Perennial Border is gradually coming along

A couple of years ago, when I planted tiny plugs of some of the perennials I want in the border, I did it with crossed fingers (and toes, too I think).

Well, it is finally starting to look like something.  A few plants have done extremely well…as here, the Echinacea paradoxa, Veronicas (don’t remember which one) and Baptisia moonlight. Perennial border 6.16.2017.f

Because some of it is screened (deliberately) by a growing Weeping Willow, some partially hidden by the driveway trees and shrubs, I wanted the border to be visible, giving hints of its exuberance, from quite a distance.  It is intended to be appreciated not only as you walk along the path, but by glimpses from anywhere.  So I aimed for bright color, contrast, height.

Now that I am getting more familiar with what will—and will not—grow here, I am starting to plan the rest of the border, the places where plants did not succeed.  I’ll be planting next spring, and in a couple more years…heaven.

Our country garden has some new neighbors

Meet the Neighbors June 2017

This post is not really about gardening…but it sure is about a country garden.  No other garden I’ve ever done could have equine neighbors.  But an Arabian and a Welsh pony now live right next door.

Our five-month old puppy Yale is fascinated, as, I must say, am I.  The horses are enjoying the Brome grass and the clover and we are all enjoying watching them feel at home.

Follow up on the Succession Garden

I love doing succession gardens, that is a changing display of plants in the same space.  It is a wonderful way to make the most of a small space, and though my garden is far from small, I thought it would be fun to do in one area.

This bed is what we see every day and evening while we eat dinner and then watch TV.  I wanted to have a colorful, everchanging display.

So last year I put in a complete groundcover of a small Nepeta: Blue Wonder.  And I interplanted with Allium.   I also seeded with red Poppies, but got no germination.  Maybe bad seed, bad planting?  A disappointment,  but still.

This is how it looks now:Allium w. Nepeta 20170423_142911

As the season progresses there will be Echinacea.  Then Cleome.  And next year Red Poppies (never give up!) and Verbena bonariensis.

Keep looking.

The Woodland with Fothergillas

Woodland w. Fothergillas looking North 20170420_113357

The Fothergillas I planted have suffered mightily–from rabbits to drought to drenching rains.  I was almost ready to give up on them and chalk it up to Kansas learning.  But I love this plant and I knew it would make a wonderful understory shrub layer in the woodland if I could get it started.

Well, patience succeeded.  This year, though they are small, they are gorgeous.  The white flowers are gleaming in the woodland.  They could not be more beautiful.  They help give shape to the space.

Thank you Fothergilla!

You can’t see all of the house from the woodland any more.

Through early spring woodland 2017.wide.20170406_114503

One of my beliefs is that some things should be hidden, at least partially hidden, as you move through a garden.  In a way, this has been the most frustrating part of working on this garden, because I’ve put in some young trees, and been waiting for them to grow.

But I may have a shady woodland in just another few years.

Most of the trees and shrubs are just starting to leaf out, but the Redbuds are blooming, (rather sparsely but better than last year) and the Amelanchiers are gorgeous.  So the area I am most interested in right now–the woodland– is starting to look like a woodland.

I’m not ready to put shade groundcovers under the trees and shrubs; that will still be a few years off.  But isn’t it starting to look right?

Henbit is a weed. So?

I first saw Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) Henbit at Powell Garden 20150406_134746on a visit to Powell Gardens.  I thought it was gorgeous.  I still think so.  Then I started to see it everywhere, in every field.  It is a  self-sowing annual, and in farm fields I’m sure it is regarded as quite pernicious—though since it appears year after year, I suspect nobody has any idea how to eradicate it.

And I realize that I don’t really want to eradicate it.

There are areas in my garden which are still in planning stages.  I’m slowly improving the soil, adding compost, helping to make beds that my designed plants will succeed in.

And every year I get a bumper crop of Henbit.  And I try to kill it.  And I fail, just like everybody else.

