Posts tagged cedar

Two Steps Forward…

One step back.

Ian got annoyed with me again.

So totally my fault. I love symmetry in my garden, and do not always think about how I am going to get it when designing a new space. Actually the problem arises when I add a new garden beside an established one.

The first arose when I decided the vista from the Flora Glade through the Lime Walk into the Croquet Lawn had to be in the middle of the Yew Garden, not at the bottom where it currently was. This would divide the Yew Garden in half, and when I am ready to design and plant it (one day), it is a pleasing (to my mind) shape. This was fairly easy as it was only a couple of years after planting, so move a few things and done.

You can see that it is not quite finished yet. Every spring I say I have to move those hydrangeas, and then get busy with other things, 2012 it is going to happen! I did get the cedars behind them moved this September, yay.

But of course, I had to turn my attention to the path leading from the Flora Glade to the Allee. When I designed the Allee, I hadn’t originally planned on extending it all the way to the Kitchen Garden, I had thoughts of another garden in between, but decided bigger was better. I extended it so it ran all the way to the Kitchen Garden with just a five foot wide strip allowing you to walk to either the north or south. If you walk to the south, you can walk up some stone steps Ian built, and through the hedge on top of the berm, but if you walked to the north, you just hit the cedar hedge enclosing the Flora Glade.

 The entrance to it through the hedge was 10 feet to the east.

Looking south to the Allee.

Well that was not going to be allowed, and I had better take care of it before Ian arrived from Barbados, I did not want to listen to ‘what are you doing nows’.

So I moved the cedars, filled in the old path from the huge pile of top soil that had been sitting on our drive from last fall, (I am sure the neighbours were happy to see the blue tarped pile go), and of course had to purchase a couple of new shrubs to go into that spot. I mean, it was the fall, sales were on all over, I did have to help the nurseries stay in business.

Of course, dummy that I am, I forgot to take a photo of the new entrance. In the spring, after the bulbs are moved, I’ll update you.

Just need to fix the curve in the path, ran out of soil. You can see the new opening in the cedars, just behind the red Japanese Maple.

Now, in the spring, after moving any bulbs that are lurking where the new path is to be, I can finish it, or leave it half done like the other one…


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A History Lesson: Chapter III

We move on to the piece de resistance at Kilbourne Grove.   

When I was taking a garden design course, and in all the garden design books I have read, one piece of advice is to design from the inside out. You should start with the views from your windows. There are three windows on the ground floor of Kilbourne Grove that this could apply to. A bay window in the front parlour, looks out at our neighbour,  and the bay window in the library looks out at the street. Neither of them give me much room to work with, but the kitchen window looks out the back of the house and there is 100 feet to the fence.  
This is where I stand much of the day, after all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. So this is where I placed my Lime Walk.  
In England, Tillia or Linden trees are called Lime Trees. I am not sure why this is. But there is a beautiful Lime Walk at Sissinghurst, and it was one of my first garden influences.     
After spending my summer holidays laying out the Kitchen Garden and the Flora Glade, I didn’t have any free time until early November. Luckily it was a beautiful Indian summer.     

November 2007

After pegging a straight line, cedars were planted in a line. This will be pruned into a hedge, and back the pleached limes.     

Newly planted cedars, November 2007

November 2007

The cedars were free, yay, dug up from my brothers farm. They are a bit wonky, but in time they will grow and you will never know.    

You can see  that we have planted a few cedars at the end of the walk, in front of the maple tree. This will provide a backdrop to a focal point, an urn or a statue. You can also see that only the east side is planted, we ran out of cedars before the west side was planted, so that had to wait until 2008.    

May 2008

In early May 2008,  I starting making beds.  More bricks, (where were they all coming from?) outlined the beds. Four cubic yards of triple mix had been delivered, and was wheelbarrowed into place.    


Then it was time to haul out my booty, no, not the one behind me,(thank you J Lo for making them popular). Look at all the goodies that I got  free from work.  I got busy and planted a line of leftover Easter hydrangea. If they live, fab, if they don’t, oh well, they didn’t cost me anything. in front of them a mass of muscari. This was it for 2008, except for planting some Allium “Purple Sensation” in the fall.    

May 2009

 The muscari was beautiful in May 2009 (thank god, I finally got that digital camera)!    


The alliums look beautiful, I am so glad that I purchased another 100, fall 2009.    


