Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Sunday, June 19, 2011

**Under Construction**

It is summer and it has been hot, humid and steamy. My time has been spent with my kids enjoying summer fun activities...floating down the Chattahoochee River in the North Georgia Mountains, playing in the Shoals and at the pool & water park...it is the only way to beat the heat! But, it hasn't been all fun and games...there has been some serious work going on in the garden.

C O N S T R U C T I O N   Z O N E 

My husband and daughter (who is a Horticulture major at Clemson University) have been busy laying the bones for three new garden beds.  


We had 3 pallets of these thick stack rocks delivered last week. These will serve as the framework for the new beds.


This stack of flagstone will be placed randomly throughout the walking paths to add interest and help hold the mulch in place.

Two of the new beds are located on the west side of the back driveway and in front of the woodland garden. The photo below shows the largest path into the woodland garden which is divided by a central bed. The right path leads down to the compost area and wood pile and the left path leads to a fire pit and the childrens' garden.

 

Bed #1 is approximately 500 sq. ft. and sits to the front right of the above view.


It gets some morning and afternoon sun in the top half of the bed and filtered shade in the bottom half. I am undecided as to what I will be planting in this bed.

To the left of Bed #1 is Bed #2 (for lack of a better term). We will be naming these beds, as we do all our beds since it just makes it easier to communicate about the garden. Bed #2 is approximately 700 sq. feet. Between the two beds is a new path that leads into the woodland garden.




Bed #2 is mostly shade but some parts get some filtered, morning sun. My plan is to create a Blue and White garden. I have already transplanted two upright rosemary that were pretty root bound in pots from the back deck to this bed.


This is another view of Bed #2 looking North.

You can see we have very poor soil to work with. The red clay is very acidic, which is wonderful for some plants but generally bakes like clay in the summer heat and isn't a good soil for either drainage or happy plants. It is difficult to see in the photo but we had some of the soil dug out to give the beds a little more depth. We had to be very careful not to disturb the root structure of the existing trees. Our plan is to fill the beds with leaf mulch, compost and soil. Since summer is not a good time to plant in the Southeast (we would have to water constantly) our project for the remainder of the summer is to get these beds prepped for Fall planting. And, it will give me time to decide which plants I want to fill these beds. I welcome any suggestions you have!


Finally, the third new bed, which is about 300 sq. ft., is at the back end of the woodland garden next to the fire pit. The bed gets filtered morning sun. We planted a Cherokee Princess Dogwood in this part of the woodland garden this past spring and we designed this bed around the tree and three other existing trees.

The kitchen garden is also getting an overhaul. This 30 x 30 area was leveled a few weeks ago to make space for some new raised beds. This is the future home of six 12 x 5 raised beds and one 24 x 5 bed.


The two year old blueberry shrubs are in the foreground. Behind this area is the newly installed retaining wall, which steps up to six fruit trees. The wall was a surprise Mother's Day gift to me from my "boys". It is not perfectly level but I love it! I think it adds character and is a great place to put some extra pots.

Here is a little taste of some of our morning harvest. We have been enjoying picking our breakfast straight from the garden.


I can't leave this post without a few blooms for Father's Day and a very special thank you to my wonderful husband who is an amazing father to four great kids and who is so supportive of all my gardening endeavors and crazy ideas!

Rudbeckia 'Indian Summer'

Bee Balm 'Petite Delight'

Shasta Daisy 'Becky'

13 comments:

  1. Wow, what an incredible amount of work. I thought I was ambitious! LOL I'm having a similar problem in that I just created a new bed and then thought - what do I plant here? Somehow I thought that would be the easy part. Love all the rock work you're doing and the canopy created by those big trees. A very exciting time for you I'm sure.

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  2. That is a lot of garden space you are adding and a lot of work to do but it looks like it will be great.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  3. Wow, looks like you're having a lot of fun. I just spent the last year doing what you're doing, and I just finished this year! Will the rosemary you transplanted do well in that much shade? I would think it would need full blasting sun. With your acidic soil, you can do azaleas and hydrangeas, right? I have alkaline soil, so I'm not much help on plant suggestions. We are going to Dahlonega near the end of July. Can't wait!!! Any suggestions on where to go, what to see??

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  4. Coincidentally, we have been reconstructing too. My project is minute comparatively. Yours look grand. I love it.

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  5. I agree with Marguerite's comment. Lots of work ahead and it is going to look great. And that view, what a great place for your new beds. You might want to move a real bed out there for a pretty luxurious nights rest.

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  6. I like the idea of using thick stack rocks to outline the beds and hold the new soil. I smiled when I saw your "soil" (subsoil?). It looks exactly like the soil in my garden.

    You have a project ahead of you but it should be fun selecting and planting the new plants ... Re: Rosemary in the comment above - it's growing in part shade (maybe 3 hours direct sun) in my garden and thrives.

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  7. Wow - how exciting to have new areas to garden! It's going to look fabulous!

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  8. These beds will be beautiful! It seems as if you have planned it so well. I am anxious to see the blue and white garden--a color combination that can only be stunning!

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  9. You are ambition personified ! But all that effort looks like it will pay off - you'll have more beautiful places to admire (and of course, to photograph !). I'm all too familiar with poor soil - our is very shallow (6") and filled with rock - lots of effort to clean out the rocks and build up beds.

    Good luck, and enjoy !

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  10. WOW! I can't wait to see the finished product - and I am a little envious of your wall & stack of flagstone! :) I love the idea of a Blue & White Garden, too...it should be very peaceful.

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  11. So much is going on at your house. How lucky to have children who are interested in horticulture and build walls and new beds. Looks like the long term prospects are gorgeous.

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  12. Awesome journey! Keep us updated and can't wait to see. I'd say your life (in all respects) is grand! Happy Summer :)

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  13. You have so much space!!!! How incredible to look out through the garden and not see your neighbors big screen TV!! If you have a moistish spot I would recommend adding some spigellia marilandica (shade), lots of phlox (sun). Adding flowering shrubs will help the beds fill out and add interest. A loropetalum would be an amazing background shrub, esp. if you planted spring bulbs in front. Happy gardening with all that space!

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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