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Jun 9, 2010 6:46 AM CST
|I always thought that if I had to name my garden I would call it 'Cheek by Jowl'. That pretty much describes my approach to plant placement. Roses, perennials, shrubs, native bi-annuals, vines, and annuals are all packed in closely together - much like a cottage garden, but on a different scale. The garden is enclosed and has several entry points. The front gate is on the east side of the house and is shown here (adjacent to my neighbor's yard). The gate has an inlaid ceramic tile, and is covered by a wooden arbor that I built a few years ago. There is a second gate made of decorative iron and wood in the lower back yard on the west side of the house, next to the sloped rock garden. And of course, there are entrances through the back of the house itself (from the second floor deck and also the ground floor patio). |
In previous years the gated arbor was covered with a Joseph's Coat that climbed up the left side (shown here: http://cubits.org/roses/thread...), but it developed a gall at its base that caused it to dwindle over the past two years, so I replaced it this spring with a climbing Pinata and a climbing Jacob's Robe, and added two purple clematis. Hopefully the new climbing roses will cover the arch in another year or two the way Joseph's Coat did. A Berries 'n Cream climbing rose is shown on the right. I had to cut it back a bit this year to prompt some new, fresh growth.
Jun 9, 2010 6:50 AM CST
|Behind the gated arbor is a series of descending flagstone steps leading past rhododendrons and roses on the right, and more roses, ferns and perennials on the left, down to the garden shed. My partner John calls this the Amazon Walk because of its dense foliage and outsized hostas. A climbing New Dawn grows up a lattice at the end of the steps, and reaches up to embrace the railings on the deck. Bouquet Parfait (a hybrid musk) is shown blooming in the near foreground on the photo's edge.|
Jun 9, 2010 7:03 AM CST
|After descending the steps and turning to the left, there is a short walkway I call Hybrid Tea Row that leads to an interim spindled gate that keeps the dogs out of the main garden. Just past that gate is a brick path (shown here) that meanders past a bubbling fountain where birds like to bathe. The path is made from about 1,200 bricks that I recovered from the ruins of an old iron stove factory on the Hudson River that was built in 1858 - a big undertaking since I had to dig the bricks out and carry them down a steep bank and load them up in the SUV, take them home, and then unload them, carry them to the back yard, and make them into a path. DIY Magazine did a short story about it on their website a couple of years ago, for which they sent me a tiara that I like to wear when I'm feeling imperial. (I once plucked a blooming alium while wearing it so I could appear replete with a purple scepter.) |
Jun 9, 2010 7:10 AM CST
|When you reach the fountain and turn around to look behind you, there's a White Dawn climbing up a trellis onto the other side of the deck, opposite from New Dawn. You can see the garden shed peeking out from the arbor vita at the end of Hybrid Tea Row. In case you're wondering what those posts with the finials are doing there beyond the open gate, they support a nearly invisible wire fence that keeps the dogs out of the roses. |
Jun 9, 2010 7:20 AM CST
|Finally, when you turn the corner past the fountain, you arrive at the sloped rock garden which - over the years - has become home to more roses than rocks. We used to call this Stonehenge, but now many of the big tombstone-like rocks that jut out of the ground have become obscured by roses, conifers and ground cover plants, so the name isn't as apropos as it used to be. A separate tumbling bed of rocks can still be seen on the far right by the wood fence I built a few years ago. That bed of rocks is several feet deep and has grown in size and depth over time -- all dug up from the garden to make room for more plants.|
Well, that concludes the nickel tour. I'll post some plant portraits separately.
Thanks for visiting!
Jun 9, 2010 7:27 AM CST
|Really beautiful Mike! Thanks for sharing!|
Jun 9, 2010 8:27 AM CST
|Wow, Mike! Absolutely spectacular use of space and materials. Great tour. - Now is there any chance of getting a picture of you in the tiara?|
Jun 9, 2010 9:23 AM CST
|Oh, my gosh! Love it all! But the hybrid tea row is awesome....|
Jun 9, 2010 10:10 AM CST
|OMG, how WONDERFUL!!!! That is a BEAUTIFUL yard! I can definitely see why DIY magazine was there... here, I'm the complete abnormal person because everyone hires a contractor or landscaping company to do their yards. I went on a xericscape garden tour a few years ago to get ideas on plants that would thrive here in Parker and every single one of the houses on the tour (1 hour per house, 6 houses) had hired this, that, or the other company to do their yard. So the concept of doing it yourself is foreign. But it's 100% pragmatic: I'm too cheap to hire someone when I can dig my own holes. Plus it leaves more money to buy plants. LOL!! I remember this one lady bragging that there was 16 roses in her front yard. No offense, but big whoop. There was one house that was kind of wild and crazy w/the landscaping, but everything was growing like weeds and it was beautiful.|
Amazing what good soil & water can do for a yard. I'm jealous.
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/Tweet...
