Building a Colonial Garden… The EASY Way!

April 26th, 2009

Several weeks ago, Cynthia of Dahling, I Love You But Give Me Park Avenue! sent me a link to New York Times article with a photo of a ‘colonial garden’.   She said that it looked like something that would go with my house.  I followed the link and knew immediately that I had to have the garden in the photo. I sent the link on to the Country Doctor and said, “Hey honey!  Let’s make our garden look like this!”

This is conversation that followed


CD – “Like what?”

ME – “Like the photo in that article I sent you!”

CD – “You mean the flowers?”

Me – “No… I mean the way it is laid out.”

CD – “You want to plant flowers in our vegetable garden?”

Me – “Probably a few… but what I am really getting at is the lay out… the way it looks…”

CD – “You mean the flowers?”

Me – “NO! I don’t mean the flowers! This has nothing to do with the flowers! I am talking about the layout!”

CD – “I thought we were going to do a vegetable garden.”


CD – “Where are you going to put all those flowers?”


CD  - “Where?”

Me – “Can you please explain to me how you really managed to get through four years of medical school and become a doctor and not be able to UNDESRSTAND THIS EXTRAORDINARILY SIMPLE THING THAT I AM TRYING TO TELL YOU!”

CD – “Okay… Okay…I get it… I get it… you want to plant flowers in the vegetable garden!”


After another three days of discussions, I finally managed to get him beyond the ‘flowers in the vegetable garden’ and onto the ‘lay out’ of the garden.

And then he built it for me.

Just like that…

Sometimes I think he just likes to torture me.



Originally, the Country Doctor wanted to put our garden on the far side of our pond.  




I carefully explained to him several times… slowly and loudly… each time more slowly… and more loudly… that placing the garden a half day’s hike from the house would probably not result in a bountiful harvest.

“Why is that?” he asked.












As you can see, I won that particular battle.


But not completely.


I really wanted to center the garden on the dining room windows, but the CD had just planted a tender stand of grass in that area and was not about to smother it with a ‘colonial vegetable garden’ full of flowers that he felt really belonged on the other side of the pond.






And then he made a bunch of stakes.







And each time he drove one into the ground, it was like driving a stake into his heart.  

He was building a garden in the wrong place… that would be full of flowers… and was not even going to require him to suffer mercilessly to take care of it.


Whenever my husband’s life is easy… it is actually very hard.





And whenever it is hard… it is easy.




I have no idea how the two of us ever got together!


  • Tee hee. My hubby asks a million questions too, and they are always about the most obvious stuff. Like, seriously? You can’t get what I mean from the long explanation, pictures, and hand gestures I just gave you??

    However, yours is also a handy landscaper, which mine is not. So you win that round! I look forward to seeing your beautiful garden. You putting flowers in that?

  • Awesome! :)

  • Carol:

    I too have a “potager” style vegetable garden in raised beds. I have a colorful pot in the center with flowers that change each year and add a solid color point. I also add small marigolds around the edges; supposed to keep away insects that chew holes in everything. Perhaps.

    I only wish I didn’t have so many critters competing for my vegetables: woodchucks, rabbits, squirrels, crows, chipmunks. There is a very tall fence to keep the deer out, but nothing much to do about the rest of them.

    Thrilled to discover they apparently don’t like asparagus.

  • That’s going to be beautiful! I can’t wait to see it in full bloom.


  • When we first moved to this property 12 years ago, we had NO SOIL in which to garden so we went to 4′ x 8′ raised beds that we filled with hauled in dirt which we’ve improved on year by year. Now I want to tear them all up and re-do everything in attractive shapes like yours! (Oh, boy, my dear husband is never gonna understand this.)

  • That garden will be AWESOME! I think I might have a try at explaining this to my husband…hmmm, maybe not;)

  • I saw this on another page/or other blog and I TOTALLY INSTANTLY coveted it. Much like I was coveting your trip to Pie Near Women’s Lodge. But anyway, my husband said that yes, it’s very doable and now he’s got pictures to go by. Thanks!

  • Keep posting the progress, please. Even though you’re in a different climate than me, I’m interested in following the progression of your garden.

  • Rechelle:

    CAROL!!! I am going to do the same thing! I have been thinking about it for weeks. How big of a pot… how tall… can I put it on something. It has become the most important part of the garden… which doesn’t seem quite right.

  • He made a whole lot of progress!

  • Kellye:

    Hey, he made it look just like the colonial garden. Good for you for perservering. Keep us updated.

  • Nancy:

    Enjoy your lovely garden to be.

  • Pretty please…send him to NYC to set up my garden!!! PLEASSSSSEEEEE.

    Yes, I’m whining.

  • caren:

    OH That is so pretty, I would LOVE to have that. I can’t wait to see what you plant.

    But if I attempted something like that I would get kicked out of the neighborhood because it wouldn’t look anything like that. I would have to come up with some excuse along the lines of aliens and crop circles, middle of the night thing. I don’t know.

  • My hubby and I have similar conversations and I end up hitting my head against the wall in frustration.
    The garden is going to be wonderful and beautiful – can’t wait to see it in bloom!

  • Too funny, but I absolutly love the garden layout.

  • georgie:

    My sweetie helped me set up two raised bed vegetable gardens-fenced and with net overhead so the cat can’t help with “plowing and fertilization” of the veggies. I planted the veggie seeds about four weeks ago. He came by yesterday and the seedlings are growing great. Now he has these ideas about more and more raised bed gardens and re-arranging the layout! The other discussion is gate design/installation. We’ve both come up with oh say 40 million different affordable designs and still there is just a make-do hardware cloth, zip ties, hook latch gate.
    Your new garden is going to be gorgeous! Just wait, Country Doctor will show it off to everyone and brag about the design and installation.

  • I can’t wait to see it mid-summer. Gorgeous!

    I’m also currently fighting the “let’s put the veggie garden in the most inconvenient place possible” battle. I’m thinking one cast iron frying pan to the head (his, not mine) is the only way to solve the problem. *sigh* Men.

  • jean:

    Now that is a perfect design. I may copy it that next year or so. For this year I just went with two raised beds. My husband is not at all handy so I recruited my dad.

  • Marin:

    My DH wants to plant the garden in the furthest possible place of convenience and the water spigot too. Apparently, common sense is not in the genetic code of the male species. I bet Georgie’s right — that CD will be sharing his know-how on “garden design and installation” once it’s in full bloom.

  • Yaya2three:


  • Nancy:

    What a lovely garden you will have, send your hubby to my house to build me one. Now that he knows how to do it!!!!
    Show us pictures when you have it planted.

  • siltedrepose:

    My husband and I recently bought some large pots and filled them with dirt in order to do a vegetable garden. There wasn’t a space in the yard that looked good to me for inserting a garden. We put some broccoli in one and then my husband wanted to put some flowers in, so I put flowers in the other thinking we’d have one vegetable pot and one flower pot. I planted the flower seeds very carefully to get a symmetrical look with alternating types and taller ones in the middle. The next day I noticed some beans had been randomly tossed into the pot. Arrgh! I want my own garden!

  • Oh, I love the layout!! :) We just built raised veggie beds and my radishes and lettuce have popped out of the soil the past two days. Made me so proud!! hehe Looking forward to seeing your garden grow. My beds are on my blog if you get curious. The layout isn’t as pretty as yours though. ;)