This article was first featured on Fine Gardening magazine.
It was such a joy, and lots of work, when we moved to this house and found ourselves with an entire blank canvas to tackle - originally to the house only the beautiful boulders and one tree (on the left ) in the back of the yard.  My first projects were to fence the backyard and I to plant some trees. Well, I did fenced the backyard but had to refrain to plant trees due to the septic pipes who run through the entire yard.
My husband has dedicated to grow an edible garden, first year he built only one bed, later he added two more. I have focused on design and growing plants. I admit I made quite a few mistakes in the beginning, I wanted to see everything blooming and shining quickly so I didn't give some plants the proper spacing, I planted invasive plants, plants that grew so much and fast, bottom line, I didn't have patience, or knowledge, when I started gardening, and soon enough it became overwhelmed to care for it, and throughout the years I started downsizing it.
It's a very sunny backyard, and for this reason I decided to have only one long flower bed in the back of the yard, and flower beds on the sides of the house. 
My favorite spot is a narrow strip on the north side of the house where my husband built a stone path and a gate, there I planted hydrangeas, hostas, azaleas, clematis, ferns and a white bleeding heart.  Surprisingly to me, this red rose bush thrives in this shady area.
Every now and then I have 'spontaneous' plants growing in my garden, thankfully, I think, for the birds who carry their seeds, some sees them only as weeds but I see beyond that, I see their textures, colors and beautiful shapes, and I let them be.
Every time a deer wonders into our backyard, when hummingbirds visit, bees, butterflies, chipmunks, birds and squirrels I feel blessed. Our yard is destined to be a wildlife oasis, without them some of the joy of gardening would be missed.
Of course, not all creatures are so welcomed, like this caterpillar eating my parsley.  I couldn't kill it, specially after taking this close-up photo, so I removed the parsley and threw it on the edge of property and let the poor creature eat it up, and suffice with the scallion to flavor my food.
I love succulents, their beautiful and unique shapes and textures, and their resilience.
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