Chickadee Gardens 2021: A Year in Review

One of my favorite posts is the year in review. I enjoy looking back at the garden through the months, highlighting the projects, the patterns and the beauty of it all. It remains unclear to me how to categorize 2021, however. Epic, record-breaking, calm, normal? It was cruel at times, yes, but there was beauty and light. I won't lie, here at Chickadee Gardens we experienced weather extremes from of the hottest weather on record in late June and an epic winter storm in February. Record drought conditions for the West Coast challenged us all. 

And covid kept us isolated from one another, only to dissipate (we thought) and then to rear its ugly head once again recently. Despite all of this FM and I seem to plug along, day by day, doing our garden chores all the while soaking in every bit of nature possible. We become deeply engaged in nature and that in and of itself is healing. Life here is simple. It is cycles. After blogging for some nine years I observe patterns of death and life, of drama and tranquility, of frustration and surprises; still - the garden persists. Perhaps there is a story to be told year in and year out, and so I tell it now, the year 2021, month by month, through photographs.

Hamamelis 'Jelena' harkens us to get outside and look with her glowing petals of the most unexpected January color. 

Unknown sempervivum in a romantically decaying pot dresses up my shed porch. This romantic moment was temporary for the pot completely fell apart shortly after.

Hesperantha coccinea, syn. Schizostylus coccinea, blooming in January. It may be scrappy looking but it's colorful and brings much joy.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Little Zebra' flowers shining in the winter sun. I am glad the grasses lasted.

Cornus alba 'Midwinter Fire' has become large enough to stand out in the garden. I so appreciate its warm colors in winter.

Some of the many heaths bloomed in the berm garden, another source of color for a dark time of the year.

February surprised us with a giant (for these parts) snowstorm.

We spent hours, literally, trying to keep snow off of the hoophouse using a push broom to cause avalanches on the outside.

Snow from the hoophouse after the first day of snow removal. There was much more after this.

How can he be so calm? By this point, to be honest, I'm ready to see it all go.

We kept the birds going, though, with food and unfrozen water. The silver device in the birdbath is a birdbath heater and, as you can see, the birds appreciated it.

This late-in-the-season snow and ice event was treacherous because up to this point it had been mild winter weather and many plants were breaking dormancy. This kind of weather is better suited to December and January, and we saw a lot of plant damage. For example, the hardy fuchsias had all been actively growing by this point. Did they make it? Keep reading.

Leaving snow behind, we were happy to go back to cold gray Pacific Northwest days in March. This is a very busy time of the year for us, often including garden cleanup, seed starting and veggie garden planning.

Veggie starts growing in the hoophouse.

FM began the task of building the new chicken palace coop. Frida and Penny approve of the foundation efforts thus far. FM says although the hens offered much advice they still can't count to 10 on their toes.

The saltbush or Atriplex halimus was cut back in March and although it looks unsightly it bounced out of it in a few weeks.

The veggie garden was tilled, ready for a new crop. This is done when the soil is suitably dry enough. This early in the season it shouldn't be this dry but it was.

Autumn 2020 we planted a couple hundred daffodil bulbs in the orchard and were giddy when they bloomed. There are three varieties that bloom early and naturalize. This seemingly simple event had us wondering why we hadn't done it years ago. 

A champion bloomer for this time of the year, native Ribes sanguineum, flowering currant, is a favorite of hummingbirds and native bees in our garden. Plus, its color stands out on a gray March day.

March was also the month that I realized several of my overly large Salvia officinalis shrubs were having a rough go. I ended up pruning them all back pretty hard - as well as Artemisia 'Powis Castle'. The eventual results were mixed. Some recovered nicely, others are still struggling. I'm glad I pruned them, however, as the ones that bounced back look good and are not as lanky. It's still a mystery to me why some specimens thrive while others, right next door, have random branches die off. Maybe the answer will come someday, but I shall keep soldiering on with them because when they look good they add so much to the garden. It's always a risk cutting back woody and semi-woody shrubs and trees.

Now we're revving it up with spring flowers, woodland ephemerals and slightly warmer weather. Tulipa praestans 'Shogun' is my favorite.

Erica carnea 'Rosalie' and another unknown variety are still quite colorful after several weeks of flowering. Flowering ornamental cherries also add interest.

