Inspiration & Whimsy For The Garden

Welcome to the 276th Metamorphosis Monday!

How was your weekend? Was it busy with spring chores are spring fun? Sometimes they are the same thing, aren’t they?

I have some fun “Before & After” gardening ideas to share today, pulled from a wonderful garden tour I attended locally on Saturday thanks to my friend, Carra who generously shared her tickets when it turned out she wouldn’t be able to attend.

Before we start our garden tour, I want to take a moment to thank all the dearhearts who shared a guest post last week while I was out of town on vacation. Mary & Dave shared a fabulous porch makeover that included a hand-designed/painted rug. Christy wrote a wonderful tutorial for making a spring hydrangea wreath. Shirley gave us a tour of her beautiful sunroom after its recent makeover. Pinky invited us over for a sunny, spring dinner for Tablescape Thursday. And Barb inspired us with sweet honeysuckle, one of my favorite climbing flowers.

The vacation I took last week was my first real vacation in many years. If you follow BNOTP on Instagram, you probably “had a feeling we weren’t in Kansas anymore” when I shared this photo.

Oak Alley


And this one…

French Quarter in New Orleans


I spent the week playing along the Mississippi River and in New Orleans, touring beautiful plantation homes and gardens with my friend, Linda. We even ventured into some small towns like St. Francisville. It was a fun trip interspersed with lots of good eating from Cajun food to wonderful beignets. You can’t visit New Orleans without a trip to Cafe du Monde!

We toured 13 homes and lots of beautiful gardens. Fortunately, most of the homes did allow photography and I’m looking forward to sharing some of them with you over the next few weeks. I wish you could have been there with us!

My vaca got a little extension. I arrived home late Friday evening and was up and out touring beautiful gardens back here in Georgia the very next day. That was followed by another garden tour on Sunday in Atlanta, Whew! It’s been a whirlwind 9 days! I think I need a vacation now to rest from my vacation. πŸ˜‰

Have you taken any garden tours this spring? Love this time of year!


Garden of Whimsy

I came across some delightful “before & afters” in one of the gardens I toured on Saturday. They gave both me and my friend, Jan, lots of ideas for our own gardens.

The tour began just outside the backyard area with this sweet garden the homeowner/gardener created for her daughter when she left to head off to college. What a bittersweet time that always is…I remember it well.

Perennial Garden for a Daughter


As we walked through the gate to enter the backyard, we looked up and saw a little bird’s nest in the center of the arbor. Even the birds are helping to decorate the garden this spring.

Bird's Nest Atop Arbor in Garden


I love a white picket fence covered in roses! A silly, upside-down frog gave us a giggle. πŸ™‚

Roses Growing Along the Top of a White Picket Fence


Each gardener whose lovely garden is featured on this tour, receives a little memento for their garden. What a wonderful idea!

Garden Tour


Here’s a fun way to use those pretty chipped or broken plates or bowls, add a decorative collar to your flowers.

Repurpose Broken Dishes For Garden Art


Bowls with a botanical design, spilled flowers out into the garden. This is a “Before/After” we can all use in the garden…save those chipped or cracked bowls!

Broken Bowls Become Yard Art


Jan really loved this idea, you may remember she creates beautiful mosaics like this lovely mosaic planter she gave me for my birthday one year.

Bling for the Garden


There were lots of pretty roses on this tour.

Roses in the Garden


A beautiful waterfall spilled down from above.

Waterfall and Pond for the Backyard Garden


See that flat rock in the picture? It’s right there behind the bill of the Blue Heron.

Backyard Waterfall


When you’re standing on it, here’s the view looking down.

Pond with yellow flag iris_wm


Here’s the view looking straight down toward your feet. Don’t get dizzy! πŸ™‚

Backyard Water Feature


Above the waterfall and pond, high up along a woodland path, I came across some charming places to sit and enjoy the garden and the sound of the waterfall. Have some old windows lying around? They will make a fun feature in the garden. Ummm, wonder how those would look draped with climbing hydrangea.

Adirondacks in the Garden


When the kids outgrow the swings, create a spot to read or nap on a sunny afternoon. Imagine curling up here with a good book, the sound of rushing water below.

Hammock Hanging From Wood Play Set


One more cozy spot to while away the afternoon. Love the addition of the lantern!

Glider for the Yard


A beautiful fountain in garden…

Water Feature in Garden


Back down below, we encountered another great spot for lounging. This garden truly had lots of little “rooms” to enjoy. Loved that!

Pergola with seating area in the garden


I have spiderwort in my garden and I love it. It was blooming beautifully in this garden.



I saved one of my favorite “rooms” for last…is this not completely charming?! There’s even a faux fireplace, such a cute idea for a large blank wall. Love how the lamp shade matches the fabric on the sette…feels like a real room, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

Seating and Furniture for the Garden


I’m totally copying this idea…will be on the look-out for a rustic, garden candelabra this summer.

Seating Area For Patio_wm


Geesh, okay…I won’t copy it! I’ll just use it as inspiration and find something similar. πŸ˜‰

Frogs for the garden_wm


Hope you enjoyed this garden tour, dear friends! Happy gardening!

