– Hey guys, Sullivan here in Philadelphia. So I know that there are tons of shows about what it’s like to renovate the inside of a house, but what happens when you get a yard that
is almost as problematic as the inside of this kitchen was. Actually, I think the yard might be worse because there was no Poison
Ivy growing in the kitchen. Well, stay tuned, and I’m gonna show you what two seasons of pretty solid effort from a newer gardener looks like and I can’t wait to show you some of the stuff that I’ve learned some of the stuff that looks beautiful and some of the things
that I have coming up. So let’s get started. And if you love all things flora like I do I hope you’ll subscribe to my channel and hit the bell to be notified when new videos go up
Mondays and Thursdays. All right, let’s get the tour started. (mellow music) So about eight, almost nine years ago my husband Tim ad I were out
looking at vacant houses. We weren’t really
intending to buy anything we just wanted to see what was out there in a couple of price ranges. And we ended up seeing this house in East Mount Airy, in Philadelphia and even though it looked like this I thought that it could
eventually look like this. Actually, I didn’t know about this paint color at the time but it had a ton of potential. And so like any old house,
projects snowballed. We spent a long time on the interior and didn’t get to start really
thinking about the outside until about three years ago. Man, it’s such a good day to be outside. This is the first day
that you can kind of feel that fall is coming. It’s the perfect temperature. Two years ago I decided to transition to moving out of my old, big studio. If you follow me on Instagram,
I’ve had two studios since I started my business 10 years ago. And so I decided I was
gonna move home full time. And lucky me, I could take our sunroom and turn it into my home office because it has its own
separate entrance and it felt like a separate space. So the sidewalks used to look like this. And we go this great hardscaping guy. We got his info from the stoneyard where we were looking at the stone and he was able to completely
redo the walkway and steps and make me this beautiful
entrance to my office. I mean, he even got some of the same stone as our stonework to clad
the front of the steps here. It’s just amazing. So also it gave us the
structure that we needed to start to think about
some flower beds or gardening, landscape. These beds existed in front of the windows but now with the new walkway to the office it was creating some
spaces that were defined. Which I think is what I
needed to get started. The rest of the yard,
parts of it still are all of it was incredibly overgrown incredibly overwhelming, and it looks like a huge amount of space for someone that has never really gardened before it was just intimidating. Yeah, we have slate on our roofs. There’s the roof of the garage. It’s really beautiful, but snow really heats up, and snow slides right off of it in these huge cascades
like a cartoon avalanche. And so a lot of the plants that existed around the roof line here would just get huge piles
of snow dumped on them. And this beautiful old lilac which is actually, weirdly, one
branch is blooming right now. It had gotten knocked over so I actually have a before picture. But snow came cascading off the roof and knocked this guy out
so that it was tipped over. Stella’s like, “No one
cares about this lilac. “Look how cute I am.” When I first started arranging flowers I found that it was a lot easier to do all neutral colors together or
all different shades of pink. It’s called monocolor, not
necessarily mono floral when you’re using all of
one flower, but monocolor. And so my first assortment of plants that I picked for this area
complemented the lilac. I had some, this rose actually was here and it’s this very pretty
bright magenta color. And so I started working on berry tones plum tones, chocolate, and everything I thought would look
pretty with this lilac. And it’s evolved to be it’s really beautiful if it’s looking it could use a little more
color right now I think. I just got these coleus
on sale end of season but it’s been fun. The one thing I’ll say about the lilac it’s just you can see, it’s really laggy. I don’t let a lot of growth happen in here because we don’t want
it to block the window so I tend to keep this
area really groomed up. So I just added this Calicarpa
and some more Agastache because I think the color’s really pretty and it grows really, really well. It’s all pretty low maintenance. This is an Amsonia that bloomed early. There’s a meadow rue back
here that I cut back. Lots of catmint. My husband loves to buy
pollinator-friendly flowers and he buys too many of things and we actually have so many
Nepeta catmints it’s crazy. I have been growing a
huge quantity of dahlias and most of my insect repellent
attention has gone to them and I’m afraid that my roses
have been really neglected. So this is a rose, Munstead Wood. It’s putting on some really
healthy, beautiful new growth but you can see the bugs really got it. I’m trying to give all
my roses some attention now that the dahlias
are just cruising along. Tiny Wine ninebark, the
coleus I just got on sale I have some newer roses that will take another season to establish. This is a Miss Kim lilac,
I planted it last year and it’s not super happy. And I think I need to
