Entries in seasonal changes in the garden (5)


Best of the Rest, 2016

Happy New Year, everyone! Hopes and plans for the new gardening year are bouncing around my brain. Outside, relentless rain flows over the trees and shrubs and the earth. Let the ground soak it in. After last year's drought, I am grateful for the steady downpour. I think 2016 was a hard year for the garden, but when I look back over last year's photos, I remember the beautiful spring and a summer that wasn't too bad until it became the monster that ate up fall.

But now it is time for my "Best of the Rest" feature! Every year I look back and choose photos from each month. These are photos that did not make it into the blog, for various reasons. I use only photos of my own garden for this feature, so it is a good overview of Deb's Garden through the year. So, here we go:

January: Stump World is a group of huge oak stumps that have been slowly rotting in the woods for over 25 years. All but two have completely decayed. They provide nourishment and shelter for countless small critters.

February:Camellias are beginning to bloom in the woodland garden.

Edgeworthia and quince are late winter bloomers that brighten the gray days of February.

March: The garden comes alive in March. It was hard to choose which images to use. I have too many!

A fallen Magnolia petal nestles next to a Bloodroot bloom.

Serviceberry is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring.

March sky


May:Anthony Waterer Spirea is one of my favorite May bloomers, and it will repeat bloom through the summer.

June: I call June the "deep greening" month. Green becomes prominent in the garden.Clockwise from top left: Gardenia bud; Gardenia flower; Cercis canadensis 'Whitewater' leaf; Dwarf gardenia.



September:I bought these on sale at the beginning of September, with plans to plant them before the next rain. It was months before I was able to plant them.

These persimmons fell prematurely from the tree, no doubt due to drought stress.


November:Hosta and Toad Lily foliage as they go dormant

Rings on a windchime

December: Goodbye, 2016!

I hope you enjoyed my tour through the year! Did you have a favorite month?

Best wishes to you all!   Deb 


A Year in the Lower Lawn and Words About Maintenance

This is the final installment in my five part series featuring seasonal views of different parts of Deb's Garden. Today we will look at the lower lawn. At first I hesitated to include the lower lawn in the series, because I don't think of it as a real "garden" space. But it does help to complete the over-all plan, so here it is.

I define the lower lawn as the area beyond the front garden. It is divided in half by the drive as it travels away from the house and the front garden. This area is the farthest from the house and is the lowest of low maintenance. Except for mowing the grass during the summer, we don't do much here. Even mowing is kept to a minimum, as we cut our grass high and don't mow at all during times of drought. That means our grass hasn't been cut in two months! In the seasonal photos below, the double row of boxwoods defines the entrance to our property:

As we travel down the drive, on the right is the backside of the front garden, featuring Japanese maples, dogwoods, and a weeping cherry tree:

The main entrance to the woodland garden is on the left side of the drive, while across the lower lawn on that side, the edge of our property is defined by a screen of evergreen trees. We once had unobstructed views of rolling fields and trees when we looked out our front windows, until our neighbor built a workshop within a few feet of our property line. This massive building completely obstructed our view, and while its roofline had merit, the commercial-like side of the building was unattractive. I solved the problem by planting a border of evergreens. It is an eclectic grouping, including Canadian hemlock, white pine, Arizona cypress, deodar cedar, and upright yaupon holly. I also planted dogwood, Japanese maple and redbud trees to provide some seasonal color. Despite their diverse homelands, all of the trees have grown well, and I no longer think ugly thoughts about my neighbor when I look his direction. Here are seasonal views of the lower lawn, looking toward the evergreen border:

And finally, the right side of the lower lawn is bordered by natural woodland, including native oak, pine, and dogwood. The woods are edged by a row of oak leaf hydrangeas:

If you have followed the entire series, you are now thoroughly acquainted with Deb's Garden! Some of you have wondered about the size and maintenance of my gardens. Our property covers 3.5 acres, with at least one acre being untouched woodland. Lou and I do all the maintenance ourselves, and we have full time jobs that keep us busy. It is not as much maintenance as you would imagine! If you examine my photos, you will discover that most of the color comes from trees and shrubs, which naturally require less maintenance than annuals or perennials. I love flowers, but the backbone of my garden comes from sturdier, more permanent plantings. 

Here is a summary of our maintenance chores:

1. Pruning of shrubs - once or twice a year, depending on plant

2. Weeding of pathways - thorough weed job once in spring, then once a month or so as needed. Weeding is something I often do as I stroll about. A handful here and there keeps the chore from becoming obnoxious.

3. Mulching of pathways - once every couple of years

4. Edging of lawn - once in spring, as needed again in fall

5. Fertilization of shrubs and flowers - once or twice a year, depending on plant

6. Fertilization of grass - twice a year with a natural "weed and feed" product

7. Mowing of grass - every two weeks or so during the growing season, except during times of draught

8. Watering - as needed. Newly planted areas or marginal plants need to be babied. Well established, native plants can take care of themselves.

9. Mulching of planting areas - once or twice a year. Mulch helps to conserve moisture, cuts down on weeds, and improves the soil. We use a lot of pine straw, which is readily available and complements our acidic soil.

10. Enjoyment of garden - daily! And I do include this in maintenance, because a garden that is loved is going to be a happier, healthier garden.

Thanks to everyone who has followed this series. I very much appreciate your comments. Happy Gardening to all of you!

You may also enjoy:

A Year in the Woodlands

A Year in the Front Garden

A Year in the Lady Garden

A Year by the Patio

My Secrets to a Low Maintenance Garden