Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 18, 2012

Around The Yard | Mid Summer 2012

Last week I was having a conversation with friends about some things that have been happening in my life and a piece of the story included me going outside to water my plants as a way to ground myself in the present.

There have been times I needed that literal connection to the earth – where I felt outside my body either in sadness or in joy or in that place where it’s hard to tell which emotion you are experiencing. Whether it’s digging, planting, pruning, or caring for my yard – there’s definitely something mutually beneficial about the whole process of being and working out there.

Here’s a look at what’s happening around the yard right now:

The raised beds are exploding.

Six tomato plants, three basil plants and a bunch of strawberries. The first of the tomatoes were just starting to look ripe today. I need to harvest some of the basil – pesto soon.

Cucumbers ended up being the only thing I added to this side of the second bed.

The view of the beds from the other side. Growing up in between the two poles (there’s wire attached to both ends) are sweet peas (flowers not peas that you eat). Just saw the first one bloom yesterday.

These dahlias are as tall as me.

And they are an intense deep red-purple.

Along the fence on the far side of the yard I decided to try some corn.

Last year I was using this area as a compost pile and am now remembering that I put a couple pumpkins there to decompose. Those pumpkin seeds are now growing again right underneath the corn.

And I planted a few other pumpkins too. This is my first time growing pumpkins.

A very big mint plant on my backyard table.

A shady area alongside the house.

Blueberries. They love this spot and have been doing really well here – producing delicious berries. I’ve got two different varieties and one is just about done and the others are just getting ready to be picked.

A single yellow rose off an old rose bush I thought would never make it.

Pink lilies that are out along a big grassy area.

Astilbe – these are in the shaded area along the house. I love them. May try to plant more of these perennials next year.

And a few beautiful mini calla-lillies. I forgot I planted these last year – love seeing them come up.


  • 1.
    christen said…

    your yard is beautiful…my kids love carving pumpkins that we have planted! i hope you get a whole crop.

  • 2.
    Tina J. said…

    It all looks beautiful, Ali. So happy that you’ve discovered the joy in gardening pretty early in life! (I was into my 40s when I made the connection.) It is so good for the soul! Thanks for sharing all the lovely pictures!

  • 3.
    Suz said…

    Your gardening is coming along nicely. We have planted tomatoes, basil, cilantro, peppers, and strawberries here. I so need to plant blueberries too. Thanks for the idea! Enjoy your day Ali! :)

  • 4.
    shari bryant said…

    what a lovely yard. thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself with us. i have followed you since 2007 and i feel like i know you, like friends. hugs from virginia.

  • 5.
    Samantha said…

    Where did you find the lights you have strung up? They are great!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Target :)

  • 6.
    Tere said…

    You are a gardener too! The garden looks amazing. I love astilbe too.

  • 7.
    Jill said…

    Looking great, Ali! My patio and ground gardens are really helping me out this summer, too. They give me something to do during the day when I normally would be at work. I love puttering around in them and letting my mind wander. And being out in the summer air and sun – it’s all so good! I should have ripe tomatoes in a few weeks and ditto on the basil. I need to make pesto in a hurry.

  • 8.
    Jill said…

    Oh, and your dahlias are amazing! Mine are about 5″ tall, but blooming. Luckily I have a bunch of bud vases.

  • 9.
    Lara said…

    Your yard is coming along so wonderfully! How nice that you have such a great mixture of sun, shade, places for raised beds, and still plenty of space for you and kids to relax and play. I love your lights too! Thanks for the inspiration. I have a lot of shade in my yard (plus I’m outside of Seattle so we don’t often get a lot of direct hot,sun….as you know), and I have planted lots of astilbe over the years. I love it too! It’s such a pretty plant and so nice to have such color in the shaded areas.

  • 10.
    Sue said…

    A true nurturer you are. It is so wonderful to gain peace and joy in nature. It truly makes one feel connected to earth. Being so hot here in the midwest all our yards are burned up and 104 and up heat is no fun! Still, I value the early morning outside time I can water my trees and bedding plants. Thanks for sharing you nature beauties with us.

  • 11.
    slmnontec said…

    About this time last year I was prompted to take 10 photos of what I loved about my yard. Time to do it again. Thanks for the reminder.

