upfront2015May-b8990904A beautiful yard has been an aspiration of mine since I moved into my house almost six years ago. It is also an aspiration that has gone unrealized. Just keeping encroaching Mother Nature at bay seems to occupy most of the time and energy I have to expend on that pursuit. Though I approach the mission each spring with a sense of rejuvenation, the daunting specter of weeds, poison ivy, sweet potato vine, pine straw and sweet gum sticker balls combine to bring me back to the reality of what’s involved in having a beautiful yard, let alone garden. And it’s also about this time every year that I toy with the idea of hiring a professional to help me wrestle it all into the landscape of my dreams. So far I’ve resisted. 

That’s why a stroll through Crystal Eskola’s woodland garden (on page 38) is so humbling and inspirational. Through sheer will and passion she has  single-handedly transformed her third-acre corner lot into a woodland oasis for wildlife and people alike. It’s not intricately designed, pristinely manicured or obsessively tended. Rather it’s a delightful tangle of blooms, foliage and artistic ornamentation. There’s a fish pond and the beginnings of a bog garden—even a crop of cypress knees. Mulched pathways provide winding access to the botanical treasures that can be found at every turn. 

As remarkable and delightful as the garden is, what’s more impressive is that Crystal did it all herself. Planted every tree, shrub and flower, installed every wall, fence and birdfeeder—many of which she made herself from salvaged tree trunks and other garden remnants.  Plus she maintains it all by herself without help from anyone beyond the occasional friend or family volunteer employed when heavy lifting is necessary. 

Crystal’s passion and that of other gardeners like her inspire and encourage me in accessing the potential of my own yard.  They help to remind me of the possibilities and what can be accomplished with a sense of purpose and a commitment to making aspirations a reality. And though I don’t envision a garden approaching anything like that of Crystal’s, I have renewed hope that I will some day have the yard of my dreams. There is one disclaimer: I’m not at all convinced it’ll happen without a little professional help somewhere along the way. 


This article appears in the May 2015 issue of Augusta Magazine.