Sunday, April 15, 2007

Semi-formal Garden

The wide, angled steps off our deck lead to an offset rectangular concrete pad with cement sidewalks heading off to the left and right. Each year I try to minimize the square of it and enhance the illusion of a circle. I’m not a big fan of formal gardens. I tried create the arc with different shades and textures – does this make it a semi-formal garden? (photos from 7/2/06)

When we built the deck 7 years ago, I measured a straight line about 15' from the center of the steps. Then, keeping one end at the center of the steps, I moved the other end in small increments to complete a half-circle. I laid a hose following the line and marked inside with a line of Round-up. Several days later, we removed the sod and dug and amended the soil with compost, peat moss and sand (because that’s what we had). I laid bricks flat along the edge for a border and mowing surface.

I planted the outside edge with fescue (Elijah's blue). I will need to divide & move some of the fescue to fill in spaces this year.

The second layer is dusty miller (which is semi winter hardy in this location). The price is right for these annuals and I love the gray foliage (see February 4, 2007 post). I usually add a row of pinwheels in spring to try to keep the birds from ripping out the dusty miller for their nests.

The next layer is euonymus shrubs (emerald surprise and fortuei moonshadow).

I try to keep the line of the curve in these layers. Last year I added a row of sweet alyssum to the inside mostly because I love the flower’s smell in the summer sun – again the price is right - they come up everywhere in my garden and are easy to transplant.

I’ve tried to create a focal point in the center using a large rock and a hanging solar light. This is also where I put the fallen pot in the summer.

We planted a juniper (Tolleson’s blue) off center. This tree was a poor choice for this location. It has a very hard time out in the open over the winter and will not stand up without being staked. We’ll replace it someday.

Each year I have another bright idea on how to make a circular-shaped compliment to the steps. So far, my ideas have not been entirely satisfactory – I guess that’s obvious since I ammend the plan every year.

This year I trimmed the euonymous on a thinner line. I lost some to scale so this line is not filling in as quickly as I'd like. (see December 29, 2006 post) I adjusted the rock and the solar light to be more directly on center and will move some rocks to follow the arc. I’ll still use alyssum in a row at the inside of the arc, try to keep them trimmed and have the fallen pot in the center.

And so it goes - another illustration of the best garden is always next year's.

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