I did not want a waterfront property

Last year, after some of the most dramatic rainfalls since we have been here, I woke up to look out at a garden almost completely submerged.

 I already knew we had some water problems in some areas.  I had some dry wells put in; I planted various water loving plants.  I added a river of Willows (Salix Mt. Aso)  groves of Cephalanthus (Buttonbush),  Clethras.  I redesigned some parts of the perennial border.  Everything helped a little.  Nothing really solved the problem.  Soil and mulch were washing away, trees and shrubs were drowning. 

So now we are in the process of putting in about 150’ of French drains with beautiful river rocks covering the drains.  Most run along the center of the path, creating an extra line of direction and motion.

This is the beginning of the trenching.  MFrench drain under construction20180309_163501 (002)ore to come, when the reconstruction is complete. 

And while I hate to be spending the money, I actually think it is going to look quite good.  There is a Japanese style of design called Wabi-sabi, which uses nature’s imperfections as part of the design. Wikipedia calls it the “appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes”.   

The water isn’t exactly keeping to the path and therefore, neither are the French drains.  But the effect is of an interesting interplay between the direction of garden path and the direction of the water. 

 

Baby pussywillows outlined with frost

I put in 10” dormant pussywillows, Salix gracilistyla ‘Mt Aso’ — 20 of them — in the spring, hoping they would take…then hoping they would grow to their 5’ tall height… then hoping they would form the beautiful rose-red pussies.

Well I got two out of three of my wishes.

They almost all took, grew new branches, new leaves – and now – pussies for winter.  Salix mt. asa pussy rimmed with frost dec 2015They are only about 18” tall so far, but I assume they have nice roots and next year should start making some height.

So I will have my “river” of pussywillows for summer leaves and winter color, and then I will interplant with Siberian Irises for spring bloom.  Yum.