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Stepping into the garden gifts the gardener with a world of their own, but never is one alone. After all, the gardener is tending to, working with and learning from Mother Nature and all of the endless knowledge she has to teach if only we choose to patiently learn. It is never desired or wanted to see a plant refuse to grow, but often it is something we still need to learn and apply moving forward.
Today I would like to share with you seven projects around my yard and garden (which are one and the same as my garden – vegetables, herbs, berries – are planted throughout the yard as you will see, much like a potager) that I am hoping will work out and over the course of the coming years bring even more delight, blossoms, food and foliage.
In many ways, today’s post is a way of cataloging the growth to see what works and what does not. The primary reason I was drawn to my yard is that the lawn is quite small, so therefore, not much to mow, but there is a long south-facing wall which is wonderful for sun-loving plants, as well as small garden areas all the way around the house which provide different micro-climates. I do not have space for garden plots, so as you will see I have placed my vegetables and herbs as well as berry vines around the property, primarily in borders and pots.
~Please note: the pics are close-up for privacy purposes. However, hopefully, the idea will spark something that you may want to do in your own yard.
1.Use herbs, perennial herbs if possible, to create borders.
As a way to fill in small gaps of dirt between the lawn and house or the lawn and a fence, select herbs with complementary colors and plant them in this space. If they are perennial herbs, they will continue to grow year after year (often you will need to cut them back in the early spring) and grow larger in size, creating a beautiful, full border that is functional as well as aesthetically inviting.
Objective: A full and plentiful Cook’s Herb garden just outside of the kitchen door to be easily accessible when I am in the middle of cooking or baking.
2. Add drip lines to water your potted plants, especially your herbs.
I do love having pots full of annuals and herbs, but watering them is a daily requirement, especially during the hot months of summer. As such, travel away requires attention from a neighbor or house sitter as coming home to a dead pot is never a welcome sight to see.
Recently, I added drip lines to my pots which are full of herbs, and knowing they will be adequately watered whether I am here or not during the summer is nice to know and eases my mind.
Objective: To have all of my pots around the house fitted with a drip-line so that any holiday away from home ensures my plants are adequately taken care of.
3. Potted strawberries
Speaking of drip lines and potted plants, potting up strawberries as a way to not only provide a home for a favorite everberry also provides an edge or frame on your porch or in your garden’s border. With strawberries, as I discovered, this perennial plant can survive harsh winters and begins to show green leaves in early spring bearing the fruits of the season in late May or early June.
Objective: To keep them well nourished so that they grow strong each year offering strawberries from June through September for tarts, jam and nibbling.
4. Hostas in shady corners
Perfect for areas of your yard that are in constant or nearly constant shade, hostas are a favorite perennial of mine. Available in all sorts of shades of grade, leaf sizes and designs, each year I had a couple more and with each year the previously planted hostas appear larger and larger filling in the empty space in the dark areas around the home.
Objective: To have a sea of hostas in the northern part of my yard which receives next to no sun what-so-ever.
5. Nasturtiums as the border along the walkway
Nasturtiums first caught my eye when I visited Giverny in Normandy. Lining the main walk-way in Monet’s flower garden, they wind and rambling all along the gravel creating a complementary hedge of low-lying orange beauty. While Monet’s choice to add them to his garden was in thinking they would not be so prolific, once they did decide to grow, he let them. And I am so glad that he did.
I have nurtured from seed nearly 50 nasturtiums, an edible annual flowering plant. Having just transplanted them along the walkway, I am curious to see how quickly they will come to bloom and how long and wonderful they will grow.
Objective: To create an attractive green with subtle orange blossom edge to frame the space.
6. Wisteria that can survive the cold temperatures in Bend.
To see a wisteria all abloom in spring is to feel as though you are in a magical place. Even after the blooms are gone, the lush greenery that covers the wall or pergola provides intimacy and warmth in the heat of summer. However, wisteria are typically known for growing in warmer climates, or at least that is what I thought. My mother introduced me to Summer Cascade Wisteria which is a hardy light violet hued vine that can withstand the cold up to zone 4.
Objective: In 2-3 years time, I hope to have my wisteria adorning the walls around my garden porch.
7. Rambling roses to cover and welcome at the home’s entry
Last week I shared how to have a rambling rose is to welcome a classic cottage garden vine to your outdoor living space, which is why I have planted two rambling roses from David Austin.
Objective: In 1-2 years time, I hope to have the entire front porch awash with the rambling rose’s blossoms for the bees, for warm welcome and to add a softness to the home.
8. Utilize a blank south facing wall by planting berries.
Marionberries, a berry created at Oregon State University is one of my favorite berries, so I was beyond delighted when I discovered my home had a handful of these plants. Planted on a south wall, I cut them back early this spring and already they are growing well. With berries available throughout the summer into early October, I cannot wait to make a full marionberry pie.
Objective: To continue growing well what was already planted and enjoy them in dessert as well as for nibbling throughout the summer.
9. Plant vegetables as borders
If you, like me, have a little yard and no space for a traditional garden plot, use the small border space to plant vegetables. I have planted tomatoes along a south-facing wall between the house and the yard. It doesn’t require much space, just good soil and a good feed once a week.
Objective: To grow strong, high yielding and delicious tomatoes to enjoy in July and August.
To begin to garden is to begin a course of learning that is never ending. Knowing this is the case brings comfort because to learn to grow and to see the growth and bear witness to it is to stay youthful in many ways, exercising the mind. To keep track of all that I want to remember – from how plants did each year, to when I planted what and from where, and so much more – I keep a journal solely for my garden (see below). I picked mine up at Papier where you can customize the design and the name on the front. As well, it will be fun to reflect upon why certain plants were planted, remember their names so that if something goes well, I can return and order more if the space allows.
Perhaps you too have found garden recently and discover its therapeutic gifts and delights. I look forward to sharing more of my gardening experience, what I learn from my mistakes, what has worked well and what I hope to try next.
Thank you for stopping by and happy gardening!
~View more TSLL Gardening posts here.