Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Garden Overview on a Frosty Morning

Rhubarb

This morning I looked out at the garden and saw frost. Not that this is an uncommon scenario at this time of the year, but I always think it is so pretty.

Peach blossom

Strawberry Plant

I often show close ups of the garden and talk about parts of it, but these next few photos will give you a good idea of my yard and how it is put together. This is a shared yard. There are two townhouses on the property. We bought the units together and we have large door on the inside that connects the living areas. Two parts of the garden are mine to do as I please. The parts inside the fence and the rock wall garden. The rest is shard work and shared harvests and shared costs. That isn't to say I don't share my harvests from the rest, but I get to choose how and when and if I do at all. But I also do all the upkeep and pay all the costs.

Above is my side yard. I have my back to the fence and am facing the front yard. The little Prius at the end is my husband's. It used to have more driveway but we ripped out the asphalt and left enough for just two cars. The rest is garden. It is all raised beds (eight beds all 4'x16') except two strips. One along the house where my sunflowers and some herbs grow in the summer . And one along the white fence in the front. My chamomile and some other herbs and flowers grow along there. I'm trying to grow an heirloom rose up and over the arch. It was planted last year and is only four feet high right now. I'm hoping it makes it over by the end of the year.

This is my back yard. It contains the circle garden and the compost. The circle garden gets hot because the brick path wraps around three sides. The last side has a small stone pathway. The center is a circle that is filled with some commonly used herbs - thymes, oregano, rosemary, chives. It is the view I get when I look out my back door. If you look past the fence you will see the rest of the back yard. There are two dwarf apples along the cedar fence. Along the house are some cranberries and raspberries.

In the front are two peach trees (everything is small since they were all planted last year). Around the peach trees are some low bush blueberries. You can tell where they are because they are surrounded by pine needles and the mulch color is different. To the right and out of the photo are three gooseberries. Across the private road is the rock wall garden. I'll explain the rock wall garden from left to right. The first section which is mostly out of the picture, I use for my summer flowers and my winter harvested Asian greens as it is one of the few places that gets light in the winter. It is a jumbled mass of cosmos and zinnia mostly. Then I have my fruit trees with under plantings of strawberries. The trees are a Green Gage Plum, a Paradisio Fig, and a Brown Turkey Fig. Then the rock wall garden steps up about 9". In the next section is my asparagus.

Then look to the grassy area to the far right (below the car). This is not regular grass. Well the grass itself is. But it is drivable grass. Since we got rid of a lot of our driveway we had to put in more space for cars. Where the car is parked right now is not our driveway but the road. When the plows come through in the winter we can't be parked on it. Oh and the part of the grass that is near the house is lined with alpine strawberries. I find them a very beautiful boarder in the summer. And tasty too.

We do have some more useful plants here too as ornamentals. We have a witch hazel, some echinecia, some lavender, and my favorite, we have some clumping bamboo. The bamboo lines the narrow and very shady side yard opposite my garden. Supposedly it doesn't spread (lord I hope not) and it grows about 12' tall when it gets bigger. It will have a challenge growing though. The side yard is only about 10' wide there. It has the house on one side and a six foot fence on the other. Over it is some thick pine trees. In front is a bike shed (which is the most important shed on the property since between the four of us we own two cars and bikes are a primary means of transportation). So the shade is very, very heavy. It is a little alley of darkness. The bamboo we picked is supposed to grow in the shade, but this shade is not your average shade. I'm really hoping it grows - but not too much.

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos and thanks for sharing them.
    Lisa

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  2. That is a really nice ground level walk through and overview of your garden and lot layout. I love seeing how others arrange and use their property. You really have made maximum use of the available space - very inspiring.

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  3. Love your layout! but with the frost, don't you lose peaches and strawberries if they get frostbite?

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    1. The strawberries will be just fine. They have seen temps of 5F this year so far. These are Sparkle and are hardy to zone 4. This isn't new growth. This is what has survived the winter already. Some years the leaves die back but they will still grow back when it gets warmer. As for the peaches, I haven't a clue how hardy the flowers are. They seem just fine. But will they set? I don't know. They were planted last May, so I'm guessing they wouldn't set any peaches anyway. Maybe one or two if I was lucky. So I'm not too worried about them.

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  4. These pictures definitely give me a better understanding how your garden is laid out. It is always fun to see how much room other gardeners have and how their harvests correspond to the size.

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  5. It's great to see how everything is laid out! We're still trying to figure out what to do with our backyard, so thanks for the inspiration!

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  6. Thanks for the great overview. I love the way you have made the maximum use of space.

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  7. I need to show this to my partner - we have space in our garden that he wont let me turn into raised beds - the more evidence that I have that completely food gardens are both common and look good the better....love how you've used all your available space.

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    1. At my last house I lived there for 19 years in a very rich neighborhood with few vegetable gardens (though there were some and two small ones in the front yard). I immediately put in a garden in my side yard (and a little in the front yard) in full view of the street. It was the only place with good sun. I never once got a negative comment except when I didn't share my tomatoes lol. But I had a nice white picket fence going around the whole thing and perennial borders around that. So it was pretty. Gardens in full view of the neighborhood I think should be pretty. Which means keeping things cleaned up and fairly neat. Then again some people's view of pretty is different from others. This neighborhood is a mixed neighborhood of blue and white collar workers. I find there are many many more vegetable gardens. It tends more to the norm than the exception. My favorite of the front yard vegetable gardens isn't like mine at all. It is a non raised bed, but it is a cottage garden, so mixed with lots of flowers. So pretty. And a heck of a lot harder to keep up than my raised beds.

      My current garden doesn't have as many flowers as my last as I don't surround it with perennials. But I do add flowers here and there. They are pretty and add a lot to the garden. The bees love them. The neighbors seem to love the garden. Even my direct neighbor (the one with the trucks parked next to my garden). He has his yard all paved over basically. So not a plant lover. But he seems to love my garden still and occasionally asks questions about it. So you can do a garden that is pretty. Or at least not hated by your neighbors. Or maybe I just have nice neighbors.

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  8. Cranberries? I don't remember your writing about them.

    I have lingonberries on order, two kinds for pollination. I couldn't get the varieties I wanted because there aren't a lot of dependable places that sell them mail order (I found some, but Dave's Garden WatchDog said the places were awful.) So I wound up with Red Pearl and Erntesegen.

    My strawberries have survived below freezing temps, also the dwarf Blenheim Apricot I planted last Fall is still in bloom despite the temps. I'm not sure if the new overwintered dwarf Red Rebel apple survived or not; it's not obviously dead, but it isn't doing anything.

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  9. I have been reading your posts for a few months, but I was having a hard time piecing it all together. Thank you for the rundown of your wonderful outdoor space!!

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  10. Thanks for the overview and sharing what your garden looks like! You've made terrific use of the space!

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