Monday, October 17, 2011

Oho! The people who sold me the bricks for the front yard? They have another 150 sq ft of the same stuff available. Which would be pretty sweet, considering the price, and also that it's very easy to compose curves etc without having to cut stones. I would need ~75 to 100 sq ft, I'm guessing, given I still have scraps left over from the last batch.

Trying not to interpret this as the universe telling me to jump into action on my side yard plans, because those are so newly hatched and unformed as to constitute a whim, and besides, as stated below, (another) major project just now? DO NOT NEED.

Still, I am powerfully tempted to snap the stuff up and let it sit until spring.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Made an excursion to the Rideau Woodland Ramble today in search of a dwarf evergreen to replace the spruce I killed. I love garden shopping at this time of year - 35 to 50% off everything: sweet!!

Snapped up some red oriental poppies and some red cinquefoil, whose foliage caught my eye. Hemmed and hawed over the conifers. I was thinking about a variegated hemlock, but they're apparently understory trees that prefer part shade and moist soil. In the end I bought an itty bitty one, since I have no qualms about gambling with a $12 plant; apparently these grow at a downright glacial rate, so we'll see how well this works out. Or I might lose my nerve and find a spot for it in the backyard somewhere. Also got a couple of itty bitty blue star junipers for the same price and a dwarf common juniper.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

As if I don't have enough to do

A couple of recent garden magazine articles about side yards have got me to thinking about the throughway.


Ugh. Embarrassing. I'm kind of glad the camera ran out of batteries before I could snap a photo of the view from the a/c unit looking back towards the carport - junk city. Some previous owner of this place did a pretty craptacular job of laying down a path - the fieldstones they used to pave it are nice enough, but then they apparently tried to trowel cement into the cracks?? It's starting to get weedy and the cement is breaking and loosening in places, adding a certain treacherousness to the fugliness. Underneath one piece that I almost tripped over I found no base to speak of, just plain old dirt.

So SOMETHING must be done, and soonish, and the magazine articles got me to thinking about what that might be.

Fine Gardening recommends a gently winding (but not too wiggly) path through a side yard to generate a sense of surprise and discovery, an idea that I like. I'm thinking my path would bow out from the side of the house and go around the lilac. Although once again I wonder if I shouldn't replace the lilac to avoid stupid suckers messing with my paving.


I could send virginia creeper or bittersweet vine up the side of the house, with other tall shade-tolerant plants in front (such as what?? hemlock, delphinium, digitalis?) In the near left-hand corner I'd put a Japanese maple, it's a nice sheltered spot for one. Otherwise...most of the the left-hand side is apt to be bone dry given those cedars. Maybe no more so than the east side of the backyard, though, and plenty of stuff seems to deal well enough there. Including rhododendrons, even. Those would be pretty gorgeous with the afore-mentioned maple.
Last year:

This year:



Progress on the front border, too:


Just need to snap up some Lee Valley "garden staples" (since the plastic pegs from the nursery were not, to use my mother's phrase, worth the powder to blow them to hell) to secure the landscape fabric and then get riverwash stone to spread around.

Additional details that make me happy:


Miscanthus 'Gracillimus'. Beautiful reddish plumes that bob and flutter in every breath of wind. One clump is twice the size of the other, weirdly; as far as I can tell the growing conditions in those 15-20 feet should be identical. Hopefully they'll even out over time.


Cleome - surprise! And yay for self-seeding annuals! I'm reminded/struck by (a) how gorgeous these are and (b) how much I like the foliage and what a nice contrast it is to everything around it.


Pretty purple-and-silvery sage from my mom's garden. I wasn't sure how well it would take the transplant, since it was basically a stem hacked off the main plant and stuck in some dirt, but when I finally got around to putting it in the garden it had already grown roots right around the bottom of the margarine container it was transported in, so I think its survival is pretty much assured.


Pretty pink fall-blooming Ozawa chives. One more reason to ♥ the allium family.

Have only the backyard tulips left to plant bulb-wise. Of course after I got just about everything in the ground the weather snapped back to mid-20s for several days. Hopefully I don't lose anything due to too-early planting.

Also spied curb material for sale at Ritchie's, which has landscaping gears turning in my head. I was going to pay someone to install the stuff, but it's not like it's difficult, just time-consuming. And I have heaps of stone dust etc. to use up in the throughway anyway, right? Although if I want to tackle the basement that's likely to use up all my available pre-snow project time, so this may have to wait for spring.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall progress

Peony has been relocated to the front yard, as well as some stray rose campion seedlings, which are nice and silver-coloured and should like the conditions out there. I ended up chucking the TG rose, since it was mostly dead except for one lonely, straggly cane. Planted a purple clematis in its place, as well as the sweet autumn clematis out front. Still to plant is a chunk of lovely silvery-and-purple sage from my mom's garden, somewhere it can sprawl a bit, since mom's patch got pretty big in just one summer.

And since the weather seems to have turned, I took a crack at my bulbs the other day. Planted: 90 tulips scattered all around; 60 crocus around the bottom of the magnolia; 40 squills around the top of the yard; 8 hyacinths that will probably be hidden by taller things but whose delicious smelliness will hopefully still be able to waft in the front windows; 20 alliums of various descriptions, mostly around the roses, which will hopefully deter the japanese beetles and anonymous caterpillars next year; and 10 kooky-looking "feather muscari". Remaining: 30 or 40 smaller alliums; 50 tulips for the backyard; 3 eremurus. Next spring is so going to rock.