Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sometimes first impressions are the best ones.

Crisis update: The garden, my friends, has at last gained order. Now I don't mean the actual garden, but the one in my head and on paper. The tangible garden currently has trenches, and stakes and squaring lines running across it. But my plan has started to solidify. I believe this is iteration # 38 of the garden design. But for once, I am really happy with the vision in my head. What is funny about it is the fact that the initial idea came the first day we looked at this property, nearly three years ago. I remember saying, " Oh, this space near the house would make a nice kitchen garden, a potager!" Now, lo these three years later, that is the plan. Funny how things come full circle and first impressions are the best ones. And so , the area right off the back deck (see pictures in previous post) will become a potager, with brick lined beds and gravel walk. Then, to break up the expanse, and create "rooms", the picket fence will bisect the yard, with a rose arch in the center, thus dividing the yard into two main sections; the kitchen garden and the "rose lawn". This more narrow, longer area, now running parallel instead of perpendicular to the back side of the house, will allow for more density in the roses, and shallower beds, for ease of pruning, and the ability to get up close and personal with what is blooming! The fence will also allow for more climbing roses, and the ability to pillar a few as well. I am actually really excited about the new iteration, a feeling that is all together new to me. Instead of the usual second guessing, doubting, redrawing etc. , I am now figuring details and planting arrangements. This is a pretty big step for me.

Secondly, I quit worrying so much about the front garden. Also a rather big step. Instead of hemming and hawing about what to put into it, how it will look etc. I decided to let my eyes and my heart guide me. The guided me right to the closest nursery, and back out with a carload of perennials , annuals, and flowering shrubs. Into the bed they went, in groups of threes, soon to be backed up (I left plenty of spaces) with OGRs, both in shrub and climbing form. Sometimes it is best, I believe, to just jump in feet first. I am sure things will probably change, as is the nature of a garden, but at least I now have a better palette to experiment with. It doesn't look too bad for a first try. Salvia faricinea, bush daisy, plumbago, snapdragon, cleome, and daylilies will frolic together with the already planted spirea, and of course the aforementioned roses. A small flowering tree will anchor one end and add some much needed height. Which type I have not really decided, but that will come in time. My thought is, for now, its better than an expanse of plain brown mulch, and considering the neighborhood, it is still the best looking yard on the street. So now, in this beautiful sunny weather, I am off to toil in the garden. Soil to move, grass to dig out, and a whole new plan to be excited about. Enjoy the pics below and hopefully some updates will come soon! (if my back doesnt give out)

Im hoping eventually for a more lush appearance. The addition of daylilies and roses will help. But aren't the bush daisies adorable?

Some things are still in pots, waiting to go in the ground, which will happen soon.

Sort of a rough layout of the new garden plan. Im really very excited!


  1. I thoroughly agree that we must listen to the little voice in our head and that our first impressions are probably our best work. It sounds like you and I design gardens pretty much the same way ... paper sketches, plant lists, stakes and string, and a lot of staring at the space in question. I am happiest with my gardens that I designed on the fly, usually having to reassure the Husband that things will turn out okay in the end.

  2. Ken, I like your new plans. I knew it would all come to you sooner or later. I don't think you said what is going in the green circle in the middle, did you? I'm very curious. I like your rose walk on the left and, of course, the roses along the back fence, too. Are you allowing at least 6' of width for them? The roses will take all of that and maybe more. It's looking so good!

  3. Thanks for all the encouragement!

    It does seem we design in much the same way! I am hoping one day to have a similar garden (acreage, old home and more rural location) to yours, and I went snooping through your archive and am now completely obsessed with the rose field!

    I am glad the grand inspiration finally came, I really prefer a more cottage garden approach, but sometimes a certain place calls for more of an ordered, structured plan. It is funny, because this site specific idea is something we study in architecture, and it is only now that I really am applying it to the garden. The green circle is lawn.The only patch of grass I am leaving in the back yard. It seems destined to be that, as it is really the only place in the back that grass likes to grow well. It almost designed itself. I figure that it is a good place for the dogs to roll around, and for summer games of Bocci and perhaps a backyard picnic amongst the roses. Speaking of which, I am trying to leave a 6' diameter space for them, some a bit less for the smaller shrubs. I plan on climbers along all the fences, and on the pergolas (there will eventually be three, one from the potager to the rose lawn, the one on the left and one mirroring it across the lawn near the shed.) As flat as our Florida habitats are, there is so much needed in height. I am also planning to put, in the potager to the left of the deck, a florida white peach tree, for beauty and fruit. Imagine fresh peaches for pie picked in my own back yard. I think I am getting it from a nursery up your way called Chestnut Hill. They have great prices, are family owned and specialize in Florida fruit trees. I am excited for this new garden scheme to take shape, and luckily, with spring break starting this friday, I will have some time on my hands to use this energy and break some serious ground. Pictures will of course follow, and then some rest, as next week is my 30th birthday.

    Thanks again for all your encouragement and advice, garden friends are friends of the highest order.