12 May Backyard Transformation to a Gorgeous Garden! – Bloomtown TV Ep. 4
Joni and Kendall’s 1928 two bedroom/one bath bungalow has a beautiful addition in the back–their garden! Constrained by a 40 foot wide lot and a garage in the basement which prevents a build out, these enthusiastic gardeners created an oasis in their backyard and consider it one of their favorite “rooms” in the house. Complete with a tranquil pond where Koi fish (named by neighborhood kids) create colorful arcs in the water, this backyard paradise tells a story of hard work, the heartbreak of lost friends and a deep love between a remarkable couple whose combined vision has inspired a neighborhood.
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Joni: If anything, this is my therapy. I love coming home and getting my hands dirty and kind of getting away from the phone and the email and all that.
Kendall: This is her baby. I just do as I’m told. If she wants something moved, I move it. If she wants something dug up, I help her do it as much as I can.
Interviewer: So, when you’re on your way home, what are you thinking about? What about this place makes you think, “I gotta step on the gas.”
Kendall: I’m thinking about, “What does Joni have for me to do next?”
Joni: We live in a 1928 bungalow, and it only has two bedrooms and one bathroom, and so we decided that we wanted to make our yard a little bit more of a space.
Kendall: An outdoor room.
Joni: I guess about. . .Yeah, an outdoor. . .Probably about 15 years ago. We look at it like it’s a room, we really do. We sit out here, we’ll have wine. At night the bats go round and we call it our bat show. So, again, really I consider this part of our house. And it’s probably one of the big reasons why we’ve lived in our house for 20 years.
Kendall: Joni lives for the garden. This is. . .Joni works hard as an attorney, and she’ll tell you herself this is her therapy. She lives for the seasons and to get out here in the garden. If you stand still too long Joni will prune you.
Joni: A lot of people golf or they boat or they camp or that. I think this is our hobby. I think it really does give us a lot of time together that’s away from the TV, away from cell phones. You know, we can be out here with our dog, so it’s our “family time.”
Kendall: This is her great love.
Joni: Mine, what are you talking about?
Kendall: And mine too. Well, me too. This is our great love that we share together. We have a good working team, I’d like to think. Simply because I just do what she tells me, like a good German.
Joni: When we first moved in, it was vinca and honeysuckle bushes. It took us three years to tear everything out and start with a clean slate. We knew we wanted to have some sort of a water feature. The first one was over there underneath the pergola. And we had fish in there, God, for about two or three years.
Kendall: But the thing is, we didn’t have the water flowing, and we didn’t know anything about raising the fish or putting the water heaters and other things like that. And so we would have these hard freezes, and we would come out and Joni would dust off all the soap and the ice and look in there. And all the fish would be embedded in the ice, floating on their side. So that wasn’t cool.
Joni: This garden has gone through a lot of iterations.
Joni: So what you’re seeing now is not the garden it was 10 years ago. Things that have been. . .In fact, I just took out a 15 year old rose just last weekend, just because it died. And so now we’re wondering what we’re going to put there.
Kendall: We’ve lost some wonderful plants but, I guess for me, the heartbreaks are our dogs. Because they’re a big part of it too. Over there, for example, we have our black lab buried. Or leastwise, we’ve got his ashes over there, Killeck [SP]. He was dying of hepatitis, and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it. And what he started doing, and what dogs do when they’re in pain, is they want to curl up in sort of a fetal position, and it’s their way of dealing with the pain. And so he started digging it out, and he made himself a hole, and that was how he spent his last day. And so that was a real heartbreak. So we have his ashes over there. And then behind me are the ashes of our yellow lab, Aubrey [SP]. We always called her Princess Aubrey. She was just too dainty, and she always had this way of crossing her paws. And so we have a little marker for her over there because, even though they’re dogs, this is their yard, too and this is their garden, too. And they grow up here and it’s a big part of their lives, too.
Joni: In our day and age, it’s like everything has to be instant. You know this garden came in over 15 years. You can start small and you just kind of add on. That’s the thing, it’s really addictive. And most of the things you see in here are things that any new gardener could be more than able to handle. People shouldn’t be afraid to try gardening. There’s not any magic to it.
Kendall: We’ve done everything wrong. That’s why it took us 15 cotton-picking years to get it like this, and it’s still a work in process. But anyway. . .but no, I mean you learn by doing. You will never get your yard or your house perfect like that. You do not cross the goal line. You don’t get to spike the ball.
Joni: It’s just like if people decorate their house or buy a new couch or paint the walls. You get to do that out here, and it’s all part of nature. And so, you know along with the color you get the insects and the animals and everything along with it. Hopefully our little carbon footprint isn’t going to be as great because we have all this stuff around us. And to the extent that I can help spread the word that this can happen in a 40 foot wide yard, bring it on. I can help them.