The Lindens were purchased bare root (and very small, approx 5-6 feet tall), spring 2009. There are 12 planted in the Lime Walk 6 per side. I am hoping that they will be tall enough this spring to start with my first tier of pleaching, it will start at six feet of the ground.    


Boxwoods were planted in June 2009, they were largish specimens, loosely clipped into balls.    


Hydrangea stay in flower a long time, until a heavy frost.    


This is the view from my kitchen window.

If you want, you can read more here.  

Future plans are very limited, I need a focal point at the end of the walk, where the bird bath is now, I am thinking of a large urn on a pedestal, or a statue, but it needs to be 7-8 feet tall for the scale to be correct.  The limes have to be pleached, and the hedges to be shaped. I am unsure if I will plant a perennial in front of the hydrangea.  I hadn’t planned on it, but I find the muscari foliage is very messy and takes away from the look. The only other project I am toying with is using the bricks as a mowing strip, edging is a pain, so it doesn’t get down as often as it should.  

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A History Lesson: Chapter II

 You are going to know  more about me, than any sane person should have to bear. LOL Don’t say I didn’t warn you.       

I am sure  my regular readers know that I can’t stick with  only one project a year. I would get to even more, but that damn grass just keeps agrowin’. IF it was not a weekend house, and IF I did not have to spend 4 hours (at that time, now only 3 hours) cutting the grass, I could get way more done!       

The Kitchen Garden was actually a very easy project. It took us just one weekend to complete it. So I had lots of time to start on my next project, the Flora Glade.       

This was an area that was driving me nuts. It was behind our garage, but as the garage was situated beside the house, rather than behind, you could see it very easily. And it was a mess. Waist high weeds, a huge pile of bark chips, a pile of bricks, very little grass, and lots of bare spots.  There was also a number of maples in a bit of a “grove” as well.        

So I decided that the space would run from the north edge of the Kitchen Garden, to the garage. And I would use the tree line on the east side, run a cedar hedge beside them and the western boundary would be the property line.       

Behind the Garage, May 2007

The Serviceberry, May 2007

This is where I started. My boss gave me a “bonus” and I used the money to buy a redbud  and a serviceberry for the garden. The soil was as hard as a rock here, so I thought that I would make “raised” beds again. I started by making a little brick bed for the serviceberry (which has since been moved).       

On the other side, the redbud was planted. (See how high these weeds are, scary!)       

This is the only part of the garden that I plan on having more free form beds. Everything else is very straight lines, but I wanted a more natural look here. Using the bricks that were behind the garage, as well as all the ones that seemed to be in every shovelful, (was there a brick factory here at one point?), I started outlining the beds/paths.       


Behind the Garage, August 2009       

Flora Glade, May 2007

(Yes, that is our old Christmas tree leaning up against the maple, don’t ask!)       

Marking the edge of the Flora Glade, May 2007

Outlining the beds, Flora Glade, May 2007

The Cornus bed, May 2007


August 2009, you can see the redbud in the middle island bed, and the cornus in the next bed.       

Flora Glade, May 2007

These were free plants, Salix integra “Hakuro-nishiki”. They were quite small when they were planted in 2007. They have certainly grown quite a bit by August 2009, despite being cute back hard every spring.       


Standing in the same spot, August 2009       

For me the Flora Glade is beautiful any time of year:       


whether it is spring,  when the redbud is blooming,     


In June       


or late summer!   

If you are crazy enough to want to read more about the Flora Glade, you can here.   

Future plans include building a pergola behind the garage, (that is why so much space has been left), extending the beds beyond the blue trellis, and changing the path materials from bark.

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Flora Glade

 The area directly behind the garage I have dubbed the “Flora Glade”.  The name was stolen from Roy Strongs garden “The Lasket”.  I felt as it was going to be a mix of flowers and trees the name was appropriate. This is where almost all of the perennials are, as well as some shrubs.  It is the one area that is a more ‘natural’ planting, instead of the straight formal lines that I so love.

When we moved in, the only thing behind the garage was a large number of weeds.  There was a huge pile of bark chips from some trees that had been cut down after being damaged during a storm the previous winter.   Bricks were piled against the garage and there was 5 maples in roughly a straight line.  So it was quite shady. 

