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March 9, 2021 - The beginning story

Updated: May 5, 2021

In the summer of 2019, we moved into our very own house. A typical suburb house with a backyard in Georgia, USA. We loved everything about that it, except for this 1/3 acre of land. It was more of a wild woods than a typical yard. And it was sitting on a hill which meant we were in for some serious flooding and soil erosion issues when it rained heavily. The local soil is red clay and not easy to work with. In the area without shade, nothing seemed to grow in the cracked dry clay dirt. The woods were formed by native oak trees and hickory trees (which later became precious to us as they offered tasty acorns and hickory nuts to all of our animal friends). If you stepped inside the woods, your ankles would be buried by all these fallen leaves that had been piled for years.


The first summer, we could not stay outside because of the crazy clouds of mosquitos. Caterpillars would fall randomly from the top. Bees living under the leaves attacked us whenever they felt like it. Snakes were also making this land their ideal home. It was wild with wildlife alright, but it was not a garden with easy access. It seemed impossible for a young couple who did not have much savings to hire professionals to convert this backyard dramatically. So we quickly decided to only make use of the deck area where a small flower bed existed as our starting point.

Guess what happened in the whole world in 2020. Covid-19 happened. All trips canceled, restaurants, and shops were closed. Cities were under lockdown. The only places we could go were grocery stores and garden centers (conveniently). We watched a lot of Netflix and discovered Monty Don's Small Places, Big Dreams, a British variety show demonstrating how people with different backgrounds changed their backyards with limited budgets, and made a beautiful impact on their lives. And then we were further converted by Monty into faithful followers of BBC's Gardener's World. If British people could do all the amazing gardening themselves, why not us? Maybe we don't always need to hire professionals and use heavy machines to recreate our backyard. Maybe we could cope with what it is originally and tailor it into our own version of paradise. Maybe it is a blessing that we had the steep hills, the slopes, woods, meadows with "weeds", monkey grasses, mosses, dead tree logs, and even two giant holes on the ground that were caused by fallen trees and used by previous owners as backyard trash dumps.

Because of all the variety of light, height, depth, and wetness, within less than one year, we now have a pond with a wetland, woodland and meadow, an herb garden, many fruit trees and berries, vines and bushes, veggies, and flowers. Our garden residents have multiplied and joyful sounds are our daily music. All we needed was just a little bit of patience, a lot of hard work, and continuous passion and curiosity towards nature.

This is how we started our journey to gardening. We want to share our experience of how to cope with your own environments and create little paradises in your cities.

This picture was taken in 2020 when we just started to create our pond. It is a typical backyard in Georgia suburb.

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