Saturday, April 14, 2012

The May Garden–May 17, 2008

It’s the time of year again when I spend my days in the garden whenever possible. Today was one of those glorious good-for-the-soul-days. Temperatures stayed in the mid-70′s with only the slightest breeze — perfect for spreading compost, planting flowers and just general puttering around enjoying myself.

I do like to share the garden photos because it’s very much a part me but I’m feeling rather hard pressed to show you anything different from last year. Yes, the garden is always changing, not only with each new month, but plants come and go, get rearranged, nibbled away by the deer or broken down to nothing by wrestling raccoons. The basic structure, however, remains the same. Still, I never tire of it.
This particular spot has always been a favorite of mine no matter what the month. I’ll hurry along past it to the garden shed, but when I turn to head back up the stairs it gives me pause every time. So this is what it was all about — all that digging out of sod, mixing dirt, hauling rocks, setting bricks, planting flowers. The moment I turn I’m a little overcome by the tranquility of my world. I must have had a real need for this to have gone to such lengths. I’m a quiet person in a very noisy world.
Just for fun I thought I’d share a “before” picture of this very spot. When we were house shopping 18 years ago we did a drive by of this property after seeing it in a real estate catalog. We could see but a glimpse where the driveway parted the hedge but that, for me, was the beauty of it. The neighborhood was quiet and tidy, the house was the right price. I had to see more. As it turned out, the house was extremely ordinary — sturdy, but with some design shortcomings. Too bad…my head was turned by the possibilities of the landscape.

This “before” photo was taken from the upper level, looking along the edge of the slope and down into the area of the first “after” photo. There was a garden shed, sans garden, at the foot of the slope. To approach it you risked tumbling into the blackberry thicket that edged the hillside. If you tumbled through the thicket you’d land in a gully on the other side.
We replaced the garden shed and dug out and terraced the hillside, turning our slippery slope into a garden vision. The blackberries with their wicked thorns are gone, replaced with a flower bed that borders the path to the garden shed. Tons (and I mean that literally) of sod were removed from all over the property as flower beds were added. The sod was used to fill part of the gully and expand our usable ground space.
garden-stone-stepsThis green oasis is much more to my liking than the parched and patchy lawn that preceded it, and my husband, the lawn guy, is happy to have less work on his hands. It’s more work for me, but then, there’s no place I’d rather be and no pursuit at which I’m happier.
For the folks who’d like to know what the flowers are in the first photo:

The blue is Ajuga, or Carpet Bugle. This variety has burgundy foliage, blooms in Spring and again in August. Very easy care. Takes some foot traffic. I have it mingling with Creeping Jenny which will bloom with yellow flowers later in the summer.
The white is Allium, or Wild Onion. Grows like a weed, very invasive, spreading both from bulb and seed. It will keep you busy trying to maintain control. It’s beautiful but I’m rather sorry I ever planted it and when I’m asked to share starts I refuse. I wouldn’t wish it on my friends.
The deep pink is an evergreen azalea just coming into bloom.
And this is a Periwinkle bloom.  I thought it was so cute peeking out from between the rocks. There were surprises and little delights everywhere I turned today.
I’m so glad you could stop by for a little time in the garden.  Thank you for indulging me today.  Be well and I’ll see you again soon!


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