Friday, October 5, 2007

Some Notes on Garden Design

This garden is called the "Perennial Garden" and is my oldest garden, now about five years old. It is the garden people usually see first when they visit my home and it is the garden that gets the most sun in my yard. All of my gardens are mixed borders so even though it is named the "Perennial Garden", it has bulbs, shrubs, trees and herbaceous perennials in it. Initially this garden started life as a rose garden. That was not to be. I have reworked this garden every year in some way or another but it still never felt right to me. I think I may have finally figured it out-the plants were planted too closely and were not massed. This May when my son Brian came for a visit I persuaded him to 'rework' this garden.

I first turned over four feet of the sod in order to enclose the crabapple tree in a garden and make room to spread out the perennials. This area was once a parking area and is loaded with rocks and gravel. Very hard to work. Once the sod was turned over, Brian spread a load of topsoil over the whole area. I then removed the overcrowded plants and massed them in the newly expanded garden. I also added a River Birch, Betula nigra, which has doubled in size in only one year. Brian then mulched the entire bed with newspaper and shredded wood mulch on top of the newspaper. The result is this second picture. Even though the garden extension was new, the garden still looked full and mature when properly planted and I am quite pleased with the result. It now feels right. The bench and garden are slightly elevated and look inward to a concrete parking spot. I added a small rock area for Mr. Fix-it's boat and now only have to weed whack about a three foot strip of long suffering grass. Lessons to remember, go bigger when in doubt and mass perennials. All of these flowers were already in the garden but tended to get lost in the depth, now they shine in the newly expanded garden.

in the garden....


  1. This looks like a beautiful spot to have a cup of coffee in the morning!

  2. Sometimes, but usually I sit here in the evening or when my family is out here playing basketball. I have many night fragrant plants in this area and the smell is super. I will write about it soon.