Friday, September 4, 2015

The New Pond Gardens

Koi! Love these colorful fish!
There are several areas of the new property I am trying to landscape. The koi pond is one of them and is in a very important spot visible from the house so its landscaping is vital to our enjoyment. It has been a slow and painful process but it is coming along.


I choose predominantly pink plants for this garden. The Pink Drift roses that circle the far edge of the pond carry the theme the best but we also have: Joe Pye weed, Pink Gaura, Pink Maltese Cross, Surprise lilies, old fashioned bleeding hearts, and Queen of the Prairie. I also added in texture plants to include amsonia and a weeping Japanese maple.  For accent we have white lilies, Japanese roof irises, penstemon, and bergenias. Now that this area is mulched and weeded the plants are beginning to take hold and show off a bit.
Inside of the pond itself I have dark purple water irises, white hardy water lilies, and pickerel weed.
The fish are quite happy and of the original nine I moved from my old pond I was gifted with eight beautiful baby koi who are growing large quickly.
I mulched this large bed with cardboard and straw. The ragweed was taller than me in this bed and something had to be done. While the mulch won't last forever it is a start, and as time goes by weeds will become less of a problem. Especially once the shade trees begin growing. The yellow one pictured is 'Sango Kaku'. I have two in the backyard and think they are one of the prettiest Japanese maples around. Their fall color is a clear yellow that glows. Right now the trees are under stress since they are fairly newly planted and since it has been hot and dry lately. 

The irises under the tree in the foreground are Japanese roof irises. These are by far my favorite irises because they look great all season long, can be grown in the shade or sun (they would appreciate a little shade so don't plant them in a western or southern exposure, here they are planted on the east side of my home), and happily multiply into larger clumps (they will self seed too).

The back side of the pond slopes down with some of the famous rolling hill topography Tennessee is known for. Landscaping that side is a challenge because you don't want to block the lower plants yet you must have them tiered so they all layer well together. For instance; the Pink Drift roses are a bit shorter than the pink gaura which is just behind the roses. As we go down the slope the plants will have to get taller. There are three mophead type hydrangeas planted just below the gaura along with some amsonias and a Japanese style boxwood. Joe Pye weed also helps with the tiered effect. Hopefully when it is all grown in the appearance should be pleasant from both sides of the garden but honestly, the side I look at the most is across the pond to the roses so it is my main concern.

 One last photo of the back side of the garden. For me color is secondary to texture and heights when I plan out a garden. I want the plants to complement each other and set off one another whether they are blooming or not. Here the gaura and roses work out so well. The little shrub in the foreground is a 'Lady in Red' hydrangea my friend Angie gave me this spring. It is doing awesomely and I hope it, along with the other two hydrangeas in the bed, will fill in nicely as time goes on....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Some Garden Pictures from Tiger Way Gardens

The first year with new gardens is a very trying year in my opinion. We at Tiger Way Gardens are still dealing with all the weeds and woody growth that had been allowed to take over our property prior to us purchasing it. On top of that, during the house build we had a very opportunistic annual weed get out of control on all the disturbed soil. That weed is ragweed. Ragweed is an annual that is very prolific in self seeding and it is a very tough weed. Roundup doesn't even faze it. Fortunately we've had a lot more rain than is normal for the summertime in Tennessee and I've been able to pull a good amount of the ragweed plants. It's a good thing too since it is all blooming or beginning to bloom and setting those seeds for next year's crop. Sigh, such is gardening. 

Despite all the weeds I have been able to mulch some gardens and the design of my new gardens is beginning to show itself. The one really neat and different thing from Tiger Way Gardens versus Tiger Gardens is that I have lots of full sun here. Roses were a first order of business. I like old roses and roses with scents. This is an old Bourbon rose I purchased at Lowes. At the present time I cannot tell you its name because I've lost the tag. It smells wonderful tho.
The foundation gardens are brand new and are a bit easier to maintain because I was able to mulch them a bit last fall with cardboard left over from the home build and also with pine needles. The pine needles are now fading away and you can see the cardboard but even tho that is not a pretty sight it is prettier than seeing weeds! I have a combination of evergreens and deciduous shrubs as well as some specimen plants and perennials. There is a wide variety of plants in my large foundation beds.
Here is a view of the other side of the foundation. I placed stepping stones to allow me access to the hose on the side of the house. I have spireas backed by low growing nandinas with 'Black Dragon' trees in the corners shown here.
The front of the same bed is not finished. Here we have newly planted Japanese roof irises along with the chartreuse annual foliage plant. I really like the plant (the name escapes me) even tho it does not bloom and is an annual. It has kept this color all year long and requires little care for me. This area of the bed was not mulched so it was covered by ragweed most of the summer as it will soon be if I don't get it mulched quickly. Needless to say mulch is the name of the game here.
These 'Autumn Joy' sedums are the stars in the front gardens right now. I moved these from the old garden last fall and they are doing wonderfully.
This little corner garden is filled mainly with gravel and leftover dirt from the house build. I was able to pick up all of the debris around the house including three pallets of bricks, wood, nails, tar paper and other stuff so none of that has been buried in the ground around our house. Unfortunately gravel and subsoil are not easy things to pick up and since this garden is so close to the driveway it has really no good soil in it. I have planted tough plants in this bed. Artemisia 'Powis Castle', 'Homestead' verbena, daylilies, irises, butterflyweed, and 'Shenandoah' (Panicum virgatum) switch grass are all doing well along with the one old Bourbon rose.
Here is a longer shot of the cutout garden. The grass 'Shenandoah' is an awesomely tough plant that looks good all the time. This link says it can be used in rain gardens and is very adaptable. I simply know grasses as being tough so I stuck three clumps into this corner last fall and it has so far done well. This garden has no drainage or very little drainage. It is surrounded on three sides by either gravel or concrete and has a gravelly crush in run base to it. This is a tough garden for any plants and I have had issues with bulbs in it but the grass rocks. I highly recommend the switch grasses.
Another view of it across the driveway toward another garden and a pink crepe myrtle. Most of the crepe myrtles took hits from this past winter and were all severely damaged. This one, however, has done really well despite only being planted right before winter set in. It is a keeper in my book.
The crabapple garden is doing a good job of looking good, attracting butterflies, and keeping down the weeds. This garden was one of the first ones I planted with it being about eighteen months old. Weeds have not been a major ordeal in this garden but there is always maintenance. Because it is planted closely I do not have to mulch this bed at all. To see the evolution of this garden from last year check this post. Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is a perennial I would never be without in the garden. Give it a good spot and stand back and let it go. It's awesome! There is also a lot of jumping verbena (Verbena bonariensis) which is the tall airy purple plant. The verbena was not part of the plan but when I transplanted the other perennials out here seed from the verbena tagged along and sprouted in this garden. I love it and so do the butterflies so I let it go wild in the garden and have begun transplanting around the farm into other gardens and the wildflower areas. Verbena is not a native plant but butterflies love it and it fits into the wildflower meadows beautifully so I am keeping it.
Coming up in the next post you'll see some of my pond gardens and my koi. This trout is not found around here in my ponds but I sure like looking at it so thought I'd share it. Some enterprising individual (not me) made it out of garage door metal and did a good job painting it. I found the perfect spot for it outside of my kitchen window....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden