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Garden Photo of the Day

Good Soil Makes for One Heck of a Garden in CA

By Kim Charles

Is Jeff Nelson's garden really only ONE year old? 

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"My name is Jeff Nelson and I live in San Jose, California. Believe it or not, this garden is one year old. I used to live in a condo with a small yard, with lots of containers. When I finally had a chance to buy a house I was able to plant all my mature plants into the ground. I'm a big believer in good soil so when I moved in, I had 15 yards of compost brought in to amend the soil. The plants sure seemed to have appreciated their new home and better soil."


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  1. frankgreenhalgh 11/28/2016

    Hi Jeff - What an amazing job you have done with your garden - and in only one year. Lovely pond, curve rock borders, and pathway as well. You should be very proud of what you have achieved in such a short time. Sure beats the hell out of condo living hey!

    What organic material did you use to amend your soil? Can you believe that I have a small garden windmill down under, which looks identical to your one? Enjoy your labour of love.

    Cheers from Australia

  2. user-4691082 11/28/2016

    You have combined beautiful annuals(or maybe they are perennial in San Jose) with succulents. Different containers and that lovely pond round out your beautiful garden! Your Koi look very happy. Do you have any problems with raccoons or herons? What zone are you in? Great job!

  3. user-7007498 11/28/2016

    Jeff, I love your garden. There is a great balance in form and texture. The curved borders are fabulous, and the pond perfectly placed off the patio. Well done. I also enjoyed your use of the garden ornaments.

  4. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 11/28/2016

    How awesome for your plants as well as yourself, Jeff, to be literally putting down roots in your new living situation. It's a treat to see your happy succulents multiplying merrily and no longer constrained by container limitations. Love your use of chartreuse in the fourth picture down...esp. the circles of brightly colored moss (just a guess that it's moss) surrounding the blue toned succulent. Your water feature is beautifully done and seems like a safe place for those gorgeous koi to thrive. Lucky them!

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 11/28/2016

    Nothing like lots of color and a bench to sit on and view it all.

  6. VikkiVA 11/28/2016

    Love it, love it, love it and you have Salvia Victoria my favorite! Vikki in VA

  7. NCYarden 11/28/2016

    Wow...impressive. It looks fantastic, all of it - the plants to the hardscaping. Well done. What cultivar is your Japanese maple in the lat photo?

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 11/28/2016

    Just wow! You've really made yourself quite at home. Everything looks happily settled in. How much hardscaping was there when you purchased your home?
    Is that an Aloe polyphylla in the ground in the fifth picture?

  9. Sheila_Schultz 11/28/2016

    Jeff, you have outdone yourself! Every detail is so well thought out, from the spot on hardscaping and stone placement, to your plant choices! This may be the first year for your in-ground gardens, but they have been years in the dreaming and finally the making! Brilliant!!!

  10. Dvngardener 11/28/2016


  11. GrannyCC 11/28/2016

    Amazing job in one year. Love all your borders and the pops of colour. Beautiful pond with those wonderful Koi.

  12. user-6536305 11/28/2016

    That is a great job in one year! You are surely work hard. Beautiful garden. What I have here in the PNW as house plants in CA are garden plants. They sure look huge and healthy in ground.

  13. edithdouglas 11/28/2016

    Just beautiful: design, features & plantings!

  14. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 11/28/2016

    Spectacular, Jeff. All this in a year. I love the way you stuck to a color scheme throughout to make the space just so pleasing to the eye. Your koi pond fits naturally into its space and you must love sitting near it looking out at your hard work. I'm curious about the mirrors along the base of the fence. Are they to reflect more light to the back plants or just for reflection? Thanks for brightening up our after Thanksgiving turkey coma Monday.

  15. Schatzi 11/28/2016

    One year? You have been busy! It's all gorgeous and lush and healthy looking. I know plants grow like weeds in CA, but one year?! Love the pond and the Koi, and the colors and textures. Great job. Wow! Just Wow!

  16. bsavage 11/28/2016

    It's all beautiful! Love the pond!

  17. Denisey 11/29/2016

    Jeff, this is a lush and beautiful garden - fantastic job!

  18. PerenniallyCrazy 11/29/2016

    What an absolutely fantastic garden Jeff! I wish I could enlarge each of the photos to check out the fine details of your garden. You certainly have a knack for creating an oasis. Hope you check in with more photos. Thanks for making my day!

  19. Meelianthus 11/29/2016

    What a beautiful accomplishment in your gardens! I love all of your colors and the layout is just charming. How you must enjoy sitting out by your pond and watching the Koi, so peaceful and beautifully done.

  20. thevioletfern 11/29/2016

    Oh my goodness you have great curves! Love all the stone work as well. I have two totes of plants in my car heading for Florida. It is my dream to one day permanently plant my Norfolk pine in a Florida garden - for now she overwinters in my cellar on drip irrigation. She seems to like the cellar more than the house - it is moist down there - an old stone foundation. Beautiful garden! I can tell your plants love you back.

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