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Gardening the Easy Way: Finding the Best Fit for your Personal Lifestyle

Updated on May 30, 2016
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Catherine is a California Certified Nursery Professional. Her interests are birds,insects, integrated pest management, & organic gardening.

This East facing bed is full of partial sun plants and features a trellis of birdhouses and a cherub birthbath.
This East facing bed is full of partial sun plants and features a trellis of birdhouses and a cherub birthbath. | Source
Curved borders have a more relaxed and natural feel. They invite a garden guest to meander and explore.
Curved borders have a more relaxed and natural feel. They invite a garden guest to meander and explore. | Source

What defines a garden?

A garden can be anywhere one chooses to grow favorite things: succulents, herbs, edibles, flowers, trees or shrubbery. There is no rule about the size or location of your plot. Your garden can be as unique as you, the gardener, and should suit what you are willing to give it in terms of time and effort. A container garden or two can be just as satisfying to one as a planted acre is to someone else.

Are you one who loves fresh picked fruits and vegetables and the spontaneous snip of herbs for your latest dish? Perhaps you love to arrange flowers, or you just enjoy relaxing in your private Eden where the birds sing and butterflies flit about. The first step is to consider your expectations. Second, evaluate your available space. Third, study your sunlight exposure. Lastly, think about the time you wish to devote to your garden.

Consider the ambiance of a fire pit.

Your garden can include a small space for sitting and enjoying the warmth from a safely screened fire pit.
Your garden can include a small space for sitting and enjoying the warmth from a safely screened fire pit. | Source
Source

Veggies, fruits, and herbs:

Urban gardens can be very successfully grown on balconies in containers and Earth Boxes or planted compactly in a backyard raised bed. If your soil is hardpan or dusty, and the expense and time of digging and amending doesn't appeal to you, a raised bed is the perfect solution. Stacking stones or building one from cedar planks to a height of 2 feet by 4 feet width by 6 or 8 feet in length will provide enough space to feed a family of four or more from a variety of edibles. The framework will need to be filled with a combination of compost and topsoil- approx. 48 to 64 cubic feet. Irrigation can be set up w/ drip systems or soaker hoses on a timer, so the garden wil receive consistent amounts of water even during vacation time. PVC pipes can be arched over the bed and attached with covers for cold protection, shade screens, or bird netting as needed. Raised beds are the basis of the French intensive gardening method and can support many plants for large harvests with less water, fewer weeds, and healthier outcomes.

On a smaller scale, pots can be filled much the same way and watered by hand. The EarthBox System is designed to be self-watering and weed free and has an optional staking kit. It only takes a 1.5 cubic foot. bag of potting soil and can support enough veggies to easily feed 2 people.

Dwarf fruit trees including tropical varieties and berries of all kinds do as well in pots as in the ground, so there really are no limitations to growing edibles except for the full sun requirements of 6 or more hours daily. Leafy greens and tubers can grow in less light.

Vegetable varieties are plentiful from hearty hybrids, to openly-pollinated heirlooms, to grafted combinations. If growing in containers, look for determinate type tomatoes and compact melons and squashes. There are even upside down planting bags for those with small spaces who like to grow tomatoes w/o staking them.

Earthbox

Flowering shrubs, blooming bulbs, perennials , and annuals from seedlings or seed can fill small to large beds with many design options.
Flowering shrubs, blooming bulbs, perennials , and annuals from seedlings or seed can fill small to large beds with many design options.
A small tree can be a nice focal point in a large garden bed. Here a blooming Brugmansia ("Angel's Trumpet") is an eye-catching centerpiece.
A small tree can be a nice focal point in a large garden bed. Here a blooming Brugmansia ("Angel's Trumpet") is an eye-catching centerpiece. | Source

Growing a cutting garden:

Who doesn't love a fragrant garden full of lovely flowers? It can enliven one's spirits and brighten the dreariest day. Flower arrangements bring nature's beauty inside, provide calming aromatheraphy, and tell our visiting friends how special they are. The real beauty is that it doesn't take a large space for loads of blooms. Unlike edibles, you can grow gorgeous specimens in either sun or shade.

