Installation by Natural Bridges Landscaping

Front Garden Remodel Turns Two

Two years ago this month, we “remodeled” our front yard.  For years we talked about adding a front deck or patio.  We live on a neighbor-friendly block with kids galore so we were often out front socializing.  We chatted with friends standing in the driveway or sitting on chairs in the garage.  We eventually added a bench and then a swing, but what we longed for was a full-sized patio or deck.

Around the same time, it was becoming more and more difficult for my sister to access our home.  Our entry way consisted of two concrete steps, original to the 50-year-old house, and her MS made it difficult for her to come and go.

We hired the talented team of Bergez and Associates and Natural Bridges Landscaping, to create our suburban paradise.  We’ve found so much joy with our outdoor room!  My sister can come and go unassisted, a boon to her independence.  We also realized that the ramp will allow us to age in place since the house is now easily accessible.

It’s amazing to look back at the newly installed garden.  The plants established beautifully.

Here’s a look:

Garden and Deck, June 2012

Garden and Deck, June 2010

Near the Magnolia: 2010/2012

Kitty Corner, With Special Thanks to Candace

My Beautiful Back Yard

The Natural Bridges landscaping crew put the finishing touches in place on Friday. In a few weeks we will re-plant the area under the living room window and in the corner by the steps. Otherwise, its done!

The weather is glorious so we’re outdoors enjoying our new space. I’m still pining for some seasonal rain, while at the same time enjoying what nature is offering.

Intersecting Circles and Paths


Long view of the raised beds and the patio


"Cat's Eye" shape, one of my favorite elements of the design


This area will be re-planted in a few weeks

A small bare patch for future annuals


My Beautiful Bronze Pathway

Garden Walkway

Salvador and Hugo are working their magic again.  They finished installing the stone and gravel pathway yesterday and it looks great.  It’s functional and beautiful, the marriage of any good design.  I love it!

Sal is repairing damaged irrigation pipe and hauling soil today. Hugo is installing bender board and preparing the ground for sod.  The invasive roots of our neighboring pine need some taming, but the tree’s majestic beauty makes this exercise worthwhile every few years.

Our three cats are inside keeping an eye on things.  They get to explore the changes each afternoon when the noise and activity settle down.  Our neighbor’s cat is fearless, however, so he’s been out there exploring at will.

Rain is in the forecast this Saturday, just in time to give everything a good rinse.  Is there anything more intoxicating than new grass, damp rocks, fallen pine needles and freshly turned clods of earth?

I'll be under the bed if you need me.

Designer: Bergez & Associates, J.P. Bergez featured in Sunset Magazine

Installation: Natural Bridges Landscaping, David Ross

Patio Progress: Concentric Circles

Progress Photos

Our beautiful patio is done.  We are already enjoying the improvements throughout the yard.  The patio moved closer to the house.  It feels more intimate, something we’ve missed with it in the center of the garden.  Its sheltered now from the late afternoon summer sun so we can enjoy dinners outdoors once again.  Work on the pathway in front of the vegetable garden resumes this week, followed by repairs to the irrigation system.  A bit of grass will replace the former patio.  We’ll fill in with plants in the spring.

We were able to use about one-third of the flagstone in a concentric circle surrounding the poured concrete.  The patio integrates with the walkway, using Connecticut Bluestone to match the existing treads on the stairs.  As an added and unexpected bonus, the pretty tile trim under the stair treads now stand out against the “Sombrero Buff” concrete.  Even the cats love it!  They no longer have to walk gingerly on the stones like we did, trying to avoid the cracks.  All three of the cats have been out there exploring the new environment.

Cats on the Patio

Additional stones will be re-purposed for the vegetable garden walkway.  We hope to free-cycle the rest.  More pictures to follow later this week.

Designer: Bergez & Associates, J.P. Bergez featured in Sunset Magazine

Installation: Natural Bridges Landscaping, David Ross