Friday, May 30, 2008

Laying out a new garden

Laying out a new garden is hard work, but artistically very rewarding. After last summer I decided I had enough of the “wild” Grandma’s English style backyard garden and to make some changes. (See a previous post.) The garden did not perform well last year. It could be because I gave less attention to it, but more likely because the unusual heat and drought we had.

Although this year's spring have so far been below normal in temperature, lots of overcast skies and late cold weather here in Kentucky, I started two weeks ago with the creation of the new borders and the transplanting began. I spent many hours during the winter thinking about the new layout and committed some of it to paper in the form of rough sketches, doodling more than anything else, the final placing of plants is mostly in my head and a case of on the spot design - which plants I already have in the garden and which plants go well together. Color, foliage and blooming time are constantly kept in mind as I transplant plants from old beds to the new beds. By the end of Memorial Day I had the first border completed.

Last week I also ordered me a new shed. One can’t create a new garden and continue with an old, bursting-out-of-its-seams shed. The new shed, manufactured by a local company, will be ready in a month and then constructed on site. Limited access to the backyard prevents the delivery of a fully constructed shed.

At the moment the backyard looks like a construction site with potholes, where I removed plants, uneven, temporary walkways that turns to mud pools when it rains and patches of temporary holding pens for yet to be used plants. I plan to finish all the borders and beds before most of the summer heat arrives and will probably establish the lawn during fall. I am yet to decide if I will go for instant roll-on sods, which I can do during the summer, or sow seeds for which I will have to wait until the fall. In Kentucky’s summer heat grass don’t grow well (goes mostly dormant) if we don’t get a lot of rain, sowing could then be a waste of money because I will have to sow twice. Even though more expensive than sowing, the roll-on lawn option looks very attractive because I won’t have to wait through summer with a clay backyard, it will be instant lawn, and most important, it should prevent many weeds from coming up, especially since I will be tilling 4 – 6 inches of the top soil of the whole lawn area. The tilling is bound to wake up the weeds, most certainly crab grass, which thrives in the summer heat.

To be continued…

The first border at the start of the preparation and replanting.
The first border after completion. The shrub flowering profusely on the right is a mock orange in need of a prune, which will be done after flowering.
The first border completed is anchored by a solar-powered barrel fountain surrounded by Kentucky limestone rocks.

Title picture courtesy: Enchanted garden by Kirsten Stein.

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