Flowers can be planted from seeds, bulbs, flats, and containers. There are the seasonal annuals with the showiest color for our flower beds, flowering shrubs like roses, camellias, and gardenias, and the hearty perennials that repeat their cycles year after year. I think the perfect gardens use all of these for non-stop performance. It may be a bit of work up-front, but those bulbs and perennials will pop up each season like clockwork. Lilies, tulips, peonies, Irises, alstromeria, ranunculus, dahlias, gladiolas, and narcissus are all examples of bulbs that are ideal for cutting. Biennials that grow one season and bloom the second include foxgloves, hollyhocks,delphiniums, and Canterbury Bells. Perennials include geraniums, penstemon, coreopsis, Shasta Daisy, Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, Gerbera Daisy, lupines, columbines, and many wildflowers- all spectacular in bouquets! Evergreens, ornamental grasses and ferns, berry sprigs, fruits, rose-hips, and vining tendrils all make excellent accents in flower arrangements. Again, most things can be grown equally well in containers, beds, and side-yards. It is just important to make sure that your selections have the same light and watering needs when combined in a planter or bed. Container gardens offer the freedom to change a look easily with limited expense and effort.

Create inviting and peaceful retreats.

A single bench, potted plants, and some wall art can transform the back of a shed or garage.
A single bench, potted plants, and some wall art can transform the back of a shed or garage. | Source
Patio furniture placed on the lawn or around the garden is inviting.
Patio furniture placed on the lawn or around the garden is inviting. | Source

Make a cozy outdoor room.

This simple seating area is set under a temporary gazebo and features battery-operated paper lanterns to add a magical ambience in the evening.
This simple seating area is set under a temporary gazebo and features battery-operated paper lanterns to add a magical ambience in the evening. | Source

Creating a peaceful place to relax:

When creating a personal outdoor haven, think about the things that help you relax. Perhaps it's the soothing sound of a trickling water feature, the chirps and songs of feeding birds or the swaying of palms and ornamental grasses. Whatever it is that you wish to have surround you, you will want to have a place to sit to enjoy it all. If your space allows for it, an outdoor room with deep cushioned seating arrangements, lanterns, outdoor grilling and dining might be great- especially for entertaining. How lovely to experience a beautiful sunset with the fragrant waft from a flowering jasmine or a statuary garden with white iceberg roses reflected by a full moon! A small bistro table and hanging votives in the midst of planted containers might provide the perfect setting for a romantic glass of wine with your partner. For others, a short walk to a small sheltered, secret garden in an unused sideyard might be a slice of heaven. Your only limit is your imagination!


Unleash your creativity with easy container gardens using the popular concept of the "thriller, filler, and spiller" combo.
Unleash your creativity with easy container gardens using the popular concept of the "thriller, filler, and spiller" combo.
A potted Japanese maple between two chairs creates an intimate space on an open patio.
A potted Japanese maple between two chairs creates an intimate space on an open patio. | Source

Bringing it all together:

Stately trees, shrubs, lawns, and flower beds compliment each other nicely on a larger property and help define main entrances and specific areas of use. On a smaller scale, trees and shrubs work to provide privacy or give shade and curb appeal. Trees also serve as play places for children.and markers for the seasons as they bloom, change color, and drop leaves. Patios and balconies are more intimate but can contain the same elements often utilizing "up spaces" like walls or tiered containers. Side yards and backends of garages offer secret places and areas of sun for sprawling veggies like zucchini and watermelon.

When choosing plants, pick for seasonal interest and attraction of birds and butterflies. Also think about what you want most from your garden. Is it edibles, flowers, relaxation or a combination? How involved do you wish to be? Time savers might be slow- release fertilizers, weed cloths and mulches, and timed water delivery. I garden organically and attract birds and beneficial insects by adding water features and growing a pollination bed. I keep weeding and pests to a minimum by adding layers of compost, leaf mulch, and worm castings to my garden. It needs little care, and is a wldlife haven!