FM is very busy this time of the year, here he repairs some of our bean poles in the veggie garden for one more season of use. They have since rotted away, which is fine, and he's planning new ones for 2022. We try to use materials that are on the property rather than buy anything new.

My Master Plan for the veggie garden for 2021, a plan that shifts from year to year to practice crop rotation.

A few of the veggies I start from seed rather than direct-sowing include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, shallots, leeks and a few annual flowers for fun.

A weeping salix with pretty new foliage. This to me is quintessentially spring.

Ercilla spicata, syn. E. volubilis, and its crazy, fluffy pink flowers. This is an evergreen climber that is supposed to be self-clinging, but I have not had that experience with it yet. I include it here because it's one of those moments in the garden that is so fleeting and most people would never have a chance to see it in bloom. We, however, had the fortune to watch this crazy thing bloom for a couple of weeks.

A synthesis of ajuga and Ceanothus gloriosus flowers, an unplanned but lovely pairing that looks like this for only a brief window of time.

The edge of the labyrinth with the neighbor's fruit trees flowering in the background.

Erythronium revolutum, our native trout lily, is a new addition to the woodland garden. I am hopeful that it will spread.

Also native, Cornus nuttallii, flowering dogwood is spectacular in bloom.

The edge of the labyrinth as seen from a distance.

The same shot a couple of weeks later in May. The Eriophyllum lanatum, Oregon sunshine is in full yellow bloom. Heucheras (Northern Fire and other sanguinea forms) add hot pink while orange Eschscholzia californica seeds about. Now we're at peak flower season at Chickadee Gardens.

More orange and hot pink on the outer edges of the garden. And Oscar, the agave. By this point we were three months into below average rainfall, which would continue until September rains finally brought relief.

Grasses all looking fine this time of the year, the warm season miscanthus are growing steadily.

Artemisia 'Valerie Finnis' pairs nicely with Eschscholzia californica.

Dianthus 'Frostfire' adds to the hot color theme at the edge of the labyrinth garden. These have been incredibly forgiving, having been tunneled under by voles and squished by a boulder, they bounce back every summer.

At the edge of the gravel garden Amsonia hubrichtii blooms pale blue and Limnanthes douglasii, Douglas' meadow foam, a native annual wildflower, sits at its feet. These have spread via seed all over the garden and they are, without a doubt, the most cheerful, low-growing annual we grow. Plus, they are native and I witness many teeny tiny pollinators swarming them. The fact that they pop up here and there randomly is a bit by design. That is to say, I introduced such plants to the garden hoping they would take hold and naturalize, softening my design by letting nature take its course.

Around the other side of the house in the berm garden, there's a bit of a white garden where here, Stachys 'Helen Von Stein' adds silver and texture next to Parahebe catarractae, a small evergreen shrublet in full bloom.

Persicaria affinis mixes with Heuchera 'Old La Rochette' and Erigeron 'Profusion' fills in the blank spaces in the background. I love the soft color echoes of this frothy area. The erigeron does seed about where it will, though I do a lot of editing of it, I must admit.

Many native wildflowers and grasses mix in the meadow area.

Baptisia, a tetrapanax runner and other sun-lovers in the labyrinth garden. This area is filled with semi-woody sub-shrubs that are drought adapted. I rarely if ever water this area. They all handled our dry spring and summer beautifully.

All of those itty bitty veggie starts grown in the hoophouse are growing nicely.

June marched in and little did we know that by its end we would experience the hottest weather on record at 116 degrees F. It was so hot that one had trouble breathing in it. More on that later, for now (before the heat) the garden looks fresh.

Agave neomexicana says "What drought, what heat?"

June is the season for clematis and roses. Here Clematis 'Romantika' mixes with Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis'. There is a bit of flower floofy in me, after all.

Off the deck the Atriplex halimus on the left, center, has filled in nicely after its spring haircut with Dorycnium hirsutum at its feet. Eryngium giganteum seedling as well as Papaver 'Lauren's Grape' littered this gravelly path, both of which are volunteers.

Dierama 'Plant World Jewels' in lovely pale pink. This is a plant I waited years for it to bloom.

