Celebrating Joys of the Garden

Summer is my favorite time of year and my garden is one of the things I love most about it. Nearly all of my inspiration comes from my garden.

painting, watercolor, process, garden inspiration, watercolor palette, watercolor painting, watercolor process, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This is my fifth summer gardening here, which is kind of hard for me to wrap my head around (for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that time flies).

When my thoughts jump ahead to future projects it's good to stop and remember all I've accomplished instead of focusing on all I still want to do.

When we moved in there wasn't a garden at all in the back yard. There were two big trees and some shrubs and a couple small, random plantings, but mostly just grass. The sunniest spot in the yard was taken up by a rusty shed.

before pictures, garden, potential, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

before pictures, garden, potential, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Slowly over the years we've added garden beds and tried to make the most of the space we have.

cinder blocks, raised beds, cinder block raised beds, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The cinder block raised beds are one of my favorite projects. I built the first ones our first year,  starting with four and then merged the four to be two long beds. They've aged well and I love being able to tuck various plants into the holes of the cinder blocks.

cinder block raised beds, raised beds, cinder blocks, diy, pansies, violas, garden, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberrycinder block raised beds, raised beds, cinder blocks, diy, strawberries, strawberry plants, garden, gardening, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

At one point, to better utilize our space and sunlight, we moved the shed to a shadier spot and eventually got rid of it altogether. I pulled out the scraggly bushes, too, replanting the space with roses, a gooseberry and currant as well as various flowers and herbs.

As I mentioned earlier, this year we had the large, sickly maple taken down and now there's so much more sunshine in the backyard and more room for plants.

Although I love my garden, I find it hard to share photos of it. I'm critical of each photo. When I'm in the garden I'm present and savoring the moment. When I'm looking at photographs with the thought of sharing them, those feelings disappear.

Certain plants are too small or not quite in full bloom (or need to be deadheaded) or the hose or clotheslines are in the way.

I have thoughts like: I should wait to take photos until I've replaced the black rubber mats with bark mulch or I should wait till the lawn is mowed or I should wait until the plants get a little bigger or until the lighting is better or, or, or...

But the truth is, this isn't that kind of garden. It's not something landscaped to impress other people. Not many people even know it's here (I've always loved secret gardens). This garden is a living, breathing entity created with love and joy.

It provides me with food and flowers (food for my spirit), with peacefulness and endless inspiration. It's always going to be a little messy. I'll always be waiting for something to grow a little bigger or begin to flower. And that's part of the joy of the garden.

Stepping out the back door every day to fill a basket with dinner ingredients brings me more joy than I can express. And that's why I created my most recent painting*, to capture and celebrate one of my favorite rituals of the season:

watercolor, botanical watercolor, botanical painting, garden harvest, watercolor herbs, watercolor flowers, watercolor leaves, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Whether or not you garden, I hope you, too, will celebrate the beauties of TODAY. Be present. Grateful. Pay attention. Savor each day for what it is instead of focusing on what it's not.

Wishing you joy, always.

*The original painting is now available in my shop.


  1. I love seeing pictures of people’s gardens. I’m not much on doing anything other then some very small groups of plants. I really love looking at what people can do. Yours is wonderful. I love the idea of plants in cinderblocks. Hugs,

    1. Hi, Sandi! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love seeing photos of people's gardens, too. Small groups of plants are wonderful, too. I have such fun grouping and regrouping mine. I'm constantly rearranging and moving things, whether they're in pots or in the ground. I have a lot of self-seeded plants and I'm always taking those seedlings and spreading them to different areas.

      Enjoy your gardening!

      Hugs back.


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