Posts tagged allee

The Year in Review

         Happy New Years Eve


photo takes at St. Lawrence Market, Toronto     

Does this look a bit like the Times Square New Years. Just waiting for the ball (or star) to drop.     

 I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas and will have a Happy and Healthy New Years, (and get slightly polluted).     

I thought that I would take some time and list what I have accomplished this year. Sometimes, all you see is what you have to accomplish, not what you have accomplished. It took a regular reader, thank you BarbaraH, to point out how much my hedges have grown since I first planted them, all I could see, is how much more they need to grow, before they hide the Deliverance house.     

What did I accomplish in 2009? (I am only listing the large projects, not the day-to-day weeding, lawn cutting etc.)     

1. I planted (finally) the lindens that I want to pleach (wish me luck on this) in the Lime Walk.    

2. Two yew hedges were planted to create another garden room, I have no plans for this at the moment, but I am referring to it as the Yew Garden, so Ian knows what I am talking about.     




3. The Serviceberry Allee was started.    



4. The line of Emerald cedars on the north side of what will be my path leading from the driveway to the front door, has been planted.               

Our one day path









5. The Peony Walk (all I seem to have is walks, couldn’t I come up with another name?) has been started. The peonies on the north side have been planted.        

6. A new bed was built on the west side of the Kitchen Garden for Teza.       

 7. The stone stairs up to the cedar berm.       








When I look at this list, I do feel proud off all that Ian and I have accomplished. It is just a weekend home (and not every weekend). We do have to take some time and smell the flowers as well as plant them.        



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And So To Bed

We put the garden to bed this weekend. Well, as much as I actually do. All I do is put a thick layer of bark chips (will they never end) on it.  And do a lot (a lot) of raking.  I don’t cut back my perennials, I like to see something, (at least until the snow covers them) in the garden.

The Lime Walk. looking north from the Deliverance house towards our house. Looking at this picture, I find the boxwoods look unbalanced. My idea was to have them on either side of a path, that runs east and west through the Lime Walk, from the Yew Garden to the Croquet Lawn. The path has not been made yet, (mostly because I moved the original path I made, isn’t changing your mind frequently, a womans prerogative?). I will make it in the spring, perhaps then the boxwood will look like they were placed there for a reason, instead of looking like I lost two. I am also toying with the idea of cedar buttresses, marking the east/west path. (I have so many ideas whirling through my head, poor Ian is terrified, more work for him).

The leaves are all, either raked onto garden beds, wheelbarrowed into a leaf composter, or mulched with the lawn mower.

The Serviceberry Allee is all neat and tidy.  Here you are looking west, towards the Kitchen Garden. However my helleborus seem to think that spring has arrived, and they are sending up buds. I covered them with a fluffy duvet of leaves hoping they will get the idea that it is winter. I have decided to extend the Allee, all the way and meet the Kitchen Garden. Another project for the spring.

 Here you can see the north side of the Serviceberry Allee and the south side of the Yew Garden. There is a 6 foot wide space between them, I am still up in the air about what I will do with this space. (not leave it empty of course!)

 Now, I am already for the snow to arrive, actually I am seriously hoping for spring to be right around the corner and another season to begin!

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My Garden Design: Part I


I received a comment from Rebecca at In Your Garden that got me thinking. I had posted the pictures of my Serviceberry Allee and she had asked how I came up with my design.  I answered her comment, but I felt that it needed something more. Julie from My English Country Garden had very cleverly put a map on her blog. It was so helpful, when she was describing a section of her garden, you could look at the diagram and visualize it. So I thought that I would try something similar.

When we purchased our home in May 2006, I was given this.

The Before 

 The Before

 The lot is 210 x 150 feet.

You can see it is a rough sketch from the architect that was selling the house and the 3/4 of an acre property. She applied to have two 35 foot lots severed off the property, which would have demolished the garage and she would have built a new driveway on the east side. But I wanted it all, or none. It is very difficult to find such a large property in a city (even a small one like Owen Sound). We can walk to the downtown, with a grocery store and a Tim Hortons within 10 minutes, yet we feel like we are in the country. That is in large part to the Niagara Escarpment. You can see in the lower left hand side, it is 40 feet from the edge of our property to the bottom of the Escarpement. This is a high forested hill, that is protected and not to be built on. Thus, we always have privacy (and lots of shade, birds, and squirrels, with the occasional skunk, racoon and fox) from that direction.

