Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fall Plantings

Today I visited a nearby garden center, Kulaks, and took advantage of the "cart sale." Essentially, I could buy a full cart of plants for $75. Given that they have large carts, the price seemed like a bargain. Needless to say, I crammed the cart full and ended up with 24 plants. They are all perennials, so this was a good investment.

I then had to decide where to put them. Most of the plants I purchased were shade tolerant. However, I also picked some sun plants with flowers as part of my plan to fill the area next to the bell and along the new fence with a small flower garden. Much of the Zen garden is too shady for bright flowing sun plants, so this may add a little color to the overall garden, especially since this fence/bell area gets a lot of sun.

I started out with a Ginko Craig Plantain Lily (Hosta x 'Ginko Craig'), as a Hosta, it actually likes shade so I will need to keep an eye on it. Just behind, I planted a Coreopsis 'Creme Brulee'. This variety has nice red flowers with a yellow center. I also planted two Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) plants. These plants like part sun, but produce a nice purple flower in the fall. 

Further back I planted an Iron Butterfly Narrow-Leaf Ironweed (Verononia lettermannii 'Iron Butterfly'). Full sun will produce nice flowers and attract butterflies. I also added a Sedum 'Autumn Fire' which should add some rich pink to bronze color to the area.

Just below the bell I planted a Moody Blues Mauve Speedwell. Its size is big enough to show some flowers but will not overwhelm the bell post.

Near the entry way to the garden from the backyard I decided to add a couple of ferns - Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides). They are very close to the bricks, but should do well in this location. Again, I will need to make sure they do not get too much light. More importantly, I may need to relocate if they spread to much.

I still have a long way to go to get through all the new plants. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My See-Through Fence

I finally finished the fence. I'm referring to it as a sukashigaki or "see through fence." This Japanese term  is used to describe a fence that demarcates a shift in garden areas. Now one clearly knows when they are in the Zen garden (Songni Yuan) or in the backyard. Although the backyard property line needs much work, I now feel like the Zen garden has been finalized in terms of its completed layout. Yes, there will always be much to do to maintain the garden, but the area has now been defined.

The fence completion took much longer than I anticipated. I completed the staining of the posts and rails a week ago. 

However, making the pickets was very time consuming. There were 31 total and I had to notch each one three times in order to overlap with the rails. I did so using my table saw, but with a single blade, I had to make numerous passes to clear out a single notch. I then had to sand, pre-drill, and stain each picket. Staining two coats took about six hours. 

Attaching the pickets was also difficult - my math had to be precise in order to ensure that the openings were all the same size. I also had to make sure that each picket was level and square. Eventually I devised a system that allowed me to complete each attachment as quickly as possible.

I also like the view from within the garden. Being able to see through to the backyard helps to make the garden more open. Additionally, the bell looks good with the fence behind it.

The last thing I did was to attach copper post caps to the tops of the main posts. They are shiny now, but like the ones elsewhere in the garden from earlier gate projects, they will patina in time. I purchased theses caps form the same place as I did in the past - The Metal Peddler. They were reasonably priced and well made.

The fence line also looks nice from inside them home.

Overall, I am very happy with the final outcome. It was a lot a work but I can now stand back and say "I made that."