Marrubium incanum, horehound, mixes with Nepeta 'Dropmoore' in the gravel garden. Both are very drought adapted and look great with little attention.

Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret' with Teucrium chamaedrys at its feet, Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' on the right. I really like this combination for not only its forms and colors but because it's all incredibly drought adapted. I rarely water any of it.

Looking off of the deck stairs to many evergreen shrubs for sun. This all goes basically unchanged year round save for some flowering and the atriplex haircut and Panicum 'Cloud Nine' haircut.

Asclepias speciosa, showy milkweed with a visiting honeybee. These native pollinator favorites are the food of monarch caterpillars, and I am hopeful to have some one day as we did in the old Portland garden. It is entirely possible we have but failed to notice.

A meadowy moment with Achillea millefolium and Knautia macedonica.

A path through the orchard says summertime to me. The hoophouse is the destination here which is clad, as you can see, with a shade cloth and open sides for ventilation. 

I can't forget the shade garden, which is filling in nicely in places. This most difficult area is fairly dry from all the conifers that absorb every drop of water. Plants are very slow to grow and establish here, so I continue to add compost regularly and allow leaves to decompose in place. Voles are another issue. 

And now for a little aftermath of the heat dome in late June that saw temperatures peak at 116 degrees in our garden. The incredibly high heat lasted several days and is described by meteorologists as a "once-in-a-millennium occurrence". Here a sunbeam like a laser passed through this Sedum spurium, frying it. This was a common sight, random bits of fried foliage that happened basically as soon as the peak heat hit it. We all felt hopeless and useless, awaiting the aftermath to see what survived.

These are my gooseberries. They all turned to this in a day or two, those grape green berries turning brown and also tasting of smoke. The whole crop was ruined, as were all of the blueberries which suffered in the same manner. They have since recovered but, wow, how much of this can they take?

Another bit of just ambient air temperatures being so hot to fry petals of this hydrangea. While there were some heat dome surprises, we were relieved that more plants did not die. Long-term impacts we shall be on the watch for, as this has never before happened. Another impact of heat dome was that conifer needles fell in the billions, fried and brown. I'm still cleaning them up in the gravel garden.

OK, moving beyond heat dome to what came through looking pretty good:

No surprise here, opuntia (no i.d.), Artemisia 'Powis Castle' and others in the berm garden.

Those Eryngium giganteum that, by the way, were all volunteers, looked fabulous. They stayed for months until I finally cut back the dead, dried foliage in November. I think I shall have 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost' in the garden forever. A few pounds of seed were harvested from them.

One of my favorite penstemons, Penstemon kunthii. Although it looks great in this photograph, it did suffer in the latter summer months from the impact of heat dome. It's since bounced back nicely.

Artemisia versicolor 'Sea Foam' actually loved the heat. 

The edge of the labyrinth garden in high summer.

A wide shot with many textures and foliage color. The week leading up to heat dome we watered extensively all day, every day, then we let up right before the high heat. That may have saved some of these plants, but I'm just not sure.

The kitties enjoy the warm weather, so I must include them for they are such a huge part of our lives. Miss Annie chasing bumble bees in the creeping thyme. Kitties love their outside time with us!

And FM with Hobbes having a bit of outside time together. He's an old fella at 16 and in pretty good shape. I think the fresh air and outings with mom and dad help to keep his joints going.

Introducing the finished chicken house. FM's goal was to make the hen house resemble our house, what with the siding and metal roof. The building is a delight and offers us storage for the feed and a big inside space for the poultry. Plus, that overhanging box on the lower right is the nesting box. Lift the lid and you might find an egg or two. All in all, the project was fun and interesting, says FM. He took full advantage of the local Habitat-For-Humanity store and scored big savings on doors and those lovely big windows reflecting the light. 

The veggie garden, despite heat dome, provided a lot of food as it always does. Some crops suffered - our cauliflower never produced heads and the beans were a good three weeks late and surprisingly the corn crop was a flop, the raspberries, too, but overall there was a bounty of food. 

Volunteer sunflowers and nasturtiums are all part of the veggie garden. The birds plant many of them after all and they do get a say here at Chickadee Gardens.