Before the house even closed, I had drawn a million plans for the garden. Everywhere I went, everything I read, all my previous gardens had given me tons of ideas for this space. But, I had to be careful, as the teacher of my garden design course I took last fall said, do not make a mini botanical garden!  But, I want a mini botanical garden, I want a million different rooms, I love the tropical look, I want a Japanese garden, a parterre, and on and on. He was concerned about future maintenance, and about it looking too busy!

I must confess to having approx 300 gardening books, a good portion of them on design. I love books that tell a gardens story, how the author came up with the features that are in their garden. I started with the classics, Margery Fish “We made a Garden”, all of Beverley Nichols, Vita Sackville-West, especially the diaries of her husband Harold Nicholson, and many, many more. Then I moved onto more modern day, Rosemary Verey, Penelope Hobhouse, Page Dickey and Mary Keen. My current favourites are David Hicks, Sir Roy Strong, Monty Don and Frank Cabot. My most, most favourite is Paul Bangay, a garden designer based in Melbourne, Australia. He designs very strong formal gardens and is brilliant.

I steal ideas from all of them. I have already written about how I stole the name for the Flora Glade here, but I was shameless at stealing so much more.

When you are designing a garden (according to every book that I have read) you are supposed to look out your windows, and design something to look at. Well, that might work for most people, but as you can see from the picture above, the house sits sideways on the lot.  Originally the front lawn went all the way down to the next street, and there was a circular drive for the carriages in front, but that has been sold off over the years and now my front door faces my neighbours.  The window in the library faces the street, no view there, the bay window in the front parlour faces our neighbours house, there is maybe 20 feet between us, something could be done there, but not anything huge.  The only other room downstairs (besides the mud room) is the kitchen. this used to be the former dining room (the mud room was the kitchen) and has two windows facing south with the stove in-between the windows. This is the best view in the house. So I decided this would be my starting point. (Although, this was not the first part of the garden planted, it was the first part of my garden design).


 To be continued……

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The Allee: Part II

 OK, maybe I shouldn’t have done it, am I jumping the gun a bit?

Did I give enough agonizing thought to the tree selection for my allee?

I had tons of great ideas, especially Teza’s cornus’, but I worried that having two lines of 7 cornus (14 in total) was asking for trouble, not only very expensive to buy, but maybe marginally hardy, what if one or two died, it would take forever for them to match up in size.

So this weekend Ian was sailing in the Canadians, and I was driving up to Kilbourne Grove by myself. Really, he had only himself to blame. He should have known if I was by myself, I would be compelled to visit as many nurseries as possible on the way.

I started (and ended) at Humber Nurseries, not because I was tired of plant shopping (that will never happen), but because the car was crammed to the rafters.  They had serviceberries 50% off.  Obviously I was meant to plant them, the birds will love me and all those cornus’ that Teza suggested, I will get one of each of them and plant them in the Flora Glade (making it even more glade like).

After all, I am an instant gratification girl, I don’t like to wait for anything. Gardening is definitely teaching me patience.

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Here you can see that I just set the pots on top of the beds that I told you about here.

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I had to work out the spacing. A bit difficult, as I need to put two paths through the middle of the north walk, and one path through the south walk. One path enters the Allees north side from the (what I am calling the Yew garden, as it has a newly planted yew hedge on both north and south sides) and also a path from the Flora Glade.  The south side has a path exactly opposite the Flora Glade path through the north side (does this make sense?) so you can get to the cedar hedge at the back of the property. One problem, is this has only been worked out in my mind, there is nothing to see here folks.

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The south side is planted.

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Here you can see the whole thing from the kitchen garden, as much as you can see, it was a sunny day, the middle of the afternoon, not the premium time to be taking photographs, but needs must.

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And from the Lime Walk. You can see that only one serviceberry has been planted on the north side, add that to the 4 on the south equals 5. Did I not tell you that I bought 6! When I went to plant the 6th, I hit the uncomposted materials that I had dumped in here, before covering with a layer of topsoil and bark mulch. The other side and the end where the first serviceberry were planted, is straight compost. So I have heeled the 6th serviceberry in the Kitchen Garden for the winter. In the spring the compost should have rotted down and I can transplant it then.

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I had a lot of helleborus from the shop. I have been holding them in the Kitchen Garden since April, and they have done very well. I transplanted them to the Allee and underplanted with Bridal Crown narcissus, Woodstock hyacinths and (a perpetual Kilbourne Grove favourite) muscari.

