Friday, September 16, 2016

Make over #1 - River Birch Garden

My garden is reaching it's 22nd year with me as head gardener. If you can imagine through this many years the garden has gone through several transformations. At this time in my life I am feeling my gardening muscle waning. What used to take me a day to accomplish now takes me several days/weeks to accomplish. I find myself having to employ Mr "I don't garden", more commonly known as my DB, for many tasks. This doesn't always work out according to my schedule. So I have come to the mind that my garden must change. It is difficult to face reality but one's tastes do change over the years. With trees coming down and age going up well, the garden is changing whether I like it or not so this transition not too painful.

My Garden is full of smaller gardens that each have names. Many of these names were based on the trees that once grew there. I am again giving this newest make over a tree name, River Birch Garden.
Here are a couple of before pictures.
 Above is the side view of this garden before. If you walk the path around the south side of the blackberry patch you arrive in this area here. All of this initially was planted to give privacy and shade to the screen house.
 If you approach from the North side of the blackberry patch this is what you would have seen through the arbor.  I think about this area more now that the compost has been moved into this back corner. I walk by quite often.
 As the River Birch and Lime light Hydrangea etc etc grew the  more sun loving plants had mostly succumbed to the shade. I dug out the small daylilies, bronzed fennel, irises etc...
I had some huge clumps of Sagae Hosta that were suffering from too much sun since the Apple Tree came down a couple of years ago. I didn't have a place to move them until now. I had to divide them and cut back all the sun scorched leaves. They looked small after the major trim.
  If you look at the above photo you can see the one stepping stone that the moles refuse to let lay flat.  I only have stepping stones here because the dogs tear around this corner and keep the grass/weeds from growing. 
 I had to add a couple steps due to it being a no grow area. Almost as soon as I turned my back the mole ran under the original stone. I guess I will have to accept this as the way it will be.
As you come around the back side (from the South) you can see how much neater this area looks. You can also see that I used some bricks to edge this area. I will either squash them down a little further to hide the holes or hopefully the soil will fill in around them.
 A little closer look and the left side.
For a cottagey gardener I think I did a fair job of not over planting. I did add some Mouse Ears hostas up front as an edging. On the left is a new to me Hellebore 'Wedding Bells'. It has a double white bloom. I can't wait to see it. 
 This would be the right side.
If we step back and let the sun shine in...
 We see the real star of this area, the River Birch which will give us shade during summer months and have this beautiful exfoliating bark all winter.  Now if I can just stop adding plants. 
How about you?  Do you find it difficult to stop adding plants to a newly developed area?


  1. That is a stunning tree and well worth being the star of the show both in name and appearance for this part of your garden. Looks great ... I can't wait to watch it grow!

  2. It is a beautiful tree Lisa. I love the bark, such a lovely feature.
    The hosta will thrive there given time to settle.
    No I cannot stop buying plants, it just isn't in the girl.
    I wish that I would stop and think sometimes. Cheryl, where will you plant it, does it like your soil, have you go enough sunlight, etc etc.

    I ache more these days but feel if I stopped doing the things I love my body would probably cease up.

    Moles are rare here. We did have them one year but they did not stay long. They are pretty creatures, I saw one with its little head popping our of the mound many years ago. I have a soft spot for them........

    Your garden is so pretty Lisa....

    Have a lovely weekend.

  3. Oh how lovely. Birch are on of my favorites. Yes, it's okay to add more plants. But sometimes if you are overwhelmed; less is more...

  4. Sagae Hostas will look beautiful under that tree, which is a beauty itself. I love the bark in the winter when there is snow on the ground. I am trying to figure out how to make the garden more low maintenance but that might actually mean pulling out all the perennials I've added in the back corner in the last few years. I keep trying to find things that don't selfseed or are too aggressive. Just bought 3 dwarf conifers so clearly I am not done yet!

  5. I am envious of your River Birch. Perhaps your arbor can be named Mole Arbor.

  6. Your birch looks like a happy chap. Birches in cultivation where I live are usually a sad sight, unless planted by nature with a garden springing up around them. Leaf miners have a field day with them most years. They are one of the major native trees along with spruce here, and their bark is often quite stunning, as it appears to be on your specimen. Lucky you!!

    Christine in Alaska


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