test the soil right here and see what it needs. ‘Cause it didn’t actually flower though it did put on a ton of growth and it does have buds for next year. Rose, no name, I just
love how the ground cover I grew these pansies from seed. There’s a Nepeta being
drowned by the Creeping Jenny. This is a really beautiful
rose called Ebb Tide. The goal would be to start
growing a few things taller to cover up this incredibly
unattractive electrical meter. So I think in a smaller bed like this one it’s okay to do a little
of this, a little of that. I tend to think about my
plantings as I would arrange them not necessarily based on
some traditional landscape rules of threes, or things like that. Although I am trying to buy
more quantities of stuff I’d say that’s something I
learned from my first year is that three, five things look better. But I don’t know that in a bed this size you have to necessarily group things. I kind of like that,
just like how I think of my centerpieces or my flower arrangements or my bridal bouquet. I actually want to see
color moving through I don’t want to see a
whole cluster of Nepeta a whole cluster of roses,
a whole cluster of coleus. This is the kind of
stuff I get excited about when it looks like you’ve just arranged it and you got this silvery
blue color of the Dusty with the chocolate color
of this Creeping Jenny and then that really
pretty Heuchera color. So on my smaller beds, they’re definitely a little more all over the place but I think it’s interesting and fun. It is the fence line bed. Houses in our neighborhood
are a little bit strange. My front door faces the very back of my neighbor’s backyard,
and the light changes from pretty much full sun here. This is a rose that was already here. Look at their amazing Quick Fire? Probably Quick Fire based
on its size, hydrangea. This is sort of sun to full sun and then starting around
here, more hosta, Heuchera Japanese anemone, this is all full shade. And then it pops back into sun. Part sun to full sun up front. But after I had some
success with what I consider the lilac bed, I started
moving on over here and I was looking for maybe
more neutral colored plants to start with, that I
thought that I could shape into something similar, ’cause
I think it’s really cool to have a lilac frames porch. So I have a, I think it’s
Pinky Winky hydrangea. You’ll see I use a lot of
chunks of foraged wood. I have tons of it from
different event projects over the years, and I’m training some climbing roses on this one. Last year I bought a ton of peonies without a ton of thought
about where they would go. So there are a lot of them crammed here. Different color of a Creeping Jenny. An oakleaf hydrangea that did
not get enough sun this year so it didn’t flower,
though it does look pretty. Put on a lot of growth. More peonies, we have
had a super rainy season so they’re looking a
little mildewy and sad. It has just basically
poured rain every week. I need a grate system for my hose. I just learned to build
a drip system this year and I have that in three of my garden beds but I’m gonna have to take
the water source from here over to here to get
this all set up on drip and frankly I couldn’t
face that this year. So neutrals, spirea, these are some asters I started from seed. The goal for this would
be to get some clematis that will climb all the way up it but I’m gonna have to look for
some more vigorous climbers. And everything here changes
from peach and neutral tones into, there’s a lot of scarlet there’s three different
scarlet peonies in here. This kind of, I love this
acid-y green dogwood. When I first started
buying plants I really only thought about the flowers. I didn’t think about winter interest or anything about evergreens. So that’s a false cypress
back in the corner. It’s got really interesting
colors throughout the year and it doesn’t get much wider than this but it will go up and fill in that corner. There’s a climbing rose
called Night Owl on there. Some foxgloves that I started from seed. Some begonia, some annual grasses. But yeah, this was really, really gorgeous in the Spring with all
this bright red color and then once the peony blooms fade it starts to be this more
peachy, mustardy neutral. And then the steps to the walkway. So this section of the
bed that wraps around the front of the house is all on drip and I did not continue the
drip into this middle section and there was a couple
of annuals planted there and they died, so I think next year I just need to take this drip line and extend it a little bit. More of the old skeleton wood. It supports that peony,
actually, back there and then I’m training
some roses to climb on it. This is something I started from seed. It’s called Southern Charm Verbascum. I think it’s super pretty. I did not have great luck with it in the other locations that I tried it but I’m definitely gonna grow a lot more of it next year and let it get a little more established
in pots before I plant it. I just had to cut back,
this is Creeping Jenny that’s two years old,
I love how it becomes this foamy, waving cascade,
but with the pine tree that provides mulch for this whole area it was starting to look a little ratty. So I cut back some areas hard and hopefully it’ll come back or I’ll have to replace a few. This here is called Shiny Dancer Vibernum. There’s some scabiosas
