6 February 2017
New projects for the year: wow, what a list. But first let me explain that you may have seen some of these items before; they were probably thoughts for development this last year which got lost in the flurry of non-gardening work I found myself doing from about early July on. Little garden work beyond the bare minimums of survival maintenance and sometimes hardly that, got done. There will be much to play catch-up with; I’m seriously hoping for several days of mid-winter thaw (aka January thaw – still waiting) with mild temperatures and dry soil (a phenomenon which has usually been common enough to earn the sobriquet but which has been absent the past two winters). Making the optimistic assumption that the basics will get done in time, the following projects are under serious consideration:
1) The area in the front of the house, with the raised beds will become a dwarf conifer garden. We began collecting more plants to populate (Is that the right word to use for plants? Shouldn’t it be to botanate?)the area last year but, alas, there aren’t enough to do the job so will be faced with the onerous task of visiting favorite conifer nurseries to get more. Shoot.
2) The plants currently in the front beds are to be dug up, moved, and divided to begin to fill large borders in the back, lower garden. The hot colors will be placed in front of the ‘tapesty’ hedge (much of which also needs renewal); the cool colors in the V-shaped two borders across the lawn from said hedge and hot border. The hot border will be primarily summer blooming; the cool borders, primarily fall blooming. The plants at the heart of this project have already proven their mettle in the old location and will be the backbone for what will be three borders whose combined length will exceed 300 feet! Am I nuts or what? Probably, but I can hardly wait to get started!
3) The two sides of the ‘allee’, which in olden times was actually an allee of old and terribly neglected apple trees, will be planted in a combination of annuals and perennials so as to become a ‘pollinators’ garden. This is one of my favorite areas of the garden, although long neglected in it’s development, because it permits the only really ‘long’ view in the garden, from the front to the back, with several opportunities for ‘cross-vista’ views into the other main sections of planting. While it is still not possible, nor will it ever be, to see all of the garden from any one spot, the development of the ‘Meadow Allee’ will increase some of the tantalizing views available. Hopefully, it will also provide the equivalent of a ‘butterfly walk’ but in a much broader application.
Now, guess why we asking for a minimum $5 contribution from visitors to the garden starting this year. Let me be clear: no one will ever be ‘required to pay’. Admission is free; we are asking for a minimal amount of help to assist in the support of this rather major project. I know of few other gardens of this size or complexity that do not charge admission. We would never turn someone away because they could not or wished not to pay. I don’t think I could abide that.But we are being realistic when we acknowledge that maintaining a place such as this takes a lot of resources and cash is only one of them. I am often asked just how much has gone into this property and my answer is always the same: I don’t really know and I really don’t want to know! That’s not the point. A beautiful place that’s worth sharing with folks is the point and we hope it is happening here.
I have one additional comment about this topic: the work load here is prodigious. It is done with little paid help. I am simply grateful that I am well enough to work hard enough to hurt! No complaints!