I started by planting a cedar hedge in a straight line just east of the trees and then running (again in a straight line) between the trees and the “Kitchen Garden”.  From the rest of the garden, this area will look geometric, not to be revealed as more “cottagey” until you are inside (at least, that is the plan). Then I made a bed under the trees,by laying bricks directly on the soil, then a layer of newspapers and then filling with topsoil. I  divided them with paths (and used up the bark mulch) to the “Kitchen Garden”, and paths to the west, east and another to the south. 


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In this bed you can see 5 variegated willows that were left over from a planting at work.  These I cut back to the ground in the spring and they are a lovely pink, white and green. Behind them is a birch clump. One problem with mulching the paths with the bark chips and the bed as well, no definition shows between the beds and the paths. There are bricks there, but they are slowly sinking down to ground level (another job to do, pull up my bricks). One I have more plants and the beds are filled in more, It should be more obvious, what is bed and what is path.

 I also put a large island bed in the middle.  This I started in the summer of 2007.  In the large island bed I planted a small redbud tree.  I was worried that it wouldn’t be hardy in Owen Sound, but it has flowered and grown alot ever since. To balance it at the other end is a sambucus “Black Lace”.



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Sorry, for the poor quality of these photos, they were the very first shots that I took with my new digital camera, and I didn’t know what I was doing (I still don’t). The tree on the left has now been lost in a storm.

I also built a smaller island bed west of the large island bed.  In this I have planted a cornus kousa.  This is my memorial garden to my mum. The cornus was her favourite tree, and she tried in vain to get one to grow for her in Niagara.  It was replaced three times, before she gave up.  This one has lived through two Owen Sound winters since she died, I think that she is looking after it for me.

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 Here you can see the redbud and the cornus in the next bed.


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 Can you see the cedar hedge, I don’t think so.  It really needs that definition of edge.


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Behind the garage we are thinking of building a pergola , with a vine trained over the top.  That is a set of harrows that my dad gave me. I saw a set turned into a gate at Stonyground, that great Canadian garden. There is still more bricks to be put to use somewhere. Everytime we dig in the garden, it seems that we find more bricks, I don’t know why they are buried.


I have planted a lot of shrubs at the edge of the bed. I hope that as they grow, the paths will become hidden and more mysterious.  You will not know what is around the corner. Then I will be able to take out a lot of the “free” perennials that I have been given.

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To Yew, or not to Yew, that is the question

Our big project this weekend was planting a yew hedge.  All  of the hedges that we put in at Kilbourne Grove have been cedar, I think that it is white cedar, but it is what ever grows wild in southern Ontario.  The first ones that we planted were dug up on my brothers property in Durham, but as we got older and lazier, we started buying them bare root at the Keady market early in the spring. 

I have planted a privacy hedge along the property line on the south side of the garden and have also backed my linden trees with cedar in the Lime Walk, but I also wanted some different hedges as well.  I am going for evergreen as Owen Sound seems to be buried under snow for 5+ months of the year, and I like to see something when I look outside.

Loblaws had a clearance on their garden centre plants and I went and purchased 16 very small Hicks yews.  Everyone says not to plant yew, it grows so slowly, but I will not be living full time in this house for at least 10 years, so I have the time.  I am trying to get the “bones” of the design in, so they can grow while I live in Toronto.  Hopefully, by the time I move to Owen Sound, they will have put on a lot of growth.

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 It is very important to get them in a straight line, fortunately, I was not the one doing that (I have problems with straight lines). That is why I turned to Ian and whined, “you only have to set up the string for me, I can do the rest”.  Of course, I had my fingers crossed at the time. ( He dug the holes for me too.)  Good thing that I got him to do that, I never would have thought to measure it to the house to keep it in line.

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I do not know where all the bricks came from on our property, but it seems everytime I dig a hole near the south property line, I unearth bricks. They even come in handy. Since I like a formal. linear garden, I use them to out line all the beds first, this also allows me to raise the planting level slightly.  I lay newspaper between the plants to smother the grass, rather then digging it all up.  Then cover it with topsoil and mulch.


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You can see the finished hedge here and just in the background, the hedge on the other side of what will be a garden room. I have not decided what I will use this for yet, but while I do, the hedges will grow and enclose the space.  This will give us three hedges, 2 yew and one cedar, between us and  the house behind us, hopefully this will give us the illusion that we are completely private.


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