We got our first pears from the orchard! This is 'Rescue' and, oh, man, is it like butter. Delicious. In the preservation category, we canned some pears, made home-made ketchup, pickled beets with onion, sauerkraut, dilly beans, and froze broccoli, harvested hundreds of onions and shallots, harvested loofah gourds, birdhouse gourds and made salve and lip balm with honeycomb from our hive of bees. The bees, by the way, absconded again. That means they left. They did leave their honey, however, so we got a bit of that in the harvest. FM says he'll try again with a new hive next year. We're stubborn.

In this photograph the dried grass is evident. It does this every year but heat dome pushed it up by a month. The Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' began turning color very early this year.

Around to the other side of the labyrinth garden the drought-tolerant plants look fine while the browned and weedy lawn is an eyesore. In the center the sun catches the flowers of Stipa gigantea.

A limbed-up Olearia 'Dartonii' adds height to the labyrinth garden with grasses, Alchemilla mollis, hebes and a Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' in the background.

Around the corner the edge of the labyrinth in this location is one of my favorite combinations of plants. The sun in the summer sky is eerily orange from forest fire smoke high in the atmosphere. We were mostly spared smoke this year and are grateful for it.

September is kind of the crescendo with the veggie garden pumping out the food, flowering plants are in full stride and most of our chores for summer are complete. I love this month, for it's all about enjoying the fruits of our labors. It's the month of grasses blowing in summer breezes, tawny and blonde colors, crunchy grass and tasty apples. Here, Ricinus communis flowers with scarlet runner beans weaving their way through them. 

Rosa glauca and Solidago 'Fireworks' are a lovely late summer combination. The solidago is covered in honey bees when in bloom, its late-season flowers mean the sustenance is extended well past the peak of summer.

Textures of Stipa gigantea, Hebe cupressoides and Alchemilla mollis as highlighted by the late afternoon sun.

On the other side of the solidago and Rosa glauca. The tall sticks are stalks of Silphium perfoliatum that I have taken the dried leaves from for a sculptural effect rather than ratty foliage. The stems of this plant are very thick, square and hollow - insects overwinter in them so I like to leave them standing as long as possible. 

Oh joy of joys, Craigslist comes through. I purchased these teak chairs locally thanks to a fellow gardener who loves Craigslist and estate sales; she turned me on to them. I always wanted something like this for the garden but the price for new chairs is a little out of my budget so this was perfect - used. I love them.

The edge of the orchard with our 'Honeycrisp' apples waiting to be devoured. The veggie garden and one of several grapes growing on the fence below in the background.

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' loves the heat.

At the base of the deck I had a stump that acted as a table (where the gravel is in the center of this photo) but it eventually rotted so we removed it. Good thing as it was getting crowded out by plants anyhow. In the very center is Grevillea 'Coastal Gem' with Zauschneria californica on the right.

Hesperantha coccinea, syn. Schizostylus coccinea in another flush of flower. I love the color echo of the Itea 'Henry's Garnet' in the background.

An Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn' gives some structure in an area with a lot of herbaceous perennials, as does the Phormium tenax behind it.

The asters were on fire this year.

The edge of the meadow in late summer, primarily herbaceous perennials, annual wildflowers and grasses.

The colors of September. We did finally see rainfall in September after six-plus months of below-average precipitation.

Autumn color seemed to come early this year. Here, yellowing foliage of Veronicastrum virginicum 'Album' is especially dramatic in the white area of the berm garden.

The driveway at Joy Creek Nursery. October is a month where life outside slows down in many ways. The garden's autumnal color is going in full swing and on the occasional sunny, dry day it is glorious to sit among the birds and leaves and soak in the scent of it all while perhaps sorting seeds harvested on drier days. It is also the end of the regular retail year for Joy Creek Nursery where I work, but this year was the last, ever. It was bittersweet, the ending to it all, but my bosses simply wanted to retire after 30 years of hard nursery work. October was the month we all bid farewell to a nursery that gave me the education of a lifetime in a six-year period. I will miss the people and this amazing garden as I know so many of us will. A lot of it lives on in all of our gardens, part of the ebb and flow of life in the slow lane.

