It's Complicated: Garden Reality Check

Boy, talk about being late for the party.  Whew. 
 I think the last movie I actually saw in a theatre was Planet of the Apes....The first one.
So being the adventurous type I rented It's Complicated, the  movie, last weekend...watched it 3 times!  
Yep 3
I loved it.  It was clever and the characters were fun.  Alec Baldwin was hysterical. 
I think he was "fat sexy"   
so weird I know
The real star of the show, as we all know, was the house and the gardens. 
 I have read more blog posts in the last few months about how "not real and Hollywood" the garden was.  
Not real? AWWW come on!

Well, I'm going to stick my neck out here:  
I think you can have a garden pretty close to the one depicted in the movie.  

The only thing missing in the photo below is a bunch of dirty garden clogs and a few pairs of gloves.  Well, and maybe some Round-up weed killer and a dead rat.  
Make that rats, 

Any one who collects vintage primitives probably has a spot that looks like this, somewhere!  
I pretty much have all of this stuff, just with more dirt involved.  
Oh and  a back hoe and a John Deere Tractor.  
And really ugly gardening clothes.
While the vegetables look a little bit pumped up on steroids, the overall design is really pretty simple. 

And using flowers in the vegetable garden is a great idea, especially in raised beds. 
I actually love this garden, really! 
I'm not saying my garden looks like the movie garden but we really work hard to keep things in check.  Here's how....
List below:

1. Roger:  AKA "the gopher pro"
 He uses traps, not poison and so far we have been pretty successful. 
 He also happens to work at the local golf course which makes him something of an expert.  

Think Bill Murray in "Caddy Shack"

Animals caught to date: squirrel, possum, raccoon, crow, small child, neighbors dog, my dog, big foot.

Where are the bugs and munched on flowers?  
The criticism on the blogs was  "it's not possible to keep a garden looking that good". 

 I'm saying "yes you can!"

How can that be you ask?
Who does all the work around here, anyway?

Well, that would be me and my Husband, the raking fool, with a little help from Roger

2:  Enjoy it...and we do, and don't worry so much  
I know it sounds crazy but it seems to make us more relaxed and happy after a full day of digging up weeds, mowing and tending to the orchard and vegetable beds.
And honestly the amount of greens and produce you can get from one of these beds is amazing.  I showed this photo last week, but we have yet to buy any lettuce for months. I have started growing whiskers and wiggling my nose a lot lately. 

So strange, I ordered a carrot Mojito at dinner after being chased around the yard by a lone male Hawk.  At least I made it under the fence. 

3:  Notice the changes and give yourself some "at-a-boys"
When we bought this property a year and a half ago, the citrus orchard was in terrible shape.  
Sour yucky oranges.

But we have twice as many blossoms this spring as last year, just from selective pruning and proper irrigation.

4:   Re visit the past.  
This is called the "I can't believe we actually paid money for this" file.

 But we have worked hard to get here: 





So what I'm saying is: it's not really all that complicated

 It takes is some time and some planning.

 A lot of dirty socks and " a Roger"

dead rats you get for free 

Have a great week

  1. Hi Kelley,

    You know I adore you and your homes and gardens. But I was one of those who thought the garden in the movie looked fake. There wasn't a leaf on the ground. Everything was just too perfect for my taste. Now you know I'm out there everyday with rakes, clippers, etc. But I can't keep up with nature. It's just my husband and myself. No gardener to mow or anything so while I appreciate the look of a perfectly manicured garden, it's just not gonna happen for me. This place can get wild in just a weeks time! Also, a manicured garden just wouldn't look right here. But don't get me wrong, I love looking at your garden, you (it) inspire me all the time!


    ps~I loved Alec Baldwin too.

  2. I think I'm the only one in this country who hasn't seen the movie. However, I've read every blog post written about it. Your post was adorable! Love the reality check about the dead rats, moles etc. And yes, your garden with those incredible raised beds out of stone are the best! Someday, I am going to copy you! haha....I just need to get Ventura (my Roger) to make them for me.

  3. I could look at your garden pics all day long. My goal is to get my raised bed gardens to look neater, but right now I'm just happy they are growing veggies and fruits. Happy gardening!

  4. My jaw has dropped open and will not shut. I am in awe of what you have done. Just beautiful!
    BTW...loved everything about It's Complicated!

  5. Your gardens are beautiful. I loved the movie too. I love Nancy Meyer movies. Did you see Somthing's Gotta Give?

    Thank you for sharing.


  6. Kelley, Love the raised stone beds...your garden is fabulous!

  7. Yes yes and more yes, I do agree.

    My point, I think is that a garden is a simple idea that is yours to realize. Mine or I should say ours is a pretty large project.

    We don't have a gardener and do it all on the weekends. It's a mess if we haven't been around for two weeks or more but we are OK with that.

    Not perfection by any stretch! And yes the beds are really pretty but you can get just as much from a smaller well tended space.

    So what I was trying to say is enjoy the process. Every garden looks good to me. I really like them all, honest!

    If you are without the critters you are even more lucky! But I do like Roger alot, he's a keeper.


  8. Kelley, the garden is absolutely gorgeous. After watching my husband work in the vegetable bed like a maniac (trying to outsmart the gophers) and then seeing what you've done, I'm hugely inspired. Your garden in Ojai is how I want my garden in Santa Ynez. Sitting at the computer with a glass of wine and a notebook - many thanks for the great photos.


