Garden 2012

Soon after we bought the house, we noticed that our neighbor’s retaining wall was easing its way into the south side of our lot. We hired my cousin and his crew to dry-lay a wall in front of the retaining wall and turn it into a garden. We did this even before we put a new roof on. I know that because I see our old shingles (and, I suppose, our old kitchen porch) in the second photo.

Then we ignored it for four years while we worked on other, more urgent things.

Earlier this spring, I told Don that my goal for this summer was to get rid of the ivy in the north beds. Meanwhile, he was interviewing our neighborhood Master Gardeners about lasagna mulching and the high quality of compost available from Fayetteville.We started by layering the compost and newspapers (or cardboard) in the front yard by the front walk last fall or winter.

Next thing I knew, we were removing ivy from the north beds and the south beds, laying rock borders, and cleaning up the wall garden. We (Don) sheet mulched the various beds with six pickup loads of compost, and I don’t know how much mulch. It was a challenge to keep up with him – I hadn’t thought that far ahead about what I wanted to plant in all these new beds.

Ta-da! This is only about half the rock wall garden, but it’s what photographed well. The plan, so far as there is one, is to have yellows and oranges in this garden. E.g., yarrow and shasta daisies in the first frame. Also poinsettias I felt sorry for. Three yellow brugmansia and pink swamp milkweed from our same master gardeners are in there somewhere. Jerusalem artichokes and regular artichokes in the third frame, behind some fleabane.

Further west, I have sweet potatoes and columbine and creeping phlox. And in the shady part past our rock patio, I planted 3 dozen ramps, 3 ostrich ferns, and one wild ginger. (I did plant some horseradish, but it seems not to have done a thing.) The ramps sprouted up, and have now receded, as I gather is their wont. I also have volunteer ferns and succulents in the rock wall crevices. Some perilla has shown up, too. I’m leaving it for now while I see how I like it.

However, the neighbors have ivy and Virginia creeper as groundcover, which keep creeping over their retaining wall and into my garden. And wild grape, too. I’ve gone into their yard (with permission) and pulled it further from our boundary, but it’s going to be an ongoing challenge. As cool as I thought this statue and ivy was when we bought the place … I really don’t want to garden with just ivy. I want some diversity.

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