There is a garden for every personality and every need. The "perfect garden" can only be defined by the individual. Whatever it is for you, no matter your budget, it is within reach and can be had with a vision and a bit of passion to get the job done. No doubt, it is worth the effort!

© 2012 Catherine Tally

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    • rosika profile image

      rosika 5 years ago

      very informative hub on gardening styles...loved all the styles...congratulation for getting "hub of the day".

    • The Frog Princess profile image

      The Frog Princess 5 years ago from Florence area of the Great Pee Dee of South Carolina

      As spring days are ahead I am outdoors with many new plans for my courtyards. Great Hub.

      Donna

    • raakachi profile image

      raakachi 5 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

      My hearty congratulation for your well done informative hub on gardening and it's various colors. Voted beautiful.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 5 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Congratulations on "Hub of the Day" award! Your photos look like they came out of a catalogue. Great job.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Excellent job with the images because they really added to the overall reading experience. Congratulations on the Hub of the Day award; voted up.

    • shanemartin profile image

      shanemartin 5 years ago from UK

      Great hub!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      This is a great hub. I love your garden ideas...especially the relaxing personal haven. Congrats on HOTD!

    • Aleenabroonee profile image

      Aleenabroonee 5 years ago from California

      I like gardening and as i reached to your hub i found it very informative and useful. By the way congratulation from my depth of heart on "hub of the day". You have done a great job.

    • D.Juris Stetser profile image

      D.Juris Stetser 5 years ago from South Dakota

      I just loved this Hub. So many great ideas I'm going to try out this week, so thanks so much, and let me add my congratulations on your "hub of the day"!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Thank you ... this was so encouraging! I want to start more gardening in our yard but have never done it before. This was beautiful and shows that a garden can grow anywhere, even in a very small space. Voted up, beautiful, awesome and interesting.

    • AnnaCia profile image

      AnnaCia 5 years ago

      What a gorgeous article full of beautiful and inviting photos. Exceptional way to overlap information with a journey of color and depth. Thank you. Voted up

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Donna! Spring is so inspiring, and I'm glad that you will be out in your courtyard garden. Thanks for stopping by.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello,raakachi. Thank you very much for your kind compliment. I am so happy that my passion for gardening has inspired others! I'm pleased too to see that you are a new follower!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you for the great compliments, Lillyeth! Some of the pictures are from my own garden. Two of the furniture groupings I took at a local garden center. I'm happy that you enjoyed my hub!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Donna! I really appreciate your nice comments and am glad that you stopped by.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, shanemartin. Thanks for stopping by!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello, vespawoolf. Iam delighted that you enjoyed some of the ideas in my hub and hope that you are inspired to try a few. I really appreciate your kind comments and congratulations. Thank you for stopping by!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Aleenabroonee! Thank you very much for your sweet comments. It really is such a thrill to receive the "hub of the day" accolades because there are so many deserving writers here! I hope I've inspired you to try some new things this Spring

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi D.Juris Stetser. I appreciate your nice comments! It is the best compliment to find out that I have inspired you to get out into the garden! I hope you have a wonderful weekend-Thanks for stopping by.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I did see this hub before today, and when I first saw it, I thought what a beautiful hub it was. Great ideas and gorgeous pictures. I am not at all surprised that it's the Hub of the Day. Congrats. Great job! Many votes!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you,prarieprincess. It is the best feeling to know that the love I have for gardening has filled your heart and encouraged you to try something you've never done before. Yes, even the smallest corner or neglected side yard can be made into a useful growing space. All of the best!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello,AnnaCia. I'm so pleased that you stopped by! Thank you for the positive feedback and thoughtful comments.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      You certainly deserve the Hub of the Day! I hope you entered this into the contest for gardening. How beautiful! You have inspired me to expand on my little garden to grow some veggies. I voted this UP, etc.etc.