  9. Hi Kelley!

    I think I've actually written in a comment before that your garden has always reminded me of the garden from It's Complicated! I would so love to know how to garden! How did you learn?


  10. Such an inspiring post! Once we move into our house...the garden (front, back & sides) will be the next big project. And after almost four years of ain't very pretty!
    Your blog is definitely going to be a go-to for inspiration and motivation!
    xo Jessica

  11. This was a very informative and inspirational post. I'm wondering what kind of bait you use to trap the small children. I have a few around that are a nuisance. Of course, none of them will be harmed. They'll just be relocated a few miles away. Seriously, your raised beds are gorgeous and I can't wait to see them later in the season. steve

  12. What a beautiful yard you've created. I can't believe you've only been there for a year. I call gardening my "therapy". There's nothing better than playing in the dirt and transforming an area. I built a raised bed for gardening this year, and the amount of produce it yields is amazing! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  13. Love your garden! Makes me wish I had one but I know they're alot of work. How do you keep little dogs out of them? That would be my biggest concern. Yours truly resembles the one in the movie. I adore that movie, don't you? I bought it the first day it came out and saw it at the theaters too. Wish more movies were that good.

  14. First of all , SO happy you finally saw one of our fave movie's....we laughed SO hard in that movie, and could relate to alot! I've got to rent it and see it again.
    You're so lucky to live in your area where gardens grow so beautifully.
    Your garden design is our inspiration for our future veggie goal is to create this garden soon! Yes, those gardens are truly possible...alot of sweat , tears and joy, but soooo worth it!
    There's nothing like feeling "grounded" ( what i call getting into the dirt for the day)'s so great for the soul!

  15. Hey Kelley- I haven't seen the movie yet. You have done such a spectacular job on your property and given it a lot of TLC to get it where it is today.

  16. Hi Kelley,

    I haven't seen It's Complicated yet either! Yes, I think I get the gist of what you are saying...a section at a time. I feel snowed under with my garden at the moment. It's coming into winter here and the weather is making it hard to get out in it and not only that I have other committments that are getting in the way, so I am not spending hardly any time in it at the moment. But I must remember, one section at a time!
    Take care and as always thanks for sharing!
    Tasmania, Australia

  17. Kelley- I have been meaning to tell you this since I saw the movie several months ago.... when I saw the house in the movie (which is so fabulous) I immediately thought how it reminded me of your house!! There was a certain je ne sais quoi that both the movie house and your house has! Absolutely lovely.

    I didn't read about the garden debate, but I totally agree with you... it's a very doable garden and look- it just takes commitment!
    Your grounds and garden are fabulous- kudos to you and your husband!!

  18. Hi Steve; Sardines yes my friend, small children and racoons love a good stinky can of sardines...go figure?
    Angie, you can move in anytime but Millie likes to give lots of Dog kisses OK?
    Hi Kelly, I have a big dog but she seems to keep out of the garden, she is more interested in the other animals. Having a lab up here is great. I need a good alarm system!

    Ann Marie, I do so agree. Therapy Indeed!

    ~*~ LOL kel

  19. Just beautiful, enjoy your posts very much

  20. I adored this movie. I saw it three times at the theater. Your post reminds me that I must go buy a copy. For me the only thing in the movie that stuck out and didn't seem real was the garden. I truly thought it just looked too perfect. But after seeing your garden...I guess it is possible. And the Meryl Streep character did seem like enough of a perfectionist to have a garden like that. Thanks so much for showing that it could be that movie really is perfect.

    Alec Baldwin is the sexiest man alive in my book. I didn't think he was sexy till he got fat. He is the cutest thing ever in the movie. If I had been Meryl Streep, I totally would have gone back to him...and then regretted it when he got another young girlfriend again...but he was adorable.

  21. LOved the movie, the garden and your garden...stunning post!!

  22. I absolutely love your garden photographs!!
    So very inspiring:)

  23. Loved the movie too! Loved all that you said and I have a HUGE appreciation for what you have acccomplished in your yard/orchard--keep us posted on how it looks throughout the summer!

    Have a great weekend!:)

  24. I know I've said it before...but you have an amazing garden...and I love your list of things caught...too funny!

  25. I'm always up for gardening talk! You transformed your space and partnered with Mother Nature. And that gets big points in my book!

  26. I believe what Alec Baldwin has is called "mojo baby!" ;-)

  27. Hi Kelli, you must be a gardener. My husband is out raking as I am writing this. This will be his second truck load of debris to take to the compost center. He has a hidden talent that I never knew before: He's a master leaf raker!

    Hi Brenda, I like that partnering idea too

    Carol: so true

  28. OK, I will be the very-very-very last person on earth to see this show! I wanna....Love the stone-encased garden boxes! Lovely post as usual. thx, -s

  29. Kelly, did u read my story about the real house? It's kind of interesting how they changed the house to make it prettier. I did it earlier tis year. The house is now for sale or it might have already sold.

  30. Ha!I agree with you totally! It is possible with a little hard only wish is that 20 years ago I would have had your "garden smarts" and made my paths much wider! More gravel means less work!! Happy Gardening!


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