Gardening has always been my passion or some would say one of my obsessions. My
interest love of gardening, I think, was the result of three different people’s influences. My first person of influence was my maternal grandmother. Every Sunday we went to her house and she was always showing us what was blooming that week. Grandma had an old Brownie camera and almost weekly, wanted us to take her picture next to what was the most showy blooming plant of that moment. My second person of influence was my mother. Every weekend while visiting grandma’s place, my mother would go through the pile of plant material that grandma pulled out or divided, bagged it up and we took it home. Every Sunday evening, after we returned home, mom would have me help her plant the things in our back yard garden. My third influence was my father. My father grew up on a farm and as a child never went on a vacation; as an adult he wanted to see America. Two of the many places that he took us were Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Seeing those garden fascinated me, and I thought, when I grew up, I would have something like that. Little did I know, as a young kid, that not one, but many people tended those gardens. This blog post shows the current results of how childhood experiences and a hopefully healthy obsession turned out. In this post you will see how my garden looks now, after what has been the 2016 rehabilitation of some of the beds and borders. I hope you like my little tour (click on photos to enlarge).
The cover photo for this post and the above shots show the garden, out front, that borders the driveway to my house. This year has been hot, with many days hovering around ninety degree. With this border getting full sun from early morning until late afternoon, it has been hard on the plants, no matter how often I watered them. From the photos you can see that I’ve planted red Salvia, but I initially had many more. It seems that the plants that were most exposed to the harsh light and heat of day burned out and died, whereas the Salvia that got some shelter from taller plants lived. On the overall the garden still looks good, even thought many of the earlier blooming summer perennials have passed.
The above two shots show the garden space, out front, that borders my neighbor’s property on the north. This year I’ve eliminated about six feet of the back side of the bed, closest to my neighbor, to cut down on the amount of planting that I have to do; I’m happy with the results. If you look closely at the evergreen bush in the center of the bed, it is a work in progress that will eventually become a peacock topiary.
The above photo shows a bear topiary that I’ve started from a cone-shaped yew. What you are looking at is about four years growth. I hope in a year or two it will be more refined, but even now people see what I’m going for, without me telling them what it is.
Now we’re out back, the above photos show the southern corner of the garden looking north. This year I started, from seed, every kind of zinnia imaginable. I bought over sixty-five dollars worth of seeds, and still had room for a few more plants if I had them. I like zinnias because they easily grow from seed, they are great for indoor arrangements, and they bloom right up until the first killing frost. Looking at the photos you will also see cleome and amaranths that self seed; I plant them throughout the garden were needed.
The above photo shows some of the cosmos plants that are growing in the garden (they are the fine leafed billowing plants on the right). The variety was labeled wrong. What I planted and what I got were drastically different. The labeling on the seed package said that the variety of cosmos would be in a ranges of colors from yellow to orange and that their height would be 18 to 24 inches tall. To my surprise they turned out to be an assortment of shades of pink and are 48 inches or more tall. In the background notice the large hosta, it is a Blue Angel.
The above five photos show the garden looking straight on at it as I walked from the south most end to the north. When I redesigned the garden I divided it into five equal sized sections and planted the same perennials in each section so there would be continuity. The plants in each section were not placed exactly in the same places in each of the sections, as that would be too repetitive.
The above photo shows the space between the fence and the backside of the garden. This year, to make it easier for me to walk behind and weed, I put down Dewitt 12 year weed barrier landscape fabric that is three feet wide and covered it with dark brown cedar mulch. I just love how eliminating the three feet of garden made it soo much easier to plant and maintain. The three-foot space also allows air to pass behind the plants and improves the look of the garden. After eliminating the three feet of garden space I wish I had done it twenty five growing seasons ago.
So there you have it, a look at what has been completed so far. Have you decided yet if my garden is an obsession, a love, or just a lot of work ;-} The garden, no matter how much time it takes, and how hard the work sometimes is, I would have it no other way, at least at this time in life. I have other garden spaces that still need to be addressed, and hope to be getting to them soon. This year has been all about the renewal of the grounds here at Whimsey Hill House, so stay tuned for the next part of the rehabilitation.
Enjoy the rest of Summer, and Make it Last!
Companion posts on Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.com
When designing a perennial garden it’s All about the Shapes of Leaves 1-15-2011,
How to Plant (Design) a Garden. Mass versus Specimen Planting 2-17-2011,
Stagger Plant heights when Planting (Designing) a Garden 1-23-2011,
Colored Foliage adds that WOW Factor to a Garden 2-22-2011,
Growing a Topiary from an Upright Yew 6-15-2011,
Starting a Rosebush and other plants from a Cutting (Slip) 6-17-2011,
It’s Easy to grow Pussywillows 2-15-2012,
Distance foundation Plants from your House when Planting 5-3-2012,
Foundation Planting, Laying out Foundation plants in front of your home 9-28-2013,
Putting Foundation Plants across the front of your house 10-21-2013,
Designing/ Laying out Flower Beds 5-4-2013,