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!


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.