Over the years, as I toured gardens in other states, I tried hard to pay attention to how people managed larger plots of land. The books I read kept talking about "garden rooms" but our property felt like one big room, kind of like a convention hall, all blah and no oomph.
During a tour out west (well, everything is west, even if it's north west or south west), I saw a cool feature. It was a garden that was shaped like a square, set in a large expanse of lawn. While the outside perimeter was a square, the inside path was a circle. I was hooked. When I came home I looked at the 25' X 25' area I had planted in rows and decided to start all over. Thus began the Thyme Garden.
That year my garden design was a life sized board game for the children to play on. I brought home the stepping stones which my daughters had painted for the show, they are featured in a past post here. We also had a hopscotch board but instead of standard numbers, we painted clock faces with the time 1:00 through 8:00. They now form one of the entrances to the thyme garden.(May 17, 2006)The circle in the center of the garden is lined with Sedum 'Matrona' and Sedum telephaeum 'Ruprectii'. I started them all from cuttings and in one year we had a nice formal border from them.
Lots of containers went in the back corner. Unfortunately I left those containers out this winter so I hope they're still in one piece come spring.
Another corner in the thyme garden has a large planting of Lysimachia clethroides (Goose neck loose strife). These concrete blocks were found on our property and I'm using them as a barrier to keep the Lysimachia in place (ok, who's snickering out there?).
This beautiful black iron gate was given to me by my friends Gianna and Richard, they live up the road from me and I've written about their many wonderful garden gifts in other postings. I still get a thrill walking through that charming gate. It is the beginning of our garden board game.
Finding the right material to cover our walkway was a tough one. I had seen a walkway of crushed shells out at the Peconic river herb farm on Eastern Long Island. My mom gathered shells for me for two years before the circle was fully covered. Today if you went out there you'd hardly find one shell now, they need to be constantly refreshed with a new layer or dirt and debris quickly cover them up again.
This is a bad shot of my daughter Emily who was getting paid that day to cut back the Sedum, I think that after that day she decided to be poor instead.
This photo was taken in 2004, the first year of the Thyme garden. Back then the stepping stones were newly installed and they were mulched with straight horse manure. I actually think this looks nicer than the Sedum acre that has now over-run that area.
Here's a photo of the hop-scotch entrance right after a fresh layer of seashells were put down. That arbor is no longer there as the grape vines were too vigorous and kept pulling it down.
This final shot is taken of the fall plant material in that garden. Funny thing, I don't remember that Butterfly bush at all and I know it's not there today...hmmm...must have been a "plants on wheels" day.
The sad news is this garden is really struggling now. My neighbor has let her yard run wild and there are now 5 black Walnut trees just on the other side of the fence. Most of the plants in this garden are succumbing to the poison emitted by those awful trees. I really have to trial lots of plants to see what will grow there now. Even the daylilies and the Valerian are struggling just to stay alive.
These photos aren't eye candy, those will come soon.