a rough beginning


On my narrow, but long, urban lot, there is a space beyond the fence with a shed and an area that I’ve been slowly reclaiming from the encroaching woods. Not only is it difficult to keep the weeds (and rogue underbrush) at bay, but it’s a challenging area to garden because it is:

  • on a slope
  • partially full sun
  • partially deep shade (see pencil shading to the back and right).
The back garden, early summer 2012

Close to the fence and gate, there is an area that I’ve planted with gladiolus, sedum, heuchera, toad lilies and evening primrose. All of these plants were chosen because I’d hoped they would be drought-resistant, shade tolerant, and, especially in the case of the evening primrose, eager to spread. However, in the past two years, the plants in this bed have not really thrived, and I’m considering doing some serious re-planting

You’ll also notice the three veggie beds, terraced onto the slope, which have been used in past years to grow cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. As long as I keep them watered, these beds have done quite well, and I plan to continue using them for annuals this year.

(As you can see from the picture, weeding is, as always, a constant chore.)

In the middle is a standard rose tree, with hellebores clustered around its base, on an island I have heavily mulched to battle the ever-threatening bermuda and crab grass.  I often put a few pots of geraniums out there in the summer time, as trap plants for the roses.

Finally, in the very back corner, I’ve planted a “Cranberry Bush Viburnum” purchased from the gardens at Monticello. My hope is that the plant will grow up to 6-7′ tall, and provide a nice background for some medium-sized plants in the coming years.

Ideas I’m considering for this area come Spring:

  • a bank of oak-leaf hydrangeas (along the far back fence)
  • a three-sisters garden (on the sunny left side of the fence)
  • morning glory and moonflower climbing the deer fence
  • more winter squashes and pumpkins
  • flowers for color: zinnias, cosmos and marigolds

Stay tuned for more sketches and plans!

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