Planning a new garden on a plain, full of weeds ground can be difficult, but it's such fun! What should I do first, where do I start are such hard questions, but this was a challenge I was so happy to accept!
Many people have told me I am lucky to build my garden on plain ground because I can plant anything I want. It's true, but planting everything I want would mean spending a lot of money that I can't afford to spend right now.
My only options for this year were to use the seeds I have been collecting in the last few years and the plants I already had from my other garden.
During the winter I made many plans about how the garden would look and I just couldn't make up my mind. I even drew a sketch representing the house and the plants I would like to have. On my sketch I imagined many roses planted in front of the house and on both sides, but now I only have two 'Peace' yellow-pink hybrid tea roses. In the future I can see my front door "dressed up" in climbing roses, only this will have to wait until I can propagate them from cuttings. This August I'm planning to take lots of cuttings from my good friends and plant them in the garden under plastic jugs. They will stay there until next spring when I will be able to remove the plastic jugs and let the roses grow without protection.
In the front garden, along the main alley I planted the 4 Thujas I had started from seeds a few years ago. On each side of the Thujas I'm planning an evergreen garden for the winter.
I already have a small Buxus bush to get it started. I'm planning to take cuttings from the Buxus for creating a living fence arround the flower beds and to start more bushes. Mahonia was another evergreen which I wanted to use for decorating the front garden. Unfortunately, the branch I brought in wasn't strong enough and it died last winter.
Another evergreen I have is the Orange Jasmine - Murraya paniculata which I received from a friend. I'm also planning to build a living fence in the backyard with the cuttings I'll take from it, like a barrier against the strong winds during winter.
The rose of sharon will be part of the living fence too. It was just a small branch when I planted it last year, and had just one small bloom. I hope this year it grows bigger and blooms more.
I also brought a trumpet vine baby and planted it in the garden to the left of the house. I plan to let it cover the fence along the terrace.
When we moved last year, I brought "ditch lilies" and Hosta from my former garden and planted them in the front door garden with the Thujas to be protected since we still had so much to do in the yard. They will stay there this summer to bloom and propagate, until I decide if I want to move them elsewhere. I think they will do well with the lawn.
My plans included a few more plants I could divide and replant in the garden, not to mention the seedlings I would get from the seeds. I have white and purple irises on the right side and the mums, Gaillardias, wallflowers and Asters on the left side.
My garden is not big, just about 2,000 square feet arround the house. I needed to plant some trees, but not too many because I wanted to leave enough space for the flowers. With limited space, my husband and I preferred fruit trees to larger ornamental trees.
And we have the lawn he wanted in the new backyard. The plan was to make a lawn in the backyard and plant flowers everywhere else. This has changed a bit because I decided to have a vegetable garden too. I thought I should better make a list with what flowers and veggies I would like to have in the garden. Then I started sowing seeds in February so the seedlings would have time to harden enough to be planted in the garden in May.
The veggie list was not so long, just tomatoes, spaghetti squash, cucumbers and broccoli. I also sowed one seed of a nice, sweet red pepper. This wasn't planned, but as we were eating the tasty , sweet pepper, my hubby asked why not sow some of its seeds too. Since this was my first year of sowing and growing vegetables, it slipped my mind that I should have kept some seeds from that tasty sweet pepper too. Still, I was lucky : one seed was "lost" on my piece of pepper and I said I'll sow that one, maybe it'll come out. And guess what? It did! You may have a good laugh again when you'll find out the "huge" amount of seeds I sowed from the other veggies too : 4 of tomatoes, 2 of broccoli, 1 of cucumber, 2 of spaghetti squash.
Spinach was the only one for which I sowed more seeds outdoors in March and it was already grown in May.
The vegetable garden was planned to be small, but it turned out to be too small, especially for the two spaghetti squash vines!
A friend also brought me 2 strawberry plants, so I had strawberries in my own garden this year!
The winter passed and spring came. It was time to start working in the garden! First we bought the trees. We decided to plant two conifers and three fruit trees.
We always wanted conifers in our garden, thinking of how beautiful they will be decorated with lights at Christmas and the shade they'll provide when they will grow. We settled on two conifer trees: a Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca') and a white fir (Abies concolor). A friend from another town offered to buy the conifers for us for a better price, from a nursery in his neighborhood. He sent his son to deliver the conifers, so we could plant them on the same day. We chose to plant them on the right corners of the garden, the white fir in the back and the Colorado blue spruce in the front.
Our favorite fruit trees are cherry, sour cherry and apricot. We talked about where to plant the trees, considering their future height and the fact that we are living on a new street with houses under construction, in the middle of a wide opened field . Winds are very strong and many times I had things blown away in the yard or flower pots blown down. That's why we decided the cherry tree should be planted in the back to eventually block some of the winds coming from the field, as it will grow the tallest and have the widest crown. The apricot tree is in the front yard and the sour cherry tree is on the right. This way they can slow down the winds coming from all directions.
Now the real hard work of planning and constructing the garden could begin! For a better planning , I considered my garden divided in five parts : the front door garden, the lawn in the back yard, left and right gardens and the veggie garden.
I thought we should set the lawn first, while it was still spring, then start planting and sowing the flowers.
Last summer we had to dig and bring in the garden new soil, arranging it to the same level with the alleys. Until all was done, fall and cold came, with all the rain and wind, so we let it as it was. In spring we started digging and raking again. When the ground was set, I sowed the seeds for the lawn and started watering everyday. Now all we could do was wait for the grass to pop up.
In the meantime, I had to do more planning of the flower beds in the right garden where I wanted to sow the seeds .
Before sowing and planting, my hubby had the idea of surrounding the gardens with a short wooden fence, like a barrier between the lawn and the garden. This will prevent him from walking through the veggies or flowers by mistake.
I took the seeds of the plants I wanted to have there and went outside to have a better perspective. I wrote some labels and stuck them into wooden sticks so I can recognize the plants as they were popping up.The future arrangement of the plants came to me as I was looking arround . I made marks with a stick and started to sow, then draw a sketch on a sheet of paper with the location of each flower bed and the flowers' names and colors. Most of them popped up, but not all. Since I had so many Salvia and Foxglove seedlings I planted some of them on the empty flower beds.
Most of the seedlings were planned to be planted in the front garden and some on the left. I set up two symmetrical Salvia flower beds in the front door garden, one for each side.
I planted the pansies along the main alley, near the Thujas. Another flower bed of white Impatiens is arround the apricot tree.
Near it I created a bed of foxgloves and snapdragons.
The red petunias are in a flower bed on the other side of the apricot tree.
A few white and fuchsia snapdragon seedlings are planted on the left garden, with the Gaillardia.
I divided the Chrysanthemums, spiderwort and Aster next to the wallflowers and almost filled up the narrow left garden.
Since the sunflowers and daturas popping up from seeds were too thick, I had to divide them and I planted the seedlings all arround the garden near the fence, on every empty spot, inside and outside.
With the many rocks we found on the field I decorated the garden. I made a rock path in the lawn which required a few days of work, but in the end turned out so nicely, especially after the grass popped up.
Also, I surrounded the flower beds with rocks which looks nice and also keeps a bit more the water inside.
The lawn required much attention , especially for weeding, but this is another story which I will tell you in another article.
Now I'm finally able to enjoy my garden. I can say it wasn't so hard to plan it and make it grow. I still have a long way to go to make it a real garden, but this is the gardener's pleasure, isn't it? My hubby asked me why not plant only perennials and just take care of them, but I disagreed. What else could be more fun and exciting - not to mention fulfilling - than sowing some seeds and watching how the plants are growing ? He is still wondering about this!