Friday, May 13, 2011

dreaming of green

I own a piece of the world...a tiny, overgrown little corner of the city and I couldn't be more obsessed.
I currently have 4 gardening related books from the library and I bought two more from goodwill just the other day. I have a dead tree's worth of post-it-notes littering the pages and more scribbled notes about soil, shade, heights and widths than I know what to do with.

Planning a garden is so much harder and more involved than I ever thought. Gone are the days when I could just stand in Lowe's garden center and get excited by all of the possibilities- now I just worry about what the plants will look like in the winter, will they survive the dreadful GC soil, will they grow too big or too small, will they do well in the shade of the neighbor's oak tree...plant overload!

To simplify and get my thoughts out on paper- I dreamed up this plan:
At my expert gardener friend Rosemary's suggestion I just measured out the yard (and what a quirky yard it is) and then just drew out what I'd like it to look like and then researched which plants could make my dreams come true. I have a few must haves for the backyard...

1.A wall of privacy- since the left side of the yard is only separated from the neighbor's (unkempt) yard by a chain link fence I'd like a privacy wall of plants. I want to avoid the ugly, wide shrubs we had before and build a sleek wall that grows tall but not wide. Rosemary suggested Sky Pencil Holly trees- and she was so right on!

sky pencil holly-"If you are looking for a sleek, updated, stylish look, use these Japanese Hollies with their tall, narrow, columnar shape." 

2. An apple tree- in memory of my beautiful, favorite apple tree at my parent's house (that the neighbor recently butchered). There is nothing quite as amazing as walking to your backyard, filling up an apron with apples, going inside and baking a pie...and I make a mean apple pie if I do say so myself. I'll be looking for a dwarf variety which should do just fine in partial shade in the back left corner- my only concern is I have to find a tree that doesn't need a partner to cross pollinate. Did you know they make apple trees now that grow different kinds of apples on one tree? 

This is the back of the garden- the apple tree will be in the left corner surrounded by some low growing greenery. To the right of the tree I'd like to have some varying colors and shapes of evergreens- like clumping bamboo, blue star junipers, arborvita rhingold and hydrangea 
3. Adequate vegetable garden space- I started vegetable gardening 3 years ago and I look forward to spring and summer every year because of the hope, promise and wonder if brings me. Planting seeds, watching them break through the soil and grow into tall, productive plants breathes life into me that I just can't explain. I wish I had the space for a full farm (my dream is to be a farmer one day) and a greenhouse but for now a 4x18 skinny little raised bed should hold enough plants for a decent spread (besides I have a much larger shared garden at the Smith's so I'm not too worried about planting larger crops like corn and squash). 

I'd like to build some sort of trellis at the end of the raised bed to finish off the space- I might grow something evergreen on it to keep that corner looking interesting even in the winter. 

Well- I think I've spent enough time dreaming of green for the day (and thanks to probably have too). I'd love for ideas/help so send them my way. Now I've got to organize the office to get ready for painting tonight and Ikea furniture on Sunday! 

<3 Kate 

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