nathan lyle



If you'd told me, when I was a child, that I would enjoy gardening as an adult, I'd have laughed hysterically and walked away knowing you were full of fertilizer. However, little did I know that my father's main hobby would so thoroughly take root and eventually bloom again after he was gone. When I was young, I remember getting dragged to green houses, being bored out of my mind, while my dad filled up the back of the caravan with what I considered to be way too many plants. The only thing I liked back then about my dad's gardening, was that it made for easy worm collecting for fishing. Well, ok, I did also enjoy eating vegetables right out of the garden. Tomatoes and peas were my favorites.

Where I currently live, I don't have room for vegetable gardening (with the exception of a small garden box I built specifically for the purpose) but I have gone a little overboard on decorative gardening, especially given that I rent. But with the whole Covid lockdown, I found myself needing to build something creative that wasn't digital.

My first step into my addiction was house plants. For a long time I had maybe 5 or 10 plants total. I tended to move a lot, so they would frequently not survive the moving around and changing light conditions. But a few did, and grew, and I found it satisfying. Two in particular... the first was a Christmas cactus, grown from a single leaf given to me on a date. It's now a fairly large plant, and has survived at least five home changes (I've lost count.) The second is a snake plant (mother in law's tounge) that was at my dad's funeral. There were a lot of house plants there and several of us got some of them. This one survived for many years seemingly unchanged, then when I moved to where I currently live it apparently decided it was time to explode with growth. It got really tall, and I ended up breaking off several clumps to where I now have four new plants the size of the original one. I never really used to care for how they looked, but it's grown on me. (No pun intended.)


Before moving to Toledo, I lived in Saline, near Ann Arbor. While there I'd looked online to find a greenhouse I could get more houseplants at, and didn't have much luck in the immediate area. At the time, I was driving down to Toledo every couple of weeks to pickup or drop off my son, so I looked in Toledo and found Bensell Greenhouse which has become a frequent stop for me. (They've always got a lot of great choices and the owner is incredibly knowledgeable—and even better, she doesn't mind my constantly asking new questions.)

I'm sure my dad would have loved to know that the boy who hated going to the greenhouse now is known on a first name basis at one.

About a year after moving into my soon-to-become garden playground, I'd randomly decided to plant some of the seeds from a green bell pepper I was having on a hamburger. I put them in a small pot in my kitchen window. They sprouted and grew to about five inches tall, at which point I decided I should move them outside, in front of my home, where there was a dirt patch. The home owner's association maintains the lawns, but most of the units have about a three foot by twenty foot area where there's no grass, just very old mulch. They did really well for a week, then the lawn care people mistook them for weeds and whacked them away. I got peeved about that, so figured I'd make it obvious it was a garden space, and I put a little tilted brick wall along the front of it.

But Lyle's are not known for leaving well enough alone. I decided to build a little vegetable garden box, so I could better control the kind of soil they were growing in (since I'd be eating them.) That sat in the middle of the space, which left open space on the sides, which I then started to fill with ornamental plants, and it was downhill from there.

The photos below show the outside as well as some of the larger gatherings of plants indoors. (To get a feel for how much green there is inside, you have to walk through the place though. I keep finding new flat spots that need a plant on them.)


New Peace Lily Invasion


This year got off to a crazy start... some flowers were blooming early in May, though some were still going strong in November for crying out loud. I need to keep up more with the side area now, the ground cover stuff is really taking over. But with the waterfall almost perfect, and so much green, this place just feels so much more like a home. There's a few videos below, you can see the fish and some grateful wildlife, as well as my evening view which was the main goal from the start - waterfall and fire to relax next to with a beer.

Underwater Garden A new gardening experiment Mum's the word in November Tropical September Going strong in October Pond Lily The pond evolves... Filling in a new section I am Groot! Rebuilding the pond 2nd year, going strong Free materials! Gaurdian of the garden So much better than a patch of mud! Waiting for the bloom explosion... Flowers and rust Twice the size from last year Hanging annual Fern corner From a packet of wildflower seeds Gorgeous day lilly The Waterfall It survived the winter in the basement! My transformed corner The vine is growing! Waiting for the bloom explosion... Transplanted from Wisconsin The Waterfall is Evolving Dining Room Window Living Room Window Living Room Window Bathroom Window Bedroom Window Bedroom Window Office Window


This was the year things got a little out of hand. I started vegetables in the basement over winter and was giving them away when I ran out of space in my garden box (even though I'd built a bigger one) and containers in my parking space. The initial plants in the side garden space really started filling out as well, especially the ground cover ones. And I started my back-breaking journey to build a waterfall.

Waterfall 1.0 Peaceful Evening Tropical Hibiscus End of the Summer Tropical Parking Lot Tropical Parking Lot My Corner Mega Flower Shaping Up Nicely Juicy Free Ferns from Fern Street Parking Lot Gardening A Little Out of Control Tropical Hibiscus Front Porch He Speaks For The Trees My First Hanging Basket Some Kind of Uber Lilly Pink & Purple Lillies Little Suns Tropical Hibiscus Still a Little Wet I Am Groot! Lillies Wheelbarrow Getting Burried Yellow Lillies The Bees Love These Orange Lillies Baby Visitor Onions and Flowers The Waterfall Begins Basement Seedlings Mom Had Extras :-) Transplants From Mom's Yard Side Garden Pre Waterfall Pretty Blue Ground Cover Taking Off New Perennial Wheelbarrow Annuals Spring Rainbow Mixed House Plants Mixed Flowers on Back Porch Tomatoes and Peppers - Running Out of Room Tomatoes Getting an Early Start Use the Force! Living Room Window Plant Time Share Living Room Living Room Window Kitchen Window Dining Room Window Dining Room Entranceway Living Room Window Living Room Window Bedroom Bedroom Window Bathroom Office Window Office Window Basement Workbench


This was the year I annexed the strip of grass between my building and the wooden fence (put up by the Library next door.) I got tired of the lawn crews turning it into a muddy patch of ugly. I extended my stone wall over to the fence, and built a little brick path back along the space. I didn't get much planted this first year, but it looked infinitely better than it had.

Before & After Front Before & After Side


This was my first year of the cherry tomato... I planted two in my garden box and had yummy snacks all summer. (They really went gangbusters.) I planted a bunch of lillies and a few other perennials and was much happier with the way things looked.


The humble green beginnings...