Celebrating 10 Years of Garden Blogging - A Look Back

This past October, I passed the milestone of blogging for 10 years. Good grief, the longest I've been employed at any one place has been my current gig.. of nearly six years.

10 YEARS of Blogging!! Now that's a Commitment!

What started as a way to journal my thoughts, trials and tribulations became a portal that connected me to fellow gardeners near and far. Truly, that was unexpected surprise.

Below, the first garden I blogged about. Our little old house, overlooking the Columbia river, in a small, rural town. I was a gardener who only grew traditional perennials and bulbs. My first blog post was October 2008.

I was also a young mother with two babies and all the demands that babies and a young marriage can bring. My kids were 3 and 1 years old when I first began to blog.

little garden helper
Here are the humans I've grown during my blogging journey...
My first attempt at vegetable gardening in our tiny patch of a back yard happened around 2010. I wanted to feed my kids organically grown food and my grocery budget was tight.

I choose raised beds because I wanted to maximize the growing season. I also grew strawberries and raspberries. I was lucky to find UK based blogger's Mark and Sue, who kindly and patiently answered all of my questions. They both continue to run their respective blogs. These two were my first 'blogging' friends.

I started to venture out further into the online garden blogging sphere around 2010 and found 'Blotanical' as a source of more US based garden bloggers and those bloggers inspired and challenged me to expand what I grew and how I documented the process on my blog. Subsequently, I have gotten to know in person many of the bloggers in the greater Portland and Seattle metro areas through our plant swaps and the yearly Garden Blogger's Fling that is held throughout the United States and Canada. I feel so lucky to be a part of this fun group of people united by a love of growing plants.

Portland area Garden Bloggers at the Austin Fling 2018
We moved back into the Willamette Valley mid-2012 and took on my husband's historical family home near the Willamette River. It was built by his great-grandfather in the mid-1920's and we are the fourth generation to live in this home.

The family cottage - 'Pre-Jenni'
 I have dedicated a page on this blog to all of the improvements that we have done thus far. Here is a link.  So many posts dedicated to documenting our journey of making this little cottage shine again.
Here's the short version of the exterior improvements.

New plant beds in the front...

New siding and paint colors - house and garage:

After - it does look quite smart now..
Front yard circa 2015

And currently...looking at the left hand side of the small front yard - the 80+ year old privet hedge was pulled out to allow for more space for plants! Silver Cat approves.

Also in the front yard, we created a walkway to expand the driveway and a side patio. It's nice to step onto pavers when you get out of your car..and I did enjoy the side patio last summer, especially when we utilized the travel trailer's awning.

drive expansion / sidewalk created

side patio 'aka' TrailerVille'
Blogging about the updates to our home and garden has given me a great deal of satisfaction. I love looking back, especially in times of frustration, and seeing the documented ways I have made positive change to our space.

I have continued the organic vegetable growing experiment. Here's a look at how it has evolved in our current home:

Here is where I started:

Blank slate 2011..

And then there were raised bed...2012. We made these beds before we even moved in!

morphing into..2015 where we have two fruit trees, a large rasperry and strawberry patch as well as blueberries and eight, oversized, raised veggie beds.

and incorporating more flowers for the bee's...2018. The move to bring in more flowering annuals and to be thoughtful about habitat for bee's and butterflies is the direction I am taking my gardens.

The immediate backyard is one of my favorite places. I come here to quietly read, listen to the birds, hang out with the pets, entertain friends and family or to simply find quiet.

Here is how it looked when we first moved in:

Looking back to the right...

And to the left...

Here is the right hand side in 2017

the left hand side 2016

Here's my favorite picture of the immediate backyard taken in September 2016:

And another taken in 2016 with Silver Cat sitting on the garden gate..

And here's a look at things in 2018..

Right hand side

The right hand side in summer..

And the left hand side in spring..

left hand side looking straight back in summer..

Notable changes occurred in 2017 when the property next to us sold and two large homes took the place of one small one. I fully admit, I nearly lost it more than once as the construction and problems with the builder were more than I could take. Here's what the change looked like from my lens...

The first house going up...

And the second house which is a flag lot. Both homes dwarf our little cottage.  

The back house changed the amount of sunshine our veg garden gets, so we pulled down the big Tree of Heaven (nasty, invasive thing that it was) to get more sunlight to our back lot. It was a good to get that tree out of our yard.

In the front yard, we pulled out a large privet hedge (another good change) to give us the illusion of more elbow room and to take advantage of a new fence that was put in.  I added three trellis' and have enjoyed the four seasons of blooms in this new south facing bed.

The big house next to us still bother me because they are so tall, but both of the families that moved in are delightful. I'll take having great neighbors any day.

Here's our little cottage in the snow in January 2017..

To end this rather long look back at ten years of blogging, I will say that it has been a very worthwhile experience and I'm glad I stuck with it. The best part has been meeting fellow garden bloggers off line and staying in touch online. 

Gardening brings me great peace. I appreciate the lessons that my grandparents taught me about gardening and I enjoy teaching my own kids how to grow things. I love creating habitats for birds and bees and then relaxing in their company on a warm summers day. 

The exercise of looking back over the past ten years and recounting my journey has been very cathartic. I realize now, how much growth in my knowledge of plants has occurred. I can see how I've ventured outside of my initial comfort zone of plants and moved into a love of dwarf conifers and climate adapted perennials. I'm still veggie gardening and have a zillion ideas on what I'd like to do next in our yard and garden. 

Thanks for joining me on this look back on the last 10 years of my gardening life. 
Cheers, Jenni


  1. Congratulations on sticking with blogging for ten years! I remember when you moved to the historic little house and started making changes, I think I started reading your blog not long before that, when you were still living in (I think) St. Helens. I remember a post about a runaway truck. You have done amazing things with your garden. I'm so glad your new neighbors are nice folks.

    1. Thank you Alison! You played a big part in helping me get established. So many of the plants you gave me are still around and it's wonderful to see my friends in my garden :)

  2. Yay!! I'm so glad you started blogging and have stuck with it. The transformation of your home and garden (and little humans!) is fantastic and inspirational. I am still shocked at the size of those houses, who needs that much space? Oh and the second one, in the photo you named newneighbors.02, it looks like your kids couldn't even fit between the house and the chain-link fence. Is it really that close? I'll be celebrating my 10-year milestone in March...I think a lot of us turn 10 in this coming year.

    1. I'm so glad I kept up with blogging too! Both homes are 7 to 5 ft from the fence line. My old house sits six inches off the property line, as there were no setbacks when our home was built in the 1920's. It feels dramatic in the back because of how tall that back house is. We think they made it sit a few feet higher than the front house so that the lot would drain better...? They had to make special, underground chambers to hold run off water because so much of the properties are covered in roof!

  3. What an amazing transformation! You've undergone some major projects and commitments in your garden and it paid off. I love the bold color of your cottage and the plants you chose are perfect. Cheers to another 10 productive years!

  4. Congratulations ! I 'm on my tenth year too . I loved seeing your lovely house and garden through all these years ... and our beautiful children ! and cat or cats of course .

  5. I am thankful that blogging has brought you into my orbit along with so many others. Gardeners are the best! Good that the new houses brought you good neighbors...it will make it much easier to adjust, no?

  6. Your hard work is so evident, your love and passion in plain sight. Congratulations on 10 wonderful years, we're the richer for your documentation of your gardening process. The bees and butterflies thank you. xo


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. The comment moderator is on and I will approve comments as soon as I can. Thank you for stopping by!

Popular Posts