You might also like

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Garden thoughts


When we bought this house on top of the hill there was a garage under the long studio wing, its entrance  paved with pebbles and the front bank was sliding down. An extra oak tree was leaving the front yard and moving down the hill.

In front yard what passes for grass (and still does) went right up to the studio foundation and where there is a ramp now. When Guido built the retaining wall and poured the drive and apron we specified steps from the lower level, up the hill. I asked him to snap a garden hose from the top of the steps in a nice curve, to lay a sidewalk to meet the walk that ended at the porch steps.

One little snap and we had that entire garden between the walk and the studio. Oh, yes, and all the backfill of the old stone driveway. 1988. There were many abortive attempts by Jan and me to start a garden. By fall it would be weeds and meet the weed wacker.


Jan once tried to barter with a master gardener to quilt for her for life, for free, in exchange for having the “garden” become a garden. Her customer’s response: “You don’t have enough money to turn that into a garden.”

There was another attempt several years ago, when Laura was maybe four or five and we had the children for a summer, to make order of chaos. The square pavers were laid, but by fall the garden again met the weed wacker.

In the meantime, the other side of the porch was grass, until a warm weekend in March, 1997, when another contractor friend built the ramp in three days, and Mom made her last trip from the house in dignity, in a wheel chair, not on a stretcher. Another bit of garden produced, filled with Aunt Laura’s iris and Dad’s fall blooming crocus. And the weed wacker.


We needed all last summer, as you know, and a deal of grandkid muscle, and the gardens were wrested from the weed wacker. Not by a professional, but we did sort it out as we went. The master plan is to stuff in enough plants to smother weeds. It may be working. Or, to quote my garden vice president, Laura on how long it will look this nice, as long as you live here, my dear. 


The very bottom, by the steps down to the garage. Hamilton and Emily laid all those extra stones to form walk ways and make garden sections. This lower third was all anemone in the spring, then Laura's neat rows of fall crocus foliage. Now the wooly thyme is spreading and spreading. That should be the name of a song. There's a pampas grass and a bleeding heart back there, too.

In spite of transplanting all the yucca to the back, the two hardy souls at left will not be deterred, so they remain. As I noted before, there will always be yucca.



The middle. At the back, pampas grass and yucca, just like the decorators do in professional building landscaping. Take that, Ms. Master Gardener.

In the front, some Canterbury bells and some daisies. This was a place to ponder, but now I know. I am as fond of Canterbury bells as I am of chipmunks, and I'll put another half dozen or more in here in the fall, together with that low ground cover that has purple flowers. What of the daisies, you ask? 



This is the top third, and has a great assortment from back to front. Butterfly bush, brown eyed Susans, phlox, the Solomon seal that bloomed in the spring. But the old peony that escaped the weed wacker is too big. In the fall it will move back by object d'art wisteria trellis, and I'll fill in the space with all the orange and yellow center plants.

Many failed years of trying to establish clematis on the trellis, I'm going for a climbing rose in the fall or spring.



Another little pretty, over in the triangle by the ramp. And that's the plan.

24 comments:

  1. I agree with your principle "stuff in enough plants to smother weeds". That is the technique I use. Your little pretty in the last picture is a balloon flower, and a very attractive one. The whole garden is coming along beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oooh. Beauty - and inspiration. And I too try (and fail) to crowd out the weeds. A work in progress. And I would love to have some grandchild muscle to use.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice garden! I like the way the kids have - finally - turned their backs on commercial crops. Well done, Gran.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I enjoyed the tour of your garden. It's always nice to be able to put people in context and now I feel I can picture you at home.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A garden is a garden, it is about watching things grow and having a place to sit and do that.
    Merle.......

    ReplyDelete
  6. The lesson in this story is a good garden takes more than a good amount of effort.
    It looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well you are obviously just a bit slow to get going! :) The garden looks wonderful! I love canterbury bells too. I always like wallflowers, they smell so pretty.I wonder if they grow in your part of the world though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is beautiful Joanne, and coming along very nicely!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's looking really good, Joanne. And that trellis is cool.

    Did you conquer the mole/mouse problem you had last year? (I think?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is moles and we still have them. Further research shows moles eat worms and grubs, not roots, so as long as they keep to the garden and don't undermine the yard, we coexist.

      Delete
  10. Please send grandchildren STOP
    Will feed them STOP
    In return for yard work STOP
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kid power made it happen. That must make you all happy as everything looks great. One suggestion about Yucca though - it's roots go far and wide and Yucca can pop up all over. It is very invasive. However, if you like the plant, you have something to look forward to in the coming years.

    Your home is lovely, Joanne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The yucca is one of the plants we inherited from previous gardening attempts. Invasive is an understatement. Roots as big as a child's arm, spreading everywhere. We thought we had it all, but wrong. These two can stay and all new shoots are clipped at the soil line, as I don't want to dig up the entire garden again.

      Delete
  12. Dear Joanne,
    you are so lucky in many ways to have your adorable grandchildren! They did very good work! There are some flowers that get rampant on their own - they might be fighting weeds. And the climbing rose is a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's all looking very lovely Joanne and it's good to still have enough bare spaces that you can move plants into when they are too big for their present location.
    I love climbing roses, what colour rose have you chosen?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Last year's hard work has paid off !

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a wonderful thing your grandchildren have done! A treasure for years to come. In fact, Joanne, your photos have inspired me to venture forth into my own small garden and take some pictures of my son's hard, but fruitful efforts!

    It's so nice to see pictures of your beautiful home!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hari OM
    Wonderful persistence and vision paying off! Loved this post Joanne, as it put all previous garden posts into context; and now I am there with you &*> YAM xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice garden, but what stands out to me is the umbrella. Its big and a nice color. I need one.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It all looks so beautiful - wish I could pop in for a coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love to make gardens and I love a big challenge! It looks good!

    ReplyDelete
  20. The weeds are taking over my garden this summer. Since we've been traveling so much with the grandkids, we haven't been home to tend to it. Now that we're home, it's too hot to work in the yard! I'm working in the evenings for 20 minutes...and not making a lot of progress. Cleaning out the strawberry patch was like hunting easter eggs...I found a lot of berries under the shade of enormous weeds!

    ReplyDelete