  • 12.
    Clouds said…

    amazing back yard, looks rather large – love that you have a vegatable garden going – we have a small back yard – we planted tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, squash, beets, carrots, peppers, cucumbers and basil – we luv it!


  • 13.
    Kym said…

    Not sure if you know this, but corn, squash and beans can be planted together…..these plants are the “three sisters”. In traditional farming they were planted together…the squash (pumpkins, in your case) kept the weeds down and the corn gives the beans a place to climb as they grow. Your corn and pumpkins are probably getting on famously!

    Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures. :)

    • ….
      Ali said…


    • ….
      HelenH said…

      You might also need to plant rows of corn, not just one straight line.

    • .
      Ali said…

      Isn’t one line considered a row?

    • ….
      DaniW in Oz said…

      HelenH is right, it needs to be in a block:-

      “The best way to plant corn is from organic seeds, but you need to make sure it’s fresh to get a good rate of plants coming up. The other thing, you should always plant corn in blocks rather than single rows. The cobs are pollinated by wind, so block planting ensures you get a good even distribution of pollen.”

      I love QLD – we are right in the middle of winter here – and I am growing almost exactly the same things in my vegie garden as you are, even the sweet peas!!

    • .
      Ali said…

      Okay cool – thanks for that info!

  • 14.
    P.J. said…

    My Dad always planted pumpkins in the sweet corn rows. It keeps the deer out, since they don’t like to step when they can’t see the ground. Thanks for the memory.

  • 15.
    Lisa W. said…

    Lovely pictures…and I SO get what you mean. There is just something about watering …nurturing these awesome little peices of heaven. You have done a spectacular job. We grew pumkins one year…They were so awesome. Kind of upset bc the husband did not plant them this year. Another year. Thanks for the lovely post…just kinda of brings up the soul:)

  • 16.

    Hi Ali ~ Thanks for sharing your lovely garden photos with us today. I have followed your blog for several years now, and I RARELY leave a comment, but I wanted to this time. I want you to know that you are doing ALL the right things, and your personal growth has been amazing to witness. I know that at times you probably feel like you are grasping to hold it all together (been there, done that…) but I can see you evolving into a strong, beautiful and independent soul. Divorce can be ugly, hurtful, and scary, but I want you to know that you are doing all the right things to get through it. You are finding your roots (no pun intended with the garden photos…) and still finding things to rejoice in. It’s awesome, Ali! Hang in there and keep doing exactly what you are doing. It’s all part of this amazing growth experience called life, and you are totally rocking it, girl! xo

  • 17.
    Christine said…

    Oh I am so jealous. We are in a major draught and heat wave here in MO. Everything just looks so tired and puny. I’m at the point of watering in hopes of everything making it back next year instead of beauty this year. Thanks for sharing the lovely pics. I miss taking my own this year.

  • 18.
    Kelli W said…

    we have the same dahlias – I love that deep, dark color. Your yard looks great!

  • 19.
    Judy Webb said…

    So wonderful to see your yard and plants growing. TX heat makes for few successful veggies (at least in our part of TX). You are so balanced and grounded!! Working, Mother and yard person and now, much more. Keep the yard photos coming. It was 100 degrees at my home today.

  • 20.
    Dori said…

    With the watering ban STILL in effect and brown grass everywhere I look (NW Chicago suburb) I’ve pretty much given up on my flowers and garden this year. So I’ve really enjoyed my stay here today, savoring every detail of your lovely garden photos. Thanks, Ali.

  • 21.
    Felicia Young said…

    Love your yard!

  • 22.
    madeline St onge said…

    your yard is beautiful Ali, good job

  • 23.
    KazT said…

    Thanks for sharing your lovely backyard. It’s winter here so everything is closed up and hibernating. I’ve been looking at my vege patch thinking it’s time to attack it ready for spring planting. Last year my tiny little patch kept us in cucumbers and tomatoes across the summer. Your photos tell a lovely story.

  • 24.
    cindy trimble said…

    Wishing you peace in your heart!

  • 25.
    Brooke said…

    Wow your garden is really coming along. Love the mix of plants and veges you have. I wonder if blueberries would grow here?!

