Made with love

Eric and I were married in our backyard on June 11, 2009. In the weeks before, we created our Japanese garden as a kind of wedding gift to each other.

Japanese garden lantern

Here’s the “before” shot—we (Eric) tore down this eyesore shed.

garden shed

We (really, this time) built a symbolic island out of basalt rocks salvaged from a friend’s yard, surrounded it with river rock, and added stepping stones. I can’t believe how small everything was then!



A year later, the plants had filled out quite a bit.

Japanese garden 2011

We lost our beautiful ‘bene kawa’ coral bark Japanese maple in the ice storm of January, 2011. We replanted with another Japanese maple, but it’s not a coral bark.

ice storm 1/2012

Here’s the garden now. The space has really changed as the maple tree and the weeping blue Atlas cedar grow. The ginkgo tree, out of frame to the left, is 15 ft tall now. A few plants haven’t made it, which is just an opportunity to buy new plants.

Japanese garden 2013

Japanese garden at sunset

Our garden is made with love, and, like our marriage, it grows and changes and expands, surprises and comforts us. (Of course … it’s really for the cats.)

checkers in the forest grass


My blogger friend Victoria Elizabeth Barnes is hosting a link party with the theme “Made with love.” Stop by her blog for a great story about friendship and to see what others have made with love!



11 thoughts on “Made with love

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      I knew Eric was the guy for me when I realized he also loves gardening–and cats–and old house renovation! I wouldn’t be able to do it all without him!

  1. Karen B.

    What a charming garden. I just recently planted my first Japanese Maple…it’s in a large cement pot because the soil in Southern California is too alkaline for that species to thrive. I love the moss you planted. Great job.

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      True, our soil is naturally acidic up here … that’s why all those rhodies and azaleas and cedars grow so well! I also like to use containers. Sometimes I put them right out in the garden with the in-ground plants. And the deck gets crowded, too.

  2. Victoria • Restoring our Victorian

    I was going to say something about how lovely your garden is… or how nice the comparison to marriage… but then the cat photo stole the show.

    That tree REALLY was coral! I thought it was netting or something splayed on the ground, the color was so vivid…

    And I have moss envy… did you grow that? Or farm it out from somewhere else? My moss is NEVER that happy and always on the verge of extinction.

    1. D'Arcy H

      That moss exceeded all my expectations! It’s some kind of Australian moss that thrives in sun. (Sorry, I can’t recall the name.) I want to get more but now of course I can’t find it. I bought a few 4-in. pots and planted them several inches apart. I love the way they’ve mounded up and spread out! The one thing that kills it is being peed on by our dog … but that kills anything!!

      1. D'Arcy H Post author

        Ha ha! Yes, when I searched I found lots of pix of Elizabeth Moss and Kate Moss, but nothing about THIS moss. I want to say it had a funny commercial name like “Astroturf” … but if you Google that, you will get advice about how to eradicate moss from your astroturf. If I find more, I’ll let you know the real name!

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