Thursday, August 14, 2014

Changes In The Garden

For the past few years I've been kicking around the idea of expanding the perennial beds in the South section of the garden in order to move many of our plants forward, and plant some larger shrubs and trees along the fence, creating both privacy and a backdrop for the smaller plants. On Sunday, all of a sudden, we went for it. We have a long way to go, but already things are really coming together.

Take a look!

I know, I know. Using a hose to measure and define a space is not very professional, but it worked! I laid it out how I wanted it on one side, and then measure out from the existing beds to the curve in the hose and adjusted as necessary.

I also realized I needed to do some digging to unearth the bricks that once edged the Long Border along the fence. Years of heaving and encroaching grass have caused them to pretty much disappear.

In a few sections you can see a bit better how they once were placed. A nice brick edging works great, but I have new plans for these bricks.

"Lasagna" gardening has worked well for us in the past, and we decided to repeat the process here, but with the bonus step of "scalping" the grass with a string trimmer.

The next step is to lay newspaper or cardboard down, and then soil followed by mulch. I'm always too impatient, so we scalp first and kind of rough up the sod with a pitch fork or shovel, then add dirt, then mulch. This allows me to plant this year rather than waiting for the Spring.

The curved lawn will eventually have a pergola-like construction in the center covered, one day, with autumn clematis. I think. In the meantime we will have quite a bit of moving to do as all of the plants up close to the fence will be moved elsewhere to allow for privet, viburnum, and other taller shrubs to create a living hedge, and obscure the fence. All of the plants will have such a better backdrop than just a chain link fence.
As we began bringing the dirt around I realized I needed to get the rest of the bricks dug out.

We used a top soil mixed with sand. I know some say sand doesn't really help with heavy clay soils, but we used this when we created the Hydrangea Border and that part of the garden grows probably better than any other.
More brick...
As the sun was setting I had removed all of the bricks. We had also managed to get some of the sale plants that had been languishing for too long into the ground.

Looking in the opposite direction. The Surprise Lilies (or Naked Ladies) have been wonderful this year.
See what I mean? These may be slightly thinned this year after they bloom in order to spread them around the garden.
A few of them barely made it out of the ground.

These are in another section of the garden that has a bit of everything growing in it. That is my ultimate goal with this part of the garden. I want everything spread everywhere, rather than have a bed of daylilies here, a bed of black-eyed Susan's there, and a single iris blooming over that way. Oh! And look there at the bricks at the South entrance to the garden!
This is how all of the beds will eventually be edged. It takes twice as many, but the end result will be worth it!