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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Eye Candy!

A feast for the Eyes
(for Maria)

Wow, we've been hammered all day with an ice storm. Being stuck inside the house I thought it would be a great time to look back at some of the photos taken during spring and summer. So curl up with me in front of this here monitor and join me in a tour of Old Country Gardens.

As you can see in the opening photo, we are set back quite far from the street. Our winding driveway is approximately 275 feet long. For the most part, there are perennial borders that run down both sides.

The first pair of gardens out by the street are bordered with a natural rock wall. Supposedly these boulders were taken out of the ground here when the foundation of the house was dug. Wish we had more of them! There are a number of tall oaks and other trees out by the street throwing lots of shade here. Because of one massive Maple tree, the roots suck any moisture out of the ground so we are dealing with dry shade. One of the hardest conditions for gardening.

I just adore sharing my garden with other folks and every season a few groups tour our small piece of paradise. This past summer I had the honor of being on the national tour for the American Hemerocallis Society (that's Daylilies for you botanically challenged folks). In that one week in July we had over 600 visitors to the garden.

Our house is an old fashioned colonial with a breezeway connecting it to the garage. This photo was taken from the breezeway looking up the driveway towards the street.

Here we can see the front sunny perennial borders and how they flank the driveway.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. One day my neighbor commented that she didn't have to garden, she only had to look over the fence to see a beautiful sight. It made me wonder what my garden looked like from her side. What do you think? I think she's pretty lucky!

When we moved in to this house, the backyard was a landscapers nightmare. Everything was in the worst possible spot and without a six figure budget, there was no easy way to work around the poor design. Two things we had right away were a pool (way too large but hey, it's already there) and a pool house. By taking the ugly white chain link fence away from the pool, it looks much more inviting.

The same year we added a huge perennial border around the back of the pool to cover an ugly slope. Our land appears quite flat to the eye but when you build a structure as huge as this pool and patio, you quickly notice which way the land rolls.

The pool house or as we call it, the cabana is just now coming in to it's own beauty. It's really just a glorified shed, holding the pool filter and all the corresponding chemicals. That extra toilet and sink sure come in handy though when your feet are covered in mud and you don't want to come in to the house.

I took this photo in May and the plant material is still quite immature. It's a good example though because it also shows off the playground equipment that was waiting here for us. We think it came from the elementary school up the street that is now a senior assisted living center. When my daughters have friends over they all gravitate to that see-saw.

My first garden here was a row of daylilies and seedlings set out like a small farm plot in the back right corner of our yard. In the past two years it's been completely changed and is now a semi-formal herb garden.

The herbs have been a wonderful companion to over 100 spider and unusual form daylilies. Unfortunately many plants in this garden have been struggling from the roots of many huge black walnut trees just over the property line. This year I will move those glorious daylilies to the other perennial borders and plant more herbs and vegetables in this spot.

By the way, I just love the way the crushed seashells look in the walkway around the center bed here. My mother gathered them over many trips to our local beaches.

Out along the back of the property line I've been working on a massive shade garden. Unlike the shade out front, this garden is not dry at all. What a huge difference it makes to have moisture and occasional moments of full sun. The plants in this garden just thrive and have been growing with leaps and bounds. Time for some serious dividing this spring!

This is one last shot of the back shade garden and it shows something that I'm very unhappy with. White fences look great if they are put in the right location. There's nothing more charming than a white picket fence out in front of a lovely cottage garden. This six foot high vinyl white fence though is the bane of my garden. I've designed my garden so that you look at the plant material, not at the enormous un-natural fence. If I have a windfall of money in the next year or two I'm going to put back the stockade fence to hide this eyesore.

Well, it's time to get back to the real world of snow and ice. Stay tuned for more garden talk! Oh, Maria, thanks for suggesting I add more photos that show off the garden :-)

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