Using wood and stone

In the last year I’ve been adding a lot more wood and large stones to the garden. We’ve also been getting more serious about putting in a few small ponds or fountains, but that will take more study and planning. Maybe next year. Here’s an example of a recent stone/wood addition, in the white garden:rock and woodThere are wood chips on the path, with large rocks lining the bed. One large dead branch is “planted” in the soil. To my delight birds often perch there.  Two large and a few smaller rotten willow branches from the ravine in the horse pasture are lying here and there. One very large rock sits in the middle of the bed. I planted a valerian there on the left, and a white daylily near the rock. A group of white heirloom tiger lilies is on the right by the upright branch. As you can see the white garden is still pretty sparsely planted. It’s a tough bed to plan–sand underlies the bed, so drainage is TOO good. I have added a lot of manure and old hay but it takes a while to break down. This dry year was tough on this garden. But there’s no hurry. I’ll keep adding plants and see what thrives there.

As many other gardeners have commented, flowers and stone go well together. I like the way plants fall over a rock edge. Here are some petunias and some edging pavers this morning:flower jumble

In the new bed under the old playset the annuals I planted, the ones that survived the raccoon scourge, are a riot of color. Petunias, small pansies, dianthus and marigolds. In the middle of them sits the beautiful metal agave sculpture given to us by Prairie. Prairie's giftOne side of the remaining play set structure is covered now with trumpet vine, and on the other side we planted a red/orange honeysuckle vine. A large, spreading dead apple branch that I found on the woods floor the other day works there as a trellis. And the birds have already signaled that they approve of this addition.apple branch trellis w honeysuckleIt was hard to come in to work this morning. What a beautiful sunny morning! Mr. Fluff sat sunning himself along the southside path as I was leaving. good bye kitty

vegetables and flowers

My sister, my niece, and I are doing a “greens challenge”: seven days in a row we’re eating greens (broadly defined, including basically any really healthy-for-you vegetable that is green) cooked in various ways. Miso soup is an easy way to get greens in early in the day. The garden produces a lot of chard. Here is the garden on a recent foggy morning. 008The row of chard is in the middle–here is a closer shot:010Beautiful! And I made miso using only ONE chard leaf:011That’s a whole serving in one stalk. I added some tofu, parsley, garlic chives, left-over brown rice, and mushrooms:miso soup makingsWe’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors. First we spent a day moving the horse pasture to a new area, requiring taking down the existing fence, brush-hogging and trimming branches in the new spot, the re-placing the fence. We’ve also done some black-berry-picking and apple-gathering. We froze the blackberries and made apple sauce from the apples. When we were fencing I found a beautiful dead branch of an apple tree and used it as a trellis for the vining honeysuckle:apple tree branch trellisIt’s kind of hard to see in this photo–I’ll take a better one later.

The hibiscus we have in the meditation garden are blooming now, with their crazy-big blossoms. One is dark red and one is white with a red center:red hibiscuswhite red hibiscus heartOn our last trip to Canada we bough silver gazing globes–here is a picture of them in the back yard:silver gazing globesSometimes we come out in the morning and they’ve moved. We think that the raccoons play with them over night!

drought over

We’ve had lots of rain in the last week and the garden is happily soaking it in. So there are a few more slugs, and the top-heavy phlox are all bowed to the ground, it’s all worth it. A few days ago we took advantage of a dry day to drive to the Rideau Woodland Ramble garden and nursery in Merrickville, Ontario, Canada. Wonderful! Everywhere you look as you walk their shady paths you can see garden/outdoor art of all kinds, and beautiful trees, shrubs, and flowers. There are also ponds and fountains. In one small building they offer coffee and original paintings for sale. Here is the view out from that room:Rideau Ramble garden doorwayHere is just one example of the garden ornaments:Rideau Ramble garden ornamentThey also have a labyrinth mowed into a lovely wildflower meadow. We were so charmed and inspired that we went to an art shop they recommended called Windsor’s Courtyard in Merrickville, and bought two pieces of garden art. I didn’t yet get a photo of the three shiny silvery metal balls we got and put in the back yard–one large and two smaller ones. The other is a wind-mobile sort of thing, made of metal, that twirls in the breeze. Here it is in the front yard:front yard with new ornamentHere’s a closer view of it:new ornamentIt withstood the strong winds and rain we had last night, so I guess it is sturdier than it looks. After our trips to Canada to visit gardens, we spent most of yesterday sitting on our front porch watching the rain fall. front porch with onions

early August garden

Some news from the place: my talented sister sewed some curtains for the sun porch. They keep the beating sun out on hot days and their bright yellow color adds cheer. Even when they are open, they dress up the room a lot. Here’s a picture:new curtains for the sun porchOn the southside patio we’ve added a bench and a new chair. Here’s the view of it from the east:patio from the eastand here it is from the west:patio from the westThe biggest news is that we got the barn fixed. Here you can see some of the construction:fixing the barn 1We’ve added a nice chair to the front porch sitting area. Where for years there was a wooden plank over cinder blocks to sit on, we now have a nice new metal chair.front yard sitting spot

I also removed most of the paths from the white garden, keeping just one, so there’s one entrance to it and one exit. swingset garden The white garden is not very far along mostly because I’m still building up the soil and figuring out what to plant there. So for this year I planted a bunch of bright annuals, like these bright marigolds: bright marigoldThe main issue in the garden these days is the lack of rain. Every morning starts with watering, but I can’t water everything so I have to watch some plants falter in the heat and dry. It’s painful! In spite of that, there are some bright spots. Here are some photos from yesterday:entrance to back yard

front yard

front yard

patio garden

patio garden

you can always count on coneflower to stand the heat and dry weather

you can always count on coneflower to stand the heat and dry weather

My friend Val told us Canton folks about the newly available compost at the village highway department area, and I’ve been going there, not just to get some compost, but also to pick up some wood chips. Thanks, Val! I’m going to use wood chips now on all they paths–they last very well and help keep moisture in.

Here are a few critter shots:

bee on agastache

bee on agastache

cat with lilies

cat with lilies

little bugAlso a few lovely volunteers appeared in the garden this year. Here is a graceful white nicotiana that appeared in the meditation garden pathway:volunteer nicotianaAnd a new color of phlox appeared nearby:new phloxI’ll stop here–time to go do my daily rain dance!!