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      markbennis 5 years ago

      This is just awesome really, what a beautifully written Hub and a just winner too, congratulations and thumbs up to gardening.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Gorgeous pictures! I really enjoyed reading all the wonderful tips.

    • Rev. Akins profile image

      Rev. Akins 5 years ago from Tucson, AZ

      Wow, now that covers a lot of different kinds of gardens. Great Hub, I like the different options and thoughts. Hoping to have a garden this year, my family really enjoys fresh vegetables throughout the summer.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Congratulations on this Hub of the Day award for a neat look at choosing a garden style. My husband and I get to enjoy a relaxed gardening style--if it grows it gets a home in our garden. :)

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi VictoriaLynn. It's always good to see you here! Thanks for your support and wonderful comments. I hope I was able to interest you with an idea or two.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Mary! I'm so thrilled to be receiving this praise from such good fellow writers. It pleases me to hear that you will be adding veggies to your garden- that's wonderful! I hope it becomes an ongoing habit. You just can't beat home-grown taste and freshness!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Mark. I really appreciate your thoughtful compliment! I actually envy the weather there in the UK- especially during the summer when I am ready to escape the 100+ degrees that bake my roses. Glad you stopped by!

    • livingpah2004 profile image

      Milli 5 years ago from USA

      Wow! What a great article on gardening the easy way! I am so motivated to start gardening right away. Very useful and voted up!Congratulations on getting Hub of the day award!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi, Marlene! I'm really delighted that you enjoyed my hub and the accompanying photos. You could say that gardening and nature photography are two of my passions!

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I enjoyed your hub re. saving plant tags. This has been a helpful gardening tip for us- esp. my husband who enjoys many varieties of both tomatoes and peppers!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Rev.Atkins. I'm pleased that I've inspired you to consider that vegetable garden. Not only will you get the benefit of freshness and vine-ripened taste, you will have a great opportunity to get the family to work together AND you'll have plenty to share w/ your community too! Bless you for your kind comments. I'm glad you stoped by.

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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Well, RTalloni, I prefer a relaxed garden too, so I can overlook a few weeds and enjoy the birds while my cat watches the grasshoppers and lizards! We often have certain expectations of garden upkeep, but gardens are surprisingly more sustainable with less work. Thanks for your thoughful comments!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello, livingpah. Spring is here, and that is the greatest motivation! I am glad to have given you some inspiration and ideas to get started. Once you get a bit of confidence in your garden, there will be no holding back your creativity! I really appreciate your awesome comments- Thank you.

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      jennywu 5 years ago

      i like this thanks you for sharing this, really got some great ideas about my ideal garden.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi, jennywu! Thank you for the nice comment. I hope you'll share a hub about your ideal garden one day. I'd really love to know what you create.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Fantastic ideas that help make gardening easier to undertake in challenging places!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, rebecca. I'm so glad to hear that I've given you some good tips so you'll be able to spend more time relaxing in your garden! I really appreciate your comment and wish you many happy hours outdoors in your favorite spot.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Some great ideas here. I can see that you have written about a very popular subject. I loved the pictures. The latest craze here is to have 'community' gardens by neighbours making them together in what we usually call nature strips outside our fence before the road. As they are on the verge, they are being called verge gardens.

    • profile image

      Liz21 5 years ago

      A garden gives us a great way to spend quality time with friends and family.http://bit.ly/yN6DiI

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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      It's good to see you here, BlossomSB. I'll bet a whole row of the verge gardens are quite attractive! Here in our urban areas of So. California, we manage to squeeze in some good community gardens where each gardener gets a good plot to work. I'm really happy to see this trend toward edible gardening expand to schools too. Your hub on small space/container gardening was really good, so I am especially pleased that you found some good ideas from me as well! Thank you- I wish you contentment and a bountiful harvest.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi,Liz. I couldn't agree more! That's one of the nicest things about a garden. People are drawn towards them for the peace and beauty they offer, and it's great to share cut flowers and edible harvests with our friends. I really appreciate your stopping by to read and comment. Thank you!