that I started from seed. I just cut back, there were these pretty champagne hollyhocks. I planted a ton of bronze
fennel that’s just starting to get these little yellow flowers on it. And we have had so many
butterflies this year and my mother-in-law was telling me how much the caterpillars and butterflies love the fennel for food, so that’s good. And I think it’s really
pretty, and it smells good. If you like the smell of licorice. If you don’t like the smell of licorice then you’ll think it smells terrible. So yeah, so this isn’t looking so hot since I’ve had to do a little work. And then this goes around
to the front of the house. Here is the front sunny
section of the fence line bed. This is definitely a place
where I have learned a lot. Honestly, most of the
perennials that are in here are beautiful and thriving. Where I lost my way was
with my seed starts. Everything is a lot
taller and a lot closer to the front than it should be. So the nice thing is, they’re annuals. They won’t be here next year but I’m gonna have to do
a little more planning and work to make sure
that when I’m putting seed starts in the ground, these white gladiolus, that are sometimes called Peacock orchids, they are so beautiful but honestly I forgot I planted them and they sprung up absolutely everywhere. So they’re way too tall and
they’re all at the front. This kind of shady bed,
I feel like everything is too tight to the fence,
so I’m thinking about raising the soil line of the bed all the way up so everything’s level here and pulling everything out from the fence. Everything’s just too tight to the fence. But that’s new gardener for you. I think I was so overwhelmed by the absolute length of this
bed that I was like okay, I won’t make it more
than two to three feet deep. And it just looks too tight, and it’s also because the fence creates some shadow it’s not really letting some of the things that need light get their sun. But yeah, I’m glad I have these and I will cut them and make a cut flower arrangement with them, but next year I’m gonna have to be more strategic. I mean, it’s just messy. But it’s real, I didn’t really think beyond getting the seeds to start and this is what happens. So back here at the back porch was a really overgrown
bed and I hadn’t intended to garden it this year,
’cause I didn’t really need more work, but then I found I was out shopping for something else I don’t remember what, and saw this peony and then realized that it needed these Heuchera to go with it,
and then this whole bed needed to get cleared out and fixed. So the hydrangea were
here, I have a lot of progress video from this, so I’ll try to put a few stills and clips in here. But it’s been fun, this
came together really fast. More experimentation
with at least repeating if not clustering things together. It’s just not how I design. I don’t like floral
designs where you cluster all the roses together,
and all the this together. So I have a hard time
doing that with plants. But I just added this coleus which I got at an end of annual season sale. This is just one Wendy’s Wish salvia I think it was a four inch can. So I’ll definitely use that again but work on its position,
’cause it is huge but the bees and the hummingbirds
and everybody loves it. I have some roses back here that this is like the waiting
room and recovery center. This poor, this is called
Julia’s Rose, I think. It’s totally defoliated from bugs so I’ve been taking care
of these with neem oil and a little extra rose feed. But, oh thank you sun for going away so I can actually film. But yeah, so this whole section I love the plant combinations and will definitely keep
it, but I have plans to change the shapes of this bed and we have to work on
the grating back here. So our house had this
great stacked stone wall and we can get more of it, so I’m actually going to raise it up by one or two rows just to help contain the soil. But Tim loves grasses
and this kind of texture and also is very interested
in attracting pollinators butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. So we kept this section,
it’s lots of Russian sage lots of different grasses. I tried to group the plants
together a little bit more so there’s a swath of Russian sage a swath of swath is maybe slightly aspirational I have some thistle eryngium
that is not doing so great. Some annuals left over
from a project I did. More fountain grasses and just all different kinds of Miscanthus. The saddest, teeny-tiny
oakleaf hydrangea in there that I will have to move. I think I broke it when I was
doing my holiday decorating. This is a great porch for
doing holiday decorations on but yeah, I think this is coming along. I think this section is a good example of what I’m trying to get
the whole thing to look like. It’s grasses, butterfly
bush that’s flopping forward some guara, the bright
acid-green of this Hakonechloa. More Russian sage that I
just replaced this year. More grasses, and then the trees over here that are behind me, this
pine tree and this maple. They got a little bit overgrown this year so this section is not getting as much sun and you can see the difference, right? It looks, this is all happy and healthy and over there’s like,
where are the plants? And I know you can see all
my drip tubing everywhere but that is because it was
my first time setting one up and I didn’t wanna cover it
