Posts tagged path

Walk This Way

Please, please, walk this way Mr.Plumber. See the path, Mr. Electrician? Do not go to the back door, you might see a scary, overweight lady, standing in her knickers, making a cup of tea.

One of the annoying things about the way the house is laid out on the lot is “people” coming to the back door, the kitchen door to be more precise. And it is glass!!!

When Kilbourne Grove was originally built in the late 1800’s the road that runs beside the house was the driveway to the stable, behind the house, and the front door, faced the street, 250 feet away. Over the years, the front yard was sold off piece by piece, until there is only 20 feet separating our front door form the side of the neighbours house.  When people pull into our driveway, it is logical for them to go to the back door.

This had to change!!!

When I took my garden design course last winter, we had to come up with a client and design a garden for them. I decided to pick myself (after all, I am a very easy customer), I was taking this course for my own benefit, not to change my career. Since it was a very short course, and I have a large garden (not as large as some, but I intend to landscape every square inch), I had to choose an area to focus on. I chose to work on the side yard.

This is the area that would bring visitors from the driveway to the front door. I need to block off the view of the kitchen and back door, and a fence will be built linking house and garage.

Then a path, leading from the driveway, along the side of the house, turning south at the end to the front door.

This is the plan that I drew for my teacher. None of gardens south of the house are on, this part took forever to draw!

Ok, I should have taken a picture of the legend, but I can walk you through it.

 You enter from the driveway (left on the diagram), through an arbour, and walk along a pea gravel path. On your left (top of the diagram) is a row of Emerald cedars (B), underplanted  by European ginger(L). On your fight, a row of Limelight hydrangea(C), with a boxwood hedge(K), this is also underplanted with ginger. You walk to the end and make a sharp turn to the right. I am thinking about having another arbour here. I also am adding a bench here, for those of you to tired from the long walk to the front door. The rows of Emerald cedars and hydrangea continue all the way to the front door.

N on the diagram was the blue spruce that Ian and I moved. Its story is here.

The rectangular box near the entrance arbour is another small garden. As the house is indented here, but I wanted the path to stay straight, this gave me room for a planting bed. It will also be edged with box, and a specimen tree(A) will be planted here. A magnolia, redbud or perhaps a dogwood.

There is a picket fence running from the house, north towards the street, along the path to the property line on the east, with a gate at the front sidewalk.

You might notice a gap between the fence(J) attaching the house and garage and the picket fence. This is where the greenhouse will be built. (One day).

We have already started on this project.

The line of Emerald cedars on the north or street  side of the garden. The tulips were there when we purchased the house. The developer had sodded over them. I was very surprised when they came up in the spring.

Here you can see the indent, where the old kitchen wing is narrower than the main house.

There is nothing between these cedars and the street, hopefully they will give us the illusion of privacy.

A planting plan is always fluid and open to change. When we were planting these, I changed it slightly. The cedars had been so cheap ($20 each) that I decided to make a bit of a niche, bumping it out to match the bay window in the library. This can be used for a bench, or perhaps some container planting.

This is where the second arbour would go. Right behind those grasses, and in line with that white trailer. That is not ours, it is our next door neighbours, we are storing it in our driveway for the winter, in exchange for him snow blowing the drive, yay! Sorry, Edith, about the rocks, they were there when we purchased, and have not been moved yet. Talk about someone just lining them up! I am hoping to have a stacked stone retaining wall built in the future.

Seen from the other side. That big rock is natural, it would have to stay.

And from the street. See how the line of Emerald cedars marches along the side of the house. The retaining wall would start at the left at the sidewalk and follow the curve of those lined up rocks and end at the big buried rock.

Next, would be digging out all those very old, and very large shrubs beside the house, so the hydrangea and the other row of cedars can go in. I can feel my back ache already.

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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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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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Just Say No (to Grass)

My parents always told me, just say no to grass, although I think they were talking about pot, not lawns. I have learned to say no to both.

I would love to get rid of all or at least most of my grass, but when you have 3/4 of an acre, it is a long drawn out  process.

One of the most annoying areas to cut the lawn is in the Kitchen Garden. When it is freshly cut and edged, the grass  paths look really pretty, but that is not very frequently. I do cut it quite often, but the edging just doesn’t happen. And the grass gets higher and higher in the corners. And because the raised beds were built on top of the lawn, some of the grass had been growing under the boards and coming up in the beds.

I really want (and still do) gravel paths. I think it looks very clean, and it is a very traditional look. But we have this mountain of bark chips from our tree that came down. I told you about it here. I think that the neighbours are getting a little tired of looking at it.  And it is right in front of the garage door. Couldn’t the tree guys think of another place to put it! That is one of the problems you face when you are an absentee owner.

So, when we were on holidays last week, this was one of the jobs we tackled.

This is how it looked before, a lot of leaves are starting to come down, not even any nice colour.

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Notice how beautiful the hydrangea are.

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From the other side.

First, I dug a small trench around the outside of the raised beds. We then started by laying down a thick layer of newspaper(see, Ian, all those newspapers I read come in handy), and then covered them with a thick layer of bark mulch.

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And the other side.

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Here it is finished.

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See the hydrangea. This is just two days later, and they are all brown. We had a really cold night, way below freezing, and they didn’t like it. It took us three days to finish the job because we kept running out of newspapers. I read three newspapers a day, and had a stack 2 feet high, but it was not enough. On the last two days, I would read my papers, come out and lay them on the ground and then mulch over top.  Needless to say, I am saving newspapers again. I am sure I will find some more lawn, somewhere, I need to get rid of.

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Finished! A lot more leaves down, I guess that will be the next job on the list.

I am glad this is done for a number of reasons.

First, no cutting, now it will always look tidy.(till the weeds start growing)

Second, this will give us a firm base for the gravel in a few years.

Third, I sometimes find the grass wet and soft, as this area is the closest to the Escarpment. Water rolls down the hill and this is the first level spot. The good thing, not much watering needed here, the bad thing, sometimes a bit soggy. But the bark will absorb some of that water and give me a dryer place to walk.

Now, I just have to figure out how I want this path to merge into the Serviceberry Allee!

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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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