Skip to content


  1. Jessica
    July 11, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    My husband works super fast, too. I’ll work on a project for three days, ask for his help because I don’t see an end in sight, and he’ll be done in two hours.

    The bed looks close to the sidewalk in one of the pictures above. Is it? Maybe if you expanded the rock wall to the edge of the sidewalk it would feel more connected. If it’s not, maybe a paver path from the bed to the nearest sidewalk/other paver path would help.

    Your zinnias are gorgeous. I have about zero sun in my yard right now, but you’ve convinced me to put some in in a few years when the extra trees are gone.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 11, 2012 @ 11:49 am

      I tell you—I have been wasting my time with any other flower. I got three generations out of the initial seed I started inside. I pinched them, and then replanted the cuttings. I CANNOT believe how easily they rooted. All the flowers in this bed are second generation—meaning, they did not grow from seed, they grew from a piece I cut off the original plant.

      I’m positive that next year, we (Paul) will expand the bed. I’m a lot happier now that it’s filled in, but I think it will be better if it runs further down… It is parallel to the sidewalk, so maybe you’re right, it needs to go all the way.

      I always forget that gardening is a process. And that the first year is never going to look as good as the third year.


  2. Stacey
    July 11, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    That rock fiasco was so entertaining! Thanks for the chuckle this morning, Victoria. I laugh because I can totally relate. Rocks, rocks, rocks. I had to deal with so many rocks when we bought our house I seriously wanted to cry. Like you, we ended up giving so many of them away and I knew people would race to get them! Rocks are expensive and the one you had was worth a fortune!
    Of course I wonder if those guys started having second thoughts after such a struggle.

    The flower bed is really pretty and you’re right… it’s a process. Sometimes you need to make what’s doable and then add on later after it has set with you for a while. I have no doubt that it’s “not over”… there will be more to come. HA HA! More pretty flowers, more beautiful landscape, and more work for Paul! (but of course you are the master planner, supervisor, designer, etc… which is equally important).
    If I hop a plane and show up with some glass containers can you hook me up with some pretties?
    The cut flowers are GORGEOUS. I’m going to have to plant some of those next year… especially if they thrive in the heat. My kind of flower!

    This post really “rocked”!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 11, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

      After 1,000 people contacted me in under 5 minutes about the rock, I started to realize that I should have asked for money. That was back when I was dumb (as a rock) about such things.

      I told myself it was okay, and must be some kind of karma for all the crazy good deals I’ve gotten on craigslist… But really? Just WATCHING those two guys try to haul it away was a kind of payment. Especially since they were EXACTLY the people I would have hoped would come for my rock!!

      You should definitely try the zinnias… I would imagine they’d do fine in Texas. Plus, you could probably get more than one season if you reseeded…


  3. Linn @ The Home Project
    July 11, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    What a great post! So detailed and funny, like so much of your writing! Wow, that rock must have been heavy. I’m surprised they managed to get it in the trailer at all. I wonder how it got there in the first place. Maybe it was always there on your property, even before they built the house? I must say, I’m a little jealous at the amount of lawn / garden space you seem to have. I think the flower bed turned out lovely. I definitely get your point of not wanting to take on any project unless Paul’s involved. I’m the same way with my husband, especially if it’s something outside, remodeling or furniture related. It’s just not as much fun doing it alone, plus I always end up needing his help more than I tend to admit anyway. I can definitely see how putting that flower bed down must have been a ton of work. I do love the flowers. This makes me want to grow my own flowers from seedlings too. The Lisianthus is lovely, and how wonderful to have plenty for yourself and for friends that come over.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 11, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

      Maybe you’re right, and the rock was here. That does make sense, physically… seeing as how it’s a crazy amount of work to move it. However? Our previous owner did large-scale projects that neither benefited the house, nor made any sense aesthetically. For example, he built a large trellis out of copper piping over our driveway gates. That sounds like it could be artistic. But it wasn’t. It looked exactly like what it was—copper pipe soldered together. So part of me intuits that he must have had something to do with the rock.

