In June 2015, April and I purchased our first home in Central Oregon. The house was built on land once occupied by a farmer but had now been developed into a suburban neighborhood offering the American Dream to over 51 families. Like so many new housing developments, our vacant-lot-of-a-backyard was small. Or as we like to say “wee.” At 30’ by 40’ wide and long, the 1,200 square feet of soil had long been neglected since the days of the farmer who tended it. The lot came with a lone juniper and a tree stump with rusty fence wire still tacked to it that once defined the former pasture. Noxious weeds had taken root trying to stabilize the forgotten piece of earth. In the dusty volcanic soil, a few stunted sunflowers had somehow emerged from sparse spring rains.
To me, it was a moment 35 years in the making when after years of mastering rental gardening, I finally had a piece of earth to call my own.
As the site was a blank canvas, I set about designing the garden trying to figure out how I could have everything that I wanted: an orchard of heirloom fruit trees, homegrown vegetables and herbs, plants for pollinators and seasonal color, wildflowers, habitat for local wildlife, a forest sanctuary for April and I to find peace after long days of work, container gardens and cold frames, a fire pit to gather around in fall, a compost pile… It was going to be my wee garden that had it all.
It is from this garden as well as countless others I have created and cared for over the years that I will share the tips and tricks I have come to know to help grow your garden, whatever the size! For now, though, enjoy a few photos of our garden’s transfiguration.