January 3, 2012

A Design Quiz

Casa Mariposa posted a survey to help determine whether your garden has any good bones or not.  It was amusing and eye-opening, and I had to take it myself. 

Here's how I fared:
  • a permanent structure with decorative/architectural appeal     +10 points
    • but it's in your neighbors yard     -5 points
 Yep, I got a shed and it's a beauty but it is in my neighbor's yard, sigh.  (Net 5 points)
not mine

  • large trees     +10 points
Yes, I do have large trees around me, just not any in my yard.  I see this big silver maple from my window (do I get the full 10 points for this?)
a borrowed view of a large tree

  • shrubs/trees taller than you are     + 10 points
Well, my doublefile viburnum 'Shasta' reached 5 foot 6 inches in height last spring, and it is now an inch taller than I am.  (I get 10 points)
Doublefile viburnum getting taller each year

  • little trees/shrubs with lots of potential     +5 points
I think these have potential.  In 60 years I will also get points for large trees.  (I get 5 points for this, but will double that as I have planted over 100 little trees/shrubs around here.  I'm interpreting the scoring)
they'll grow

  • meandering paths     +10 points
    • a path trampled through the grass by the dog     -5 points
Yes, I have a path, but it's not meandering.  It's straight, but then disappears around the corner.  (So I'll substitute "curving" for "meandering" and give myself 10 points)
not winding, but it's a path and it goes somewhere

  • stonework     +10 points
    • a pile of stone you might do something with eventually     -5 points
Definitely.  It was a pile of stones I dug up around the property before it was a dry creekbed. (10 points for this, and I'd like extra points for doing the work myself)
a lotta dug-up rocks went into this streambed

  • dogs, cats, chickens, etc all of which are full of bones   +5 points
No, we do not have pets in our garden.  The two Siamese cats are indoor animals and are quite bony in their old age now, but the deer, bobcat, weasels, mice and other outdoor wildlife aren't "mine", really.  They think the garden is theirs, though.  I'm forgoing any points on this one.

  • attractive gate/fence     +10 points
    • but it's held together by a bungee cord     -5 points
I don't have a gate or fence, but I really want one at the entrance to a new garden I just put in.   Can I get points for wishful plans?

  • bird houses and bird baths     +10 points
Oh yes, of course. (Easy 10 points)
Naturally we have homes for the birds

  • a pond or water feature     +10 points
Not sure.  Does a dry creekbed qualify as a pond or water feature if fish live in it?  (I'm giving myself 10 points anyway.)
Trout swimming upstream in my dry creekbed

  • a container pond     +5 points
I'm going to have to count the birdbath as a container pond.  It's a structure that contains water.  (5 points, no arguing)
Container pond of sorts

  • a patio or deck     +10 points
 Yes, a patio and a deck.  Double credit for having both.  (20 points awarded)
We got both.

  • evergreens     +10 points
    • a can of green spray paint and red plastic berries     -5 points
Yeah, I have evergreens, all kinds from dwarf to massive.  Real ones!  (Another easy 10 points)
spruces and hollies and good bones

Thanks, Casa Mariposa, for a fun romp through my garden with an eye toward its structure.

With some interpretation of the points, I scored pretty high (you have to go to her blog post to see the scoring!)

We are mighty pleased.


  1. Good for you. I like your presentation. Your garden is great. I had no doubt you would get high points. I think I would fare well in this survey. I'll have to pop over there to see who all is answering.

  2. Interesting exercise. If nothing else, it sure makes you look critically at what you have.

    Congratulations on having the right stuff, Laurrie.

  3. What a fantastic questionnaire and loved your interpretations of it. I think I can guess my score without even taking the quiz (tiny trees, rotting porch, big pile of stones - yup I got some work to do!)

  4. Maa ha ha ha ha! I love your scoring method! And although this is a nice quiz, I have to say I'd score rather high completely by accident as my house is in a lovely location, but the entire back yard looks pretty terrible! (Still haven't figured out if it's worth trying to conquer the vines, sand, deep shade and extreme acidity to make something more than a few lovely fern patches with a path beaten to the stream...) :) Meg

  5. That was a fun and interesting exercise. I'm not surprised you scored high, you have put a lot of thought into your garden and it looks great.

  6. Lisa, I hope you went over to Casa Mariposa and took the same quiz!

    Lee, it was silly but it did make me take note of the basic structural elements in the garden.

    Marguerite, I bet you'd come out higher in this survey than you are thinking : )

    Madame Meg, It's fun to see how your own house would fare in this kind of quiz. Nice to know you have "bones" in place to start with!

    Sweetbay, thanks for the vote of confidence!

  7. I took the same quiz. I wanted to give myself credit for having hawks and owls, but that wasn't on the list. Your garden is gorgeous, a T-Rex for sure!

  8. I laughed all the way through your post!!! You get triple points for digging up all those rocks yourself and lots of points for nearby trees. :o) Considering the only path I have is a well trod dog path, you definitely get points for your curved path! I love all those grasses near your path. I'm finally adding some to my garden this year. Yay!

  9. Deborah, I know your garden would score high, since it has such great structure and bones. The hawk and owls are extra credit!

    Tammy, thanks for starting this fun exercise. I loved your creative post! And I really did get a good look at my garden's bones by doing this.

  10. This sounds like fun, Laurrie; I'll have to check this out, too. I'm not surprised you scored high on this quiz; from all the photos I've seen, your garden is beautiful. You definitely deserve double points for the trees/shrubs with potential, and I'd give you more than double for that beautiful drycreek bed you created.

  11. Thanks for the reminder about how fragrant nicotiana is. I added it to my Must Have list, and then because I want it to be April instead of Jan, I ordered it from Select Seeds so I could be sure to get one that grows really tall, and then because sometimes I'm a big weenie, I bought them as plants instead of growing them from seed. :o) I bought Perfume Deep Purple and Bella.


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