Well, here it is, January 9, 2016! Already 16 years into the “new” millenium, and I’m still living in the future, garden-wise!
It is now nearly 2 years since I found my current house in the dry mountains and a year and a half since I bought it, moved in and the renovations to the building and the garden began.
There was no garden when I began. Weeds and thin grass dominated most of the south-west of the lot while Virginia Creeper had taken over both the ground, fence and the north wall of the house on the other side.
Much time and money has gone into the gardens since then and I think they’re coming along. There is still a long way to go before the garden will be ready for its debut in the local garden tour of 2020!
I have mentally divided the lot into several distinct gardens. There are the Soccer Pitch (my Bull Terrier, Willy’s playground (all covered with crushed limestone), the Lawn, a tiny area taken from the Pitch for afternoon sitting in the shade, and the tiled area leading to the rear of the garage and to the garden shed (haven’t named that one yet).
Next comes the Hugelbed which contains my little effort at a permaculture food forest. It is fenced off with wire page-wire fencing after Willy rooted up and destroyed my peach tree there. More about that some other time! This garden has several fruit bushes, vining fruits and herbs.
Moving around toward the north is a long, tall board fence leading toward the breakfast deck and garden which leads past the back door of the house toward the Courtyard Garden at the north corner of the lot. It’s visible only from the kitchen and bathroom windows and is my main project for this year. It is small and fully enclosed by the neighbour’s garden shed wall, 2 of my house walls and another tall board fence with a gate to the long, narrow veggie garden along the north side of the house. I know – a northern exposure is no place to grow veggies. But I grow things like Stinging Nettles for tea and things such as lettuce, carrots, beets, chard, etc. there. Further along the garden opens into a wider area that faces south-east. Peppers, cucumbers and other sun-loving crops grow there at the front side of the house.
To return to the beginning of this description, my anticipation is growing toward the arrival of the many seeds, plants and bulbs that I’ve ordered for the gardens now that I have settled in a bit and know better where certain varieties might thrive. I have killed so many!! But that’s gardening, isn’t it?
My garden is very hot and dry, almost Mediterranean, in summer, but cold and dry with little snow in winter. It sits in a Zone 5 region but many zone 5 plants will thrive here only with copious irrigation. As a result I am trying to develop a zeriscape garden with a few pampered favourites in it.
I’m waiting for seeds of Morina, a thistle-like plant with vertical stems of pink flowers, Onopordum acanthium, which is a Scottish thistle with white hairs on the leaves and flower heads and Anthemis sancti-johannis, which is a drought-tolerant bright yellow daisy-like flower. It’ll be fun to see how they do and in which parts of the garden! Also, will they survive next winter?
I also have on order a lodgepole pine, “Chief Joseph”, whose needles turn bright gold in winter, then back to green in spring for a corner of the Courtyard Garden, where I’ll be able to enjoy it all winter from the kitchen and bathroom.
Then there are a bunch of tall Oriental lilies with strong fragrance for planting in the corner of the veggie garden beneath the bedroom window where the evening breezes from the river will carry the perfume into the bedroom at night. There’s also a pear with several varieties grafted to it ordered for the centre of the wide part of the veggie patch that I see from the bedroom.
The temporary wire fence around the Hugelbed will be incorporated into a new L-shaped grape arbour that will also shade the flower beds on the outside of the fence. Also, a replacement peach tree for the centre of the food forest is essential.
I think that’s enough for now. I have to figure how to add images to this blog so I can post a map of the garden for you and some pictures of how it all looks as I further develop it.
Please return from time to time as I develop this blog!