Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Garden Gates

The garden is undergoing a deluge this week. I hope it doesn't make everything too leggy. We are nearing real Summer where the heat should arrive too. Some very cool nights in May kept the mosquito population down noticeably. I'm hoping this rain doesn't bring them all back. Just need a night or two in the low 40's with low humidity. Come on, nature!

Ha Ha. The garden is an evolution. I have ten separate "rooms" in the garden, and seven of the 10 are basically complete, other than maintenance. Last year I built three Japanese-looking garden gates to help enclose the space and give it more structure than just planted patches in the woods. The main entry gate was created from wood left over from a kid's fort I tore down. It's a fairly simple project that I explained in a short article at How to Make a Japanese Garden Gate in a Weekend. The pics in the article were taken in February, but it looks much better now that things are more grown in. A better photo is this one taken in early May. The gate is large but the size gives it presence and gives the feel that you are entering into a defferent space. I worked out the design by referring to several Japanese gardening sites and books. The idea was to keep it understated and rustic-looking to match the wooded nature of the garden.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Other Half

Besides working on my garden, I am a treasure hunter. Antiques, sweepstaking, and just plain finding treasure either laying on the ground or buried under it. Little by little, I've filled a few treasure chests over the years with piles of coins, boxes of gold rings, and assorted sweepstakes wins, including several grand prizes. Visit my other blog at The Suburban Treasure Hunter to see how my quest is going.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More Spring Scenes

I wanted to get a shot of my bleeding hearts before they left for the season, almost missed them! I was able to get this one with fading azaleas in the background, had to turn off the flash to be able to capture it. In addition to scrounging for my rocks, I always keep an eye out for any other asian things that can be used in the garden. I was lucky enough last year to be able to get this concrete lantern at an estate sale. It was buried in overgrown bushes in the back yard, and the owners didn't even have it for sale. But I made an offer and got it pretty cheaply. Now it has a place of honor in a garden where it can be appreciated.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Simple Stonework

In order to give the garden some structure, I required some rocks, which I don't really have on site. The rocks in the garden have resulted from from an early effort to rescue an eroding hillside, then to help define the individual sections of the space, and finally as focal points. In a Japanese garden, they counterbalance the soft foliage, provide structure and represent natural elements such as mountains in the distance. As everything else in this project, the collection and placement of stones is an ongoing effort. I hope that the ones that are required for a particular space will appear when needed.

Here is one simple stone focal point I created from a big triangular rock I positioned at the divergence of 2 paths. A few white river stones give it an asian temple-like feel, but it's just something I made up. It fits the garden nicely though, and pulls you down the path.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Garden in May

The garden is close to Spring peak now. We had a great azalea bloom this year, and with a lot of rain, the hostas are bigger than ever. I have a chartreuse Sum and Substance that is one of my faves, and it must be about 3 feet across this year. We have filled a lot of holes, and several sections are basically done, I am moving over to the right side now to work on a couple of sections there during this season. I'll try to show some before and after as it goes.

Woodland Things

Well I've got a lot of varied interests, and one that I've followed over the years is an interest in shade gardening and japanese gardening. They kind of go together, at least for me, because my gardening space is very wooded. So I've had to learn about what will grow in shade, especially the dreaded Dry Shade. So far in 2009, it's looking pretty good, but there is always work to be done. I'll try to share as it goes.