Friday, January 20, 2012

A change in the vision? #2 in a series

... well perhaps. After all, a person can only fit so many trees into two acres. Actually, my wife has been reminding me of that for years. Does this mean I'll never buy another magnolia... certainly not. On the other hand adding three or four each year really doesn't make a lot of sense any longer. Not too long ago I did count about sixty of them although I've lost a few since then... the point is that many are rather small yet and haven't even developed their first bloom. They will get large eventually and that may well create a few problems.

So I gained a new interest in conifers... it's the same scenario. In addition to all the large ones I have, there is a host of little ones waiting to get larger. Even the dwarfs will get pretty big over time. I simply have to do some reassessing and moving conifers about this spring... this is when a blank canvas would be a great thing to have!

You may ask why I'm displaying photos of the area I redid a couple of years back and call the 'rockery'. I think that this is the answer to my quest for a new direction or vision if you will. This shaded area really excites me and gets me enthused about new possibilities. As noted in a recent post, we now have a lot of shade on what was two acres of pasture forty years ago. In the future we can only have more shade which is fine since I'm past the time in my life when a tan is important. That said, perhaps it is time to do a little refining in the gardens.

For example... if you've followed my posts for a while, you know that I truly enjoy hostas and I have hundreds of them. I wouldn't part with a single one. However, what looks nice in the above photo will by August be a whole lot of hostas growing into each other. I have always done a good job of massing plants which can be effective in a design, but I'm getting to the point where I want to shake things up a bit. Mix in some woodland phlox and a conifer here and there... spread out some of the hostas so I can appreciate what is special about their individual personalities.

I suspect that is why I'm so enthralled with my 'rockery'. There is a lot of plant material in this small area. In the two photos above there is a young Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia' which will provide shade in the future. There are numerous varieties of primula and hellebores. There are several very interesting clump forming epimediums, there are trilliums and phlox stolonifera. Additionally there are dwarf  hemlocks... in fact I've added more than can be seen here. There are also miniature hostas. The list goes on and I will delve into that in future posts. When I first started the rockery, I thought I might have an interest in alpines and the like... I soon realized that was not where I wanted to head. I have to admit that all I really want is 'beautiful' and I really don't need 'difficult'. It's color and texture that excite me, and if something odd fits in and manages to be reasonably easy to please, then so much the better!

It seems I always have to have some new and exciting challenge in my life... I would never give up these gardens in order to start over... there just isn't time for that. I am however bent on perfecting them to the best of my ability. I have spent too many hours in the past few years walking around the yard with a plant in my arms that has the potential of getting huge,  looking for a place to site it. I have even done the "walk" and ended up giving away the plant I just purchased! It is time to reach deeper into the details and that will certainly include adding even more variety, and making good use of all that shade that has arrived after all these years of planting trees.

So, with that I'll end this post. In future posts I will spend some time in the rockery looking at some of the plants that I am coming to really enjoy. I'll also share some changes that I think will better tie the upper levels with what is happening at the base of our building.

Until next time, Larry


Shady Gardener said...

It will be fun watching you in your rockery. Whatever you do... the results are always beautiful! :-) This is such a good time of year to reflect, isn't it?

Toni said...

Whatever you do, I just hope it doesn't involve moving any of those boulders!!! :-) My garden is getting to the point of tweaking and refining. I've spent the last 10 years building...and now the next 10 (Lord willing) I am sure will be refining....and enjoying too :-)

James Witmer said...

Lots of gardening books will tell you to plant according to a variety's mature size. I suppose the idea is to save work later on.

But isn't the "work" - designing, brainstorming, planting, dividing - what we signed up for in the first place?

Christopher Lloyd said somewhere that it should be perfectly acceptable to plant a tree with the intention of enjoying it for 15 years and then tearing it out. And why not?

I appreciate that you set out to make your place beautiful, not "low maintenance". And it's great that you seem energized to take up a new kind of challenge. Thanks for sharing.

James Witmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

Blank canvas? Absolutely not, when you already live in paradise! Perfection? Already present! Room for more plants? Always!
Blessings, Beth

The Sage Butterfly said...

I am a big fan of hostas as well, but so are the voles. I have lost many a plant to voles. I still have many in the garden, but I must keep granite chips around the root and top to prevent them from digging. I like the rockery...

Alistair said...

Larry, I will enjoy what you have up your sleeve. I guess Summer shade in your part of the world where it gets very hot is welcome. Over here we have to attract as much sun as is possible.

Debra said...

One of the things I like best about gardening is the prerogative to change my mind; to rethink things, move things around or eliminate entirely.

Shade is being forced upon my gardens, too, due to trees sited over the years by neighbors. Like you, I just amend as needed.

In regard to your question of posting a site map, it isn't something I use.

lisa said...

You have 60 magnolia trees????
Oh my goodness, my camera and I would be in Heaven!!