  • 26.
    Christine said…

    Love how your garden is looking this year. My garden is pretty much in containers this year. I actually have tomatoes this year unlike two years ago when I ended up 2 tomatoes when we had a very cool summer up here in Puget sound.
    Gardens are like children, they need consistent love and attention. It’s a wonderful thing to pour your energy into something that gives and gives and gives. :)

  • 27.
    Deb said…

    Hi Ali. Your pumpkin and corn remind me of a garden planting strategy called “three sisters”. The concept is basically growing corn, something that climbs like peas or beans, and a ground cover like the pumpkins. It’s pretty neat idea. Your garden and yard look great. I’m def envious. Our yard is scorched from the drought but I’m still able to water my garden boxes. Thank gosh we live right on the shore of Lake Michigan… watering ban yet.

  • 28.
    HeatherOz said…

    Your blueberries and the fence behind them remind me of the book If You Give a Moose a Muffin.

  • 29.
    Eva said…

    I love dahlias – and yours are such a gorgeous colour. Thanks for sharing.

  • 30.
    kathyg3 said…

    Sweet peas are my fovorite flower! It seems so odd to me that you grow them now! In Arizona, I plant mine in September for an early spring bloom. As soon as the heat hits, they’re gone. Enjoy their delicate scent for me!

  • 31.
    mel said…

    So wonderful. It is a an amazing feeling being out amongst things you have grown. I know its hard work but I feel lucky that I discovered gardening and veg growing I would be a different person without that pleasure in my life.

    Thanks for sharing your appreciation of it.

  • 32.
    Marie said…

    Your yard is beautiful Ali, and oh! the dahlias… I’m in love! :-)

  • 33.
    Alida said…

    Your design sense shines through here too.

  • 34.
    Mallory said…

    Goodness, Ali! I’m very impressed! The yard in our new home has so much potential, but I don’t have a green thumb at all. I really, really want some beautiful flowers, and I want to try my hand at fruits and veggies. But I just don’t know how to go about it. I did my window box, with very easy flowers that like shade, and those are doing well. But I feel so overwhelmed with starting anything else. Plus, south Florida is too hot/wet for a lot of plants, don’t ya think?

  • 35.
    patty said…

    great home garden you have going on…LOVE it!

  • 36.
    Claire said…

    Your garden is absolutely beautiful. Here in England it has been so wet that everyone’s garden is struggling. I have heard there are up to 1,000 slugs per square metre! Everything I plant is eaten straight away, it’s so frustrating. So it is lovely to see everything flourishing in your garden. Can’t bear to look at mine!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      So many slugs and snails here too.

  • 37.
    sheila said…

    Simon and Anna will certainly love picking those pumpkins…I remember as a kid we had our own pumpkin to take care of…a friendly competition among the siblings to see who grew the best one…great memories for sure!

  • 38.
    jen said…

    Love the pics of the garden. Be careful with pumpkins they are naughty. The grow out and can takeover everything. My family grows them every year. We put them out in our pasture because they take up so much room.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I had read that about them which is why I chose a spot where there’s really nothing else (besides the corn). Thanks for the heads up.

  • 39.
    Roni Hunt said…

    First of all your plantings are amazing!!!! I have to tell you that nothing sooths me more than working on planting and nurturing my plants. I think you totally hit the nail on the head by saying it grounds you! I am totally in agreement!

    You can add ‘Mother Nature’ to your aka’s!!

  • 40.
    Carolyn HP said…

    Love all your photos, we’re having a very dry summer here in Canada, so we’re doing everything we can to keep our planters and flowers alive… especially since we’re trying to use some for our ceremony space for our mid-August wedding. Crossing my fingers! Love that your are enjoying your space and we all need to find the little things that help us remember to breathe, good for you Ali :)

  • 41.
    sophie said…

    Ali, i just LOVE your backyard. i’m sure it smells amazing out there on a perfect day. thanks for sharing! ps: do you have any tips for someone who’s just starting out and wants to grow something in a pot? we have dogs and they love to pee in our backyard, so planting in the ground is out of the question.

  • 42.
    Kim said…

    You seem happier. I’m very glad of that. It’s a new beginning.

  • 43.
    Kimberlee said…


  • 44.
    Bev Mascara said…

    Just so peaceful brings JOY!!!

  • 45.
    Radish said…

    Next you may find the joy of preserving foods.

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