      I’ve decided that space is the ultimate luxury. And while all of our neighbors are great—in my next house, I do not want to see any of them! I want to live in the woods, near a lake. Preferably no more than twenty minutes from Whole Foods.


      • Annet
        May 20, 2013 @ 10:25 pm

        Bahaha, copper is worth a fortune these days – what did you end up doing with it?!


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          May 21, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

          We took it to the scrap yard! I forget what we got for it, but I’m pretty sure it funded something I wanted on Craigslist. 🙂


  4. jennifer wingert
    July 11, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    Oh god the rock. I’m reading it, but then I’m sucked in by the pictures. So I’m scrolling through the pictures of these dudes and I’m just laughing it up. Then I go back through just to imagine you on the other side of your camera snapping away at the dudes and I’m laughing again. Of course, both times I’m sitting at my desk, where I have no business laughing at anything and that gets me laughing again, but with a bit of a shrill edge of hysteria. But don’t worry, when I went back through it one more time to actually read it, my laughter turned normal again. Too funny. At the very least if I get canned I’ll have more time to read your blog.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 11, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      Oh good!! It was hard to know if I was imagining that these guys were THE BEST POSSIBLE THING THAT COULD HAVE EVER HAPPENED TO ME.

      It was also hard to know if the awesomness would carry through to an audience who did not hear the wisdom of “I just like rocks.” Or if I would just seem weirdly detailed about how I got rid of something unwanted via craigslist.


      • jennifer wingert
        July 11, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

        Oh it came through loud and clear. Repeatedly. And reading about it happens to be the best thing that happened to me today. So far. I mean, I could still get canned.

        You think that little craigslist trick will work on pine needles?


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          July 12, 2012 @ 10:05 am

          All sarcasm aside… yes. Where do you live? I will be right over. Pine needles are awesome mulch. Some people wont use them due to the wrong-headed myth that they acidify soil… But they are excellent mulch.


          • jennifer wingert
            July 13, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

            I live in Lovely Lake Arrowhead, California, where we are all required, by law, to remove our pine needles every year as a form of fire prevention. Last year I had around 15 heavy duty lawn and leaf bags stuffed full of the little gems, and I expect that this year I’ll have even more.


            • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
              July 13, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

              !!!!!!!! I’d ask you mail them to me… but I imagine that would be cost-prohibitive. I hope they compost them… but anything “required by law” sounds like it’s going to the incinerator…

            • jennifer wingert
              July 13, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

              Oh you are so right about that. Most of the requirements in my area are horrendously ridicules, undeterminably wasteful, and straight up backassward. So, you know, we’re basically average round these parts. If you’re ever in ANY mountain area in So Cal, ANY resident would let you fill as many truck loads as possible with their pine needles. Sock that away for future reference.

      • The Wedding Queen (well her husband this time)
        August 2, 2012 @ 11:23 am

        Hey Victoria, my wife just woke me up laughing. Usually that means she is reading a funny book (or what SHE thinks is funny!) I’m not sure if she was laughing at the guys and rock… or at all the good ideas for things she can talk me into doing. You don’t lend out Paul do you? My gardens need work.

        It’s bad enough she puts me to work testing her DIY wedding projects (to see how easy they are because I suck at crafts!) But really… I could use Paul’s help. I promise to read all about his exploits on yr blog if he’ll come redo my gardens!


        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          August 3, 2012 @ 9:08 am

          I will ask him… but I can’t promise anything. (Laugh.) I can say for sure that he’d rather rip up the lawn than do wedding crafts…


          • Nancy R. V.
            August 3, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

            What? Your husaband doesn’t want to become one of my wedding craft testers? I am DEVASTATED! Tell him it’s safe to come out from under the bed, I only strong arm my own husband! Of course I had to do a lot of severe arm twisting to get him to do it so I definitely understand your husband’s POV. Told Bill (my husband) I was going to try and get him a book deal on called “Wedding Crafts Easy Enough Even Bill Can Do Them!” His comment… “You have to change the names to protect the innocent” (meaning him, not me), of course he did not say a word about not putting his pic on the cover!


