The Natural Garden Coach

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Beds and Stones and Lawns

After the initial landscape makeover occurred in 2006, we still had lots of areas to work on. But my patience for dealing with contractors, as well as my funds, was low. So in the fall and winter of that year my husband and I rented a tiller, tilled up the area along the back fence, and then shoveled a lot of nice (though not cheap) compost-y soil into a series of small to medium size beds. We also brought in stones to a couple of the areas.

The first area below shows our hillside bed at the end of the walkway. We added some soil and some medium size stones that our local garden and feed store gets from Arkansas. Plus I planted some irises left over from the big backyard dig as well as ferns and a mock orange. This planting area is another tricky one. The issue there is that at the top of the little hill is the remains of an alleyway. So it has broken up asphalt up there, as well as broken bottles, etc. since that's where folks used to put their garbage cans. I've been slowly cleaning it up but it sometimes feels like a never ending battle (or maybe an arduous archaeological dig!). Being on a hillside it gets lots of good drainage. But it also dries out very quickly.


Another challenging area of the yard where we put a bed is in the former dog pen/alley area. I spent a whole lot of time cleaning up long buried dog toys, torn apart dog pillows, broken asphalt, and other garbage. We brought in some larger rocks (slowly) and soil and planted some shade plants like hosta, ferns, inland sea oats, etc. To my surprise, a white Salvia gregii has done fairly well there this year. And the little oakleaf hydrangea is hanging on, the last of three that bit the dust early on. My friend thinks this coming year will be its year to shine. :-) One of the things I'd like to do with this in the future is expand it out into the lawn. Create sort of a woodland garden there (inspired by C. Colston Burrell's talk I saw in Hot Springs). And get rid of some of the lawn, yay!



In fact, getting rid of more lawn is the current plan. I've never been a real fan of it. Back in Austin we had no grass whatsoever! But we put it in here because at the time it was the easiest and cheapest thing to do. We still need to add more beds along the side fence. That'll get rid of some grass as well. But all in good time!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Jean, it is looking so good, I love the idea of a woodland garden too, that would be a great destination in the garden and fun to plant too. Goodby grass! :-) We have an old alley too, where the knot garden is. That is why I could never get long rooted plants to do well there, no matter how much mulch and compost we added. Now the thymes are the plantings with tulips, which are native to rocky slopes, the big show in spring.
    Frances

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  2. Jean,
    Interesting to see the evolution/transformation of your project(s) into a beautifully landscaped garden. "No pain, no gain" comes to my mind and y'all sure came out with a winner after that long drawn-out ordeal. I love the results!

    Jon at Mississippi Garden

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  3. Jean,
    Thanks for this interesting series of posts on the evolution of your garden and the thinking through you did to get here. I find this a fascinating process - to watch what you've done over a fairly long time, rather than a short "quick fix" project. I agree, you have to wait and observe the land, the space, the surroundings, and how your move around and use the space.

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