Saturday, September 22, 2012

The joys of planting

Photo: Kingsbrae Garden

This has been a garden year. One bed was like a wild meadow after it's been logged.

The first stage was to have those unsightly yew stumps taken out and replaced with a berm. Into this fresh bed we transplanted the waiting shrubs: a magnolia, two mock oranges, a beauty berry, the royal roses Lady Diana and Queen Elizabeth, and more.

As well as enabling me to plant out my "temporary" pots, this garden re-design provided a fantastic opportunity to go shopping for more bulbs. I made several forays to David Hunter and also a special trip to Art's to pick up my free orange tulip bulbs and buy an armful of autumn crocus, both plants and bulbs.

The planning and planting of the refurbished beds took place over a couple of months. After a row of astilbes had been put in place, I interspersed them with clumps of orange lilies along the berm that now flanks the driveway. Seeing that row of showy orange flowers was the fun of July, when the the berm was new. Other changes were subtle; the shrubs settled in and sent up some new growth.

As we rounded the front of this bed with an arc of lily of the valley, my friend suggested we flank these with a similar shape in King Alfred daffodils. We used some that had been dug up from another bed that was being redone.

I had many pink peonies repositioned, and a huge clump of overgrown bearded iris moved to the back. On his own initiative, my wonderful gardening neighbour created a graceful curved iris border. Meanwhile, near the door, I had the pleasure of creating a bed of fragrant oriental lilies, including Casablanca whites, Stargazer pinks, and the rare Salmon Stargazers, all with slightly different bloom times.

This week I planted the fall crocus. The potted ones are already in flower; they've relaxed into the ground and the waiting buds have opened. Between these clumps, I added some packaged bulbs -- the nursery tells me they'll be in flower within six weeks.

After the front was done, I took the old bulbs that had been dug up from various beds and tucked them into newly opened spaces in the back garden, where we've never before had bulbs. It was a great feeling to put the last of them into the ground, fed with bulb food and good vibrations. Next year, the space under several refurbished and replanted shrubs should be a carpet of varied colour through spring and summer.

A trip to the iris bed to see how much they've grown, now that they have space, was fortuitous. One fall crocus must have hitchhiked there with the iris: it was in full bloom among them. I scooped it up and replanted it in a bare spot in front that I'd felt needed one more crocus plant.

The joys of gardening are immense; one of these is the anticipation of waiting through the seasons next year to see the many plants we put in place this year flourish in their newly prepared spaces.

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