Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane

Hurricane Irene forced me to winter prep the garden early this year. I was worried that the winds would take the Gazebo and fling it across the yard. So, I dismantled it and cleaned up the patio area.



The patio area looks huge when the gazebo isn't present. 


I eventually moved all the potted plants into the garage so they wouldn't be damaged during the storm. We then had to depart before the storm hit to take my daughter to the airport in Buffalo, on the other side of New York State. I was away during the 24 hrs. in which the storm hit, and throughout worried that the garden would be flooded, bamboo in the fence blown away, and plants  uprooted. However, I was lucky. When I got home, everything was intact - just some leaves and stick spread around in need of picking up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mums

A busy day today - after adding some Mondo Grass, cutting back the Creeping Jenny, and finishing the gate, I found time to go an pick up some mums.


I will leave them in the garden for now, but will eventually move them to the buckets in front of the garage and on the front steps. However, I did purchased two large plants to go into the red planters. 


They have been empty most of the summer because the slugs wiped out my first set of hanging flowers I installed back in June. These yellow mums have added some desperately needed color.

Slideshow: The Gate

The gate frame was a major project of summer 2011. Although complete, I will still need to design and install gate doors in 2012.

The Gate to Paradise

Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment, can be confused with paradise.

The gate frame is finally finished.


I added flashing to the tops of the two main posts (plus the small mid post) and to the support posts attached to the garage foundation. Doing so will help to keep water from seeping into the posts. I calked them up with a clear caulking, primed them, and painted them green. The color is a bit off from the stain, but matches the garage.



I also sealed the bottom edge of the copper caps to keep moister out.


The last of the bamboo fencing also arrived this week and I was able to attach the last piece. The panels on both sides of the gate are now stained with a protective clear coat that will help ensure that the bamboo last and doesn't discolor too much.


Overall, I am please with the look of the gate - it was, however, much more work than I had anticipated.


Next summer I will add actual doors to the gate frame. I still haven't decided on a design - that will be my homework over the winter.

More Grass

I purchased three small grass plants today - $2 each - great price. They are Mondo Grass - Convalaria (Ophiopogon japanicus), a ground cover that like part sun or morning sunlight only.




These should do well in the garden since it doesn't get much direct sunlight. I also moved the Mophead Sedge Grass closer to the Yukimi Lantern in order to make room for the Mondo Grass.


In addition, I cut back some of the Creeping Jenny on the north side of the garden. It was choking off one of my Rock Cress plants. 


I will probably have to move the Rock Cress at some point to allow the creeping Jenny to fill in this area. However, I have to keep a an eye on the Creeping Jenny, it is beginning to spread furthern than I would like.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chipmunks!

The chipmunks struck again - they ate another one of my Hosta - they only go for the roots and leave the leaves behind.


I've noticed that they are also eating some of my annuals in the buckets in front of the garage. I have shown them kindness all summer  - but now its war.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grass and Mouse Ears

I picked up some new plants today to finish off the Moon Window area. I wanted to frame the Moon Window panel with some Shenandoah Red Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah') - I like that it only grows to about  3' tall and is non-invasive. The red tinted leaves also add some color to the garden area.


I also wanted to fill in the space between the grass with a low laying plant. I cam across some Mouse Ear Coreopsis 'Nana' on sale and so picked up three plants. These plants like sun to part shade but will only grow about 6-8" in height, just below the Moon Window opening. 


The bright yellow-orange blooms look nice but will grow no higher than the opening. 


Together with the grass, these plants will balance off the entire fence panel.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hungry Critters

I'm not sure what did it, but something ate the roots of one of my Hosta (it left the leaves behind).


I suspect it was a hungry chipmunk, a deer could not have gotten to this spot with ease. I will need to spray the area with a repellant to keep the critters away. I will also have to transplant a Hosta from elsewhere to fill in this gap.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hosta Move

I moved the Hosta I planted on either side of the garden shed several years ago. These plants were originally in the front of the house and initially did well here.


