Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Year in Review

I've been browsing through other people's luscious gardens-- specifically here and here.  Yum!

We had a year of mighty transformation here-- the grading, planting of 12' trees, building of the rock wall, and oh yeah, the 60,000 foot nursing home on a 6' rise just beyond my fence.  The nursing home is about done.  Hopefully the parade of new and mostly bad surprises is over.  We can settle kind of bumpily into What Is instead of What Was or what is feared.  A recent bad surprise was the discovery of several 30' foot light poles towering over my garden on the right side... ah well.  They did plant a ton of plants and shrubs, to the point where it is reasonable to worry they will have problems down the line because they're too close together, but a tree and shrub lover is at a real advantage here and my eye is reliably distracted from the huge hideous generator by the fact that they planted an Edith Bogue Magnolia in front of it.  Every time I notice the generator my eye slides to the Edith Bogue.  Can't help it, I'm made that way.

Casualties this year:

  • One Vanderwolf pine suffering slow death, poor thing.  Brian thinks borers got it.  The nursery is going to come out and replace it.  The others show some yellowing of needles to a greater or lesser degree but seem basically sound, please Lord.
  • Hoopsi blue spruce looking yellow on the inside.  Don't know if it got too much or too little water-- we had some awful flooding before the drainage work was complete behind us, but the spruce canopy is so dense you have to be careful to water the roots and not rely on rain. 
  • Japanese maple Dancing Peacock appears to have fried in September.  Suspect the position on the W side of the house was just too hot and exposed.  I'll give it the winter and shovel prune if needed.
  • Serviceberry never got new leaves, but it's Wick, as those of you who read the Secret Garden at some point will understand.
  • Some specific die off on the little boxwoods clearly attributable to DOG PEE.  Dog and I having words about this.


  • 3-Flower Maple seems to have transplanted beautifully and the fall color is beyond words.
  • Huge growth on the roses, catmint and even the baptisia I planted in spring.
  • Hemlocks, magnolia, azalea, viburnum, macrophylla (Twist and Shout) and oak leaf hydrangeas (Alice and Snow Queen), itea Little Henry, rainbow leucothoe and plumbago all seem to have settled down happily.  Blueberries look a little daunted.  More finger crossing.
  • I love my new back yard.  The dog loves it too.  Till it got too cold he never wanted to come inside.  I suppose the surprise of having hidden spaces and the resultant appeal to wildlife made him want to be out there all the time.  
  • Much good work done last weekend in the excellent fall weather.  I transplanted the Wedding Gown hydrangea to a spot where it will not look so stupid, put in two small Green Mountain boxwoods (fabulous sale at Lowe's), transplanted the yellow Knock Out rose (it's really nice), put in two Peach Drifts I took out my MIL's containers in order to replace them with more cheap and handsome boxwoods, moved a bearded iris and put in yet another odd-looking leggy Hummingbird Clethra I got cheap.  
  • Planted some tulips, crocus, and allium rather haphazardly.

Where to start?  I want to put in tons of fabulous bird-friendly natives in the 15' strip by the fence.  I want to plan something delicious for the west side of the house.  More loveliness for the southeast side of the yard.

Actual and not daydreaming work of course-- weeding the disgraceful front beds, Doing Something about the single-flowered kerria that starts out lovely and then looks like a ratty accumulation of stems and bindweed-- my latest thought is fothergilla, maybe Blue Shadow?  If any kind soul is reading this I would love ideas.  And of course that last bit of mulch and last bag of bulbs before the ground freezes.

It's all pretty raw and not ready for beauty shots-- but isn't the fall color on the Three-flower Maple nice?

1 comment:

  1. Whew. What an immense project you have had underway, with great successes and some unavoidable failures. Thanks for the reference to my blog! Believe it or not I was at the point you are now, but it was 7 years ago and I was screening a busy road and not a nursing complex. But I too planted tons and tons of things and it all seemed so overwhelming then.

    But worth it now. You can't go wrong with fothergillas so plant them if you think you have spots for large shrubs. Mine are glorious (species gardenii and a cultivar Mt. Airy, but there are others, all nice. Blue Shadow is a good choice.) Ogon spirea is also a stunning shrub in 3 seasons. Instead of boxwoods, try glossy leaved inkberry hollies. I have Ilex glabra Shamrock and they are a nice evergreen alternative to box (I have quite a few boxwoods too.) So much fun to have all that planting to do!! Pictures please : )