A Look Through My Garden in 2021

My garden. Each year, I open up my garden to all of you, via the internet. 2021 was an interesting year, both in the garden and elsewhere. In my garden, the heat of summer played a big part in the amount (or lack thereof) of maintenance which I did. I am already changing some of my landscape for next year, redoing some gardens, and adding onto others.

This was the first year in which my wife played a big part in the choices made in the garden. In the past, she generally lets me do whatever I want, but now she has gotten into growing vegetables and flowers. I have had to accommodate her new found love of growing things into the gardens I build. But I am happy to do so, so maybe I do not have to do all the work myself anymore.

My Wife’s Garden

Last year, we added goats, geese, chickens, ducks, and rabbits to our small, but growing farm. In 2021, we added more goats, so we now have 2 bucks and 3 does. We also have 2 turkeys and a small milk cow. Finding shelter for those new animals has led to the creation of new spaces, both for housing animals and for gardening.

In front of the now finished goat barn (made almost completely from recycled materials), there is a space of 20 feet by 20 feet that my wife used for her garden. Her garden consists of a raised bed, a mounded center island. and large containers for flowers and vegetables. She used several mineral tubs full of potting soil to grow carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, squash, beans, and more. Flowers went into various small planters and containers.

I was very impressed by her determination to plant and grow food for our family. And now I need to redesign the whole back landscape so we can grow enough food to can and freeze next season.

goat shed garden
My Wife’s Garden and the Goat Shed

My Garden Up Front

On the south side of our house lay a myriad of garden spaces which are not dedicated to growing food. Even though I have several food bearing plants scattered within the many gardens, they are not solely dedicated to edibles. If you have heard me talk about my garden before you know it is separated into a variety of smaller areas, each with their own name. The Entry Garden, Monarch Waystation, Cottage Shade Garden, and Woodland Border are the main ones up front.

These cover and area about 1/3rd of an acre in size. About half of that space is full sun. The rest is canopied with walnut, cottonwood, Kentucky coffeetree, hickory, redbud, and Osage orange.

The very front next to the house used to have both an herbal tea garden and my water feature, but is now bare soil. In early December, we had to dig up our septic line and replace it, stripping the landscape beforehand. The whole spot will be redesigned and planted to include berries, lavender, sedums, alliums, and dahlias.

The Entry Garden remains the same as previous years, but both the Monarch Waystation and Woodland Border are getting upgrades.

the Entry Garden
The Entry Garden looking east

The Woodland Border Garden

Sometimes, letting nature take control really messes up the balance of the garden space. I did that in 2021 and was not pleased to see an over-abundance of Virginia stickseed, white snakeroot, and creeping Charlie. So, in October I began to change to look and plant palette of this garden. It is still a border, and will contain a variety of natives that love shade, but will no longer be so wild overall.

After cleaning out the “weeds”, I also removed some peonies and iris that were never truly planted, just placed there from our old home (7 years ago!). Then I removed some natives that prefer sun over shade, moving them to the Meadow Garden in the back. I added winter aconite bulbs, daffodils, and hostas. Next spring, when everything is up and growing again, I will add in pockets of columbine, wild ginger, jack-in-the-pulpit, bloodroot, false Solomon’s seal, and starry campion. To name a few.

The Monarch Waystation

While I am not changing the majority of the Monarch Waystation, it is getting a facelift. I will be removing many of the wild asters that are hogging space from the more desirable plants. Also, I am removing most of the stiff goldenrod, which will be replaced with a border of zinnia and annual cornflower. Purple, showy, and butterfly milkweed will remain prominent.

The Gardens of the Backyard

North of our house, sits 4 of our 5 acres of land. However, most of it remains in a tree lot, which I am slowly clearing, aided by our hungry goats. The space consists of a large kitchen potager (the vegetable garden), the Sunny Cottage Garden, the Meadow Garden, and will eventually have the Fruit Orchard.

The Sunny Cottage Garden

This border along the back part of our house is only about 40 feet long and 20 feet wide, yet contains over 50 species of plants and many cultivars. It, like the other gardens, has waves of color in turn. First, the baptisia, then the iris, then the daylily, then the lily. Each ties together the masses of wandering colors and flower shapes throughout this garden. Nothing new here, except a layer of mulch.

the Sunny Cottage Garden
The Sunny Cottage Garden

The Meadow Garden

My Meadow Garden became more of a reality this summer instead of a collection of native perennials and grasses. As other plants moved from other gardens, and I added natives from a local grower, the meadow took on a special vibe. Here you can find softly waving grasses where dragonflies flit and rest, along with many wonderful flowers.

kitchen potager
Looking towards the Kitchen Potager and Meadow Garden

The Kitchen Potager

Originally, the Kitchen Potager was 100 feet long by 50 feet wide. Now, we are morphing it into an even larger space, to accommodate my wife in the growing of food. It will be widened to at least 80 feet and lengthened to 120, for now. In the future, I plan to widen it to even more, possibly to 200 feet. For now, we are preparing the beds God’s way, by covering the earth with a layer of leaf mulch, then soil, then hardwood mulch. This will be a no-till garden that will be planted not only with vegetables and herbs, but also with a variety of annual flowers.


The garden has and always will change from year to year, as I add new plants, transplant others, and remove aggressive plants. Looking forward to those changes are what makes gardening so exciting. I can hardly wait for next year!

Happy planting!

author of my garden

3 thoughts on “A Look Through My Garden in 2021

    1. Hi Michael, I am removing the most of the stiff goldenrod because it has become a thug in my garden, taking over and spreading where I don’t want it.

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