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I still have a long way to go. This portion of the Allee is 20 feet with a 4 foot path dividing it from the Lime Walk. I am going to continue all the way to the Kitchen Garden (had toyed with the idea of making a different “room” there, but I worry that I am getting a bit “botanical Garden” like, to quote my Landscape Design professor). The Allee will end up at 45 feet long and there will either be 7 or 8  trees on each side. (I did have it counted and measured, but that is up at Kilbourne Grove and I am sitting in my Toronto condo, so I am guessing). I will not be able to get back to Humber and get more serviceberry this year, (it is a bit out of my way), not to mention I don’t even think that I will get the other portion of the Allees beds made. There is still tons of bulbs to plant, peonies to transplant and leaves(in the future) to rake. I think this will become a spring project.

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The Allee: Part I

Who doesn’t love long weekends! And finally a perfect one, sunny and not too hot, perfect working conditions in the garden.

And my garden needed it! The grass has not been cut since August 8th, and that was only the area immediately around the house (just so the neighbours realize that we still live there). Between the weather, and personal commitments the rest of the garden was last cut on July 19th. Yikes! So it took a bit longer then normal. After all, I was spending a lot of time on each spot, first I would have to do a wheelie with the lawnmower, so the blades were high up, and then slowly lower it down over the grass. This did a satisfactory job, but I would really like to be able to cut it on a more regular basis.

At last, I could get to the fun stuff.  I have decided to plant an allee, stretching from the Lime Walk to the Kitchen Garden. I have been mulling over in my mind  for a long time, what kind of tree I should use for the allee. I didn’t want as formal a look as the Lime Walk, but I still love my straight lines.  Something flowering would be nice, and it is a shady area, as there is 6 large maples and ash trees,  whose canopy overhangs it. So it would need to be an early flowerer, who is mostly finished by the time the trees leaf out. I wanted something multistemed, because I want to have a bit of a tunnel effect. I think (and I could be wrong) that this will give me more of a closed in feeling.


So we laid out the beds for it, they are 20 feet long and 6 feet wide (at the moment).  I took the opportunity to empty the three plastic compost bins that were at the house when we purchased it.  Some of the compost was still quite rough, so it went on the bottom and the more finished went on top.  This created quite a hump in the middle, that will break down and settle over the winter. I created it using the “lasagna: method, of laying newspaper and cardboard directly on top of the grass, then my rough compost and then a layer of finished. I topped all this with a layer of bark chips from my tree (that blew down a couple of weeks ago).

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I started by pounding in a post next to each bed of the Kitchen Garden. (Forgive me the pictures, I was working in the middle of the day, so it is very shadowy).

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And then I did the same thing at the Lime Walk. As this is only a secondary path through the Lime Walk, it is only 3 feet wide. The Kitchen Garden path is 5 feet wide. So the path narrows as it approaches the Lime Walk. I hope that when you are standing in the Kitchen Garden, looking east towards the Lime Walk, it will seem even further away, due to the optical illusion of the path narrowing. The easiest way to get this straight is to tie a rope between the posts.

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Once I had my straight lines, I began. Newspaper underneath and bricks to outline.

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It went fairly fast. This is how I have laid out all my beds at Kilbourne Grove.  You can see how much more sun I have in this area now, after losing our huge, old maple.  I hope the hydrangea in the Lime Walk  will be able to cope.

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Here we are starting to fill the bed with the rough compost from our bins. You can see in the background a bit of our garden. The yew hedge is directly north of this bed and it is the same length. This allows for a 4 1/2 foot wide path from running south along the Flora Glade.

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Finished the first bed, starting the second. I won’t bore you with any more pictures of this  (especially as the beer didn’t allow me to finish the second), it’s just more of the same. Got the bark mulch on, so no weeds (ha), and I will  plan what to plant here.

By the time the beds settle, it will be spring, and I will be able to plant. I also have approx 12 helleborus in the Kitchen Garden, waiting to be transplanted here.

I stopped the beds at 20 feet, in line with the yew hedge. This gives me a square garden, aprox 25feet, between the allee and the Kitchen Garden, I am not sure if I want something different here, or if I will continue the allee all the way to the Kitchen Garden. So I am leaving it for now, I can always extend it in the spring.

I am thinking of serviceberry  for the allee, but does any one else have any other ideas? Owen Sound is Zone 5B, if that helps.

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