Sunday, May 24, 2009

Garden Diary: Entering the garden

Half way into my garden's fifth season, the plantings in the wet prairie - by far the largest part of the garden - have reached a stage of evolution, or more appropriately stable change, giving me more time to attend to other parts of the garden. Entrances, for example.

The main garden entrance from the front parking area has been sorely neglected, mostly because it's been used for maintenance and storage - piles of wood chips from the tree clearing four years ago (now much smaller piles), the place for composting, deer-safe storage for plants waiting to go into the ground, a place to grow smaller plants until ready for planting out. Now I've managed to minimize these utilitarian functions, and can start to work on the entrance plantings.

Here is the entrance from the gate.

Piles of wood chips were in the area at center right where the ground is still covered with a mulch I don't need there. Or this may become a sitting area, a place to enjoy the shade and a distant view of the larger garden. A few perennials - Hosta 'Frances Williams', part of a recent gift of mature hostas from a friend, Ajuga 'Caitlin's Giant', several colonies of Sweet Woodruff (Asperula odorata), lots of native Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis ) and other things not visible here - hint at what might be. But I need shrubs, large shrubs that will provide an intimate entrance area, an antechamber, from which a visitor will emerge into the more open woodland garden.

Walking down the woodland path, the long stone wall and wet prairie begin to come into view.

And looking to the left, you can see the first link between the gravel terrace outside the house, which overlooks the garden, and the garden itself. Until this spring, there was no easy way to get from the terrace into the garden. Now there is, via the steps and a path that curves along the stone wall, passes beside the pond, then on into the middle of the wet prairie garden. (In the future, there will be steps at the other end of the terrace.)

Returning to the main path, a young river birch marks the intersection of the central path across the garden with the circumferential path around the garden.

Looking across the garden, the central path is out of view off to the right.

And here you see it.

So this is the entrance sequence, or story. Paths from shade to sun, from house to garden. There is much more to do, but this is a start.

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