Jun 9, 2010 5:52 PM CST
|I would have commented earlier, Mike, but as soon as I looked at the photos of your immaculate and flawless garden, I went straight outside and spent several hours deadheading. I told Sue I was intimidated by the sheer perfection of it. What a fabulous garden! Everything is absolutely stunning.|
Jun 9, 2010 7:16 PM CST
|Many thanks for the kind compliments. Porkpal, it just so happens that I do have a photo of me wearing that tiara. |
Toni, you'd be surprised to learn that I have the worst soil imaginable - in that it basically doesn't exist unless and until I bring it in and mix it myself. The lot on which my home is situated is on a very steep hill, so the builder installed an L-shaped retaining wall along part of the property's border in order to create a level back yard. He filled in the cavity created by the retaining walls with many tons of 3/4 crushed stone (i.e., driveway gravel), and then topped it off with only about 6 inches of top soil. I didn't know this until after I bought my home and started to garden. So for every rose or other plant I've put in I've had to dig up several cubic feet of gravel and replace it with soil that I mix myself. I built a giant sieve as big as my dining room table so that I could use it to separate the gravel from the top soil that I dig up for each plant, and then I mix the sieved soil with equal parts peat moss and organic material to refill each hole. Over the years I've dug up and replaced literally tons of gravel and what is known in the building trade as "hard fill" (i.e., broken slabs of cement, asphalt, and rocks). So believe me when I tell you there's absolutely no need to be jealous!
Zuzu, it's difficult to imagine intimidating you with anything in my garden - you're too kind! But I'm glad I inspired you to do a little deadheading this afternoon. I always find that particular chore goes faster if I deadhead with one hand, while holding a glass of French Viognier with the other. You should try it!
Jun 9, 2010 7:20 PM CST
|I'll reserve most of my rose photos for the Rose Parades forum (at http://cubits.org/roses/thread...), but thought I'd share a few pictures of my non-rose plants in this thread. Here are some of the giant peonies that I grow in the front yard. The deer don't touch them, so they don't need the protection of the enclosed garden. |
Jun 9, 2010 7:22 PM CST
|Here's a close-up of a couple of peony blooms. They produce the most exquisite fragrance - like the finest French milled soap.|
Jun 9, 2010 7:32 PM CST
|Here's something that I recently discovered from a neighbor - chives! They produce the most attractive purple flowers on the end of upright stems (and of course the stems are edible, too). They're the perfect perennial - and yet they're not marketed as such. Last spring I noticed a neighbor had these great mounds of purple flowers in her garden, but I had no idea what they were. One day I noticed her tending her flower beds as I drove by, so I stopped to introduce myself, only to discover she spoke virtually no English. So I walked over to the flower and asked "What is this" by shrugging my shoulders and giving her a perplexed expression. "Chive" was all she said, with a similar shrug. Well, I had no idea! So at the end of last summer I was at a nursery that had lots of herbs, and asked if they had any chives. The nursery manager looked around but couldn't find any, and commented that they must have sold out. But then she noticed a specimen growing wild in the gravel where it had self-sewn, so she leaned over, grabbed it by the base and yanked it out of the soil, then stuck it in a pot, and gave it to me. And that plant is the one shown here 9 months later. |
Jun 9, 2010 7:35 PM CST
|Here's something just for fun - a vivid "wallpaper" photo of petunia blooms. This particular cultivar is Picasso, and is growing out of an urn on my front porch. I also have it spilling over a rock wall on the side of the front yard.|
Jun 9, 2010 7:45 PM CST
|Here's a single bud on an annual I introduced to the garden this year - Straw Flower. I don't know how I overlooked it in the past, but I sure do like this plant. This is a close-up of a flower just before opening. There are numerous blooms like this one, about the size of a quarter, all over the plant. When they all open up at once they project the most radiant yellow and orange colors, and have the texture of straw. At sunset, or when it rains, the flowers close down, then open back up again when the sun comes out. I just love it. |
Jun 9, 2010 9:14 PM CST
|Most of my plants are in-ground, with the exception of the patio and deck where I have a number of potted plants. Most of them are fairly large, but I have a special fondness for Sempervivum tectorum; a.k.a. Hens & Chicks. Here's a small specimen in bloom - it reminds me of one of the botanical aliens from the movie Men in Black. |
Jun 9, 2010 10:04 PM CST
|Now I am doubly impressed with your gardening determination and skill! You definitely earned the tiara!|
Jun 11, 2010 4:58 PM CST
|"Pretty Much Picasso" has been my favorite Petunia since the first day I saw it. Isn't it amazing how perfectly the green edge matches the foliage?|
The Strawflower photo is just stunning!
Jun 11, 2010 5:10 PM CST
|I knew its name had something in front of 'Picasso' but couldn't think what it was and was too lazy to look it up. Thanks for reminding me. You know, I love that green edging on the blossoms, too, but there's a story behind that. This is the first year I've had this petunia in my garden, because it's also the first year one of the local nurseries have carried it. I bought six of them earlier in the spring and they've done exceptionally well, so when I revisited the nursery last weekend I told the owner I was loving them. She asked "Really?" and seemed a little surprised. When I asked her why, she said she loved the photo of Picasso when she saw it in the wholesaler's catalog, and because of that she decided to stock an enormous display of them. But then when they arrived she said she was disappointed by the way the green edging made the flowers blend in so much with the leaves that they lost their definition. I told her I had noticed that same effect, but didn't mind it. To the contrary, I liked these plants because they began spreading out immediately, and by the end of the summer I suspect that they're going to look like sea monsters in my garden!|