Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Garden in May

As we are slowly working away at the garden, I have noticed the blossoming and settling in of some plants, a very good sign indeed. I have no impressive before and afters this time. Just a jaunt around to see how things are shaping up.



The Astelia 'Red Gem' made the transition from the old house just fine. Here I've finally weeded around it and added some gravel, extending the bed out a bit more. Every inch I claim as garden is a victory.



Starting our little tour near the northwest corner, I wanted to show the stairs David recently built. On the left, they are most useful for climbing to the far corner to the new shade garden. Little by little we are making our mark on this piece of land. The rustic stairs will eventually be softened with sedums on either side and maybe a few larger rocks, but for now they're just plain useful and wonderful. Thank you, David.



Heading directly east along the retaining wall (which leads to our front door), I have been planting little sedum starts that are really starting to take off. I decided this whole area will be a sea of mixed sedums, like an eco-roof only at three feet off the ground.


Still farther along, I have begun to take out many unwanted things and replace then with plants I've moved from other parts of the garden and also plants from the old garden. There used to be a sea of Alchemilla mollis, lemon balm and some kind of oregano. It was everywhere and has taken several months to remove. We'll be working on it for years I imagine as even though the main plants are gone, I'm sure there are roots and seeds saturating that heavy soil.


This area was, until last weekend, solid Alchemilla mollis. Now it's Liriope 'Silver Dragon' (formerly in a hanging pot and now divided) with a Zenobia 'Blue Sky' in the center. This area is one of the only shady areas along here.


Looking east. Those Azaleas along the wall are going to go away. I'll move them to the forest-y area, a well-suited site rather than full, hot, scorching sun.


A wider shot showing some of the gravel I've been adding. There's compost under there, too, but it will take a lot more of both to get this soil in shape. The whole area where you now see gravel on the front half of this bed was all Alchemilla mollis. All of it. Now there are some Geranium 'Rozanne' and trailing rosemary. More geraniums on the way.


From the eastern end of the retaining wall looking west. There is Echinacea 'White Swan' and Veronicastrum virginicum in there, among other things. It looks sparse now....patience, Tamara...patience. It will all fill in soon enough.



This end also sports a carpet of sedum, although not as much as the "eco-roof" area at the other end of this retaining wall. It kind of ties it all together in the bigger picture.



Moving on to the northwest corner. A detail of the shade garden. There will be paths and a woodland feel. The plastic on the berm is to deny blackberries light and water. Eventually the berm will be covered in Oxalis oregana, if my plan falls into place.


Here we are looking at the far northeastern corner (I'm standing facing east). David has cleared old, dead spindly Douglas fir trees, you can see the stumps. He affectionately calls this the "East Fields Park". Well, it just may end up being a park, after all. Seriously, though, it will be left pretty wild. I'll transplant some woodland natives along the fence and some sweet groundcovers in the open area.


Now around the corner of the house to the gravel garden.


Let's see if it's filling in.


A few new plants, a few old ones from the old garden. Everything seems to be doing well.



The fire pit, I was convinced, needs to be bigger and in another location so we opted for this table arrangement where the fire pit was originally going to go.The hole in the middle has been filled in by a stump-table partially buried for stability. The stump came from the old maple that was cut down last month by David and his brother Tom who came to visit. Tom cut a mean, flat surface for us! There's just enough room for two chairs there and a couple of drinks. It's coming along bit by bit.



Here is the view from the deck, new table in the middle.


Now let's check out a few flowers and details of the gravel garden. Here, Verbena bonariensis, a transplant from the old garden, is doing well and starting to bloom.


Digitalis 'Honey Trumpet' from Xera Plants. Blooming away and quite happy.


A combination of Astelia, Parahebe, Leptospermum and an existing peony.


OK, one more time...the Astelia 'Red Gem' is really one of my favorites. Looks much better with a skirt of gravel instead of weeds.



Leptospermum lanigerum 'Silver Form' from Xera Plants. This is also a transplant from the old garden. I was worried it would not make it, but it's quite happy it seems.


Farmerus davidii in his orange best. Common name: Happy David Beast!


The campion was here. I decided to leave some to temporarily fill in while other plants are still small.


This is a Dianthus from the nursery, a former throw away that I saved last fall.


Finally the Hebe 'Quicksilver' (one of three) is putting on new growth. Whew...I thought it wasn't going to make the move but it is telling me otherwise.