Flower Basket on Gate_wm


Looking forward to all the Before and Afters linked for this Met Monday!

One on sidebar


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In order to link up, you’ll need to include a link in your MM post back to the party so the other participants will have an opportunity to receive visits from your wonderful blog readers.

Please observe these few rules:

Only link up Before and After posts that are home, gardening, crafting, painting, sewing, cooking, DIY related.

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  1. I’m sure you found much to like in and around New Orleans. A camera is your best companion there.

  2. Your vacation looked so lovely and lush! I just adore New Orleans! Thanks so much for hosting!

    πŸ™‚ Linda

  3. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    So many beautiful photos!
    Thanks so much for hosting, Susan.
    Have a great week,

  4. As always Susan you have inspired me. Two of my favorites Garden Tours and New Orleans! I was just there in October and you brought back wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing even more over the next few weeks.

  5. Thanks for all the inspiration. I love having unusual stuff in the garden. My favorite is a toy fire engine. Thanks for hosting.

  6. Yes, I did thoroughly enjoy the garden tours! Such great ideas to use as inspirations. I can’t wait for more, I will have to enjoy the houses and gardens vicariously until I can get there myself….just maybe….one day. Thank you!

  7. I loved the garden tour, Susan! NOLA is one of my favorite places! Thanks for hosting!…hugs…Debbie

  8. monti green says

    I love your website I found it a couple of months ago. I have these in my flower bed but never knew they were spiderwort!! Nice to know they are not just weeds, my family made fun of me said I planted weeds in the flowerbed!!! thanks again, monti

  9. Thanks again for having me on the porch, Susan! I’m so glad you had a wonderful vacation. I always feel like I need a vacation after my vacation too! That garden is spectacular…it’s hard to believe it’s all the same garden. There’s so much to see! XO

  10. What beautiful gardens,thanks so much for the inspiration Susan!

  11. So happy you managed to get a vacation. I love the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil frogs. So cute. Also the hanging basket with the yellow flowers.


  12. So glad you enjoyed a vacation to NO, Susan. What pretty garden inspiration you shared today. I have been sooo busy this spring, I haven’t worked in the yard at all. These inspiring pictures have given me some great ideas. Thank you. laurie

  13. So many great little ideas for the garden – thanks for taking the time to capture them all, Susan. I love the little memento give to those on the tour. Thanks for hosting the party, too – we’ve had a blast making summer vignettes at Panoply this past week.

  14. I am glad you enjoyed your vacation! I think it is at least 25 years since I have been on one! No rest for the weary here!
    Thanks for hosting, Susan. I posted the centerpieces I made and the take homes for one of my grandson’s First Communion. With 5, there is always an occasion to plan for, but it is all good!

  15. What lovely gardens, especially the ones that feature water in some way. I am a sucker for the calming sound of water…and frogs. I just love those frogs! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the tour and the party!

  16. A vacation touring gardens and homes sound like so much fun! I’m glad you finally were able to get away for a trip.

  17. What a wonderful vacation Susan! I love touring gardens and it’s been years since I’ve been to NOLA! Looking forward to more of your photos πŸ™‚

  18. what a wonderful tour Susan, thank you! so many adorable little surprises, I just love the old windows with the chairs~Sounds like you had a grand vacation too, I am looking forward to seeing all the NO homes!

  19. Thanks for hosting the party, have a great day. πŸ™‚

  20. I am so happy that you had a great time on your vacation..and how nice that you were also able to visit so many beautiful gardens back home too!….Thanks for hosting Susan and have a wonderful week!

  21. Thanks for hosting, Susan! What a lovely garden get-away! Have a great week.

  22. What beautiful gardens. Plus I love a waterfall! Thanks for sharing this beauty and for hosting the party.

    Shannon ~

  23. Thanks for hosting this great party. I went on a tour to Oak Alley many years ago and I fell in love with all the old plantations. Unfortunately, when I was there they did not serve lunch.
    Your garden tour looks great, wish I could have seen that one. Love the tours – so many great ideas come from there. Glad you had a wonderful vacation.

  24. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to New Orleans and visiting the plantations along the Mississippi River. I live just outside of the city but work in New Orleans. It’s nice to get away! I enjoy reading your blog!

  25. I loved your garden tour–that candelabra was definitely a nice touch! Thanks for hosting! πŸ™‚

  26. Susan, What a wonderful mother’s day gift you had! Those gardens are lovely and New Orleans is a lovely town with great homes and food. The basket on the fence with the yellow daisy and greenery has to be my favorite. We had a wonderful rain last night, so our plants will be drinking it all it and rewarding us.

  27. I love the bowls gardening idea!!! πŸ™‚
    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  28. What great garden inspiration. Sounds like you had a very full vacation. Thanks for sharing and for hosting.

  29. Thanks so much for hosting!

  30. SharonFromMichigan says

    Oh My Goodness, how beautiful! Lucky you, Susan, for having the grabbing the opportunity to take a couple garden tours. I love garden tours! The very last photo you posted gave me a wonderful idea. I have white picket fencing around some of my back patio and just haven’t been able to figure out how to dress the fencing up. Something along the lines of the last photo would look wonderful. I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for local garden tours in my area. Thank you once again for inspiration!!!! Have a lovely day!

  31. Hi Susan,
    Yes, I love garden tours. In fact I had a garden tour in my garden a week ago. I will have the photos posted later today. I always love to visit your blog and see what you’ve been up to lately. Congrats on your vacation. I know how hard you work on your blog and you never leave home. I can’t wait to see photos of your trip.
    Betty @ My Cozy Corner

  32. I would have enjoyed this tour very much. So glad you went and shared with us. I am knee deep trying to get my garden in shape and it seems to have grown this year. Seems larger than ever or is it I am older?

    I appreciate all the hard work it takes to design and maintain a garden and the expense.

    Glad you took a vacation, Susan! THanks for hosting MM.

  33. Loved your tour! This is a timely post for me, as I’m looking to create a little garden nook. This definitely gave me some ideas. I especially love the photo with the green metal furniture.

  34. What a beautiful and relaxing mini vacation. Love all the pictures!

  35. Thanks for hosting the party! Such glorious gardens…

  36. Thanks for hosting, Susan! Sounds like a wonderful vacation. Hope your week is grand. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  37. bobbi duncan says

    Susan, So glad you had such a wonderful vacation. It was so interesting to learn that it was to New Orleans and the fabulous plantations they have there because just two weeks ago I was online checking them out for a future trip! I’ve never been to the area but always wished to and, then, when I recently saw the movie 12 Years A Slave (all four of the plantations used in the movie were near N.O.) it sparked my interest once again. I learned that John James Audubon did his 32 Birds of the World paintings while tutoring the daughter of the owners of Oak Alley for four months. I was saddened to read that he killed and staged all the birds. My children live out of state so for Mother’s Day my sweetie took me to Ladew Gardens and Manor in MD. and then for a lovely dinner in Havre de Grace, MD. The gardens were beautiful and there are also many topiaries shaped like animals and objects, reflecting pools, lovely antique statues, bird houses and fountains. The manor house is a big white lapboard colonial and exquisite. When I lived in VA. I never missed the VA. Garden Tours, but have not gone in several years now. My friends told me all about this years and, thus, I learned that I missed one I was just dying to see–Mount Sharon in Orange, VA.. 30 minutes N.E. of Charlottesville. It is the most spectacular estate which sits high on a hill with amazing classical gardens all positioned so that the eye can see to the rolling hills beyond. The one year I did’t get the tour guide, wouldn’t you know. HA!HA!

    • That’s awful about him killing the birds…I never knew that. πŸ™ We were going to tour a house related to him…forgot now what the connection was, but we never made it to that one. There are so many to tour, impossible to get to them all. I lived in Havre de Grace for 4 months when my husband was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds back in 1979. Don’t remember much about it now, though. Oh, that hurts when you find out you missed one you wanted to see. Hope they put it on the tour again so you can see it. It sounds beautiful! Glad you were able to do something fun for Mother’s Day. Seems so many of us have children who live out of state these days.

  38. What a wonderful tour, Susan
    I love New Orleans! The food is incredible. Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful party each week. This is the first time I have shared 2 posts’ at a party. I hope that is OK.
    Thanks again,

  39. Bonjour,

    Des photos fascinantes… L’amour des jardins…
    Gros bisous β™‘

  40. Hi Susan, Somehow I got dropped from your blog list. I hadn’t received an update for almost a week. I thought it a little strange and hoped everything was okay with you. After not receiving a Monday update, I decided to check and see that there has been a few posts that I didn’t receive. How can I get back on your list? Should I sign up again? Thanks for any assistance you can give me. I love your blog and always look forward to it. Denise

  41. Linda Page says

    I am so glad that you didn’t miss the garden tours because these pics are great. I could live outdoors forever in these gardens. No old children’s swing set at my house but I love how a hammock made good use of one in the garden. A very clever idea. I love the “hear no evil” frogs. Just too cute. I also love the basket hanging on the picket fence and the waterfall and the chairs with the window frames…….Ok, so I loved it all!!! I have not been on a live garden tour in a couple of years so this tour was much welcomed. Thanks for sharing. Loved it.

  42. FAB PHOTOS!! Ain’t SPRING grand!!!! franki

  43. Charlotte says

    I live across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans in Mandeville, LA, grew up in Metairie. I love touring the Plantations too, can’t wait to see the posts. The garden in this post is beautiful, such creative ideas for “rooms” through out.

  44. dear susan,
    thanks so much for your awesome post! i’ve gotten some new ideas!!!
    Ann P.

  45. I enjoy your blog so much! I am an absolute still learning to crawl newbie with a 2 month old blog and you are what I inspire to be. Your blog is my fave.

    • Awww, thanks so much! I remember those early days. You’ll learn new and awesome things each day and one day you’ll be a veteran at this blog thing. πŸ™‚ Just remember to have fun every single day and take a break when you need inspiration. Enjoy the ride!

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