Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garden Walk: A modern garden

On the garden walk in June, one of the homes was a thoroughly-modern steel number on over an acre of land. Keeping true to the style of the house, as well as to the expanse of land surrounding the house which is on a hill in a heavily wooded area of town, the style was both modern and natural and I never felt the two clashed.

It was fun looking at this garden now that I've been gardening for a while. There's no ever right way to do this so I jotted down my thoughts.

Going up towards the house from the street, trees line the winding drive. It's a beautiful array of small trees, shrubs, and ground cover that have been planted over time. It looks very lived in and lovely. I could have stared at it all day.

 You can see the house through the trees which is actually a dry river bed - a great idea since the house sits up high.

The steel frames of the house tell you this is modern...

...but the surrounding land is natural with large trees, a flowing lawn, and sculptures.

On the terrace of the house, these huge square "pots" continue the modern theme, but I like that they are not overly "scuplted." I like that there are planted trees on the terrace.
 On the upper level (the house level), the walkways are straight. The lines are sharp, but I think the gravel is a good choice over stone - it's still modern but lighter. I don't know about those hostas though - they seem an after-thought.

Again the straight lines with this water feature. I like the row of evergreens and massed grasses behind. The other plantings look new and haven't filled in yet. I'm not crazy about the choices, I would have stuck with a single ground cover there as to not distract my eye from the water feature.

Back on the lawn, the sloping lot lends itself to these large stone walls. This is massive in person, like I was at the Arboretum and not a single family residence. I love the Japanese junipers (?) creeping down the stone. I have one of these and siting it has been a problem.
My final thought. I can only imagine what their monthly landscaping maintenance costs are.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


In June, my mom and I went on a garden walk in the town next door. The 4 garden we saw were so varied from the minimalist zen garden to the "gardener's garden" to the "hosta lover" to the "everything and anything" garden.

The minimalist garden had a lovely low bowl of succulents on their outdoor table. I loved the idea of not having to water anything, so I made up my own pot of succulants.

Although mine isn't as as pretty  -- I didn't have the time to find a low bowl, some gravel, etc... -- I'm changing my name to the "lazy gardener"!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A nightmare comes true

I had this dream a few years ago that my grandfather came over to my house and pruned and chopped down all my plants and shrubs.

Now why would I have a dream like that? It's because my grandpa is from the era of meatball shrubs, topiary trees, and Popsicle plants. Everytime he comes over he complains that my yard is overgrown and everything needs to be sheared. I cringe inside, I'm really one of those, "Don't touch my stuff" kind of person.

Well ... dreams can come true (for all you wishful thinkers out there). And in my case, nightmares too.

The story:
At the end of June, my grandfather was over for a party and being the type who always needs to do something, he started pruning my tomato plants with his army knife. Happy he was doing this for me, I gave him some actual pruners. "This might help," I smiled handing them over.

About ten minutes later, I looked up from a margarita (it was a party after all), to see that my grandpa had moved on from the tomatoes and had started pruning my 2-year old pancicle hydrangea 'pinky winky' of which I had just moved to her new location to accommodate her low spreading branches.

Yes, the nightmare came true. He removed all the low branches and now my beautiful shaped shrub was now a popsicle plant. I yelled, "What are you doing?!" And my grandpa answered, "It's better this way."

I don't need to continue the story--picture lots of tears and crying and you get the picture.

What I really want to know is ... does my plant have a chance to be beautiful once again? Some growth has started to appear at the bottom. This is my first panicle and I don't know enough about them.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vegetables 2011

One of our goals this year was to build a small vegetable garden, just a 4x4 raised bed near the house and water source.  Previously I had my vegetables -- mainly tomatoes and peppers -- in large pots on the patio and they did really well but I wanted to expand and experiment with a raised bed.

Squash Blossom
Runaway squash
 So this year I planted 4 pepper plants in a large pot -- the ideal location for them -- 3 tomato and 4 eggplant plants in the raised bed, and a pot of mixed herbs (parsley, chives, & basil).

Tomatoes & Eggplants

Two of the tomato plants are heirloom (Brandywine and Rainbow blend) and I bought them already pretty good-sized since I was late with my garden. My only issue with them is that they are so large they have fallen over every time it's rained (a lot these days). I have them caged, but the cages aren't tall enough. When they were in pots, they never grew this large and I always used the same composted soil.
Green heirloom tomatoes
I also have a squash plant that has come out of nowhere that's taking over things -- I've had a few flowers but no squash (the flowers are getting chewed off). If I had known about this plant, I would have caged it too but ...
Pot o' herbs
So far my garden has yielded: 3 eggplants, 3 green peppers (many more on the vine), and a lot of tomatoes (still on the vine as none are ripening).
Eggplant Flower ...

...and now an eggplant