Saturday, March 31, 2007

New House, New Garden

I brought as many plants as I could, waiting until late September to move them. By that time, I was so exhausted by the move and the backwardness of my new home that I wasn't as orderly as I would have liked. That, combined with a winter of very little snow and variable temperatures, is making me feel more and more like I'm starting from scratch here.

Other than the lock stoned-in containers against the porch, nobody has ever done anything to this yard. It's virgin territory for my dirty, dirty hands and I can't help but feel titillated by that. It was one of the things that drew me to this house.
I feel experienced, as if my garden had been my testing ground, and this is the next step. This is where I put all that I learned over the years to good use and create something even more spectacular. I look at what I had done and know all the mistakes that turned out to be fabulous, and fabulous things that just don't belong - I can expand those boundaries, plant more (I have the space now) - I can recreate what I loved most, properly, with more space...and just let them thrive.

I adore cottage gardens, English gardens, roses and vegetables, herbs - all of it together. I love letting the plants do as they wish (within reason, of course, heh) and watch them explore as they grow (like that pumpkin plant who grew through my chair last year, the curly one haa that made me laugh....I wish I could have seen my garden through to the end without disruption last year, how sad I will always feel for that *sniff*) .

I also admire woodland gardens thick with native plants, I'm sure in thanks to all my years spent in Wishart. I like to think that in some teeming way, a cottage woodland English way, that is what I created. I'm going to recreate it, better though - and I'm going to erect a greenhouse, a small one just in front of the shed. A small greenhouse, just enough space for a few trays and pots, soil storage, away from cats, and wood floors, and cold front porches. I'd like to get something growing over and arbor-ish sort of construction between the two, maybe those Hops can latch on? Hmm. (the neighbors have hops that have hopped into our yard)

Wow, I am so excited to see the neighbor's Lilac grow and bloom which is going to be soon, yay! I hope they're the same color as my bike. (The neighbors to the west have an enormous Lilac that leans over into our yard - she explained when we moved in that she was terrified of new neighbors who might want her to cut it back, and how thankful she was when I told her I wished it was mine; we are both happy.) The Lilac has a "partner", a Virginia Creeper, who has crept up and over, dangling down into our yard. I was mesmerized by it in the fall, especially in the morning.

The back yard is 25' by 50' with a 8.5' by 10' foot shed in the northwest corner. There are huge crab apple trees to our east, huge trees all around everywhere, with nests, an apple tree in the Lilac neighbors yard, cats (Annabelle and Maxine - that I know of so far), and kangaroo-like squirrels playing everywhere. We're bringing in a bat house, birdhouses, (squirrel-be-gone)bird feeders, and an entomological-ecological backyard experiment. Should be fun!

The house shades a good part of the yard - I'll be watching that more closely over the next months. I'm happy about that in many ways, because I've always wanted a big shade garden (I love hostas and ferns and the luxurious foliage displays that can be created). I suspect though that this will be a mostly potted shade garden, from what I have going on in my mind. Shh, for now...

The front yard has it's challenges: people walking through it (grr), garbage (damn litterers), and the neighbors truck. I'll make a barrier with treated 2" x 4" that with hopefully blend nicely into the bed to prevent the truck from rolling into the garden.
I'm only thinking about the one side, the south east corner. The other side of the walkway will hopefully become a small, tidy driveway, hopefully cement. I work around that when the time comes.

The side I will work with with be a lily bed, along with well planned waves of early, mid, and late blooming narcissi, daffodils, tulips, and crocuses. The Daylilies will take over for the early, mid, and late summer and, as usual, they will all mean something. When there're so many choices, I like narrowing mine by planting those that relate in some way or anther, silly, thoughful, or nerdy to some part of my life. I like that my garden has so many stories.

I'd like to put roses in the beds near the porch. It gets a lot of sun, and it's warm, protected, and I can take advantage of those deep beds when amending the soil and really do it right. In the with roses will be Lavender (which I will consider an annual until one year it surprises me, and returns), Rosemary, and maybe some Thyme. I'd also like to find two newer window boxes of the same design that I have already and have them hung off the porch windows. All my former window boxes have been in the shade, so this will be new - a sunny window box.

I can't stop thinking about the Lophospermum (Great cascade) in the window box last year - which claims to be a sun lover, but from my experience with it, it shrivelled in the sun, but seemed to thrive in the dappled morning sunny/ mostly shady place I had it. I'll probably try it again in this sunny spot, just to see what happens - the worse thing that could happen would be a sudden move to the backyard, which I wouldn't mind at all anyway.

There's also a spectacular young Maple to the west of the yard, which I love but worry about whether there's going to be enough room for it as it grows. I intend to stay out of it's way, I hope it cooperates.