While I’ve been traveling here and there, a lot has also been going on at home, specifically in my little garden so it’s time for an update.
New fence. My fence, which was in place when I bought my house, had to be at least 25 years old and it was showing its age, badly. Missing, broken pickets and rotted posts plus the squirrels had been terribly hard on it, chewing on the wood and digging holes into the posts. It was a mess and long overdue for replacement.
I had expected to replace it with a another wooden fence, but changed my mind when I saw the white vinyl fences. They are more expensive, but last much longer and are virtually maintenance free. I also liked they way they look, crisp and clean and a perfect compliment to my little blue house and massive cottage garden. Here they are in the midst of installing the new fence:
I went with a slightly fancier style than plain pickets; I figured, I’m only going to do this once and I want to go with something I not only like, but that I love. It was a little more expensive (of course!) but well worth it to me. Here’s the fence shortly after completion.
Decluttering the Garden. I know many of you won’t believe it when I say that I’ve been streamlining and simplifying my garden, but it’s true! My goal is a cohesive design using low maintenance plants that I love. This means I’ve been digging out and tossing plants that I’m not all that crazy about (sedums) or that have overstepped their bounds (phlox) or are struggling. In their place, I’ve planted lots of peonies, swaths of perennial geraniums and clumps of salvias. An area that has become shaded by the dwarf Korean lilac has been changed out and filled with simple, variegated hostas. I’ve added a couple hardy roses (one of which I’m not sure has survived!), and some delphiniums (I’ve had great luck with the New Zealand hybrids) and lilies for punctuation. This fall I’ll plant early daffodils for spring and alliums for summer.
It is, overwhelmingly, a spring/early summer garden and the color palette is unapologeticly pink and purple with some white, yellow and a tiny amount of orange from the honeysuckle. I’m not a big fan of summer (especially summer humidity) and spend far less time outside during the worst of the dog days. There will still be flowers in the summer – daylilies and phlox and zinnias and dahlias – but spring will be the crowning achievement here. And I’m ok with that.
Container Gardening. Before I bought my house, I lived in an apartment with a balcony. That balcony was filled to bursting with plant containers which acted as a substitute for the garden I longed for. I still retain the habit of planting containers, but this year I cut back drastically on the number of containers. Plus, I planted just one kind of plant in each one – calibrochia – and all one color – hot pink. I love the colorful combinations that you see in nurseries and magazines, and they can be fun to put together, but ulitimley, they drove me nuts. I’d always end up with too many of one kind of plant and not enough of another and by the end of the summer, inevitably, one plant had taken over the arrangement and pushed out others, ruining the composition. Using one kind of plant per container solves this, and using the same plants in each container keeps things looking cohesive throughout the garden while still adding some color. It was quick and easy to plant my pots this year and a bit of a relief.
I have more plans for simplifying in the garden including spiffing up the garage (already started), limiting the number of varieties in the cutting garden and refreshing the paths. It’s a work in progress, but it’s been fun watching the garden shape into something new (and hopefully better). Fun!