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 5 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      An inspirational hub with some very good ideas. Love the idea of the hanging vegie plants.

      Lovely photos, a great article.

      Congrats on gatting Hub of the day.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Rosemary, Thank you for your kind comments and support!

      I always enjoy hearing from you and wish you the best.

    • profile image

      bloomin'blossum 5 years ago

      welcome Springtime! endless ways to join in with mothernature, to create with her environs which soothe, console, reward, comfort and nourish,

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Bloomin'Blossum,

      Thank you for your nice comment. It is so full of positive energy! Yes, mother nature provides us with so much to enjoy.

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 5 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      I love reading fellow hubbers gardening advice. I see you like and recommend dwarf garden trees which I have planted two this last Autumn. I also like your advice on making the space what you want it to be, which is very important. Voted this awesome and thanks for the follow.:)

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Brian,

      Glad to hear that you planted dwarf fruit trees- you really can't go wrong. I hope they are coming out of dormancy and showing promise. I just planted a dwarf Eureka lemon since I'm always using them and love the convenience of backyard culture. Thank you for your kind comments both here and as a new follower. I am looking forward to the exchange of our ideas on gardening and such.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub about gardening. I learn much from you and I'll share this hub with my father. He loves gardening too. Nice pictures and I really enjoy reading this hub. Rated up (useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting). Take care!

      Prasetio

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello Prasetio,

      I really appreciate you stopping by to read and comment. It makes me happy to hear that my advice and suggestions were helpful to you and that you will share it with your father! Thank you for your thoughtful compliments.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on Hub of the Day. With all these gorgeous photos and wonderful descriptions, I can already picture myself in your beautiful garden. I'm too lazy to work on my own, but I am ready to move into yours!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi, Millionaire Tips! You've made me smile with your comment about being too lazy and wanting to move in. haha! It sounds like a potted palm, chaise lounge, and small table for a margarita would suit your garden style! Of course you can come visit, but be warned that I might put you to work if you move in (: I really appreciate your congrats and compliments- thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 4 years ago

      I love your pictures! I had a planter box put in a couple months ago and I haven't done anything with it, but you are inspiring me. I wonder what would be a good thing to plant right now. I'm in Northern California/SF Bay area. But not in SF. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      What a beautiful garden you have created!!! Just lovely!!! Sharing this!

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Good morning, Audrey! Thank you for the lovely compliment. You have really brightened my day. I am so glad that you enjoyed this. :)

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 4 years ago from australia

      cat on a soap box Hi. What wonderful information and photographs. So many different layouts and colors. You have given me so many great ideas.

      Thank you for all this information. Thumbs up and Awesome. :):)

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi oliversmum,

      Thank you! I am delighted that my hub gave you some great ideas. I hope you feel inspired to create a lovely spot that suits you just right! I appreciate your stopping by to comment:)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 21 months ago from Florida

      I just came back for another visit to your beautiful garden. I couldn't help but notice those lovely shutters in your window. I had some just like them in my old house, and just loved them.

      I loved looking at your flowers. I grow the Angel Trumpet, too.

      Most of my gardening is done in pots since I have very little yard space in my new apartment.

      Well, you know the sad story of my tomato fiasco , now I'll stick with flowers.

      Going to share this lovely Hub here and will Pin to my gardening board.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image
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      Catherine Tally 21 months ago from Los Angeles

      Thank you, Mary! I do most of my things in pots too which I place in among the mature plants in my flower beds. They are easier to care for during hot seasons and drought. When we move I will miss the plantation shutters. Shutters of any kind will always be my favorite window treatments because of the look and ease in directing light. I really appreciate the shares and posts on pinterest - bless you! Wishing you many happy moments and peace in your garden-

      Cat:)

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