  5. RedCandy
    July 11, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

    Those cut flowers are stunning!! I love your new garden….especially the rock edging….much more attractive than one random rock. 🙂


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 11, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

      Thanks!! I wish I could take credit for their stunningness… but like I said, they are seriously the EASIEST flower I’ve ever grown. If you have some space and sun, I can’t recommend them enough!!


  6. Shirley T.
    July 11, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

    Great heartfelt laugh at the rock fiasco. I can’t imagine, I mean I can, because I did and was laughing out loud.

    I love how you photo captured the event. That’s a good lesson for me because so many funny things happen and pictures certainly help to tell the whole story.

    I definately will be following your lead on the zinnias- they are super awesome.

    Now all I need is a “Paul.” My “Ray” doesn’t
    work at that pace. 🙂


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:39 am

      I took those photos long before I ever thought about starting a blog—THAT’S how funny the experience was. I was watching them, and thought to myself—NO ONE will believe this if I don’t take a picture.


  7. Jo
    July 11, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    Hilarious and informative. Thanks for the zinnia lead. I’ve never grown them before but they’re on my list for next year. If they’re really successful my husband will be totally annoyed since he thinks growing things you can’t eat is a waste of time. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:41 am

      Growing things you can’t eat IS a waste of time. I totally agree with him. I also, (apparently) really like wasting my time. For some reason, I get so much satisfaction out of how beautiful the flowers are… At times I find the vegetable garden overwhelming, but the flowers always make me happy.


  8. A city girl
    July 12, 2012 @ 12:10 am

    That was soooo funny. I have a rock in my yard too. I just had a long conversation about it the other day because I live on an old farm and I am really really wondering if its not a tombstone marker. That’s the only reason I haven’t touched it. I can’t disturb the dead…But you put anything on craigslist for free and someone will come get it. I once put a ripped shower curtain liner on there just to prove my point and it was picked up the same day…I kid you not on that. I am going to try your flower. It is beautiful and I think the Cinderella is my flava! Back to the rock story I find it amazing when a problem like that occurs how everyone gathers round and brainstorms on how to fix the problem. It was like when I was making a 3 point turn and wound up hung on the ledge…did you read that story? the men weren’t satisfied that a tow truck was coming, they had to figure out how to get my car off before the tow truck came…even though its a free service of OnStar.
    Anyway I agree your flower bed needs to be bigger. BTW…does Paul happen to have any single male relatives/friends that are handy like he is?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:44 am

      That’s really neat about your tombstone. How can you tell it might be a grave marker? I guess it must be uniform? Or set in the ground at an angle?

      I didn’t read your cliffhanger post… I did just go and search for it, but I must not be using the right search term? Guys who are problem-solvers are the best. Paul seems to be the genetic oddity in his family. His brothers are competent, but not in the same league. However, they may value other things more—like, say free time?


  9. our heritage home
    July 12, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    Love the post from start to finish! I can relate to the rock fiasco, we moved a tone of rocks when we got our place. I am definitely going to get me some Zinnias this weekend!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:16 am

      We relocated some smaller rocks, used them around corners as hose-guides and stuff… but this was just too much of a dinosaur to keep!! Hope the ones you had to move weren’t so back-breaking!!


  10. the home tome
    July 12, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Those zinnias are gorgeous!!

    And, gulp, I know that sinking “what have we done?” feeling – glad that it turned out so beautifully! 🙂


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:21 am

      Ugh… worst feeling ever. Especially when you’ve committed to it in a way that’s irreversible…and then multiplied by not being able to tell your husband that you’ve changed your mind.

      Fortunately it worked out. I guess I should have remembered it’s hard to go wrong anywhere you’re putting flowers… But the giant bare patch of dirt looked awfully stark.


  11. Karen B.
    July 12, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    Hi Victoria,
    I initially thought you were joking about the weight but after reading your hilarious story I believe you may have guessed close to the true weight. I think it was great that these guys actually managed to load the rock into the trailer and drive off with it…entertaining.