Back at Chickadee Gardens, here Fuchsia speciosa represents all the hardy fuchsias that looked terrible for much of the summer due to heat dome and the February snow storms, but by October they had all recovered beautifully and were finally all blooming. In fact, up until a few days ago in late December many were still in full bloom.

Chrysanthemum 'Hillside Sheffield Pink' is a flower I look forward to every October. It fulfills a floofy need in me.

All three Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku' had magnificent fall color. I love the juxtaposition of it with the mostly evergreen shrubs and trees.

Muhlenbergia rigens with Festuca rubra 'Patrick's Point' at its feet. This grass really takes off in late summer and into autumn. Both exceptionally drought adapted.

Berberis jamesiana gets better every year. Not only does it flower beautifully eventually turning to green berries (then this gorgeous coral color), but its foliage is also fabulous for autumn color.

The edge of the labyrinth garden with Arctostaphylos pumila (the large shrub) on the left.

Just lovely...with Amsonia hubrichtii at its feet.

Hydrangea macrophylla, Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret' and the gorgeous autumn color of our native vine maple, Acer circinatum.

The acer's foliage has never been this vibrant. In fact, autumn color was epic this year, a silver lining of heat dome? Perhaps.

Teak chairs with the berm garden in the background. Not bad for late October. The aim is for a year-round garden. We're getting there.

Miscanthus 'Malepartus' looking swell in his autumn colors.

That pretty weeping salix seen earlier in the year is equally as interesting in its yellow leaves. For some weird reason the little songbirds love this tree year round. Fact is, they also love the Salix angustifolia now that I think about it. I think this particular tree gives them great cover and a high vantage point to rest while scoping out the bird feeders.

One of the highlights of the garden for me this year was that the persimmon tree had fruit for the first time! I harvested about 50 and they are really sweet and yummy. The foliage is amazing in autumn too.

Cotoneaster horizontalis 'Variegata' is so pretty when its foliage changes in autumn.

A trio of hebes with Salix angustifolia in the background (with the yellow leaves). From left to right, Hebe buxifolia, Hebe 'Red Edge' and Hebe cupressoides. Evergreen shrubs form the backbone to this garden, I wouldn't be without hebes, arctostaplylos, cistus nor ceanothus.

Just a quiet moment and a place for little birds to bathe. They love this particular spot because it's kind of hidden and private. 

Salix angustifolia in the very center of the labyrinth garden. It holds its leaves for so long, in fact as I type this in late December there are still leaves.

Grevillea 'Neil Bell' had an epic bloom cycle this year and has grown considerably, scoffing at heat dome and dry conditions.

At the base of the deck with many evergreen sun lovers.

A moment in the shade garden with Oxalis oregana, Ophiopogon planiscapus and Jasminium 'Fiona Sunrise'. As the shade garden eventually grows, I hope to feature it more in future posts.

Clematis cirrhosa 'Wisley Cream' that fried this summer, in other words it defoliated completely. About September it began regrowth, and now it is once more blooming beginning in autumn going right through winter. 

November is about simple things. For me, liriope at the feet of this avian cherry tree, a path and a few grasses turning color near the house is all I need on a gray day. As the garden is going on six years, many shrubs and trees are established. This allows time for little detail moments such as the base of this tree being planted with saxifrage and mosses, so small it's likely missed but as I walk by it a dozen times a day I see it and it makes me happy.

The berm garden.

November was also the month, since I am no longer employed, I decided to hopefully begin being self-employed. I have been approached for garden coaching and selling plants, both of which I hope to do in the new year and welcome it. Stay tuned, with any luck a few of us are putting our collective propagation skills to work for a farm stand out this way where we'll have plants and some farm fresh goodies.

FM here: November was also the month when our phone would ring and the callers would shout how they had seen the pictures of the garden in the November issue of Better Homes & Garden magazine! In my view, the four-page spread displays how much Tamara loves and cares for our property. She is the driving force at Chickadee Gardens. Good job, Sweetie! You deserve the accolade! (aw, shucks...thank you FM) This was two years in the making, having been photographed in autumn of 2019 but since the original magazine Country Gardens essentially folded, the story went to its parent company and thus, Better Homes and Gardens. We are grateful to have been a part of it all.

