Monday, March 16, 2009
One disadvantage of having a garden of mostly herbaceous perennials is spring. There's no getting around it, as the early spring cleanup progresses, the garden resembles a field of war, especially mine, because I burn most of the grasses. Here is the garden after three weekends of burnings (I can garden only on weekends).
The two arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) are just for thought. I need to add some evergreen structure, and I set these two out in pots just to get a sense of scale and placement. These are actually resting on top of three giant miscanthus (burned to the ground) that I intend to move (they flop and block the path). Arborvitae certainly is not my first choice in evergreens, but it may be the only species that can survive my wet conditions. Even though it's a terribly overused shrub, I do have more respect for it after seeing the Thuja occidentalis forests on Mount Desert Island in Maine a couple of years ago.
To the left of the end of the pond is the start of a new raised planting area built of dry laid stone (see previous post). It looks like a pile of rubble in the photo above. Below you can see it taking shape. It will have a long amoeba-like form, reflecting the shape of the pond. My plan, which is subject to instant change, is to plant a large, spreading oakleaf hydrangea at the end abutting the pond, and use topiary boxwoods along the length to create a formal, structural feature that will contrast with the wildness of the rest of the garden.
Next weekend, if the ground has drained sufficiently, I plan to chop down the remaining plant superstructure with my giant string trimmer (it looks like a lawn mower). I'll leave the chopped remains in place to increase the organic content of my clay soil.
If you look beyond the in-progress stone structure, you'll see more black smudges where I burned other grasses. Yes, this is the dismal season.
(I do intend to work on the spring appearance of the garden. But that will take time, and money.)
Posted by James Golden at 7:23 AM