Monday, March 23, 2009
I take a risk posting photos of my garden at this time of the year. Will you understand that gardens change continuously throughout the year? Will you view these photos knowing a perennial and grass prairie (a very wet prairie in this case) has to be appreciated for what it is now, even though not a traditional 'vision' of early spring, and viewed with its later season potential held gently in the mind's eye? This is the most barren time of the year, standing water, mud where the soil is disturbed, but all this is natural and appropriate (though a sheet of daffodils is possible, and hoped for, some day; possibly Caltha palustris; in fact, many plants with 'palustris' in their names).
If the top photo looks suspiciously like the one in my March 16 post, look more closely and you'll see the elevated stone planting bed at the end of the pond is nearing completion. Last Saturday while I mowed the remaining perennials, burned the Miscanthus giganteus and cut multiflora rose at the edge of the property, Joel and his father almost finished the stone structure. You can see from a distance it acts as a visual extension of the pond.
But all is not as planned. I tried to avoid the amoeba shape Peter H. criticized. I wanted to get a graceful curve in the stone, but either my communication ability or Joel's skill weren't up to the task. There is a definite S-curve here, but the final product is a rather clunky looking affair. It still needs some refinement, to be done next weekend, when ten cubic yards of "top soil" arrive to fill it and, I hope, leave some to spare.
We have to remove the plants stranded inside the stone walls. Now that the frozen ground has thawed, we'll be able to do that.
This is not what I expected but I'm trying to persuade myself that appropriate plantings will make this all work together as a unified structural feature. I can't afford to redo it.
I'm trying to visualize this in the photo (below) of the same area from last fall. My intent has been to plant a large oakleaf hydrangea to visually join the stone and the pond, and to use some form of evergreen topiary (simple) to create a sense of formality against the wildness of the rest of the garden.
Now I'm thinking more freely of other options. Perhaps a solid ground cover of Bergenia x 'Winterglut'. The red foliage would make a striking sight in winter and complement oranges of a new bank of Salix alba 'Britzensis'. I know the bergenia holds up well through all kinds of weather (I have it on the terrace outside the house, where it's a pleasure to see against the gravel surface). Perhaps a ground cover of bergenia under the topiary ... I'll know better by mid-summer.