You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing many posts lately. That’s because I’ve become obsessed with projects in my garden, and I’d rather show you the beautiful results than the sometimes-messy progress. But, as you already know if you are a gardener, (1) beautiful results usually take a long, long time, and (2) the end result is hardly ever perfect anyway.
So I’ve decided to show you the messy progress.
It’s in a part of my garden that I mentioned in my earlier post, Garden Planning and Dreaming – although, right now, it’s not very dreamy.
But here goes.
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The Planting Area
As a refresher, I have a large heart-shaped planting bed that got too overgrown and chaotic in summer.
So last fall I had almost everything removed so I could start fresh.
Using my dazzling tech skills, I created this representation of the look I have in mind for the area – although what I’m actually going for is not quite as insanely manicured.
So let’s see how close I’ve come to this look so far.
Extending The Boxwood Hedge
The area had a short boxwood hedge that ran along roughly a third of the front of the planting area. I liked how the hedge neatly contained the chaos of the planting area, so it was one of the few things I decided to keep.
The plan was to have a small opening after that hedge, in the center of the area, as an entryway to whatever piece of garden art would be the centerpiece. Then the hedge would continue to the right of the opening.
For this I needed to add more boxwoods (dwarf English boxwood, to be precise).
So, my first task was to plant boxwoods. I already had two in containers, which I planted, and I purchased four more.
My goal is to prune them into a square hedge to match the existing hedge on the left, but of course it will take a little time for them to grow enough for that.
In the meantime, it looks kind of funny.
The entryway between the hedges would be flanked by a potted topiary on either side. I found two affordable little rosemary plants at a local grocery store (seen here still in their grocery store wrappers).
Since I want to do a mix of flowers, herbs, and ornamental vegetables in this space, the rosemary seemed like a good candidate for the topiaries.
Preparing For The Centerpiece
I was still not sure what type of garden art I would use as my centerpiece, but I knew where it should go, so I started preparing the area.
I stood at the entryway, between the hedges, and took a few steps in. I took a four-foot long board and basically spun it around in the soil to etch out a four-foot-wide circle.
Then I carved the circle a little deeper and leveled it.
I added landscape fabric and anchored it with landscape fabric staples. Around the edge of the circle, I secured the fabric with the stones that I would be using to edge the area.
I found two bluestone pavers left over from this patio project that would work well as stepping stones to lead from the entrance to the circle. I leveled them into place. Then I added sand to the circle area – and a round paver in the very center.
Now I needed to add pea gravel and, finally, a centerpiece. I was hoping to use the same birdbath-turned-planter that I had in the area before. We’d had it for years, and it was crooked because it was beginning to crumble. But Chris is very good at salvaging old garden pots, so I was hoping he could somehow repair it.
After closer inspection, we ruled that out. I wanted to find another vintage piece to take its place but, before I could do that, I fell in love with a large, whimsical pot that I found at a local pottery shop. Now it sits in the center of the circle.
Planting The Area
The large pot looks a bit overbearing right now because the plants in the area are still very small. But, as the season progresses, I am hoping everything will make more sense.
I knew I wanted to ring the gravel circle with Spanish lavender, and luckily I found an affordable flat of Spanish lavender at a big box store.
But they are small starter plants, so it will be some time before they grow enough to soften the look of the circle. For a little more volume, I’ve planted geranium starts between them. Right now, they are also very tiny. But hopefully, once they’ve grown a bit, this circle will look a little more interesting.
Further out, anchoring each “corner” of the circle, are daylilies. Of course, right now, they just look like big clumps of grass.
I’ve also planted irises, foxgloves, peonies, and dahlias – most of which I moved from other parts of the garden where they were getting crowded. But some of the peonies are new this year, and I’m not expecting them to do much in their first year. I will plant annuals and ornamental vegetables around them to take up the slack for now.
My goal is to have a bee-friendly garden and to have something blooming from spring to fall. The hedges, the lavender, and the centerpiece will lend winter structure.
On either side of the entrance, the rosemary plants are now in clay pots. They could use a little shaping, but I’m going to let them get settled in first.
And I did a little re-shuffle of the garden edging stones so that the stone at the entry reads more like an actual step up into the area.
And, finally, I added mulch.
The Look Right Now
I’m getting there. The hard work is behind me, so the fun can begin: Adding more plants and more color!
Of course, I won’t actually be using the entry and the stepping stones very often. They are mostly to lead the eye to the large pot.
So, to recap, I’ve gone from this
I’ll post an update later in summer – and hopefully by then I’ll have something prettier to show you.
Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.
I love classic English gardens, and my new garden area is based on inspiration I found by pouring through books on English garden design.
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