in case I did something wrong or in case it wasn’t working. So now that I know it works, next year ’cause I’m gonna take it up for winter ’cause we’re redoing so much stuff. Next year I will be laying it, and then covering it with mulch, so that
we don’t have to look at it. ‘Cause the drip system
really has been helping. The three sections of
the yard that have it they’re thriving, they look beautiful. Everything else is manual water and a lot of it is second year so I don’t have to water it all the time but these are getting regular water and everything looks beautiful. So there’s a nice goal section. And next year, hopefully
everything will look like this beautiful section right here. Down, this is the front of our street, and you can see there’s a stop sign back there and then the street turns this way and so this is all corner. And I will show you, but don’t judge ’cause it gets progressively scarier as you get back over there. So big yard, and this
is as far as I’ve gotten ’cause we have to have a lot
of tree work done over here. So. I call this the birch bed
’cause there are these two giant birch trees
that all the tree guys have told us they’re astounded
that they’re still here. I keep taking the ivy
off of them but honestly they drop a ton of leaves and limbs so its days are probably numbered and we’ll replace them
with something that prefers our area a little bit more. But this is an example
of a slightly larger bed that I tried to practice repeating plants. I made myself buy three
of almost everything except focal plants. The lamb’s ear is doing really well. I was worried about that. And so this is one of
the beds that’s on drip and the drip’s been turned off
’cause we’ve had so much rain but everything here is first
year and it’s doing really well especially compared to some
of my experiences last year where I was manually watering and maybe wasn’t staying
on top of it all the time. Well everything’s showing,
it looks a little beat up from all the rain and leaves
and branches falling on it. Everything here put on a lot of size. I plant with Biotone and I maybe did a fertilizer treatment midsummer. So I don’t really, I fertilize
the dahlias and the roses but I don’t really do a lot of intermediate supplementation. So yeah, so I’m psyched about
how everything is looking. I have a couple of roses planted in here. This one I’m obsessed with. This is such a sad example,
I’ll find a good picture but it flowers continually and it’s called Jacqueline du Pre. And the last bed that
I worked on this year would be my dahlia project. And I planted what seemed like a continually multiplying
number of dahlias in this full sun corner of
what we call our backyard but it’s really the corner of our lot. And there’s around 175 plants I think. It’s been a wet and rainy year. I definitely lost a lot of plants and I have a whole separate video coming on just the dahlias
because they are their own special kind of work,
but it was so satisfying. I’ve never, I mean I don’t have tons of experience growing things,
but it was just so much fun to grow something that grew so fast. It seemed like every day
something was happening and now they’re just we went away last week and
there was a ton of rain and so I came back and everything was mildewy and rotten, and I’ve
had to do a ton of clean up and the plants don’t look so hot but they’re blooming and flowering and they seem to be doing okay. So stay tuned in another week or so there is a dahlia video coming up but it’s been, this
section in and of itself has been so much fun, and you can see the butterflies really like it over here as do hummingbirds. But yeah, stay tuned, dahlia video coming in the next week or so. You can also look me up on
Instagram @sullivan_owen if you wanna see more day to day stuff. Let’s just follow this and probably traumatized this poor butterfly. Go back and tell its friends the dahlias are pretty
but the lady’s crazy. Thank you guys for watching
my first ever garden tour. I really enjoyed sharing the progress and looking back on the before pictures made me realize how much
progress we really have made. I think old houses like this feel like they will never be finished, but I can see I have come a long way, and I’m actually excited for the fall and winter projects which are gonna include a lot of tree work and shaping of some new beds and getting them ready
for next spring planting. So I’m really glad that I
was able to do this tour so that in a year or so I can look back and see how far we’ve come from here. Next up, I’m actually gonna go cut some of that pretty stuff we just saw and make a cutting garden design. So if you love all things flora like I do I hope you’ll subscribe so
you’ll catch that video. Be sure to hit the bell. Videos go up Mondays and Thursdays. And to see more of my day to day and I have lots of wedding work coming up as fall is a busy time,
you can follow me on Instagram @sullivan_owen,
and leave me a comment if there’s anything you
wanna see or talk more about I have a whole block of videos already cued up for you,
but I am always excited to hear what everybody
wants to learn about. So thank you so much for watching. See you next time. Way, which is a project
that we redid last year. Cool, bangs look super cool when they are just cut and blowing in the wind. Maybe bangs were a mistake if I’m gonna be filming outside so much. Hi. Hello. Don’t claw the screen please.