I'm fascinated by descriptions of colour in literature. One of my favorite authors is Kim Stanley Robinson, who wrote a sci-fi trilogy called "Red Mars", "Blue Mars" and "Green Mars". Here is a quote from Red Mars:
"Now the sky was a maroon dome, the high clouds the pink of moss campion. Stars were popping out everywhere, and the maroon sky shifted to a vivid dark violet, an electric color that was picked up by the dune crests, so that it seemed crescents of liquid twilight lay across the black plain."
I planted 4 everbearing strawberry plants in my strawberry garden, and they are still producing. I get a few ripe berries every day which is wonderful. I'm saving a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne for a friend's birthday on Friday, and I'm going to bring a few strawberries for the champagne glasses!
I designed this garden primarily with the foliage in mind. I didn't want strong contrasts, because the garden was for relaxing. To that end, I didn't use any plants with burgundy foliage. I did, however, include a number of shrubs and perennials that have gorgeous blossoms in a wide range of colours.
'Tiny Rubies' Dianthus
'Buckley's Quill' Mockorange
Fernleaf Bleeding Heart
'Strutter's Ball' Daylily
'Going Places' Daylily
'Rosy Lights' Azalea
'Comtesse de Bouchaud' Clematis
I can see this garden from my kitchen window. Fledgling robins eat the ripened Serviceberries, the sound of the water droplets from the dragonfly fountain splash into the blue water garden jar, and my Golden Retriever Lily lays on the outdoor carpet watching squirrels run past her. It's a wonderful place to just be.
By the end of last summer I was able to complete the planting. You can see my "keyhole" design where the path narrows before entering the circular patio. I designed the patio diameter to accommodate a shade structure, plus a little extra space along the sides to access the plants. The largest granite rocks were placed so some are level to sit on. I gathered more small rocks in my SUV from a spot not too far away to complete the rest of the circle's edge, and you can see that in the next photo. I also mulched the entire garden with landscape cloth and newspaper, and shredded cedar mulch (with the help of my friend Karen and my Sid).
Sid also removed the barn-style shed, which was too awful. The remaining shed will be painted a stoney taupe colour if it ever stops raining!
Sanctuary Garden view from our deck
Keyhole path The Serviceberry trees have a 15' crown spread when mature, so they will eventually form a leafy canopy over the patio. They're covered in white blossoms in the spring, turn a gorgeous fire red orange in the fall, and the birds love their berries.
Shade side of the garden There are solar lights in the garden, as well as an LED light up inside the shade cover. An electrical outlet provides power for the water garden in the large cobalt blue ceramic pot.
An intimate little patio for reading, stitching, snoozing and cocktail hour!
I had planned on installing flagstone within the patio circle, but that will have to wait for another summer. The shed has to be painted, and the lawn needs repair where the other shed was located. Otherwise, we're pretty much done.
The next post will show photos of the shrubs and perennials.
We moved into our house in August of 2007, and by last summer I was ready to do something in our backyard. I've designed many gardens, and I knew exactly what I wanted for this property.
First, though, I needed a little help from my favorite contractor. There were 3 huge old poplar trees that leaned over our neighbor's garage, so we had them cut down. The back hoe came in to take out the enormous stumps.
The work begins.
Roots everywhere. Ugly sheds.
I outlined the patio and garden edges with orange spray paint. Landscape cloth went down on the 16' diameter patio area, and garden mix soil was spread in the doughnut around the patio. THEN it started to rain. And rain, and rain. Nothing but clay and mud.
The guys put the 5 'Autumn Brilliance' Serviceberry trees in for me (the root balls weighed about 600 lbs each), and dumped a load of gravel on the patio area. They placed the largest granite rocks around part of the patio perimeter, and my 3 focal point rocks. And then they had to leave. The rain continued. I tore ligaments in my ankle stumbling over the clay. Things didn't look good.
Sid and I began to lay out landscape cloth in the pathway areas and fill in with gravel. Well, mostly Sid did the work and I limped around pointing my finger.
A mess - the pathway to the patio.
Beginning to look less awful. We've delineated the pathway to the patio. I installed black edging and Sid is continuing to fill in the gravel.
I'm using spikes to hold the edging straight while I fill in soil on one side and gravel on the other. The work began in mid-June, and it's July by now.
My focal point rocks. I'm trimming the excess landscape cloth while I level the gravel. I'm actually quite good at creating level surfaces with a shovel and rake. This is extremely unfortunate, since it would be way easier to let someone else do it!
The next post will show the planted garden. There is still work to do, but we're getting there!