Garden reno: work in progress

August 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to do a post about the slow transformation of our garden. The following photos chronicle the work from early spring through June-ish. We started in the front bed and slowly worked our way over to the overgrown forsythia patch and then to the back side of the house. I’ve mixed in some shots of the same spots taken throughout the spring and into summer. Of course, the most “complete” part of the garden is the front bed because of the lovely Kate MacGillivary of Plant Manager Studio. Kate dug up most of the bed, rescued many old perennials, and then re-planted them in a new cottage-y design. We would be lost without Kate.

First, take a look at the house last summer. The garden was positively feral.

Fast forward to early spring 2012. Here you can see the sad little porch that has now been replaced by our new deck. In the foreground is a weed infested bed of mostly Jerusalem artichokes that eventually had to be dug out to make room for a new rock wall and perennial bed.

Jerusalem artichokes coming in. These grow to about 7 feet and make beautiful yellow flowers that bloom all summer. If you cut back the blooms, the plant will focus its energy on making a tuber that you can dig up in the fall and eat. My neighbors, Carol and Sue, took many of these and re-planted them in their gardens.

It’s late June. The deck is complete and Robert is building a rock wall to hold a new perennial bed around the base of the deck.

And here it is with the new plantings (thanks to Kate). They haven’t fared terribly well, in part because it’s been a dry late summer and I haven’t watered enough. Shame on me. But we’ll see what comes back in the spring and start over if need be.

Back to early spring. Here you can see the rock walkway up to what was once the side door or main entrance. It was almost completely grown over with grass and weeds. I had to dig it out by hand. Lots of elbow grease went into this project.

Here it is almost completely uncovered and with thyme planted between some of the rocks. Most of the thyme has taken root and started to spread. Up the step and to the right is a huge patch of oregano. While I love the oregano because it grows to about 16 inches and blooms all summer–attracting tons of bees–it was in the way of our new walkway off the deck. So it had to go.

A close up of the super happy oregano below.

Here the forsythia is in full bloom and we’re starting to hack away at it. This is probably about 40 years worth of growth. But it’s in the area where we want to put our raised vegetable beds.

The front raised bed was full of weeds and the rock wall was quite damaged along the road side. Robert salvaged a couple of very big rocks from the gully behind our house to shore it up. That’s him maneuvering the biggest one down the street, very slowly.

The front bed a couple of weeks later. You can see the dirt now and some of the old perennials blooming already. Kate put some rocks along the edge of the lower bed to protect the whole from snow plows in the winter. And she replanted irises, salvia, and ajuga along the edge. It all came in very nicely, until Robert “weeded” the ajuga one day while I was gone.

A few shots of the front bed as it started to come together.

Below is a shot of the side of the house that faces the road. This part of the “garden” is still wild, but it looked nice in the spring before it became a jungle. This is where our resident reptile likes to hang out.

The back of the house (the side with the “front” door) has the ugly foundation and lacks a proper porch or deck. We won’t be able to add a porch for a few years, so decided to put some shrubs and perennials in to try to hide the foundation. Here is it before planting.

I need to do a late summer photo shoot. So stay tuned for some follow up pics of the latest progress.


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