Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

The New Garden


I’ve received quite a few requests to see the new garden so when I went to the house on Saturday I took some photos. Please excuse the quality, but the sun was so bright and I didn’t really have the option to shoot at dusk or dawn which is supposedly the best light for garden photography.

Almost all the snow is gone now but the lawn is still very wet so I did my best to stay off it but I couldn’t help poking around in the bushes. My sweet new neighbor came out and she told me about some of the plants. Some I can’t wait to see (like the peony and the roses) and some I can’t wait to get rid of (some evergreen prickly shrubs).

Anyway, that’s the back view of the house from the garden. I’m for insurance reasons not allowed to do any work in the house until the 29th when I officially get the keys and all the rest of the money is transferred to the seller but I can’t see any harm in clearing the neglected garden a bit. And since there was a rake, a shovel and a spade right there waiting for me I kind of started…

The previous owner was an elderly lady who had been a keen gardener but due to illness and old age hadn’t been able to tend to the garden the past few years so I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’m really excited so see what pops up. This first year I’ll just clear things and clean things up but otherwise leave them so I can see what the garden looks like as is until I start making my own mark on it.

Here are some photos of my Saturday’s worth of labor:



This is the corner of the patio the way it looked the first day we viewed the house. I have to say I hate the pink paving stones. I had acres of the same (Ölandssten) in our current garden and got rid of every single bit but I think I’ll try to learn to love it this time because it’s the same in all the gardens and original to the area. I may lay decking in this area next year though but keep the paths that lead through the garden in stone.



On Saturday I removed the plank with the driftwood, sorted all the amazing fossils (Wille’s really excited about them) from that pile of stones in the before shot and unearthed the cool asbestos cement planter under a bush. I also started removing weeds and moss from between the stones. I’ll bring better tools next time and try to remove it all and later fill the gaps with sand instead.



Here’s that corner from above before…



… and after my Saturday session. Still a lot to do but it looks cleaner and somewhere where I will have no problem putting our patio furniture when we move in once the rest of the weeds, grass and moss is gone.



This is the view from the balcony. It was the first I saw of the stone path that leads out of the garden to the park behind. You can also see the apple tree to the right and a plum tree to the left at the back. The bush behind the plum tree is a gooseberry bush and it hides two compost bins.



After some raking, digging, and hacking away I cleared the path a little bit and unearthed two further paved paths around two flower beds They’re not fully excavated yet but I’ve made a start.

The thing with the layout of this garden is that it’s completely the opposite of what I picture I want. I figured that since I have this narrow rectangle I’d do something minimalist and symmetrical but now hearing about this lady, the previous owner, being a keen gardener makes me want to check out her garden first before I make any drastic decisions and changes. It may still become the modern garden in the end but I’ll keep hers on a little while first.


Lots of moss between the pavers. Like I said, I have my work cut out…




… and it’s very rewarding when you start removing it.

One cool feature in the garden are all the round stones that edge the flower beds. I may not want them exactly where they are but I will reuse them somewhere.

So that’s the back garden. There’s a little tiny one at the front too and it houses a cherry tree and an overgrown postage stamp of a lawn which I’ll probably end up removing and laying gravel instead. All the trees need pruning desperately. In our current garden I’ve done all the pruning myself but I think I will call in an expert this time because they don’t just need a trim, they need completely new hair cuts. I can cut the bangs myself from then on.

That’s my new garden!


  • Hxx says:

    I love your new garden too! …and to think you let us believe that you just popped round and read a book!! Great work.

  • Monica B says:

    Ölandssten är underbart skönt att gå på! Det är precis lagom varmt/kallt på sommaren. Jag hoppas att du lär dig älska det som du skrev. Inte en enda modern betongsten kan ge samma känsla som den här stenen! Jag tror det är många som om några år kommer att ångra sina trädgårdsrenoveringar, speciellt de som överanvänt sig av betongblock…
    Det blir spännande att se vad som händer med er trädgård under det kommande året. God uppfinnarlycka!

  • Anne says:

    I can picture myself in that garden. Admiring your work from a chair with a glass of Chardonnay. 🙂
    Oh the excitement of it all!!

  • tinajo says:

    Jag tycker det ser fint ut med ölandsstenen faktiskt, jag hoppas du tycker om den snart! 🙂

  • Lydia says:

    ‘the cool asbestos cement planter under a bush. ‘
    isn’t asbestos unsafe health wise and people should dispose of those things safely, wearing masks etc etc?

  • Leena says:

    I’m amazed how little snow you have left. Really like your garden, especially that there is a park on the other side of it. Makes the garden seem very big.

  • Judith says:

    Great work on the yard so far! Isn’t it exciting watching a new garden for the first time and seeing what comes up? We’re doing that too this year, and I’m chomping at the bit for the ground to thaw so I can get my vegetable garden dug.

  • The garden looks quite promising and I do love the paving stones. Without the moss. 🙂

  • Ramona K says:

    Agree totally with Monica B regarding Ölandssten. I would exchange Ölandssten for my concrete blocks any day if I had the chance.
    How wise you are waiting to see what the original garden looks like before making drastic changes. I am a garden lover/bird lover and I feel sad about all these look-alike wooden decks in every suburb. Yes, they are practical but usually look so “tacked on”. A stone sitting area usually looks like it always has been there. In England they have established that there are fewer garden birds around due to all this decking. Sad.
    Wishing you and Willie all happyness in your new house and garden.

  • Siri says:

    It looks great! Just the right size. I`m so excited to see how it will turn out when spring and summer comes!

  • Zosia says:

    Nice plot of land, not too big (big = lot’s of work). I love peonies, nice to hear you have one to look forward to. I like your balcony as well. Might be nice to sit there with a cup of coffee at sunrise or a glass of wine at sunset.

