Saturday, August 31, 2013

In Increments Of Years

Like any good gardener I started clearing and planting around the perimeter of a construction zone from the beginning. That was six years ago.

In all that time, the amount of clearing probably far exceeded the amount of planting that has been done and I have done a lot of planting.

I had an ally in my gardening schemes. Nature's abundance and abhorrence of bare ground was put to use. I also had the advantage of 25 years of previous gardening that had introduced a great diversity of plants in a relatively small area.

As I cleared ground and planted closer and closer to the construction zone, nature followed right behind me filling things back in.

Six years later the plantings have reached right up to the cozy cabin.

And six years later the service entrance stairs are finally getting painted. Today the railings and pickets were completed. Next the decks and stair treads need to be power washed then painted with a deck stain.

When the cozy cabin was completed in year four and all the digging for the utility infrastructure was finished, gardening began in earnest. Major clearing had given way to editing out a number of nature's offerings.

My efforts have been rewarded in more ways than just floral abundance. See that brown stripe in the forest beneath the utility lines. That is how the electric company clears things. Who ever was spraying the herbicide this summer noticed something was different near the cute little cabin. They stopped spraying just ten feet from the garden's lower boundary.

Nature's abundance and abhorrence of bare ground is still being put to use. The gardener is just exerting more control over what is allowed to stay.

An actual garden has begun to take shape. Objet de's are migrating out into the gardens.

Today the portal got another coat of a different colored paint. It is the Marigold of the living room walls in the cozy cabin. Why buy more paint when I have plenty colors to chose from? I think it stands out much mo betta now.

Nature has been so generous with filling in behind my clearing and editing that I can contemplate yanking out this magnificent ironweed one day soon because I think it will eventually be in the wrong place. I've tried several times now and ironweed does not transplant well.

In increments of years a garden in a tall flower meadow has formed. Buried beneath it is another garden planted for winter interest. In another six years that other garden will have risen to stand with the tall flower meadow.

In increments of each year the vision of a garden is made real.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Out There In the Wild Cultivated Gardens

The cultivated Joe Pye gone wild.

Goldenrod waiting on the Ironweed

An introduced native, Boltonia asteroides. Will it turn wild?

The lighter colored, wild Joe Pye with Angelica.

Angelica gigas up close. It's a bee narcotic.

Formerly yellow mums.

It's all out there.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Hint Of Blue

I do have some blue in the tall flower meadow. I have three patches of this blue, the very hard to photograph Clematis stans, in the lower right in this picture. It is much more dramatic and showy in person. It has the ability to set seed and spread and I would be fine with that. It just isn't showing any wantonness. I have found one seedling so far, but in the tall flower meadow it could take years before a seedling reached blooming size and was truly found.

Eurybia divaricata, the White Wood Aster is now joining the late show. It is the first of lord I have no idea how many asters there are up here to bloom.

Joe Pye does its thing to the delight of many. The insect diversity to be found on Joe Pye is a show in itself.

The tall flower meadow is getting there. This is actually the first year the notion in my head has begun to show up. The biggest factor in achieving this has been the removal of the unwanted. Absent the competition, the wanted fill in.

Underneath it all is the structure of a growing garden that will take me through the winters.

I just need more blue. And some more grasses. And some purple would be nice. And.......

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Color

Red is not my favorite color. I don't gravitate towards red flowered or red leaved plants. It still slips in somehow. The red hibiscus in the roadside chicory bed is now in bloom.

Grey, more grey was added to the service entrance stairs. It has been a long while since I did any painting. It has been a long while since there has been a day of sunshine without any rain. Best to strike while the drought is on. This is tedious kind painting with all these pickets, but it needs to be done. I hope the momentum that began today will continue.

I have also been contemplating the lintel for the tree trunk posts. What should it be? What kind of detail should it have? Hmm, maybe I want the right post taller than the left so the lintel points up at an angle? I think I do want to do that. It's on the winter project list. I can contemplate it some more.

I have been living in the cozy cabin for two years now and still have a list of projects to finish up. The basement patio has been long neglected. I hope to finish off the tops of the two short dry stack retaining walls and at least get a gravel base in for a future stone floor this winter. I got so much more done around here during my tragic period of unfortunate under-employment. Those were the days.

It won't all be about color. Some calm green oasis in the chaos will be needed to the rest the eye and mind. At least I am not planning any color for this.

I am planning for more color in the tall flower meadow. I gravitate towards the blues and purples. Nature has been quite generous with the whites and yellows. That is the preferred color palette and color scheme I want to tilt the garden towards.

More color also means having more color from the first hint of spring to the final frosts of fall. I will be tinkering for some time over many seasons to come.

Right now more color is appearing everyday. The ironweed is kicking in and the Great Blue Lobelias should be blooming soon. The first white asters have begun.

