Marty's Garden

Astilbe at basement 2.cropped

Marty Oostveen

Douglassville, PA



After nearly 19 years of working on my garden in New Jersey, we moved to a new house in Pennsylvania where I get to create a garden all over again. You can read about this new garden starting with the 2016 September gardening journal under the "In the garden" tab. The journal from January 2016 represents the last journal from my New Jersey garden.


The New Jersey garden was started in the middle of a drought in August 1997. Not intimidated by the temperatures and anxious to start my very own first garden I started planting. The heavy Jersey clay soil required amending to get plants off to a good start. After adding many cubic yards of amended topsoil I now find myself gardening in soil rich in nutrients and filled with worms which make the soil even richer. Guess what, I am doing the same thing now in my corner of Pennsylvania!


Other than the Japanese maple, every plant in my NJ garden has been moved at least once, if not twice. Some plant combinations worked, others needed work. Now, little vignettes along the garden path make you stop and look.

lilies and daylilies along the path
The pond with a waterfall brings sounds to the garden while the wet pets (koi) flash their brilliant colors among the water lilies.


Once a sun drenched back yard, I look for shade loving plants to tuck into nooks. Along the way I learn about newly introduced plants and re-discover forgotten favorites. In my Pennsylvania garden I have been busy creating shady nooks for all those shade loving plants I brought with me from the NJ garden. It has taken me few years, but by now (fall 2019) hostas, hellebores and ferns are settling in and once more I am covering bare ground in garden beds. 


My gardening journal helps me track plants’ progress; it documents work done, while celebrating accomplishments. It’s a never ending journey, with twists and turns, torrential downpours and sunny days.   Check in on a regular basis to see how my garden grows with the changing seasons. Look in the archives for past entries and enjoy the many pictures.