Posts tagged new beds

The Big Tease

There I have said it. He is!

Last autumn, I spent days in preparation for Teza. I primped, I powered, I removed unsightly shaggy bits,(weeds that is), I did everything a poor girl could do to entice him.

He made vague promises, but no actual commitment.

Isn’t that just like a man.

So here I am, looking like this,

empty, oh so empty.

Teza, when are you coming to fill me?

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In Bed With Teza

OK, I bet that got your attention. Although maybe I should have titled it “Tezas bed”.

We completed a number of projects when we were at Kilbourne Grove on our holidays in October. One of them was to make a new garden bed at the base of the berm, that runs along the edge of our property. The property developer that owned it (for a few months between us and the doctor), had  (basically) a large ditch dug all around  the edge of the property that backed onto the Niagara Escarpment. Wow, that was one run on sentence. This was dug, on the advice of the city of Owen Sound, in order to redirect the runoff from the escarpment. In theory, the water would hit the ditch and be diverted instead of flowing towards the house.  So this left a bit of a berm approx 10 feet away from the property line fence.

On the west side of our property, this berm has been covered with self seeded trees and shrubs, but mostly has a huge thicket of snowberry. Anyone who has the species knows it runs underground, twice  now, I have been forced to dig it out as it has been spreading towards my Kitchen Garden.

I wanted to stop it in its tracks and also build a bed at the base of this berm. Anyone who has read Teza or my blogs knows that he is short of space for his kids, and is always looking for a foster home for them. I thought that he might be able to use this space.

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This is what it looked like before we began. I am standing in the Kitchen Garden and looking directly west.

We started by sinking metal strips, approx 2 feet deep, hoping that this will, at least inhibit, the snow berry from moving into this area.

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Then, using rocks that we have unearthed while gardening, we began making an edge.

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Once again, using my time proven method of laying down newspaper on the sod, and then topping with soil. We then applied a thick layer of mulch to keep the weeds down in the spring.

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Here it is, (mostly) finished. This bed measures approx 5 feet x 25 feet.

Do you think that you could fit a few kids in there Teza?

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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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Making your bed and lying in it

Finally a nice weekend and I convinced Ian to get a lot done.  While he stained the screen porch, and the new slats for the black bench, I spent the whole day building a new bed around the serviceberry and witch hazel. 

 before

                                        Before

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