Designing a shady garden retreat
Do you dream of a secret garden? Find out how this dream came true for Jeanne Sammons and what it means to her. Then create your own.
Almost 20 years ago my hubby and I planted hundreds of pine trees on three acres of field ground. We were done pasturing horses or an occasional calf, tired of making hay and ready for a change. As the pines matured over ten years, I dreamed up the idea of building a small log cabin in the middle of those beautiful pines! Well, the cost factor did not allow that dream become reality so I decided I would build my own ‘Secret Garden in the Pines.’
“The first addition was a ‘log’ swing, of course, since I wasn’t getting a log cabin! My hubby and I laid some patio block, recycled some huge logs for a hopping trail for the grandkids and planted some prairie flowers. I could sit out in my haven, listen to the sounds of the birds and not see anything but Nature.” Jeanne says.
Keep my shady secret….
“Over time I added an old barn door adorned with flea market celestial treasures. Then a friend found the perfect concrete birdbath at an auction that fit right among the pines! In the last years, the trees have grown so tall that suddenly I could see more than just Nature. So last year I started planting more shrubbery among the pine path leading to my Secret Garden hoping to hide the peeking view of man-made buildings. With a little persuasion my hubby helped me hook up my old claw foot bathtub from another location and drag it out with the ‘Gator to the pine path.”
“Here’s another view of that same path area I’m working at…Willow easel with an old barn wood frame…it’s framing a white shutter birdhouse made 4 or 5 yrs back,” Jeanne says.
“..this area needs some good height to help block view from my Secret Garden Log Swing, which would be in the grassy area to the right…(you can’t see it here) Don’t want to use ‘rocks’ as I don’t like those slinky creatives who live under them,” Jeanne says.
Jeanne confides, “Yesterday I relaxed here in my Secret Garden…it’s quiet out here …you can see some prairie flowers, cup plants, are growing alongside the swing …others like yellow & purple coneflowers, bee balm grow behind the swing…my celestial old barn door…whiskey barrel rings sphere on the path…lots of pine needles & birds singing!”
The ‘tub garden’ evolves over time
“I’ve been moving some stuff near the path to my Secret Garden Log Swing area…the big White Pines have grown & now my ‘secret’ garden is not so secret anymore (I can see the house!) …so earlier this year my husband and I moved old clawfoot bathtub out there…I planted a few Hostas last Fall (figured I would feed the deer as they trotted thru my path!) …here’s some more goodies…I need help with the tub plantings! Nothing is ‘working’ yet! All shade! I want height so I planted some Ferns and a Coral Bell so far…looking maybe for sculpture of some sort …shrub? Let me know your suggestions!”
“So, this ‘secret garden in the pines‘ just grows and grows with ideas shared by Flea Market Gardening friends, for example, the recycled ‘tool mailbox’ I added yesterday. I’ve always loved flower gardens and prairies and pine trees so I have found the best of these three worlds in this place I call my outdoor church, where I can sit in the log swing and meditate and feel close to God.” ~~ Jeanne
Jeanne says, “I’m always adding to my Secret Garden … the last harsh winter killed the perennials from last year so now I replanted some others this summer and I have added some ‘stained glass’ butterflies from some friends and my own to create the look of a stained glass arbor at the old tub.”
Secret garden: Beautiful place of solitude, peace and natural beauty
Prairie: Great natural meadows of long grass and native wildflowers
See all of Jeanne’s secret garden: