My sister Banu who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a lovely home and a beautiful garden. A lush and emerald green garden, it’s the greenest garden I’ve ever seen.
Lots of rain for natural water
As Banu explained, the high humidity in Philadelphia, and the constant bouts of rain showers they get off and on all summer long creates a landscape that’s emerald green and lush.
In fact it is so humid that she hardly turns the sprinklers on and can go on for weeks without turning them on sometimes. Can you believe it? For a California gardener like myself, no sprinklers or constant watering means the death of our gardens here, especially in the summer.
Natural divisions in a defined space
Banu’s garden is more of a large space that has natural divisions in the rather than actual separations. Basically her garden surrounds her home. Front, back, two side yards. No fences and no barriers between her garden and her neighbor’s means that the garden has more of a park-like garden feel.
Giant trees create a park like feel
Trees in my sisters garden garden are huge. A giant Magnolia tree graces her garden and provides a majestic focal point on one side of her yard. It engulfs one entire corner of her garden. This tree would be the envy of any historical public garden!
This magnificent magnolia tree glows in the winter when covered in pristine white snow.
I wish I knew the secret to growing grand magnolia trees. They put on a spectacular show in the spring that is unparalleled.
Spring flowering trees provide a stunning spring display like no other
Banu has the most amazing spring display of flowering trees in her garden. In addition to the giant magnolia tree, Banu has planted at least five spring flowering trees in her backyard. Over the years these trees have grown to over 3 stories tall. Spectacular weeping cherry blossom trees, gorgeous flowering plum trees and giant azalea bushes put on a spring show that is a feast for the eyes.
I have never seen such tall weeping cherry blossom trees like those in Banu’s garden. Absolutely stunningly beautiful, and so tall that you have to crane your neck to see to the top. The trees are taller than her 2-storey home and in the spring bloom into a picture perfect postcard. All right next to her living room deck.
In the summer these weeping cherry blossom trees drip like green waterfalls.
Delicate birch trees for privacy
Delicate birch trees line Banu’s property providing a natural privacy screen from her neighbor’s driveway. These trees were planted as young trees over a fifteen years ago, yet being only 15 years old, these trees tower so tall that they block the neighbor’s home just perfectly.
Lillies, roses, dahlias, day lilies all look like they’re on steroids here
It’s the weather or the soil – or both – lilies, evergreen bushes, roses, dahlias, day lilies, coleus, everything is 3-4 times bigger than what I am used to seeing back home in California.
Nutrient rice soil for long term success
The reason for everything in this garden looking like it is pumped up on fertilizers is because this garden is nutrient rich. The soil in Banu’s garden is rich from all the prep-work that Banu put into it when designing and planning her garden.
Old newspapers aplenty to fertilize the soil
I remember her telling me how she scavenged for old newspapers all over town to lay down on the soil all over her yard over the winter months so the paper could disintegrate into the soil and add nutrients. I also remember her telling me she trucked in tons of mushroom compost and fresh soil to amend the existing soil in her yard.
All this she did patiently over the course of a year even before she considered planting a thing. Only after all the soil prep-work did Banu start planting trees, bushes, and flowers in her garden.
There is an old garden saying for gardeners “Good soil is like black gold.” This couldn’t be any truer as in Banu’s garden.
Banu’s veggie garden
Banu loves vegetable gardening, even more I think than flower gardening, which is the opposite of me. She has a huge enclosed vegetable garden where she grows enough vegetables for ten families. I asked her what in the world is she growing that many vegetables for? It’s like a farm, and all that for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids?
Like Mom like daughter 💕
Like my Mom my sister Banu is an avid gardener too. Banu enjoys it so much that just like my Mom she will spend hours in her backyard and lose track of time. And just like Mom Banu loves growing vegetables too. My Mom would grow every vegetable imaginable, even tropical veggies, which are hard to find in Louisiana where she lived, she would grow these from seed. Banu is just like my Mom 😀🍅🍆🌶🌽.
Banu’s veggie plants produce a bounty of vegetables. She grows eggplants, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, peas, all types of herbs, carrots, arugala, lettuce, and turnips, just to name a few. Basically anything you may buy at the farmer’s market, she grows in her veggie patch.
Herb garden in pots
Banu enjoys growing herbs just as much as her vegetables. She grows them in elegant pots on her kitchen patio and deck. These herbs grow tastefully and delicately because of the humid and shady conditions in her back yard.
My sister enjoys flower gardening too. She has planted lilies, roses, lavenders, dahlias, coneflower, and so many more plants in all textures and colors, and they’re all growing lush and healthy with the most minimal of care.
Hydrangeas in my sister’s garden are taller than me! Covered in lush pink, white and pale-blue blooms, hydrangeas in Banu’s garden couldn’t be any happier.
The front yard
The front of Banu’s home has beautiful Knockout roses and dayl ilies that are as tall as the first floor of her home. I’ve never seen knockout roses this huge anywhere! These bushes are 8 feet tall!
Day lilies galore
The daylilies here are big as well. Interestingly Banu said she didn’t plant any daylilies in her garden, they just popped up all over her yard. They must be native plants to this area, as I found daylilies to be growing in abundance all over Philly, off the freeways, at parks, in every front yard and landscape, they are just growing wild all over .
What I appreciate in Banu’s garden is her ability to layer bushes and plants in various textures, colors, and shapes. Variegated plants, beautiful hostas, Russian sage, and evergreen bushes create a lovely natural border in Banu’s garden.
Little piece of emerald green haven
Banu’s garden is a little piece of emerald green heaven where one can spend hours lounging and soaking in the beauty of this serene shady landscape.
Banu’s garden in Philadelphia is the perfect reflection of my sister – a calm, giving, and beautiful place, an arcadia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.