Pocket Gardens

Pocket Gardens

I live on over 6 wooded acres, and only around the house is it cleared enough to allow for a decent amount of gardening space. Over the years I have added small garden areas I call pocket gardens. This post is about the one I added during the hot summer of 2012, and was built against a retainer wall on the side of the house. That side of the house is visible as I drive in the drive, although where I put the garden is not. I plan on putting stone on the wall eventually, but decided to go ahead and plant the garden first, although it would have been easier to stone the wall first. Oh well. Over the rest of the summer I will post on the others, including two new ones added this summer.

To give you some perspective…..I have a very long U shaped driveway. This is the view approaching the house after entering from the first gate.

A bit closer up you can see a door under the upper window. To the left of the door is the retaining wall where the new pocket  garden was put.

This is an autumn photo, taken from the upper deck of the house, but it shows you the driveway and the retaining wall. The ivy spills over and it is just boring.

OK, back to summer. My little angel statue and planter stand guard over the ivy, threatening to take over everything.

This photo was taken in early spring when I trimmed the ivy back on top. Then the hard work of pulling all the ivy out that had grown on the ground. After clearing all the ivy on the ground, I would take 4×4 treated lumber and build a box for a raised bed. Before I built the box, but after I cleared the ivy, KBJ power washed the wall above as well as the retaining wall. Just that made a big difference. Good ole southern red clay.

The angel did not pitch in, and pulling out all that ivy out was a royal pain. However, when done I was left with a clean slate.

Now that’s a clean wall! It is summer, and you can see how quickly the ivy grows. Pruning ivy is like feeding it steroids…..you may think you are controlling it, but alas, it comes back quick and strong….”here, take that Missy Garden Lady.”  However here it is, all ready for new soil. I have built so many of these boxes in every shape and size over the years I could do it in my sleep. The angel has been removed while we work so as not risk damaging here with shovels.

kbj got some soil and mulch, and we were in business. Fortunately we were able to back the trailer fairly close to the pocket garden.

I bought a few more established plants, then then some individual plants grown from seed and ready to be put in the ground.


With the soil in the bed, racked all nice and level, it was on to the fun part….deciding where to place the plants. You will notice that I added finials to the bed…..it looks more finished rather than just the straight run of wood.

kbj pitched in which I appreciated, as gardening is not really his thing, It was also brutally hot, as it was July, and it stayed unusually hot all last summer.

Here it is all planted, mostly with perennials, filling in with annuals. It was ready to be mulched.


Head on. It was a good start, and we even enjoyed some good color and some cuttings for the house after a few weeks.


Here is the same garden space about 6 weeks later, it now it is late August…………..it really thrived, but only after a lot of TLC and watering.

The begonias also did well in the wall planter, even after a late start.

These are a few photos of this area taken in June of this year, almost a year after it was built. It was one of the rare days of sunshine and no rain. It was so wet and rainy this summer (record rain) we really didn’t plant anything else here, so all you see are the perennials that were originally planted. We had other areas to get built and established so we let it stay as is, although with the weather it has been a slow go.

The Roses did fairly well, as did the day lilies. The sedum seems to like all the rain, so it should look lovely come fall. Unfortunately too much rain killed a few of the perennial daisies. They initially came back ok, but all the wet did them in.

So there you have it…..one pocket garden. It has been an incredibly challenging year to garden, or rather not garden. It rained such that in the early spring when I usually set about seedlings and seeds, it was too wet to do so, and in the end I could not. That is why I love perennials so much. In all my large containers, scattered throughout the gardens and on the deck, they are troupers, always coming back, even if because of the rain the flowers did not last as long.

I look forward to sharing with you a couple of other pocket gardens and garden projects, one of which includes an art installation. I await a call from the steel fabricators to see if they have finished some items per my specs. Can’t wait. Laters, charisse



  1. Bonnie Schulte

    I love your pocket gardens, and the finials are a sweet touch. I have two tiny gardens similar to yours, and I think finials would make mine look so much nicer. Great idea…and your ivy looks so beautiful with the flowers below. About the socks..I wear them too, also wear gloves when digging holes for the plants, and they are so hot also..but it’s all worth it, in the end….Beautiful flowers

    • Hi Bonnie, The finials are inexpensive and surprisingly really do make a nice difference. I always wear socks no matter the weather, but I have to admit, that once the dirt is in, I don’t use my gloves all the time, especially when I have to loosen root balls on really small plants, I feel like I need to “feel” what I am doing. I always have the best intentions…..I start with gloves, but invariably off they come! Now with the roses I’always wear them, especially when weeding or pulling ivy. Planting not so much. Thanks for commenting. Love to hear what readers are doing in their gardens.

  2. Carole Moores

    I loved how you made the pocket garden. I wish I had more room to put in plantings. I have just about run out of room in my tiny yard for all the ideas I dream up and thoughts that come from seeing what you do. But I have to confess you are one brave lady to trim back ivy. I would have beaten the ivy to death first for fear of snakes!!!

    • Thanks Carole. Let me tell you, I do a poke around dance before I go in the gardens, as I know I have a very large black snake that patrols that end of the acreage. But he or she is a good snake, so I am just careful. But I am still terrified!!!!! of snakes, but rarely see them even after almost ten years on this land. Thank goodness! But beating the ivy to death sounds like a good idea….that stuff is tough, and I rue the day I ever planted it.Someone gave me some and I thought, oh, it looks so pretty. It does, but it grows like crazy. I have ripped a lot out, and only have what is in the front of the house and that bit you see in the photos. None anywhere else, and there won’t be either!

  3. Buddy and Susan

    Tell Keith to ditch the socks!!!!

    • Oh no! When gardening around here unless you want to get your ankles bit, you wear socks. Also who wants dirt in their garden shoes? I remember this day well…..it was in the mid 90’s and we were sweating up a storm. You can see our water cups in one of the photos. Look at the socks I am wearing…..red no less…..those are my garden socks. I have half dozen pairs, and wouldn’t dream of gardening without them! And my gardening outfit? High fashion if I do say so myself.

  4. Just lovely! Beautiful plants and I love the finials! Nice touch.

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