Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My New Garden -- An Update

Planting beds and pathways delineated
Well, I am happy to say that my summer project to construct a new (and much larger) flower and vegetable garden is now pretty much completed.   My oddly shaped, Stonehenge-looking worksite is now a working, growing garden!
Shoveling three tons of topsoil -- it took me five hours
Regular readers of my blog will recall that I chose the new site, a dead patch of lawn to one side of my house which was formerly a thicket of horrid brambles and invasive vines, because it was drenched in sunlight, unlike my previous and much smaller vegetable garden which, at a tiny four feet by four feet, had no room for flowers at all, and eventually became shaded over by huge trees on my property that I was loathe to cut back.
Planting black-eyed Susans, Maryland's state flower
This plot is much larger, a humongous thirty feet by twenty feet, which should provide me with ample space for as many vegetables as I can possibly consume and lots of cutting flowers for arranging, long a passion of mine.
Tomato, bell pepper, lettuce and squash bed
Along with amending my native red-clay soil with three tons of commercial topsoil, several wheelbarrows-full of loamy compost from last year's fall leaves, and 800 pounds of store-bought potting mix, I covered the whole thing, pathways and planting beds, with weed-barrier fabric and erected a seven-foot tall deer fence around the perimeter.  I attached deer netting to the fence framework and added sturdier chicken wire to the bottom to deter bunnies, groundhogs and raccoons, installed a drip system on an automatic timer delivered via an underground hose, and set about deciding what to plant where. 
Zinnia and Gerber daisy bed
This past weekend I had three and a half tons of white stone delivered, which I raked into place to line the pathways between my planting beds in the new, kidney-bean shaped garden plot.  I also replaced the cumbersome deer-net-and-chicken-wire "door" to my garden with an actual  screen door that Lowe's sold to me for $10 because of a gouge in the wood frame.
Iris and hydrangea bed
A trip to my favorite garden store coincidentally fell on the day that a local chapter of the American Iris Society was having its annual rhizome sale, so I stocked up on what promises to be some gorgeous bearded and unbearded iris in deep purples and blues.  A friend and fellow boarder at the stable down the street where I keep my horse gave me a whole washtub full of black-eyed Susans from her garden, and I took advantage of a mid-summer slump in home gardening enthusiasm to scoop up a host of zinnia plants that Lowe's was offering for only one dollar apiece, plus a two-gallon hydrangea for $5 and a large peony for just $2.
Neicha, my little "rescue maple"
Oh, yes, and I must tell you about my "rescue maple".  I've named her Neicha, after the lovely woman, a fellow volunteer at the horse stable down the street from my home, who found the dying Japanese maple, still in it's plastic container, tossed into the woods by a developer who had apparently purchased more saplings than he needed for landscaping.  My friend, a surveyor who said she often comes across abandoned landscape plants like that, told me the diminutive seedling was the only maple, of several left to die in the woods, which had sprouted new growth. A tiny fighter, just like me! 

I couldn't plant the maple in my vegetable garden, so I chose a spot of reverence on my lawn where an old cherry tree used to stand.  Right now, the poor thing looks like a straggly castaway. Hopefully, with tender loving care, my little Japanese maple will grow into a gorgeous specimen tree, something I've always wanted on my property.
Together with a mix of tomatoes, bell peppers, some lettuce and a squash plant, I'm declaring my garden planting to be complete for the time being. I am not a veteran gardener and have little experience with growing vegetables (or trees, for that matter), so I'm going to take it one step at a time and get lots of advice from my neighbors, whose gardens are lush with voluptuous produce right now.  It's also late in the planting season for me to just be starting out, so aside from some fall lettuce and a few more bulbs, I probably won't be putting much more in the ground this year.
New garden with white stone paths
But just as it is, I am super pleased with how my new garden turned out. For a link to my original post about the new garden and "before" photos, click here:  My New Garden -- The Backstory


  1. Well, the shape looks quite odd, but beautiful on its own way. I’m pretty sure that it will look much better when the dirty work is done, and all the plants and flowers start to blossom. Also, you can add other garden features, such as a small pond or an outdoor hearth to make it look even better. I know that it will look great! Keep us posted!

  2. Your garden looks really nice, Lynell! I like how you shaped it along with the tree, fenced it, and placed white pebbles between the garden beds. I hope that your small garden will produce lots of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

    Katy Eagles

  3. When you have a spacious area like this, you better do something good on it. Planting beds is one of the best things you could do. I can tell that you have a passion for gardening, so it wouldn't surprising if you tell me that your garden looks so beautiful now. :)

    Matt Kucik @ Meridian Landscaping, LLC