Jim and Eric

The empty front yard

Jim and Eric's garden is a testament to change - a terrific example of before and after and what can be accomplished.

In San Diego, Jim and Eric were a part of Rakes and Blades Garden Club, so once they were settled here, they started the Florida version of the club as a means to meet new friends, share their gardening knowledge and to swap plants to get a more expansive garden.   Their new home was a blank slate to work with, which really needed their help!

Did someone say blank slate?

The first meeting of Rakes and Blades was at Jim and Eric's home in 2005.   I remember that the stockade fence was clearly visible all around the property.  At that time Jim told us that they had plans to fully landscape the property, which included dividing the property up into many smaller gardens.  They started with a lush tropical garden to surround the pool area. Heliconias, bananas, brugmansia and other exotics were planted on top of each other to give a jungle feeling around the patio. 


Just past the hot tub is a confederate jasmine covered archway that invites you to explore deeper into the garden.  Through the arch  you soon find yourself in a wonderful vine-covered colonade that splits the yard in half.   Each of the 10 posts has a different flowering vine climbing up the frame to give you the feel of an Italianate garden cloister.  Under the open archway is a broad boulevard that has benches and potted plants on pedestals, and water features.

After the colanade, Jim and Eric discovered they wanted a more intimate place to entertain small groups, so out came the paper and ideas for a versatile sitting area, and low and behold - a curved bench-fringed area for a fire pit or a bistro set.  Isn't it great when you aren't afraid to try something new, like cement work?   I would still be looking for the yellow pages, and they have a great new entertaining space!

The rest of the back yard has been transformed by their magic as well.  There are shell-lined pathways through amazing flowering trees and shrubs,  a small greenhouse for Jim's more than 100 varieties of passiflora,  as well as fruit trees and vegetable beds.  Quite honestly, there is something going on in every area of their yard.
The mundain stockade fence is no longer visible anywhere.  Jim has taken full advantage of his passion for passiflora to completely cover every bit of visible wood with their clinging vines and sweet smelling flowers.   
Jim and Eric have planted a wonderful butterfly garden in the front of the house.  Every time I pull into the driveway I find some new flowering plant or just stand to watch the butterflies floating by.  
Jim and Eric's hard work is certainly evident in these before and after photos, and definitely appreciated by their friends and neighbors! It's hard for me to believe that they both work full-time jobs and gardening is a hobby for them.  They truly can take great pride in what they have accomplished!

What's in the future?
 The sky's the limit!