Early December a Cooper's hawk moved in and decided it wanted to hunt in our garden. Our myriad of songbirds are pretty quick, but I'm sure the hawk has had a few successes. We also have much less vole damage (knock on wood) and I think that he is partly the reason. Whatever the case, we let nature take its course as we welcome this magnificent bird.

December started of incredibly mild. We hadn't had a hard freeze at all until our first snow.

And here's the snow, arriving late Christmas night. It's still here as I write this.

All told we have about 8". I like this photograph especially as it shows the many textures of the meadow and labyrinth garden. This is another reason I leave foliage standing through winter. Plus, the birds have a great hideout under all that foliage that acts as a kind of igloo.

All dressed up for winter. So no hard freeze at all until this happened. When it rains it pours.

Definitely a winter sky. I'm glad this happened now; hopefully, we won't have much of this late in the season like we did in February.

As the sun sets on this evening and year, we're grateful for the garden and all that we have.

I end this very long post with an amazing image of nature at work. Here some 20 hummingbirds take turns at one of three feeders right before sundown to get a final shot of sugar water before they go into torpor for the night. The hummingbirds, finches, chickadees, hawks - we had so many this year. It seems like the bird population increases annually, which we are thrilled about. It is for them, after all.

There it is, although not all of the garden is represented here, rather representations and highlights that change from year to year. I observe also that my interest shifts from year to year, increasingly migrating to the bigger picture. I still love being outside all day, every day if I'm honest and it's warm (or cool) enough. Sometimes I am asked by people who don't garden what exactly it is that I do all day when not working. I know you all understand, no need to explain here.

The year 2021 has been a challenge to this planet and her citizens for a myriad of reasons. In terms of the gardening community, we were especially sensitive to the impact of one of these reasons, climate change, as we are in tune to subtle shifts in patterns if we have been gardening long enough and paying attention. I suppose the theme of the garden this year is that life persists, through drought and freezes and rains. It will change, for certain, but it will be there in some form or another with or without humans.

That's a wrap for this week and this year at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting and happy gardening to you all, wherever you are. Happy New Year, here's to a prosperous and kind year ahead for us all and the planet.


  1. What a wonderful retrospective post Tamara. It's nice to go back through the year to remind yourself that there were so many beautiful moments. It's too easy to only remember the crummy ones. I particularly the hummingbird photo. We have a huge number of Redpolls this year and like your hummingbirds bring moments of activity and joy into our lives during the winter. Hope 2022 brings lots of new opportunities for you. Thank-you for providing us with glimpses into your garden's progress.

    1. Oh, Redpolls, how wonderful! Yes, I try to remember the ups and the downs which is why I blog, in part. It's kind of a visual diary for me and sometimes it's surprising to review events/plants I had forgotten about.

      I hope 2022 brings joy and happiness to you, happy new year!

  2. Wonderful post, Tamara; I'm so grateful for this blog. Always so instructive and inspiring.

    And I can give a glowing testimonial to her coaching/consulting skills, folks! I had her out to assess my wreck of a garden, and she was so prepared and so helpful. (Not that anyone will be surprised to hear any of that!) ​

    Much love and a very happy New Year to you and the FM! xoxo

    (Also, "floofy" - hehe!)

    1. Oooh, floofy is a real thing ;)

      Thank you Stephen, as always. I so appreciate your commentary and unique perspective on the arts, you are instructive and inspiring too.

      Thank you for the recommendation, you are too kind! :)

      Happy New Year to you and G. and N. xoxoxo

  3. Oh, T - this is a beautiful post! It's impossible to pick a favorite - there are so many gorgeous photos - one after the other after the other. Just amazing! Among them, I love the Buddha under the Arcto, with the blue shed in the background. So still and quiet.... I still feel the sadness of Joy Creek closing. However well deserved - that was a blow to us and to the gardening community at large. However, I think you will find your new adventures fun and rewarding, too. Actually, I hope to be part of them somehow. Big New Years-hugs to you and FM. May 2022 be more aware, more alert, more exhilarating, and better in so many more ways than we even hoped for 2021. I think I can feel the winds shifting a little...

    1. Oh, Anna Bean, you are too kind. Buddha - yes, he's a good one.

      And Joy Creek. And I DO hope you will be a part of our new nursery/farm stand adventures!! You are most welcome!

