I know that I have been mentioning the new stroll garden we are putting in around here. Like a good Virgo, my husband likes to have things planned out before the work begins, and this project is so big I agreed with him.
We went out and measured, and graphed, and then spent time planning the new garden addition, and this is what we have come up with.
Things that are shaded in the dark green are the existing gardens. The trees and shrubs that are labelled are already in existence. Blue circles represent stepping stone paths. The light green cross-hatched areas will be grass paths. The white areas are new garden beds. The whole area is enclosed inside a privacy fence.
The pond that I talk about is on the other side of the privacy fence on the north, shaded by the tall pine trees in that corner. The street is to the south.
As you can see, there are some things that we have already decided upon, like the area labeled ornamental grasses. That area of the garden bed will be mounded up as well, so it will provide a good visual barrier to the rest of the stroll garden. That will make the little bench I plan to have back there for watching the bird feeder a surprise to the stroller.
I also intend to have several viburnums in that bed. Since the yard is a habitat, I am trying to make the plantings wild life friendly, and viburnums are good that way. I have a lilac that is suffering out in the front that I intend to move into this garden somewhere. We also want a small tree, ornamental. There will be an incense cedar planted just to the north of the junipers.
We are also sure about putting in a Japanese style rock garden in the corner by the house. We have been thinking about that for several years. Before we sold our place out in the county, we brought wonderful “character” rocks home from there for that project. It will be complete with a bed of gravel into which we can rake patterns. It will be separated from the rest of the yard by a dry stack retaining wall made with some of the stones I bought at the auction a couple of years ago.
I decided that a rock garden/scree slope will make a good transition from the hostas, which are terraced with rock to the stark Japanese garden. We have some good sized rocks here that will form the foundation of that planting.
I have already begun laying in the stepping stone path that leads from the gate to . . . to. . . well, that is one of my problems. I don’t know how far to go with that path. I intend to put stepping stones across the end of the garden that has the elm tree at its eastern edge. And there is already a gravel path along the back of the house which contains a French drain to keep the house from getting too wet underneath. This drains to the west, hence the planned rain garden down in that corner. That will have a shrub in it as well as the flowers, probably a nine bark bush, but I don’t know yet.
But I just don’t know how far to take the stepping stones. And I am not sure how to make the transition from the white chat gravel to the stepping stone path, either. I could start making the stones smaller and smaller and gradually change the character of the path, or I could just have a line: on this side gravel, on the other stones.
Down near the Japanese garden there is a tree labelled “den tree.” This is an elm that suffered substantial injuries during the ice storm last January. We were extremely lucky that it did not damage our roof, especially when you consider how close it is to the house. We decided it was too close. Rather than just take it out completely, we had it trimmed back to the major branches, none of which overhang the house, and had the tree girdled so that it would have a chance to rot and die and provide habitat for our wood peckers. It is already attracting activity, so Iwould say the bugs have discovered it is dead and our plan is working.
Another change that is not diagrammed on this plan is an outgrowth of the fact that that tree is now a den tree, plus the loss of canopy on all the other trees around that corner. When I planted it, it was a shade garden. Now it is very hot and sunny, and the hostas were really in trouble this August when it was so hot. That corner is scheduled for a major remodel. Jim is going to build a shade arbor over it so I won’t have to move all the hostas.
So, that’s the job in hand, and hopefully I won’t kill myself hauling the rocks to it! I know that there are a lot of gardeners visiting my blog, and any suggestions you have as to what I should plant in my shrubbery will be gratefully accepted.