The former plant prison has been reduced to this grouping of grasses and Amsonia which will be planted in what is now lawn (soon to be removed lawn). I want a big area connecting the gravel garden to the labyrinth garden with grasses. That's the plan, anyhow.


Speaking of the labyrinth garden, let's see how it's doing.


At least there is some green to look at instead of rocks and sand.


And color, too!


My Salix elaeagnos angustifolia in the very center of the circle. The sunflowers I had nothing to do with. That's all the birds. They wanted their own garden, too, apparently, so I happily left them.


I'm starting to put in paths and imagine what they will look like. The Liatris spicata forest is coming along nicely, too. Those were on the property scattered about, I gathered them all up and planted them in a mass.




Eriophyllum lanatum or Oregon sunshine. A tough, native drought tolerant plant I got at the nursery. This is at the far end of the circle where little to no water is not a problem for this sweet spreader.


Rosa glauca, also a new acquisition from the nursery, is quite happy. So am I.


Cattius hobbingtonia sampling the grasses while sister Cattius lucyloo looks on. Yes, we have begun to let them out in the garden little by little, but supervised. They can run right through the deer fence and would not know what to do or where to go as they are pretty much indoor-only cats, so we really do have to stay with them and keep them from wandering too far. Their little excursions usually last about 4.62 minutes and end with us seriously wrangling cats to get inside. Yes, David retired to herd cats. Luckily the Bengals are easily guided to the back door....yelling at us the whole way. By the way, moments after this photo was taken, my lens had a smudge right in the middle. Hmmmm....cat nose print....I would have had some great photos to share on this post but they were, well, damaged goods. I love ya, Hobbes. Thank you very much.

That's what's happening around these parts right now. Slow and steady is our pace, the ibuprofen is plentiful. We love it though. Stay tuned for chicken house adventures as well as other before and afters.  Thank you for reading and happy gardening!




18 comments :

  1. Oh Tamara, you are living the dream of starting a new garden. Luckily, plants grow and fill in quickly in the PNW and especially where you live! I'm excited for you and look forward to seeing more garden strolls. You and David have done so much work already. It's fortunate that you have cat helpers to lighten the workload.

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    1. Hee hee...living the dream. I AM, right? Thank you for putting it in perspective for me! Yes....cats help. That's right.

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  2. Oh to have all that space would be a dream! Looking good and shaping up nicely!!

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    1. Thank you, guys! I hope to have the "bones" in by the end of the summer. Is that too ambitious? David's goal is to raise chickens...that's a whole other post, isn't it??

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  3. Everything looks great. He did a great job on the steps. That is a major project that I have to do but I dread trying to figure it all out. I love the astelia.

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    1. Thank you Phillip! He appreciates the encouragement! Oh, dealing with project plans can be overwhelming. Luckily David has a lot of plans in his head already :)

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  4. The garden is looking so good and coming along wonderfully. You are going to be so amazed how quickly it fills in, and how soon things overtake other things. My front garden was new only two years ago, and it's already full to bursting.

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    1. You are going to be right, Alison. Right now I'm an impatient little girl, however.

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  5. You may feel your progress is slow but I'm truly amazed by what you've already got done. And it's lovely to see your beautiful cats again too!

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    1. KITTIES! They are fun and really love all that grass. Maybe we can get rid of the lawn mower.

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  6. So much to see and love, well done lady!

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    1. Why, thank you Danger! Coming from you, I am honored!

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  7. My, oh my...your elbow grease doth runneth over. I'm looking forward to looking back at these pics next year and the year after that...and preparing to be stunned.

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    1. My elbow grease doth ran out this weekend. You are right, though...I'll look back and say "oh my gawd - I over-planted EVERYTHING"....

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  8. looking great, Tamara! Can't wait for chicken coop adventures!

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    1. Chicken COOP COOP! Hey, there are mystery birds out here that we can only hear and not see call "coop coop...coop coop"....maybe they're abandoned chickens looking for a chump to make them a house by sending subliminal messages to my husband....

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  9. Looking good! The tree stump table is awesome! Funny that what you're pulling out, other gardeners are putting in. I love oregano. :o)

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    1. Why, thank you! Stumps given a second chance. Oh, and I too love oregano, I must admit, and I have some clumps in the garden that I planted. THIS stuff from hell is some aggressive oregano-ish doppleganger that is trying to take over the world.

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