    Your flower bed is beautiful. The rock edging looks fabulous. I rarely plant seeds but you’ve inspired me. I will write the names down that you’ve listed and give them a go. I usually get mildew on my zinnias, maybe our evenings are too cool. My hubby, Lyn, would have removed the grass but I don’t think he would have done all of the prep work Paul has done. There is no limit to what your husband can do.

    Great project, Victoria. Your new photo is very cute.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:23 am

      This is my first year with the Zinnias… and I had heard about the possible mildew issue. I haven’t seen a spot of it, but it has been an EXTREMELY dry season. So that probably has a lot to do with it. On the other hand, both of my perennial Sweet Pea vines were completely eaten by mildew, and they are usually immune to any kind of problem… so who knows.

      In some CA climates people can grow Zinnias year round… Only one of the benefits of living there!! Lucky you!


  12. Dana
    July 12, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    That is such a huge rock. I wonder if you’ll uncover a hard place elsewhere in the lawn, perhaps tucked away somewhere.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:26 am

      Huge! Yes! It did make for a good landmark though… I would just tell first-time visitors— look for the giant rock.


    July 13, 2012 @ 1:29 am

    Followed on from AT and read this post first and I’m hooked. I really enjoy your style of writing and I’m looking forward to reading through your previous posts. I can’t wait to see what you’ve done to the house but your front flowerbed looks a treat.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      Thank you so much… you really made my day (possibly my week, if nothing else spectacular happens).

      Unfortunately for my husband, I seem to be better at the part where you tell the story; rather than the part where you participate in three days worth of sifting dirt and cutting your own sod!!


  14. 23thorns
    July 14, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

    Thank you so much for the like on my post earlier. I’m still very new at this, so any sign of interest is still like being awarded a prize. Your style of gardening and mine are very different- I am doing everything i can to make my garden as wild as possible without losing track of the dogs or the children. I would have given anything for your rock- I spent months earlier this year bringing much uglier ones into my garden. At the end of the day though, whatever style you favour you’re still going to be hacking back all that grass. ours is called kikuyu, and is like the highlander- it will not die. years after digging out a new bed, we still find ourselves trying to fight back the grass.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 15, 2012 @ 9:12 am

      Yes, I’m three months in, and being acknowledged hasn’t lost its charm…

      I’m fighting Zoysia grass—which is so insistent, it’s eaten the plastic edging and rock wall. Seriously, you can barely see the top rock… I’m cutting it back and yanking it out, but I think I should have used some landscaping cloth under the rock border so it couldn’t grow between the edges. Maybe next spring I’ll redo it.


  15. Margaret
    July 23, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    Hey, a fellow Philadelphian. I found your post from Gardenweb. My zinnias are going crazy right now. They just love this heat, I think. I kept planting and planting seeds all May and June. I’m even planting some now. But it never occurred to me to try cuttings, though.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 24, 2012 @ 8:20 am

      Hi Margaret,
      I got a little crazed with the cuttings! For you, the gateway drug to propagation is basil… for me, it’s these Zinnias! I’ve been transplanting them all over the place.

      You’re right about them loving the heat. But my hubris about mildew is now reminding me that as soon as you think you’ve avoided some pestilence in the garden, it will come roaring in to humble you… Just last night I made my way to the end of a different flowerbed than the one pictured… and the very last plant was completely doomed. I ripped it out, but no doubt it’s already too late! The plague has arrived!! The funny thing is that this plant had probably the very best airflow of anything I planted…Sigh.

      Thanks for the visit!! Glad to meet a local gardener!


  16. Mike
    July 24, 2012 @ 8:02 am

    I am a grower and I saw your pictures of the Benary’s Giant Zinnias and they look really good. We have always grown State Fair Mix. Do you have any experience with State Fair Zinnias? If so, how do the Benary’s Giant Zinnias compare with State Fair? Also, are there any other zinnias that you really like?

    Are there any other flowers that you really like that you would recommend I grow and sell in the spring? I look forward to your reply.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 24, 2012 @ 8:11 am

      Hi Mike,
      This is the first year I’ve ever done Zinnias… how I waited this long, is beyond me!! Now that I have, I’m planning to never grow anything else ever again!

