Jennifer Baldwin Peden and Tom Peden share their garden strategies.

First things first. Jennifer's father, a noted landscape architect, taught them the value of starting with good soil, Tom said. "We've amended it, adding manure and peat, to make our own."

Mix and mingle. The couple grow both flowers and vegetables, but without rigid boundaries between the two. "We've started bringing flowers into the vegetable garden ... tomatoes with peonies, asparagus with lilies," Jennifer said.

Accept volunteers. The back of the garden, nearest the alley, includes an "unstructured area," filled with milkweed. "Most people take 'em out," Jennifer said. "But I remember, from when I was a young girl, that the monarch butterflies really like them. And the blossoms smell incredible -- as good as lilac."

See the possibilities. Last year, a gigantic weed had a prominent spot in the couple's garden. "It just came; at first I thought it was lamb's ear," Tom said. But it continued to grow, and they decided they liked its height and structure. "We have a few whimsical objects that we've allowed to happen," Jennifer said.