I do a little weeding. Mostly I am in an observation mode. It gives me time to paint

Some sunsets fill the entire sky with colors. Others just color the horizon. It is never the same from day to day. Gardens are much the same.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Tall Flower Meadow Is Turning

I wait all year for this. Of course I wait all year for each phase of the season of vegetation. I do have a particular fondness for late summer into fall though. The asters, goldenrods and all the kin of the Eutrochium put on quite the show. Then the forest does its thing. It is a bonanza of color the tropicals of Maui could only hint at. It's just getting started.

The red pole meadow will be turning to. It has more asters and less goldenrod. I yanked most of the tallest species of goldenrod from this section. In time I want to edit the goldenrod so it weaves through the meadows like the intended stroke of a paint brush. Crazy I know. Crazy I am.

This garden and my no budget methods are not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The First Mum

An unknown yellow mum that followed me a home a couple years ago is the first mum to bloom. I took divisions of it last fall to spread around. Only two of them took and those two not very well. Lesson. Don't divide mums in the fall. Do it in the spring.

I have plenty of yellow. I have plenty of white. The tall flower meadow will soon be awash in yellow and white. This is what my editing has done. It is quite lovely, but it needs more purple and blues. There are plenty of Blue Wood Asters to come, but the yellow and white will have faded by then. I want more purple and blue for this wave of bloom.

The seed factory in my client's garden is going to be donating sacks of Verbena bonariensis and echinacea seed to this effort. The tall flower meadow will always be changing..

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

In The Tall Flower Meadow

Will there be a respite from the rains? I feel like I am molding. Every day, day after day, clouds and mist and sodden down pours. I am so tired of rain. The diagnosis for the weekend and the beginning of next week is hinting at sunny rainless days. Please! Let there be dry.

It was pretty when the sun peaked out momentarily after yesterday's soaking. Clear drops of water sparkled in the tall flower meadow that is gaining more color every day. It is a wonder with the number of high volume soakings we have endured that it hasn't all been smashed to the ground.

I wait patiently for the next peak of bloom. Joe Pye and Boneset are both long lived bloomers and should still be looking good when the goldenrods, asters and ironweed kick in.

The rudbeckia are still in full bloom. This little patch is one I didn't plant. They just appeared. I like a flower like that.

Which is one of the reasons I like the Boneset. All I did was notice it one year in the tall flower meadow when it was still mostly a tangle and left it alone. It has rewarded me by seeding itself quite freely and over a good distance.

Joe Pye is doing the same. So much so that Joe Pye is now a candidate for removal when it shows up where its not wanted.

A client's garden is going to be my seed factory this year. Last year I did a chop and drop and got an excellent crop of volunteers to add to the original planting. The garden is full now. This year I will be bringing all the dead heading home. I dead head for clients if they insist. You just won't catch me doing that in the tall flower meadow.

The tall flower meadow could use some more echinacea and verbena on a stick. A major seed dump will speed things up.

Monday, August 19, 2013

In The Beginning

The end of season bloomers of the tall flower meadow have started to turn. It could get colorful around here soon. I am about to find out what my editing has done to nature's offerings. This whole process is highly experimental. I edit and observe.

The new blooms will join the Joe Pye and Boneset that are already in full swing. There will be a lot of Goldenrod.

I will keep adding, editing and experimenting. Eventually more pleasing plant combinations will emerge. Part of that will be the addition of more grasses. The Lush will become more organized, a sense of design could appear.

This crazy gardener is trying to turn a wild, low species tangle of a meadow into something Piet Oudolf would recognize, a stylized recreation of the real thing. Is there such a thing as garden irony?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Truth In Gardening

Oh I can make the camera give the impression of an over flowing bonanza of a flower filled meadow by zooming in. It is partly true, in places, at certain times of the year. There really is a lot of stuff blooming here.

It is also true that there are great expanses of unbroken green in many places at certain times of the year. That can change as the season progresses. The camera does have trouble picking up the entire floral element the eye can see in the bigger picture in this ocean of green. Some times in pictures it looks more green than it really is.

The truth is I embellish the abundance to best effect. But there are days when the garden just feels green.

Against such a back drop the portal got its first coat of paint.

I painted it the same Molera Vaquero Red as parts of the cozy cabin. It's better. It stands out a tiny bit more, but it is only a slight improvement over the rusted grey metal that it was before. It still looks like rust. I need a brighter, bolder color. The portal needs to be embellished to best effect.

The edited tall flower meadow that still dominates most of the garden becoming is primarily composed of late summer to fall bloomers. Asters and Goldenrod are the main players. In the shadier parts, Ageratina and Blue Wood Aster are taking hold. It is green all summer long after the early spring bloomers are finished.

This long wait to the end is why the adding part of editing comes in. As a gardener I don't want to have to wait until the fall for the first significant wave of bloom. The tall flower meadow needs more late spring and early summer bloom added to the mix.

In those places where more has been added, the results are showing up in the camera's big picture even in all that green. I'll keep at it. The earlier color has already started to roll down hill via me and via self sowing.

The good part is a huge chunk of all that green is now preparing to bloom. Waves of color will wash across the tall flower meadow as the season comes to an end.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Butterflies On Joe Pye