  • You shouldn’t drill in it or do any “work” to it but when it’s “as-is” it’s harmless apparently. THe house has asbestos cement sides too and it’s also safe but if you wanted to remove it and thus create dust you should wera protective gear and mask. I won’t be planting any thing edible in the planter so it should be safe.

  • Monica says:

    Oh, lots of potential! It will be fun to discover the plants as they grow. Looking forward to all your posts.

  • Älvan says:

    It’s all so exciting! And you’re moving in just the right time to see the garden begin to bloom. It would be hard to move in november, when the garden is already sleeping, and then spend a long winter in the house without being able to plan the garden because you’ll want to see what’s in it first.

  • Joana says:

    I kind of like the moss between the stones…

  • Peta says:

    What a beautiful sunny day!
    Good idea to see the garden in all seasons before deciding what changes to make. I’m sure you’re going to be busy with the house anyway!

  • I do too actually but unfortunately most of it was weeds and grass. if it were all moss I would have considered keeping it.

  • Julia says:

    I didn’t know that there was a park beyond the garden – how big is it? This is great. I am starting to feel at home already at your new house and am excited to watch your next steps concerning the prepping of the place. Very interesting indeed! 🙂 (the garden as well, curious as to what will grow during the year!)

  • Maureen says:

    I love moss too and wish it would take over more places in my garden. Those curves really add to a great design. I look forward to seeing what springs up in spring!

  • strikkelise says:

    I, too, was going to say that I like moss between the stones. We have too much weeds like dandelion and plantain between our ugly cement “stones” in our yard too. When we get around to laying natural stone instead I will plant thyme (Thymus serpyllum) inbetween. It looks pretty and smells nice when you walk on it. We’ll probably choose slate stones as that is what we are getting for the front step.

  • celeste says:

    Asbestos is actually a wonderful building material. It is flame resistant and durable, which is why it was so widely used as a building material. It just happened to have horrible effects when inhaled in a particulate manner. Asbestos is totally safe as long as it is undisturbed and remains solid. It is only if it flakes or becomes particle like that it is a problem, as Benita explains.
    Lead paint…don’t get me started. It really was a far superior paint to anything that I have used since (and yes, I am older than dirt). It just happened to have totally unacceptable health risks. There IS a reason these materials were used in the day…they worked really well.

  • valeria says:

    Ohhh, sweet! What about chamomile in between the stones? It has cute white daisy flowers and it is fragrant …
    Happy gardening to you! X

  • What a great space! I love the curving path to the park. I can see Mini and Bonus romping around back there exploring away!

  • Ali says:

    I’m so curious to watch your garden green up and bloom! Smart choice waiting to see what you have to work with! The mention of peonies and roses and I’m thrilled for you! What a gift that will be…fresh cutting flowers!
    ~ Ali

  • I love it.
    I can not wait for the weather to clear here in Brooklyn, so I can get my hands dirty. The B.F. becomes a garden widow on the weekends when the weather is nice!!
    First time to your blog. I can not wait to see how your garden grows in the coming months!

  • Diane says:

    I don’t follow many blogs, but I must say watching this is going to be fun! It seems the new garden has found worthy caretakers.
    Maybe I’ll just be an armchair supervisor and forget about how much work my own Kansas garden needs.

  • r8chel says:

    Benita, I think your comments are so cute about giving your trees a trim vs. a whole hair cut, and then trimming the bangs later. 🙂

  • Caroline says:

    There is asbestos siding on our old beach house. We don’t mess with it much except to paint over it. It’s safe unless we saw/cut/drill in which case we are supposed to wear special filtered breathing masks and change clothes and wash up carefully after. The asbestos siding ‘holds’ paint better than anything I’ve ever dealt with. Great stuff. Maybe your planter would accept new paint nicely too.

  • Denise Leavens says:

    I, too, love your pruning comments – cut the bangs yourself!
    This is really fun. Thank you for sharing the process and discoveries.

  • Kari says:

    What a great starting point and what fun you will have this first year as you discover what you have and decide what to keep or not. I still find new things in my garden after eight years (two years ago it was a flagstone path through the whole lot–buried about a foot down! I dug it up and used the stones to edge the beds.) I look forward to enjoying your journey vicariously!

  • ChelleY says:

    So excited to read all about your ideas for the new house! We are stuck where we are for a while, for totally sensible reasons, but I am living vicariously through your blog.
    I haven’t commented before, but I felt I shoudl tell you that I have pinned your blog on my pinterest boards and a few people have repinned already 🙂

  • I’ll have to check that out, sounds lovely!

  • It’s not huge but there’s a playground at the back and some large trees and pathways and I love the openness of it at the back of my garden.

  • Jennifer says:

    “This first year I’ll just clear things and clean things up but otherwise leave them so I can see what the garden looks like as is until I start making my own mark on it.”
    That’s the ticket. Who knows what perennials are hiding in there.
    I hope she’s planted lots of spring bulbs and that you will share!
    Can’t wait to see the garden over this year, and then the next as you make it yours!

  • jeannette says:

    it gives me such pleasure to think of you carrying on the keen gardening tradition of your predecessor, and bringing the garden back to life. yay!

  • strikkelise says:

    The nerd in me likes that this type is native to Scandinavia (and lots of other countries). It can also take a lot of beating from shoes.

  • timsim says:

    This is going to be a great new journey for you and your son. I truly wish you both health and happiness. I can’t wait to see your progress, Good Luck.

  • Sabine says:

    I am very curious about the fossils.. What are they?

  • Sabine says:

    I mean, I know what fossils are, but what are these of?

  • I’m not sure, some look like little cones and some like dried up sea creatures. Very cool!