Thursday, November 18, 2010

four seasons garden

I've been focusing my gardening on the driveway area this fall.  It has the most character this time of year but still needed some filling in.  I've been planning the new backyard terrace garden in my mind but haven't done much actual work yet.

As I tended the driveway garden, I realized that I had four garden areas, and each has its own season.  This was never planned.  I only sort-of plan my gardens, since not much that I plan out there comes to pass.  The seasonal garden discovery is just chance.
November in the Driveway Garden
The Driveway Garden has yellow, white and purple chrysanthemums and some purple asters, as well as white feverfew, all of which came back this fall.  I added some white chrysanthemums, more asters and the obedient plant from my neighbor.  The obedient plant has flower buds on it and seems settled.  We haven't had a frost yet, so it may have time to bloom.  I've put more ajuga in there too, to contribute to the purple tones.  I think I'll add heuchera next year in both rusty purple colors and a vibrant golden green, and maybe put out a sweet potato vine if I can keep one alive all winter indoors.  I think the chartreuse would look good with the purple.  All this is under a Japanese maple which has gone golden recently.

The Driveway Garden is my fall garden.

The new terrace wall I built gives me a chance to fight the English Ivy.  The plan, to eradicate the ivy from the back yard, will have to progress in parts.  I may pay someone to do the majority of it, but as the ivy is doing a fine job of holding up the hill, I'm not sure I dare rip it all out yet.  I'll experiment with my terrace plantings to see what does a good job of erosion control.  I've made some progress, but the ivy has the advantage of growing down hill and toward the sun as it encroaches into my new plants.

The just-completed terrace wall, which will become the Terrace Garden for winter
I'm trying to keep the area evergreen. This is our main focus from inside the house.  We're used to seeing all the green ivy, which isn't terribly exciting to regard, but at least it isn't brown and dead in the winter.  Additionally, I want this to be a (relatively) maintenance free area once I get it planted.  I have enough to tend already.  So, I'll put in a few more yew, many more Christmas ferns, and some of the suggestions from Faire Garden such as hardy geraniums, euphorbia dulcis, creeping jenny (I had no idea this wintered over so nicely here!) more heuchera here too, and carex or sedge, which I think will look great at the bottom of the wall.  The portion that gets some sun could possibly handle dianthus, but I'm not too optimistic that it would bloom well.

The Terrace Garden will be my winter garden.

March in my Woodlands Garden.
The area that fills most of my front yard is well shaded in the summer, but in the spring, before the massive oak leafs out, it is filled with spring color.  I have found some great woodland flowers, brought by birds, and I have cultivated more wildflowers on my own.  The phlox and vinca are covered with purple blooms, the forsythia, quince, azaleas, and bulbs all add bright, overlapping colors.

The Woodlands Garden is my spring garden.
June in the Sidewalk Garden.  It looked even better in July (and when we'd picked up the Magnolia leaves!)
Up by the front sidewalk, there are daisies, black-eyed Susans, and purple coneflowers.  I have encouraged lamb's ear and purple heart to fill in all gaps as the summer progresses.  We hide a few cherry tomato plants in the middle. (They're still producing today.) By August, the lantana is covered in yellow and orange, as well as with butterflies.  I have just added a rain barrel in here to help keep this area alive all summer, since it tends to droop as the heat comes on and the rain stops. 

Because this is the front of the house, there is multi-season interest here too.  The corner is packed with bulbs of all kinds and is the first area of the yard to show signs of spring.  The umbrella shaped Japanese maple turns purple in the fall, highlighting the remaining purple heart.  In the winter we rely on the bones of the maple, but I have just planted Yuletide camellias by the front door.

The Sidewalk Garden is my summer garden.

Four gardens-- four seasons!


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