Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Gardening in July
My garden always looks bedraggled and overgrown in late July. The early summer flowers are spent and the foliage is flopping and brown; so I cut it down to encourage a new flush of foliage but that takes several weeks to appear. So now what? This year I went shopping for super sales on annuals, potted them up and placed them in the bare spots. I like it. Next year I think I will buy extra annuals in early spring and propagate them into "nursery pots" ready for placement in July.

I met Renee earlier this week to look at the landscape plan for her backyard. She may comment on this further, but her objectives were to eliminate some of the grass, attract birds, tie together existing elements (clumps of trees, perennial garden, deck and bog), add an understory to the trees, and screen view of neighbor's house. The designer did an excellent job with design and plant selection. Since work was underway, we headed over to her house to see the transformation. My favorite part was the bluestone patio and walk off the deck. Instead of trying to tame the bog, Joe Pye weed and filipendula rubra are being used to make the transition from wild bog to landscaped yard. A raised bed using river stone was added to the middle of the yard and planted with shrubs and plants bearing berries and seeds to attracts birds. Two clumps of trees were tied together into one large bed with a small strip of grass between it and the raised bed. On the other two sides of the raised bed are pea gravel paths edged with river stone and mulched beds. Here are some of the plants she added: Kerria, several viburnums, Henry Lauder's Walking Stick.

A friend invited me to her house this morning to discuss plant ideas for her rock garden. Before going over there, I pulled out my reference books and read up on suitable plants. When I got there, it was not a rock garden, but rather a large raised bed with fieldstone walls. I'm not a garden designer, but we had fun for several hours determining her objectives for the garden, siting the focal point, and doing a rough sketch with some plants. Her husband may be surprised to discover that he will be putting in a water garden, although she assured me that he loved doing that type of stuff. I did "borrow" some ideas from Renee's plan, but it will look totally different. I'm anxious to see how it turns out.

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