Thoughts on how to create a well-designed garden retreat.

Archive for May, 2011

Spring break?


So it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything here.  Spring for any garden designer is busy along with the time spent on one’s own garden getting ready for a tour.  So there has really been no Spring break,

We’ve had a pretty good spring so far in Durham.  We haven’t hit 90 degrees yet which is a little unusual and have had many days below 80, also unusual.  We’ve also had a bit more rain than normal so everything is growing very well.  Some years it seems that spring is only 2 weeks long because we go from cold to hot in a very short time.

Spring is also a time for historic home tours in Durham and I’ve made it around to my share this spring.  Of course, many times I am more interested in the gardens than the houses but no one really needs to know that.  Preservation Durham’s home tour party was held at a home with an extensive garden on a corner lot.  This allows the garden to become sort of a public garden.  Nothing like touring someone’s  garden other than your own to put your plant identification skills to the test.  Truth be told, I have a couple of plants in my native garden that I have forgotten what they are.  Nothing wrong with discreetly leaving a plant tag near the base of a plant to remind yourself later what it is.  I’ve spent some time recently tagging some of the larger trees and shrubs with aluminum plant tags that hang by thin wires.  These can be moved easily as the plant grows to allow you to find it later.  I went through a pack of 50 of these tags and had to order another 50.  Perennials are not conducive to this technique so I’ll have to either remember them or do the tag in the ground thing.

I have shown the garden to more people this spring than probably the past four years combined.  I’ve always told my customers that most gardens really seem to come into their own on the third year.  This has held true for Jaliya’s garden.  Of course, I know what is left in my mind to be done at a later date but new people to the garden do not know.  Seeing a garden in this stage followed by pointing to the jungle in the back yard next door let’s them know that they too can have a beautiful garden in just a couple years time.  My own back yard looked just like the one next door when I moved in.

Before the blood sweat and tears.

It will take some time for the trees and shrubs to reach their prime.  That is where perennials do such a good job in creating interest in a garden.  Too many landscapes focus only on trees and shrubs and are missing out.  Or they will throw in a few daylilies or some other common tough perennial and stop there.   We’ve talked before about the five design functions of plants and these pictures help to bear that out.  The perennials give a lot of interest to the garden while the larger plants grow.  In five years, this garden will look so much different because the shrubs will be showing their form and the trees will change the sun/shade patterns.  But that is the fun of garden design.  You have an idea in your mind of what you want to create.  You then go to work and let nature bring it to fruition.  A garden is never really done.  It just grows and develops along with you.