The orchard is blooming. Dogwoods are blooming. Hostas are coming up.

The orchard is what I see from the kitchen windowOrchard April 2015

and what a lovely sight it is now.  Every one of the flowering Crabapples I put in is blooming.  I did three different varieties, thinking that they would grow at different rates (which they have) and that I might lose some (and I haven’t).  They’re still small of course, but it is looking like a defined space.  It looks as if most of the grass growing in that area is – as I hoped – the No-Mow, which will remain short and a little rough.  So later this spring I’m going to put in a scattering of low-growing summer-flowering plants – possibly some red Daylilies, to further define the space.  And this fall I think it will be time for bulbs.

Dogwoods April 2015

The Dogwoods – all but one – came through the winter beautifully.  I was a little nervous, because I had been advised to wait until spring.  But I didn’t; and it worked out.  What I did do was water.  Every time there was a winter thaw I dragged out 350′ of hose and watered every tree and shrub deeply.  I think that did help.

And the Hostas, six big, beautiful Sum & Substance, are all up.  I planted them bare root, which I have never done before.  They are much less expensive that way – and it worked.  I highly recommend this as a way to save some money.  And the way they are coming up looks as if they are the same size they would be if I had planted gallon-size containers.

Some Baby Steps

Last  week we planted about 35 trees and over 100 shrubs – a third of the trees and shrubs  And oh my goodness they sure do disappear on the huge site!

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Flowering Crabapple in the Orchard

The plants won’t reach anything like their mature size for several years – so when I did the plans I laid everything out at their mature size.  For example, if a Maple tree will have a 50’ canopy, that’s what I showed;  I have them planted about 50′ apart.  But right now that maple has a 6’ canopy.  So most of the space around it is still empty.  If I plant them closer together, sure they’ll look better now –and  then very soon they will be too crowded and I will have to move or remove them.  I don’t want to do that – and I can’t afford it. 

So…Patience Cynthia. 

I’m realizing how difficult it must be to be a client, with little or no ability to visualize the final size of plants.  I’m going to be a much better designer after this…at least much better at managing my clients’ expectations.

I’m remembering one large garden I did – a couple of acres – and I surrounded the house with ferns and Fothergilla, spaced appropriately.  The client kept thinking the plants were dead, or unhealthy, or too small.  For two years I heard this litany of worries.  Until the third year, when everything just exploded.   They had finished growing their roots – and now were spectacular above ground!  The ferns completely covered the ground.  The Fothergillas  set among the ferns were huge, flowering generously, becoming rich red/orange/russet in the fall.

Now I get photographs from them every year, not of tiny, undersized sad little plants, but of lush plants that frame the house luxuriously.

And so mine will be.  Patience Cynthia.