Aside from the fact that I loved the book “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett, I always loved the idea of having a space in my yard that would be unexpected, a bit self-contained and hopefully pique curiosity.

Peter comes out in the spring.  This is my side yard garden.

Having a small yard, for years I didn’t believe it was possible to realize my dream in this house.  But after a home tour of a Balboa Peninsula home (where yards can be the size of postage stamps) and the homeowner had a lovely knot garden, I was inspired to try my hand at creating my dream, or a slightly modified version of my dream.

This is my friend, Carla’s beautiful secret garden.  She has walls on 3 sides so her garden is truly more “secret” than mine.

When I embarked on this project I had my own landscape business, Blooming Borders, in partnership with my dear friend, Wendy.  I knew I could get the plants wholesale and figured I could do most of the planting.  Importing and installing the gravel as well as the  1” x 2” border boards was another story so I employed the help of a team from another self-employed landscaper who generously allowed his guys to do the backbreaking work of grass and root removal, installing the borders and gravel (all for a very affordable amount of $$$).

This image was taken last spring…Sally Holmes (climbing rose) is on the fence between my neighbors yard and since it blooms only once a year I’m considering moving it to a different spot in the yard and installing an espaliered tree of some kind.  What do you think?

I completed this garden 10 years ago and I still enjoy this space in my yard, even if it isn’t truly “secret”. (There’s no hidden entrance and you clearly see all parts of the garden from the back yard, but it is unexpected and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it as a “room” in the backyard.

This is Pearl (a hybrid tea rose) and it’s never really done well, although this picture was taken at it’s best.  I may put Mr. Lincoln in its place.

It is now in need of some renovating, that word is beginning to sound like a broken record around my house! I want to plant a line of hydrangea, replace a couple of the roses and work on removing the ever-invasive roots from my neighbor’s tree.

Here is the look I’m going for and a list of the work ahead of me…

I have a hybrid tea rose in each of the center planting areas of the knot.  One of the roses isn’t very happy and I’m thinking of replacing it with Mr. Lincoln.  Isn’t it a beautiful red.

This is an espaliered fruit tree, wouldn’t that be nice…visit the secret garden and pick an apple!

The  main thing I will need to do in my “secret” garden will be to being to replace the border boards that have, after 10 years, finally started to break free of their restraint posts.  I am thinking of trying my hand at placing a line of used brick in its place. 

I realize this image is of some other kind of brick but you get the jest.  I would make the border a single brick width.  I will keep you posted on how this goes.

This is the formal knot garden from a wonderful blog site called Brabourne Farm

This little plaque was a gift when my grandmother passed away so many years ago and it resides in the secret garden.

Newton’s Winery, their knot garden is spectacular.  We visited in 2008 with our dear friends Julie and Dave and it was a bit on the blustery side but still so beautiful.  Truly inspirational for me.

So wish me luck.  I’ve got some serious work to do, but maybe by this time next year I will have the row of hydrangeas and some of the other plants performing their best.