Posts tagged hedge

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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Garden Visits: Toronto Botanical Gardens

Three weeks ago, , I took a garden course at the Toronto Botanical Gardens or TBG. I had to take a bus as I do not have a car, and I wasn’t sure how long it would take.  I got there a few minutes early and I walked around and took a few pictures before my course started. The sun was just starting to set, so some of the pictures may be a bit dark.  The plants were all marked with their name, but I didn’t have time to stop and write them down, if there is something you really want to know the name of, I might be able to get back.

The TBG was redesigned a few years ago. It is now 12 award-winning, themed gardens, encompassing almost 4 acres.  The main building is a glass pavilion and features a “green” roof.

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Walking from the bus stop, you walk through the Entry Garden Walk, which is a “sophisticated Meadow” and inspired by Piet Oudolf. A mix of perennials and grasses, I think that it is at its best this time of year. See if you agree.

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I wish I knew what the name of everything was.TBG 003

 Not that I have the space for it in my own garden.

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 But they are very beautiful.

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At keast, I know these, hakonechloa (my fav) grass and japanese anemones.

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You then arrive in the Arrival Courtyard, (if you drive, you arrive directly here). Sculptural hedges made up of cornus mas and beech are being trained inside of a metal cage.

 

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There you can find a map of the garden.

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From here you can go into the different gardens a number of ways. Lets go into the Garden Hall Courtyard.

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This area features a sunken courtyard with a diverse mix of trees, shrubs and perennials, and features a large selection of Japanese Maples.

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I believe these were the full moon japanese maple. They are underplanted with hakonechloa  grass again and with euphorbia myrsinites.  Love that chartreuse and blue together.

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From here I went into the President’s Choice show garden. This is made up of two sections, one featuring evergreens and small trees and shrubs suitable for a small urban garden and a trial garden area.

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Tigers Eye sumac is a great contrast against the blue.

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 Echinacea with  a paniculata hydrangea, heuchera, grass and a dwarf cleome.TBG 038 From the other end, this was a great combination, all that pink reminds me of Grace. Here at the end is a petunia and variegated pokeweed.

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A closer look, not sure what the pale butter, yellow flower is, but I like the contrast to the pink.

There are many more garden areas at the TBG, including the Herb garden, Kitchen garden, Knot garden, Teaching garden, Spiral Mound, the Terrace garden and the Woodland walk.

 

 

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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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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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Garden Visits: Spindletree Gardens

One Word-AMAZING!!!!!!

Wow, Susan Meisner and Tom Brown have made an magnificent garden, the culmination of their lifes work. I am sure that it has to be one of the largest, private gardens to be developed in the last few years.

Tom, a retired architect from Toronto, led us on the garden tour. There is 80 acres, of which 5 is gardened, and they started their garden in 1996.  They both have a huge work ethic, they must have, the progress they have made in the past 13 years is immense. Tom says that he moved 400 tons of stone by himself, building all the stones walls and paths. The garden is called Spindletree, due to the number of Euonymous europaeus, that were on the property when they bought it.

When we visited, there was a few garden features that were not on the garden map.  A  300 foot  locust allee has been planted, with the Victorian Well Cover as the focal point at one end. On the other end, Tom and Susan are planning on a huge glasshouse. A cedar maze had just been planted, and was due for its first haircut. And there are  more plans for the future, including a fern grotto.

 I hope that I don’t bore you with so many pictures, but I was blown away by their garden.  It has a European sensibility, which is rare in Canada, formal gardens are unusual in the country.  The combination of formal, very structured garden near the house, moving into an English park like setting was magnificent. They have developed 5 acres of amazing garden, divided into a series of gardenrooms, all with their own theme.

Tom took us on an hour and a half tour, full of interesting stories and helpful tips.  From the tan pea gravel imported from Montana, to the wooden croquet hoops, built to look like landmarks in England, there was so much to see.

  

You start of the tour near the house,

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Lovely statuary!  This is Kwan Yin, the compassionate goddess of the garden.

 

  Read the rest of this entry »

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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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