Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring is in the Garden

Five months without posting ... lazy indeed.  I wish i could say that i've been traveling, or even ill, but neither would be the truth.  Just terminally lazy. 

Now that spring has finally arrived - after all the fits and starts that everyone on the East Coast has talked about - I have plenty of projects and plenty to share.  Perhaps that will inspire me to write more regularly. 

It's always wonderful to finally be able to get my hands into the dirt after the long winter of waiting, and this year is no exception.  I spent the winter planning out a new shade garden.  After much consideration, it has turned into three projects that together will accomplish my goal. 

We have an area in the "big back garden" that is almost entirely under an elm tree and a vitex - which is more of a large open shrub, since it, too, is under the elm.  Most than 15 years ago I planted a chunk of 'Obedient Plant' (Physostegia virginiana) which came from our old house (my mother-in-law's garden) and three 'Solomon's Seal' (Polygonatum biflorum).  Later i added 'Lady's Mantle' (Alchemilla mollis) and just left them alone to grow and spread.  The result was a sea of the first two and several large clumps of the latter.  Not unpleasant to look at, but over time i have learned about so many other shade loving perennials that i would like to try.  So, this was the year to make a major change and install a planned shade garden.
This is the left end of the shady area, starting at the arborvitae and moving right to the vitex.  There's a spirea with Lady's Mantle on both sides and the entire "back" part is Obedient Plant.
And, here's where it became three small projects.

1) Water.  I decided that a way to get water to this part of the garden was imperative - hence, i needed to install some sort of irrigation.  Last fall I took a class in irrigation at the community college to see if i could handle this myself.  By the third week i knew that i did not want to dig up my entire yard and disturb all the beds to get an underground system installed; that it was probably more than Mitchell and i wanted to tackle by ourselves; and, that it would be too expensive to do what i really wanted to do.  But i did learn the principals of irrigation: how to lay it out for complete coverage; how to plan for different amounts of water for different parts of the garden; and how to measure and test precipitation.  I found an above-ground product that i thought would work.

From the vitex to the right is filled with Solomon's Seal - solid left to right and front to back.  It's gorgeous in April, and provides lots of foliage for flower arrangements, but honestly ... it's become invasive.  There are also two Nandina domestica 'Nana' at the very front.  I will keep them, but not there.
2) The shade garden.  I spent the winter planning and designing the space, researching plants, and comparing prices so that i would be ready to jump in when spring arrived.   

3) A sitting area.  If one is going to have a new, shady garden with lots of new plants, then one will want a new sitting area from which to enjoy them.  And, perhaps kick back and enjoy a book.

Seen from the "back" side ... first Obedient Plant, then native (wild) asters, and then Solomon's Seal.
So,  this is the tease.  Three posts to come on the three mini-projects. 

Hope your spring is going well, too!


  1. It does not sound like you have been lazy: you have been busy planning, and leaving us in the dark about it :-).
    Shade gardens are so relaxing as one is able to sit there and look out into more sunlit areas. You have great plans!
    I planted vegetable seedlings in the garden this morning. If they all survive we will eat very well this summer, but let's stay real ...

    1. Your wonderful veggie garden. I am so envious of your wonderful raised beds. Hope you get lots!