Saturday, February 21, 2009

Garden in Progress

Like the angel above, I've been thinking. What direction should the garden take this year?
Other blogs that I follow talk about "gardens in progress," and aren't they all? The above is my garden in progress. It's a haphazard collection of plants that works for me on many levels, but is far from what I would like to see here. We live on 5 acres, about half of which is yard. The remainder is incorporated into the neighbor's farm fields and is planted in a rotation of corn, soybeans and winter wheat. My yard and garden is an oasis in the midst of a desert of flat, fertile farm fields. There are woodlots dotting the horizon, breaking up the view. Often, these have sprung up where the land is too wet to be worth troubling with.
When we built the new house we lost some of the rich topsoil, I think, leaving behind a hard, uncompromising pan. Organic matter needs to be worked in near the house now. Fortunately, we have access to well-rotted horse manure, thanks to our daughter's horse. We also compost green materials and kitchen waste, and we bought a load of sand to dig in, too.
Although many of the plants that I love require full sun, and we have that aplenty, the wind here can be devastating. We've been planting trees--smaller ornamentals near the house and larger hardwoods as well as evergreens elsewhere in the yard. I'm hoping to create a windbreak as well as a "window" or a "frame" for the view beyond.
Originally, I tucked perennials randomly into the lawn as I accepted them from friends and came into them unexpectedly. This upset Gourdo to no end as he does most of the mowing. To organize things, he installed an irregularly shaped bed outlined in vintage brick around my collection. We increase the bed each year as the collection grows. We also create new beds. I planted a trio of red-flowering crabapples underplanted with nanking cherry. I think that should look fantastic in coming years--if they bloom in sync, as I hope, I'll have photos this spring.
At any rate, the garden is in progress (in my mind) even as another snow squall passes through the state. Garden Photos by JulenaJo.


  1. What a lovely garden! You are so like me, daydreaming about the garden to come. Last year I put up a wall of old storm windows to try to block the wind from my tender husband was right, it DID look like Dogpatch, but Im sure they did better with the protection. This year Im dreaming of an extension to the greenhouse...

  2. You are fortunate to have such a lovely open (& sunny)space to garden! Right now I am dreaming as well,and need to expand my garden areas. I enjoyed seeing a view of your lovely garden in summer:)

  3. The little angel has a wonderful seat to enjoy the pretty garden. It is great that you have such an open view, with no fence or houses in the way. You can see green into the distance.

    With the farmer's field so close to your garden, do you ever worry about the overspray of pesticides or herbicides getting onto your garden?

  4. Most of my flower garden would react as any broadleaf weed and perish if it happened to make direct contact with herbicides. My farming neighbor is very cautious about spraying on windy days. In the 20-plus years that I've been gardening in this type of situation, I've never had anything die due to farm spraying. That being said, I believe much of what is sprayed is relatively safe. If it's ok for field crops, it's ok for gardens. I have never noticed pesticides affecting the population of insects in my garden, so there must not be much drifting of sprays. Every year I battle beetles, aphids and grasshoppers. The lovely oasis that draws butterflies also draws them--in droves.

  5. Best of luck with the garden this year. I have had a garden for many years and every once in a while I also look at it and decide it wasn't really what I wanted, more like what was available at the day I was at the nursery. It is an ongoing process.

  6. Julenajo, it sounds to me like you have some garden Imperialism going on - lol, taking up yet more of your hubby's lawn eh?? He'll love it when it's all garden and then he won't have to mow.

    You sure treat your soil well. Do you find you have to divide your perennials often? I would think they might just grow exponentially in such well-prepared soil.

  7. Steve, I compost a fair amount of perfectly healthy plants every year, whether I amend the soil or not. We truly are blessed with great soil here. I won't allow any one plant to completely overrun the others. Case in point: last year I ripped out every last black-eyed susan and all the beautiful rose-red yarrow. While I love the look of them, they grow so vigorously that everything else is choked out. I rip out fistfuls of love-in-a-mist, too. Not only does it produce abundant seed, but every one of those seeds will undoubtedly germinate and thrive.
    And yes, I am a garden imperialist. If I had my way, we'd have just a little path to mow, nothing more. Unbeknownst to Gourdo, I'm working on it!

  8. What a lovely garden you have. How fortunate you are to have so much land! I love your little "thinking cherub"! I just got a little cherub for my "garden" today! It's a plaster cherub with mosaic tiles on it's wings and the base it sits on is a birdfeeder! My "garden" consists of one ivy begonia that sits in an urn on my patio, LOL! Sad, but true. :)

  9. They are all gardens in progress, aren't they! Mine certainly is. Half the fun of gardening is dreaming...
    Your blooms are lovely!!

  10. Hi, that angel is in heaven sitting in your garden right cute and serene. I love the up close photo of your blue morning electric! Thanks for sharing,