Building a New Garden

I just finished a nice-sized garden for a friend and wanted to share the process with everyone.  Here is what the space looked like when we started…

As you can see there is no garden, just lawn.  My friends had a specific design in mind for the new garden.  They wanted a break between the porch and the yard, since there is no railing, multiple levels of plants, and color all season long.  Oh, and the ground needed to be raised near the house and sloped away since flooding can be a problem in their area.  This meant adding a good 4 to 6 inches of soil in a large part of the garden to build it up and create a slope away from the house.

The first task was removing the grass.  The outline of the garden took shape once the grass was gone.  Then, as plants were added soil was also, to bring the ground up to the desired level.

I put together a design that offered tall plants on the flanks and smaller plants in the middle so as not to block their big front window.  I also included a multitude of bulbs for the spring and perennials for the entire season.  Many of the plants are evergreen or offer winter interest.

Here is the garden now, after the plants were installed and the ground graded…

On the far right is a Cotinus ‘Grace’, under which is Carex ‘Ice Dance’.  The three round shrubs are boxwoods and tucked in the back is a barberry ‘Rose Glow’.  The large shrub on the left is Viburnum ‘Mohican’, which is surrounded by daylilies on the left and Siberian iris on the right.  There is a small shrub in the front that is hard to see, oak leaf hydrangea.

There are many other perennials, including Sedum, Hellebore, Campanula, HostaPeonies, Grasses, and ground covers like Lamb’s ear, creeping buttercup, chameleon plant, and periwinkle.  And under all those perennials are many spring blooming bulbs.  We chose Tulip ‘Cashmir’, Corydalis ‘Greg Baker’, and Narcissus ‘Segovia’ for one area; Camassia accented with Muscari ‘Blue Magic’ for another area; and Triteleia ‘Starlight’ to accent the Hellebore mix.  Oh, and there is a carpet of 100 Crocus “Cloth of Gold’.  They will have flowers from the bulbs all spring and as that foliage dies away the summer perennials will take over.  Next year is going to be stunning for them.  I will be sure to post pictures as things start to bloom.

Hope you enjoyed the before and after pictures, it was an exciting project to design and install.  As always let me know what you think, comment or suggest, I am up for anything.



The Garden Party Continues

Now that you have toured the front yard let’s tour the back.

We’ll take a walk down the side path, the picture on the left, which in a few years will have flowering trees blooming in the spring.  When we get to the back you can see the yard, the picture on the right.

On the south side of the path we have a climbing hydrangea making its way up the deck railing.  Further along we have the shade garden, which gets only a couple of hours of sun. In here we have multiple varieties of hostas, astilbe, mums and columbine, with Plumeria, Monarda, and Campanula.

On the north side of the yard is the sun loving garden.  We have lilacs surrounded by Salvia, Sedum, Coreopsis, Munstead lavender, and Russian sage.  Then we have the rose garden, in the middle photo, which is so exciting because these roses were all grown from seed!  They are only two years old right now so they are still pretty small.  I will spread them out a bit this fall in preparation for next year’s growth.  I have mums centered in this garden to offer some additional fall color.

The picture on the right is our pergola.  We built this to accommodate the grape plant that is now vining its way to the top.  I did the design work, we sawed out the decorative ends and put it up in a couple of days.

Let’s head back to the house to check out the back deck…

Facing to the north we hung a decorative metal piece.  This was actually the back of an old wooden bench that had seen better days. We recycled the wood and used this piece to add some character to the deck.  Then we hung little plants off it to add more color.  In each of those pots is a moon flower vine that climbed up all the way to the rafters.  Really exceptional!  We also have hooks in the rafters to be able to hang all sorts of plants at different heights.  We have pots on the deck, on the railings, and on decorative racks…flowers everywhere.

We have also harvested some nice vegetables, the picture on the left. The zucchini was 14 inches long and the eggplant bigger than a softball.  I am very pleased with the result of my first attempt at these two plants this year.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.  As always let me know if you have any questions or comments.


btw – Thanks to Rich and Alice for the vegetable plants that were so successful this year!


Garden Party

Welcome everyone to my Garden Party.  It is really quite easy to show off your garden to friends and family on a pleasant afternoon.  All you have to do is put some chairs on the deck or in view of the garden and provide some lemonade and cookies.  Guests are usually more than willing to bring something, so ask for easy finger food and light drinks, put out some flower pattern napkins and maybe even a bouquet on the patio table.  All of a sudden its a party!

Of course, the center of attention is the garden so here is a tour of my garden now that it is in full swing.  If anyone wants to the know the full Latin name for any plants leave a comment and I will respond.

You can park right on the street in my neighborhood.  I’m the green house with the lovely wrap-around porch…

You walk up the carriage walk and both of the trees in the parkway are surrounded by groups of plants that do well in the this mix of sun and dappled shade.  Tulips burst out in the spring, along with a nice patch of irises.  There are two types of hostas, astilbe, sedum, lamb’s ear, and new barberry shrubs and vinca.

As you walk up the front path you have gardens on both sides…

On the left there is a full garden of chameleon plant, creeping jenny, and angelonia, with begonia and million bells tucked in.  The taller group in the center is zinnias clustered around a mum.  The larger shrubs in the background are lilacs,  and there are also incredible hydrangeas, the flowers shown in the second picture.

On the right of the path is another garden offering sedum, spirea, and mums with asters, alyssum, and spotted dead nettle in the foreground and lamb’s ear, irises and peonies in the background.  Oh, and the edgers surrounding the gardens are my custom work.  I designed them, built a mold to mass produce, mixing, dying, and pouring the concrete, and shaping before final curing.  We made about 400 of them to line the entire front gardens.

Closer to the front of the house are more gardens…

To the left of the front steps is a rose arbor.  We put in two decorative trellises and used the rose itself to created the top arch of the arbor.  The morning glories on the railing are so vigorous they have made their way over to the arbor and are intertwining with the roses to give us color for the rest of the summer.

On the right you find the mixed border planted in front of the lilac, dogwood, and butterfly bush. This shorter group is plumeria, irises, campanula, boxwoods, and peonies with a rogue zinnia sprouting right up in the middle of it all!  The oval is two types of lavender with annual additions-ageratum and “black and blue” salvia in view.

The arbor in the picture is the passageway to the back yard which holds more exciting gardens to show you.  In the next post we will visit those gardens. Can’t wait to show you my rose garden!

As always, any questions or suggestions please comment.