However, last year I noticed that the plants on the right side were dying off much sooner than they should. This year the same problem impacted the plants on the front left side. Here is what the shed now looks like after the removal. I also moved a grass plant from along the fence line to act as a frame for the shed work area in conjunction with a second grass plant. I also transplanted a Coreopsis pant to the corner. This area will need additional work later.


So, given that I needed some sort of shade tolerant ground cover for the space directly in front of the new fence panels (minus the Moon WIndow), it made sense to try and move the Hosta. Hopefully they will do better next year. Here is the new location:

New Plant Additions

Coral Bells 'Snow Angel' (Heuchera):


This zone 3 perennial likes partial shade and should grow to about 6-12" hight and spread about 12". I need to keep it well watered to avoid wilting. It has a nice variegated color to the foliage that I thought would add some variety to the garden (light green with creamy accents). It should sprout a nice redish bloom in late spring and early summer. It is also Deer resistant.

Brunnera (m. 'Emerald mist' Bugloss):



This zone 3 perennial likes full to partial shade. It should  grow to about 14 " It will bloom in May-June and is deer resistant. These leaves are a deep green but are splashed with a sliver making for a nice contrast and again adding some variety in the garden.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hershey Gardens

For summer vacation, I headed off to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. While there, I visited the Hershey Gardens, a garden created by Milton Hershey (yes, the chocolate guy) in 1937. The gardens a bit touristy, but overall it has a very large collection of plants, especially the Rose Garden.

In the middle of the gardens, is what they refer to as a Japanese garden. It is not a traditional Japanese garden, but is comprised of many planting that one would find in Japanese gardens. There are few features, other than a Japanese lantern and some assorted stones. There is also a pond. 


However, some of the maples were impressive, especially given that they were about 75 years old.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Copper Caps

I attached the two copper post caps I purchased for the gate support posts:


I could have coated each with a clear coat lacquer to maintain the shine. However, I am choosing to leave the seal off and let them patina - over time they will turn a nice green color.

I purchased these caps from The Metal Peddler - a family owned company that makes custom copper items. These fence post caps were reasonably priced. They look nice and will protect the post caps from water build up and help preserve the life of the posts. They also fit in with the handcrafted Japanese look I am trying to maintain (especially after they patina).

Friday, July 29, 2011

Gate

"Mundane on the outside, sacred on the inside."


Mon
(gate)

What is a Japanese gate? Wikipedia offers us a description:

“Unlike gates of secular buildings, most temple and shrine gates are purely symbolic elements of liminality, as they cannot be completely closed and just mark the transition between the mundane and the sacred. In many cases, for example that of the sanmon, a temple gate has purifying, cleansing properties.”

I liked this description because it embodies exactly what I had in mind when I finished building the fence in the summer of 2010 and knew that I would eventually have to fully enclose the garden - mundane on the outside, sacred on the inside. The problem was what style of gate to use.

The images below were ones I came across on the web that reflected traditional Japanese styles:




The last one above (curved roof) came from a website called Woodshop Creative Builders, a company that sells kits for a variety of Japanese style structures, including gates. Financially, purchasing a custom kit was out of the question (I’m too poor). However, their design was similar to the ones I came across online (see images below).


Although I really liked the roof, my do-it-yourself budget wasn’t going to allow for the expense of such as structure (nor do I think I would have received a permit from the town). Instead, I opted to use the basic frame, but without a roof. As a result, my gate looks more like a an arbor entry way. Again, I was inspired by gate images I came across on the web:



So, here is my basic design for the gate in the back of the garden (far side - not between the house and garage):


It is off center because it’s actually centered on the gravel driveway along side the garage (three feet from the fence line on the right and about five feet from the garage wall on the left (along which a two foot rock bed lays - eventually to be planted with large Hosta).

Here are some images of the early construction and near complete gate:



Almost done - need some more bamboo for the left panel, copper caps for the support posts, flashing for the arbor posts, and some touch up stain.

Unfortunately, between the Moon Window extension and this arbor entry way, I went over my allotted garden budget for the summer. Two gates will eventually be added, but probably not until summer 2012. In the mean time, I will be reading up on how to build gate doors.