      I have no experience with State Fair. I grew Benary Giants because I love a tall, oversized plant, and a double or triple bloom. And all the descriptions of Benary called them Dahlia-like.

      They have been fantastic. The stems are thick, and planted tightly enough have not required staking. Also, great for cutting. I had zero issue with mildew, but we’re pretty much having a drought, so email me next year…I could be cursing these plants!

      I’ve gotten multiple generations from the original seed, pinching and replanting the top part of each seedling. I pinched all of the seedlings, and it’s given me some really nice bushy plants.

      I don’t do much with spring-specific flowers. I prefer to put my time and energy into flowers that are going to take me through the season. And I don’t mind waiting for a later start.

      This doesn’t answer your spring question, but I will say that another personal favorite is Lisianthus. I know it’s considered a boutique flower…so I imagine as a grower you would find it profitable… but it’s a LOT more time intensive than any anything else I’ve grown…I’ve started it from seed, beginning in January. Although, I think a lot of growers get them as plugs rather than do their own seeds…

      I have thought it was worth it… even though it takes FOREVER to get started, it will bloom well into the fall, last year it was still blooming at Thanksgiving (although it was a very mild winter). And I personally think it’s one of the prettiest flowers in my garden. But I do find it requires staking, which can be a pain.


  17. Jessica@CapeofDreams
    October 13, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    Two Things

    First, that garden bed looks awesome! Way more professionally done than mine. Mine is slowly growing and transforming over the years. I predict that in five years it is going to be amazing.

    Second, despite the profusion of enormous rocks in my area, I have none in my yard, and that makes me sad. Isn’t it ironic that you wanted to get rid of yours?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 14, 2012 @ 8:45 am

      The zinnia really were nearly instant gratification… although it turns out they ended up needing to be supported towards the end of the summer, so next year I will do them a little differently.

      I guess I’m not a rock person… or maybe I thought it didn’t suit the style of the house. But at the same time, I never tried to dress it up or fix it by planting around it, which might have made a difference.


  18. Sam
    June 27, 2013 @ 10:01 am

    Your Zinnias are GORGEOUS! I am very jealous. Can you tell me where you got the seeds? I want to have them for next year in my garden. I am in Kansas and we also have crazy 100 degree days where most plants just give up and die. Also do you have to water them a lot?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 28, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

      Johnny’s seed company… I do water, but not a lot. They really do love the sun, and will take the heat!
      Good luck!!


  19. Emily
    June 29, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    So … I know that this is a year old now… but I had to say that just this afternoon I was walking my husband around our front yard showing him were we NEED to take up the grass. Specifically we need to make our 6′ circle (around our yard lamp post) BIGGER because clearly the sedum & lillies liked in there, but they look kind of crowded and they need some shorter companions. Oh and did I mention we’ll need a place to plant all the spring bulbs I want to buy this fall?

    This is in addition to my ‘take over’ of the neighborhoods cul-de-sac dirt patch… what? No one else was doing anything with it. It was just weeds! LOL.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 30, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

      I’ve totally given up answering comments on anything recent… but the fact that you made it PAST the mirror post makes me love you even more.

      Also, for the record, I think any flowerbed I make in the future will be 5 feet larger than I THINK I need.
      If we had a cul-de-sac it would be MINE.


  20. Rachael Moody
    July 12, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

    Victoria- You just stole a good 2 hours of my morning! I hate you right now because I LOVE YOU SO MUCH that I just can’t get away and do stuff! I should go have breakfast. I should get dressed for the day. Instead I’m just going to discover the next blog you wrote and the next and the next. How is it we are so alike and why didn’t the unicorns hook us up sooner?

    Just wanted to let you know I ADORE what you’ve done so far and I’m going to be waiting for what you write next. Because you are awesome. Like me! =D


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      July 14, 2013 @ 11:10 am

      Believe me, me and the unicorns are going to have a serious chat about their responsibilities.
      xo Victoria


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.