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The Lady Garden Takes Shape

Three years ago we finally gave away the playground equipment that spread over a clearing in the woods down from the patio. There were a lot of good memories attached to those swings and slides and climbing towers, and I was sad to see them go. But now I had space for another garden, and so, like a person that gets a puppy when the old beloved pet passes away, I turned my energy and affections toward this new project.

I envisioned a formal space, or at least the best attempt at order that my topography and woodland setting would allow. I bought a large urn for the center of the clearing. That was the beginning. Then I laid flagstones on one end of the area and hired a carpenter to build an arbor over them. I put a path around the urn, and we hung a swing from the arbor. Nearby I placed a birdbath. And I added a beautiful lady head pot, which gave the garden its name. It was a great spot for relaxing amidst the trees.

Last year I bought some rocks and outlined planting areas on the four corners of the garden. I placed shrubs and perennials with the idea of creating an outdoor room. On one side I put in boxwoods, and the end opposite the arbor I outlined with tea olives. Sigh! A limited budget meant the plants had to be small. Right now the "hedges" are dots that will eventually grow together to provide a sense of enclosure.

Here are some photos of the Lady Garden, taken earlier this year:

This past week I worked to add more structure to the Lady Garden. The single row of rocks around the planting areas needed more impact, so I added additional rocks to create low walls. I extended the rocks to form another border in front of the tea olives. This rectangular bed connects the two corner planting spaces on that end of the garden.

This is what the space looks like with the new rocks and planting area:

The Lady Garden has a long way to go before it meets my vision, but the best part of a vision is the creative effort required to capture it. I am looking forward to next year and the changes it will bring.

You may also enjoy Rocking Along in the Lady GardenA Crisis in the Lady Garden, and The Good Snake.

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Reader Comments (14)

Lovin' it!!!
Did you get your rock at the half price sale? I'm still tempted to buy some, especially now, seeing your beautiful job. I feel for you, waiting for your dots to connect, and waiting, and waiting...

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

Lovely and graceful as a lady should be. I can imagine her filling out one day ... she is already beautiful! What a fun process! ;>)

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Rock, stones, pathways ... looks like a garden of my dreams, the potted fern and 'lady' ivy, stunning. Truly impressed! How fun to fill in the blanks.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjoey

I love your lady garden and its namesake! It's so much fun to have a vision in your head, but I also know too well how difficult it is to develop it little by little over several years. You are so lucky to see your space developing. Can you tell I'm feelin' a bit envious? I especially love that rock wall. It is wonderful...I have a vision of such a wall in my garden some day, but wonder if it will ever take shape.

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFloridagirl

Dear Deborah, You must be very pleased with the way in which the Lady Garden [delightful name] is taking shape. Of course projects like this take time to develop but already one can clearly see your intention. This is going to be a most exciting and interesting addition to the garden and one which you will continue to enjoy for years to come. One small point, have you considered raising the central urn on a pedestal for greater impact?

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdith Hope

You garden is coming along very nicely. Your vision will be had in no time. It looks like a lot has been done so far.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Wow! It's already very impressive. Can't wait to see the end result. Love those big, gorgeous planters...

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkate/high altitude gardening

Looking good! I especially like the great "urn with fern." Keep the pictures coming!

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Barrow

I think it's more fun to garden this way, allowing the space to evolve over time. Much more rewarding than an 'instant' garden installed all at once. The difference the low walls make is significant, they definitely help to ground the space. It will be fun, once the garden meets your final vision, to put all the images to together from start to finish (not that gardens are ever really finished), to see how it has grown.

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

It sure looks delightful~I envy the space you have to fill in! My garden is jam packed. gail

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergail

The design and layout of a garden is one of my favorite parts of gardening. Your lady garden is coming along very nicely.

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Deborah - I can see that you have been very busy collecting all those stones and raising the border boundaries. Defining the edges like that has really made an improvement to the look of the garden from the photographs and I'm sure it looks even better from sitting on in the beautiful arbour. I would love to have space like this - mine is so full I'm afraid I might have to take a few things out over the next year or so.

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterleavesnbloom

Lovely potted ferns... Urns look amazing everywhere!

September 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDirty Girl Gardening

You have a fabulous site for the garden, with all of those tall trees behind, giving it a wonderfully secluded atmosphere. The taller rock walls really look great, and add definition to the beds. It's always a toss up with plants and a budget, buy a few large plants now, or a number of small ones and look forward to the garden as it develops. You actually have it both ways, with the great structure, the focal points of lady and birdbath, a few large specimens, and then more plant to enjoy as they develop.

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNorthern Shade

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