Sunday, June 17, 2018

Gardens reflect the gardener

Having a new-to-us garden is an interesting experience, reminding me just now, of the first house that we bought many years ago, largely because of its established garden.

We weren't gardeners, then, just botanists with an affinity to having something more than lawn, azaleas, and pines in a southeastern US garden.

There is the same sense of discovery now, in exploring a garden created by now absent gardeners with definite proclivities toward fragrant flowering plants - lilacs, roses, bush honeysuckle, and astilbe, as well as for bird-friendly plants (Aronia, Sambucus, and Amelanchier), and edibles (cherries, apples, gooseberry, and raspberry).

one lilac along the road

a deep purple lilac near the house
The shape of the garden has a lovely feel;  it frames the house and outbuildings quite nicely, with spruce, paper birch, quaking aspens, sugar maple, ash, and oaks in the overstory, with abundant shrubs and perennials in the understory.

But the garden is now 16 years old, with limited gardening being done the last 3 years.

So there are many shrubs that have become too large or have become shaded out or have suffered die-back for various reasons.  So it's an exploration as we assess what is here and think about what we'd like to have the garden evolve into.

We're now experienced gardeners with a distinct inclination toward natives and naturalistic gardening, so having a garden full of plants that we're vaguely familiar with, but wouldn't normally have planted ourselves is interesting.  They certainly deserve a season of observation, except for the obviously invasive ones.  (The Euonymus alatus lining the front parking area -- hmm-- are they invasive here like at home? They sure are robust and have grown vigorously.)  Yikes.
Prior to weeding

Another "familiar to us, but we wouldn't have planted it" example is a large bed of variegated Astilbe below the house that's flourishing, in spite of being overrun with a particularly robust perennial grass.  (We have LOTS of Astilbe, all over other parts of the garden.)

So, weeding is necessary, regardless.

After weeding
There are also four robust peonies planted in the bed about to flower. It'll be interesting to see what they look like, too.

Peonies aren't among my enthusiasms either, but a number of my friends just love them and they're certainly plants with a remarkable history of cultivation.

It's all part of the adventure and how we transform gardens to reflect the gardeners.



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