Creating a garden . . . worth every minute

Loving gardens does not make me a gardener. Donning gloves to pull weeds, digging holes, removing dead foliage – tasks associated with planting and maintaining a landscape are NOT how I choose to spend my free time – I’d definitely rather be working in my studio.

Never having studied about gardens or plants, my horticultural style tends toward the “dig and plop” school – I dig a hole and plop the plant in – it if thrives, fabulous, if it doesn’t – I pull it out and plop in another type of plant.

When we down-sized from our 1918 Arts & Crafts home to a brand new townhouse, the yard was a blank mess. Two totally inappropriate columnar hornbeams (generally regarded as windbreaks or driveway trees), a sodded lawn and several small shrubs were the only growing things.

The compacted grass sod (laid on top of the notorious “Ballard” hard pan – a clay layer made worse by construction) refused to allow any water to permeate its surface, resulting in numerous, small muddy lakes. Every time our dog Rose ventured into the yard 20 minutes were then devoted to cleaning her sodden fur and dirty paws.

Spending a year looking at this soggy space spurred us into action. Ripping up sod (that was attached to plastic webbing), digging 30 feet of a 3-feet deep trench and inserting a bamboo barrier (our back-fence neighbor has a bumper crop) and amending clay soil (chock full of rocks and construction waste) occupied a good portion of our second summer in the house.

The increasingly tall hornbeams were traded for several lovely Japanese maples and more trees were purchased (we have 14 in all – some in pots, most in the ground). 1000+ pounds of pea gravel, hauled in one bag at a time, replaced the grass and assisted in soaking up some of Seattle’s ever-present rain.

Gardens are always works in progress and ours continues to evolve and change. While I still do hate weeding, I now know that creating a calm, beautiful growing space is just another way of making art and well worth my time.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Creating a garden . . . worth every minute

  1. Hey, I love your new look here. And don’t I know how much work that landscape was/is. It can consume your whole life if you let it. I think you made some wonderful choice in the plantings – especially the Japanese maples. it looks grand, and I love that final shot of the snow-covered patio! I envy you living in Seattle – I love love love rain and we just don’t get it as we once did. Even last winter was snow-less for the most part. The weather has been unusual, to say the least. That pink hydrangea is to die for! Happy week to you.

  2. Oh my lord Maude- I forgot how bleak your garden was when you first moved in. What an amazing transformation!
    We’re facing the same conditions (neglected plants, hard pan etc) out here but on a much larger scale. Jeff and I have carved a few pockets of loveliness but we’ve got a long way to go.
    Thanks for the beautiful visuals -I laughed out loud at “dig and plop” method of gardening. We’re still in the “yank and pitch” mode…which came after the sawz-all and extraction phase! xo fcf

  3. Oh my lord Maude- I forgot how bleak your garden was when you first moved in. What an amazing transformation!

    We\’re facing the same conditions (neglected plants, hard pan etc) out here but on a much larger scale. Jeff and I have carved a few pockets of loveliness but we\’ve got a long way to go.

    Thanks for the beautiful visuals -I laughed out loud at \”dig and plop\” method of gardening. We\’re still in the \”yank and pitch\” mode…which came after the sawz-all and extraction phase!
    xo fcf

  4. Oh, my, you’ve done some lovely things there. I have a larger “canvas” and haven’t done nearly as much with it, as I’m also the dig and plop kind of gardener. I like most of what was here, and I’m just adding bits and pieces as I go. I’m so unfamiliar with places that get rain and have cold winters! It’s all trial and error. I love your pink “snowball” plants and that horse – is it wire?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s