Friday, August 15, 2014

How Does My Garden Grow - Part 2

I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow. ~David Hobson

As you will see, my herb garden in the back was not the only big change. My husband and I decided to kill off all the ivy in our backyard because entwined among the lovely English Ivy is Poison Ivy. I have tried to kill off the later without harming the former for a couple of years, while trying to avoid the itchy rashes. I have to confess that I never really had much of a reaction to Poison Ivy until we moved to Georgia and now the times I get it the most is from the outside cats. Poison Ivy does not bother animals, just people. I wish I had some goats or horses, as they can eat it. Anyway, it just has to go!

So, to prepare for the burnout and clearing of the wooded areas, I moved all my shade loving plants that had survived the vinca take-over in my back shade garden to the front. I also cleared out the bushes. which were more of a clumping plant than bush, that the former owners left under the deck stairs that I never warmed up to and all the weeds to plant clippings of the vinca since it is a filling vine that does not climb. While doing all this I made sure that the soil was mounded around the foundation so that the water would drain away from the house. We do not have any foundation problems but the gutter system is inadequate in certain areas which we will address when the house gets resided and we replace the gutter system adding a few more downspouts and water barrels.

I moved some hostas that were doing not really growing from the front garden, probably too shady, so that I could complete the border with the variegated type, and planted them in the back around the crepe myrtle tree. This area will all green up over a few months even in the winter.

Here are some views of the front gardens. (Normally there is not a wheelbarrow in the background.)

Coming up the walk from the driveway there is variegated vinca on the left, which is still not completely filled in; they would have liked more rain than we have been getting. I love ferns, but the few I had were hidden in the back shade garden. I began wondering why I never thought about ferns in the front. I decided that the front garden is shady enough to put the shade loving plants where I can really enjoy their beauty, so on the left between the liriope and the rocks are Lady ferns, and they are loving where they are. The edging plants above the rocks are variegated hostas that divided from a few that I had that covered about a fourth of the way previously and spread them out so that they cover the entire top edge...a least to the place where the sun would be too much for them. I still have some work to do behind the hostas in the upper tier, but that may not get done until next spring when I can see where the tulips and daffodils are and move them closer to the outer edge and allow the azaleas to grow around the trunk of the oak tree.

On the right lowest level on the right as you look up the walk is the English Ivy clippings from the back yard that I just planted. My black-eyed Susans are very hardy and often have to be clipped back, but the cats like to hide and nap in them. Between them and the house I transplanted some large orange lillies that were further down the walk and used to crowd around a half-barrel planter that I removed--well, I moved it and it fell apart so... it is now gone.

In the background, closer to the house is where I like to plant cucumber vines, just because I can keep my eye on them easier and they do not get as stressed out from the sun. In front of them, I planted tiara hostas, my favorite hosta, rescued from the back shade garden. I barely found them straggled in among the vinca. This may not be the final place for them, it is just I had nothing to put there and I needed to put them somewhere. Hopefully, they will thrive.

The middle tier on the right used to have a bush that we took out a couple of years ago so it has been basically neglected until this year. I separated some of the Liriope that edges the left side to make an edging on the right as well and then filled that area with the silvery wormwood, purple sweet potato vine, Sweet Annie at top and two highly contrasting annuals. This is how it looked when I first planted it.

This is how it looks now, just a few weeks later. I am hoping the wormwood survives the winter.

Back to the left side...
Are you seeing my half barrel fountain? I would like to get something a bit more decorative, but the most important part is hearing it as you can up the walk or I come out the door. It has a calming babble and cooling effect that invites me into the gardens...and then to gardening.

 This is the view from the other side.

How inviting is this? Lilies of the valley line the right of the stepping stones. I love their scent in the spring!

I also found what I think is a wild ginger with very pretty heart-shaped leaves outside of the shade garden all by itself, not the typical ginger I have seen around here. I decided I would move it also, because it was just pretty.

I dug around for the shamrock rhizomes I had planted in the shade garden. The green ones had died out and I only saw a few purple about ground, which have a delicate pink flower when they bloom, but I found plenty of the rhizomes underneath so I moved them to the front yard also. They are definitely liking the new spot among Japanese painted ferns, asparagus ferns (not really a fern but adds a delicate texture), and a bleeding heart plant that also never thrived in the back shade garden.

As I looked over my "new" garden I noticed that I had most used the colors of greens with varying textures and purples, my very favorite garden colors. Maybe that is why I smile when I walk out the front door now!

~ Thank you, my Lord, for the beauty I was able to bring into my life through my gardens and for the ability to work hard, building muscle while being productive. ~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.