Oh Ya, Baby
I shot the clips in this video last summer on a couple of those days when the garden was simply the most beautiful, invigorating, splendid place on earth. It’s really not about The Stuff in it but just that feeling that nature stirs up sometimes, if you are a willing participant. I’d say more but the words quickly get syrupy whereas the being-there is just right. If you love the outdoors, you know what I mean.
My garden is only two summers old. In garden years it’s really still a mere infant in need of constant care. But, luckily for me, it seems that really sandy soil makes some plants grow quite tall and wide fairly quickly so looks are a bit deceiving here. My old clay garden took six years to look like this. The difference is, in this garden I amend the soil with heaps of compost before planting. Late to this practical wisdom, I’m now a healthy soil ambassador. A preacher on the mound (of compost).
Many plants were added before I knew many of their bloom colours and this had made for some happy surprises (the purple bee balm + the deep orange fluffy coneflowers = beyond delicious to me) and some horrors (the red bee balm + the yellow yarrow-ish stuff = keeps me up at night with its nauseous clash). There’s also many glaring bald patches that only time will mend, as I add more plants and more plants again.
In An Alternate Universe
If you are wise, patient, and sufficiently funded, there’s a smart order to approaching a new garden that can prevent big problems later on. This list is probably the exact reverse order of how most new gardeners (including me with my first garden) approach the task (which is fine, since getting started is getting started and that’s what matters).
New Garden Priorities
1. Structures and drainage – retaining walls, fences, sheds, arbors, ponds, drains.
2. Soil – fix it or you will regret it.
3. Trees and shrubs – the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago so get on it.
4. Vines – for vertical interest and defining spaces.
6. Vegetables and annuals
This new garden scores a B+ for following this list. In order.
Here’s the colours I love—
And here’s the side of the garden that makes my skin crawl. I love the daisies but the rest is a discontented mishmash of clashing hooligans—
- About 74.3% of the existing plants need to be moved. Some of the current colour and shape combinations make my skin crawl.
- New arbour. I made the current one as a temporary fix until I could find what I really want. Where are you great arbour? I need you.
- Vine supports. Urgent. Mayday. Mayday.
- Slope the raised beds for better snow/rain runoff in the winter months. I’ll achieve this by burying one end (of each one) deeper in the ground.
- Add a million more plants.
- Paint the shed. I wouldn’t call it the ugliest shed in the world, but too much of an eyesore for something so prominent.
- Plant cedars along the fences for privacy. Ahem.
- Make more garden art.