Wednesday, August 1, 2007

foundation plantings

When we put the porch on the house, I took a Landscape Architecture class at the Arboretum. It was a six week class that dealt with how to lay out a landscape plan: foundation plantings, lighting, paths, etc. The idea was to get down a plan on paper before you started digging holes. I never finished mine - well, I just barely started, actually. But I did listen in class and absorbed some of the general ideas. I still have a long way to go before our landscape is great, but I'm working on it!
Today, I want to take you on a walk around the house. We'll start at the patio by the back door. (Kobie has decided to head the other direction - his loss!) Our main challenge here is that our neighbor has a totally ugly cement block wall that is the first thing you see as you come through the gate and up to the door. I could put in arborvitae and completely screen that, but this area gets a lot of sun, and I can't bear the thought of wasting sun space on evergreens. So I've put some vines on the top of the fence and taller plants in the garden space. When they did the patio (and replaced a retaining wall on this side of our property), they left me with some really bad clay. I had to spend a couple years adding compost and just started planting this area last fall. It's looking pretty good considering.
I have grapevine and scarlett runner bean on the fence here, with dahlias planted below the vines. If I figure out what should be in this space, I'll put the dahlias somewhere else next spring. Along the house, we have a paver area where the hose sits - and a side entrance to the house.
Next to the dahlias, I have a "Herbstonne" (I am going to have to double check the spelling on that rudbeckia...), 2 hibiscus, some glads, the red climbing rose, Russian sage, the cabbage rose, and then the tomatoes and hollyhocks. I'm hoping the roses don't decide to sprawl out onto the path because it isn't very wide.
On the other side of the path is the air conditioner, a peony, daylilies, rhubarb, herb garden, another tomato plant, more glads, and then the Gertrude Jekyll rose.

This catches the start of the tomato plants on both sides. "Gertrude Jekyll" is right behind the fountain - along with "Christy" hibiscus and some veronica.
Beyond the tomatoes on the right-hand side is a new garden I'm prepping. It gets some late afternoon sun, but it's shaded most of the day by a huge maple tree. I want to screen the view into our neighbor's yard - mainly just have something that the eye can stop at. I'm thinking about a couple hydrangea and then shade plants like hosta, cimicifuga, etc. We rototilled the space, and now I've added partially composted compost and fresh seaweed. I'll till once more this fall and put more seaweed on top over the winter. With any luck at all, I can add more compost next spring, till it all, and plant!

As you walk past the fountain, you see the Japanese peony and roses, roses, roses. I love this garden space.

I originally planned it as a rose garden - but have added a lot of other plants over the years. I put "Jackmani" clematis on both corners of the lattice, delphinium, veronica, lilies - both asiatic and oriental, sedum, asters, dwarf iris, geranium, mountain bluet, and mallow. I have 6 roses in this garden plus Jekyll behind the fountain. I'm hoping that climbing rose on the fence behind all this will get really tall and make a prettier backdrop for the fountain.

This is the other side of the porch. It's a little shadier. I have one rose, 2 hydrangea, 3 peonies, tons of asiatic lilies, daylilies, bleeding hearts, geranium, dwarf iris, balloon flower, and a gorgeous hibiscus. Along the front edge I have Japanese anemone, coral bells (dark leaf) and lady's mantel - those 3 plants are beautiful in this garden. Wrapping around the side of the house, I have tons of hosta and ferns. I'm partial to the huge hosta and have it staggered in two rows. The chipmunks like to hide under the big leaves, so it takes a beating from the dogs, but still looks okay.
The area to the right (behind the garage) is my work area. I have my compost bin, stacked firewood, and junk. I'm trying to design this area so it looks better, and we're planning to put in a garden shed. I need more space!!!!

If you walk around the corner of the porch and look back, you see this side of the porch garden. Also, please notice: I'm actually planting some grass (the fenced area) - not just digging up new gardens! I'm hoping I have enough sun for it to take here - and that the dogs won't have to tear through there constantly. Could be wishful thinking on my part!
(most photos should click big)


Zoey said...

I am watching FOX News and I thought of you immediately when I heard about the bridge collapse. I hope you are home sitting at your computer and not out driving!

What a terrible disaster I am watching.

I will have to come back and read your post later. Right now I am too upset over this.

kris said...

Zoey - thank you for your concern. I just did a post about this. It was very, very nice of you to check in with me - I appreciate it.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Thanks for the tour, I love visiting your blog, we have so many of the same plants blooming at the same time.

kris said...

Thanks Iowa Gardening Woman. I love visiting yours too! :)

lavendergardener said...

Beautiful! I have alot of family in Minneapolis and so far they are all okay too. Your pictures are a good distraction from all of the ugliness on tv right now.

Kitt said...

Will you come do some planting for me?

Or you could just pass on some (seven) random gardening facts ...

Connie said...

Nice tour....thanks for sharing!

kris said...

Hi lavendargardener - thanks for stopping in. I'm glad your family here is okay. My mind has been in a haze - answering comments has been about all the sitting still I've been able to manage. But I'm starting to breathe again, and I agree gardens and blogging will be a good distraction. I hope you stop in again.

Kitt - thanks for tagging me. As you know, it takes me awhile to come up with ideas for these memes. :) I loved your answers!

kate said...

I loved seeing the photo taken from above. It gives a much better idea of the area ... which looks wonderful. You have done an amazing job of landscaping. Your plantings are beautiful ... you must have retained lots of that course.

The roses and lilies look gorgeous by the fountain. No wonder you love that space!

Thank you for a wonderful tour. Your pictures are great!

kris said...

Hi Connie - I think your comment must have popped in while I was composing mine, and I missed it! Thanks - I'm starting to feel more productive, so I think the tour will be continuing soon. :)

Kate - thank you very much. Mark gets the credit on these photos - it really does give a different perspective when you see things from above, doesn't it? I hope you'll stop in again - do you have a blog? I'd love to see it if you do. (My email is