      Hugs and Happy New Year to you and your fabulous clan.

      I agree, may 2022 be more aware, alert, exhilarating and better. So be it. xoxoxo

  4. You've faced a lot of challenges this past year, Tamara, and come through them with a garden that looks more mature and beautiful with every passing year. I'm pleased to learn that you've been thinking through your next steps and I've no doubt whatsoever that you'll be successful in whatever you undertake. Best wishes in 2022!

    1. Ah, thank you for your kind words, Kris. You too have had your share of drought conditions and other challenges, I suppose we all do in different measure.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement, I SO appreciate it! Happy New Year to you and your clan,

  5. So much to comment on (great craigslist score!), but I have to second your thoughts on the garden community's sensitivity to climate change. I have to admit to keenly feeling this, and it's probably behind some of my impulsive decisions lately like buying a second house on the Oregon coast -- (it's the end of the world so why not!) But making a new garden and caring for the old one grounds me in a way that nothing else can. Looking at all these wonderful photos, I am always challenged to winnow out a few great plants for my new little garden. And since you have very skillfully woven them together in fantastic communities, it is very hard to single one out -- they all relate to each other beautifully. The new henhouse is fabulous, kudos to FM (and Habitat for Humanity which I also frequent), and wishing you both the best in the new year in all your endeavors.

    1. Thank you Denise. I think it's wonderful you have a second home on the Oregon coast - what a wonderful range of plants you can now have from SoCal to mild Oregon. It's the end of the world so why not, indeed!!

      Your descriptions of my garden are very generous, I am humbled. Thank you for this and for reading the blog all the way to the end, it's a huge one indeed.

      Happy New Year and I hope we can meet up along the coast one of these fine days in 2022!! Cheers.

  6. You are very good at this kind of post, it was wonderful to see so much of your garden as the months pass by. Looking forward to visiting again in 2022!

    1. Thank you Danger, it's certainly a huge post. It's almost too much, but it's a reference.

      I hope you can visit in 2022! And vice-versa. It's been too long, my friend.

      Happy New Year to you and Andrew, may it have the most wonderful and unexpected surprises in store for us all.

  7. As a new comer to your blog, I was astonished to learn your garden is only 6 years old, and so big... The August photo of the chicken house prompted me to dig up FM's post about the construction of "The Hennery", assuming it's the name you settled on. A wonderful addition to your garden; your ladies must be fat and happy :-D
    Many awesome photos of the garden, the one that often stays with me include an animal, a human or both: FM and Hobbs.
    Good luck with the farm stand for propagations and goodies!

    1. Aaah, we haven't actually named the Hennery quite yet, I have a piece of plywood to paint a sign for the eventual naming of the coop....any suggestions?

      The ladies are fat and happy and not laying right now, which we expect in winter. That makes us appreciate farm fresh eggs even more when they do come in abundance.

      Thank you for your kind words! Hobbes and FM are honored their image stayed with you! They are the heartbeat of this garden/adventure. Thanks for the well-wishes too, I'll keep everyone posted how it goes. Cheers and Happy New Year!

    2. Hi,
      I just stumbled onto your blog and the 2021 in review was an amazing first article to read! I look forward to following your beautiful garden journey.
      - Z

    3. Hi Z, thank you for reaching out and commenting, we love hearing from readers! Glad to have you on board, and Happy New Year!

  8. So late in reading this, but that seems to be the theme for me for the ending of 2021 - late, out of steam, needing to refresh. I was so lucky to stumble onto your blog at the beginning of your new garden - appalled that you were removing the stone labyrinth but astonished by all you have accomplished so quickly. Perhaps the energy of the labyrinth lives on and helps your beautiful garden to flourish, surviving terrible winter storms, snowfalls and now the new kid on the block - heat domes.

    1. Aah, that end-of-the-year out of steam. I can relate.

      Well, as far as you being appalled that we removed the stone labyrinth, I appreciate that. It had special meaning which I definitely honor. In the end, the decision to take back a huge area of dead soil and to enrich it and bring back life is not one I regret. The stones are all over the labyrinth and still hold a special meaning to me. Perhaps you're right, the energy lives on. Cheers and happy new year.


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