A GARDEN IN PROGRESS - 2006
The great challenge for the garden designer is not
to make the garden look natural,
but to make the garden so that the people in it will feel natural.
- Lawrence Halprin
When we moved into our home three years ago, the area by the screened porch was bare dirt with an old tool shed blocking the view of the woods. Homer moved the shed which left a wonderful blank canvas for a garden. I visualized a "secret garden" filled with many of the plants and shrubs I remembered from childhood. I wanted something special and as always, I could not have even begun to do it without Homer's hard work. I imagined it and he did most of the hard labor. Bless his heart (as we say in the South). We began working on this in March, 2006, but most of the work has been done in April and May. Check back often to see how it is progressing. Links to local nurseries and ponds are at the bottom of the page.
Click on each image to see larger picture.
BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES - 2006
We had collected rocks for several years and used them to lay out the garden path and then used black plastic garden edger to define the beds and pathway. The path changed shape several times during the process.
I added a combination of potting soil, peat humus and mushroom compost to the first bed, but not too compost since I didn't want to burn the delicate plants. I also used too much mulch and had to pull some up. I had discovered a wonderful plant nursery online a few months back and purchased the most wonderful flowers and shrubs from them. Gardens of the Blue Ridge in Pineola, NC is the best mail-order nursery I've ever dealt with. The plants that we received from them were the healthiest we've purchased anywhere. Rob Fletcher helped me pick out the Sweet Shrubs that I love so much as well as incredible wildflowers such as the rare Yellow Fringed Orchid (that should never be harvested in the wild), Foam Flower and Jack in the Pulpit which all grow in Pisgah National Forest. To be able to have them in our garden is a treat. In addition, we also ordered Wild Ginger from them to add to our Ginger transplant from South Carolina. The Wild Ginger is special to me since I've transplanted the original plant that grew in the woods next to our house when I was a child. The fact that it is still living after 50 years is amazing!!
In addition to the ordered plants, we transplanted ferns, a wild ground cover, and May Apples from our yard. Then, Hostas from Walmart completed the first bed. I spray painted some clay pots to place around the garden pool that we plan on digging.
We changed our minds about how the second bed should be placed and Homer worked on it and a small bed by the pathway between the porch and raised bed.
I added more hostas to the pathway bed.
I repeated the process of adding soil, compost and humus to the bed and transplanted some very root-bound herbs. In addition, we purchased rosemary, sage, mint and basil to plant in our new herb bed. Homer added more groundcover and I transplanted some phlox and Creeping Thyme to fill in the spaces.
Early May - The first bed is filling in. After a good rain and some warm days, the Sweet Shrub is blooming. We also purchased a yellow Sweet Shrub from Fry's Nursery in Pisgah Forest, NC which gives us three of the shrubs to enjoy.
Homer worked on this pool for two afternoons and got this much accomplished! WAY COOL! Is he good OR WHAT??
Next, on May 22 and 23, Homer began laying the bricks.
These flag irises from the tiny water garden in the front yard will go in the pond. They originally came from a swamp around the Edisto River in Bamberg County, South Carolina.
This was the finished pond on May 29!!
May 12 - a few garden accents added. A good friend had given us some windows from an old log cabin and we thought they would look good as a backdrop for the shrubs. They are under the eaves of the house to prevent water damage. We also added some more basil, impatiens and some beautiful African Daisies that we got from Lowes. The ceramic cat and little resin frog are perfect for some whimsical spots in the garden. The blue paperweight had been in an indoor fountain and adds to matching color to the painted pots.
A Toad House!
Easy to make. Simply bury a terra-cotta pot in the soil halfway, place some sand on the inside, add a water source such as the dish shown here and there's a new home for your garden toads. If this is placed beside a light source, it's even better, giving the toad some insect snacks at night.
May 22 - I planted some beautiful Sweet Woodruff and Mint that we got from a Brigg's Nursery in Horseshoe, NC. I also bought some Ajuga and Thyme that we planted around the pond as groundcovers.
Homer began adding the gravel to the pathway after laying down the landscaping fabric on May 25 and was finished by the 28th!
By June 16, the pond was really settling in. We now have Grey Tree frogs singing by the pond at night!
We have life in the pond!! We listened to the Grey Tree Frogs mating in June then noticed eggs in the pond. As of July 4, we have THOUSANDS of tadpoles in the pond!! I feed them goldfish flake food daily and watch them grow. To see the tiny pond so full of life is amazing! A friend laughed when I told her how many tadpoles we had, thinking we had created a monstrous nursery by feeding the young frogs. But, the pool was sterile and there had not been enough time for algae to grow and organic material to accumulate. There is always a balance in nature and I take care not to disturb it. It's difficult, however, to watch the tadpoles grow and not feel involved somehow. Go to POLLYWOG POND to see how our tadpoles have grown1
Summer Garden - August 2006