So I took another look…and I have now decided to incorporate it into the plans.  I will seed with mini-clover, and those beds will—until I get them properly planted—look tended rather than weedy.  And the clover will improve the soil as well.  I will remove all the other weeds, but the henbit?  Why?

I still think it is gorgeous.  I may even make a stake labelling it!  So there!

A Succession Garden

I’ve  been giving talks and writing about the subject of Succession Gardens, that is one space that has a succession of plants appearing through the season.  It’s great for a small garden, because you can have several gardens in the same small space.

The classic, of course, is bulbs.  One plants Tulips or Daffodils, and then they die down and you plant something else to – hopefully – cover their dying leaves.

I have a slightly different succession garden right outside our living/dining room, and it’s working.

Last year I planted a huge bed of Nepeta Blue WonderNepeta Blue Wonder (350 plants–this is not a small garden, just a small space within the huge garden), a very low-growing Catmint, to act as an all-summer groundcover.

Last fall I put 200 Allium aflatunense Allium aflatunensein among the Nepeta.

And a couple of weeks ago I seeded red Poppies Papaver rhoes. field.throughout the bed.

Since last year there were Cleome Cleomeeverywhere, they should have re-seeded and will be coming back.  There were also some Purple ConeflowersEchinacea purpurea, a gift from a neighbor, and they should come back and spread.  And next year I am going to seed some Verbena bonariensis alsoVerbena bonariensis.closeup.

Well, the Nepetas are looking wonderful.  I cut them back a couple of weeks ago and they are poking their little curly heads out.

The Alliums are coming up in wonderful contrast.  Their stiff vertical leaves among the curls of the Nepetas already look interesting.  By early summer the Nepetas will be in bloom.  The Alliums will bloom a few weeks later.  And the Poppies after that.  Then, when the color from the Alliums and Poppies is gone,  the Cleomes and Purple Coneflowers should start blooming.  The  bed will be full of color all season, but changing all the time.

I can’t show an image of what the whole bed will look like at once, because that is the point.  There is no “all at once”.

It will keep changing.

That is what I enjoy about Succession Planting.  In fact, that is what I enjoy about gardening.

 

 

A garden designer’s job is to create spaces.

As a designer I create planting compositions and combinations.  And lay out planting beds.  And water gardens.  And seating walls.  And patios.  And pergolas.  Yet none of these are primary.  The primary is using all these things to make spaces.  Spaces that are inviting for humans to move through and experience.

And I realize now that this is what is truly –though slowly– coming together here in Timshala..

Yes, it is slow.  And yes, sometimes I find it so frustrating how slowly the garden is coming together.

I’ve been here about two years, and still it doesn’t mostly look the way it should and will.  It is still much too open.  Still not enough flowering plants.

Then recently, while I was whining about it, someone said to me, “Do you remember what it looked like when you started!?”

And I have to admit, I didn’t.

So I looked it up.

This was the blank slate. Mailbox in the snowIMAG0052

This is what it looks like now. Same view.woodland-walk-sept-2016-6-w-pergola-capture

And what I see is SPACES.  The walkways – which were the first thing I put in — take you through the various spaces, from the woodland to the perennial border to the pergola to the patio.  There is now a “there” there.  There wasn’t when I started.

Perhaps some kind person will remind me of this next time you hear me whining about how slow it all is.

Lights…action

Gardens are slow.

I have an image in my mind of how things will look, and slowly, slowly, painstakingly slowly, some things are starting to look in reality the way they do in my mind. The lights glittering among the Wisteria is one of the successes.

Planted just two years ago, the Wisteria has rushed up the pergola and in some places has traveled across the top.  And the formerly naked lights are now nestled among the leaves, just the way they are supposed to.wisteria-with-lights-among-leaaves-9-2016-cropped-20160920_071246

I can hardly wait till spring, when there are flowers too, to be back-lighted, and side-lighted, and front-lighted.

Yum.