Woodland Shade Gardening

Woodland shade gardening with a purpose – pleasure, creativity, rainwater collection!

Celebrating a One-Year Anniversary with a picture tour

North Border with newly added White Gumpo (dwarf) azaleas

A look at The North Trail in late spring of this year. The shrubs in the center of this picture will mature with heights of 18″ – 30″ as a shorter front planting, compared to the taller heights of the shrubs along the fence. These shorter shrubs include distylium “Vintage Jade”, abelia “Rose Creek”, azalea “White Gumpo”, and sarcococca (sweet box) orientalis, in addition to an unnamed azalea, which is one of many that rooted in another area of the gardens.

Looking back through some older posts, which were originally e-mails to my sister, it became apparent to me that my first thought of an evergreen shrub border, around the inside of my fence, became a tiny, sudden, surprising dream in mid-August, 2014.  Was it really JUST ONE YEAR AGO?

Prior to that time, no design ideas existed in my thoughts, and no design ideas excited me.  But… as soon as the idea of a deep, graduated-height, mostly evergreen shrub border entered my thoughts, and made me feel excited, research was a must.

nThis will be a tame jungle someday

The North Trail will be a ‘tame jungle’ someday! Along the fence, partially hidden by the tree trunk to the left, is a prunus (laurel) “Schipka”, 2 Cleyeras, sarcococca “Confusa”, lonicera (hidden by another tree trunk), and an ilex (holly) “Oak Leaf” in the corner. Along the back fence, in The East Border, is a winged euonymous, wax myrtle, several ilex “Dwarf Burford”, spireas, pale peach satsuki azaleas, and many more of the rooted azaleas (name unknown – but lovely shades of pink!).

nThe North Trail, with it's natural leaf cover on the pathway

The North Trail pathway will always exist, but will become narrower as the shrubs mature.

nThe North Trail - shrubs seem very close to fence, but they are not

These shrubs are not nearly as close to the fence as they appear in this picture. Maybe I will take some photography classes!

eeeThe long view into the corner

Just for fun – a little peep at how this area looked a few years ago.

The plan was for privacy, and for some greenery all winter long.  A definite must was to precisely choose shrubs which will mature to their natural sizes and shapes without needing to be pruned.  They must be large enough for privacy, but not so large that they require pruning, or inhibit cooling summer breezes through the gardens.

ePrivacy will eventually exist for the neighbors on the other side of the creek - but ... (reality show)

The neighbors across the creek will eventually have more privacy, also. But will they become bored? Watching me, and my gardening antics, has probably been like watching a Reality TV show entitled “Try to Guess What She’s Doing TODAY”!

A 2007 look at pristine simplicity before I realized the erosion issues

A 2007 look at the pristine simplicity of the same general area, before I realized the erosion issues. And before the small patch of ivy, at the base of the maple, got completely out of control and had to be pulled out.

Gardeners, like everyone else, do not get younger and more energetic as the years pass.  A passionate gardener will always find a bit more energy for gardening, but that’s another topic.  Maybe I will write a post entitled “Gardening, While No One Is Cleaning The House”!

sFilling in nicely

Vinca (right foreground) in The South Border is filling in nicely – all that captured rainwater, behind the retaining wall stones, is really beneficial.

sWill grow into a solid shrub forest along the south fence

Peeping past the dogwood trunk to view The South Border from the opposite direction (the west end, closer to the street).

Cleyeras to right along fence, azaleas to left, inside wall - they will grow to touch each other, viburnum spring bouquet

From the west end, again – I dream of the day when the foliage of the Cleyeras against the fence, and the shorter azaleas just inside the retaining wall, will meet. Just past the left edge of the dogwood trunk is a viburnum “Spring Bouquet” which will be covered in dusky purple buds all winter, and flower in early spring, with fragrant white blossoms.

Cleyeras are happy & growing

The Cleyeras are happy shrubs, growing fuller and taller already. As a foliage lover, I look forward to these shrubs maturing into their upright, slightly rounded natural forms.

South Border waiting for deciduous shrubs to leaf out.

A view from March of this year, right after planting The South Border. Looking at this picture now, I am startled by just how tiny all these shrubs were when planted.

South Border.

Yes, they were small in March. I have to remember the growth won’t happen immediately! But the new growth this summer has impressed me.

sPlenty of new growth on the Steeds holly this summer

The South Border also has some ilex “Steeds” – a tiny leaved holly with which I am smitten. Just in love with it. No spines, just little leaves that remind me of boxwood, but slightly thicker. The “Steeds” will mature at about 6′ tall and have a naturally pyramidal shape.

a Installation on 3 25 15

Okay – one more look at The South Border in its infancy – for those of you who like before and after pictures for comparison. The shrub border outside the fence belongs to my neighbor, Teresa. Her border is a couple of years older than mine, and is filling in beautifully this summer.

My dream is to have my gardening projects become easier as I approach my Golden Years, which are still in the distant future, in my opinion.  ‘Easier’ means smaller projects that can often be approached when it is convenient for me.  True, the garden often tells us WHEN we must do certain chores (also known as projects).  Many ideas incorporated into this design will help me be able to choose when I want to step out into the garden and indulge in the joy of busy gardening work.  I will share some of these ideas with you another day.

The Fern Walk

The Fern Walk hillside, a wonderful rainwater capturing area. Along the back (uphill) edge, and also closer to the fence, the Cleyeras, Korean buxus (boxwood) “Wintergreen”, and buxus “Green Velvet” will mature to various sizes and shapes, giving a more substantial evergreen backdrop to the smaller plants in the front and west end of this area.

Fern Walk bed - plants sited to grow right up to each other and cover all ground

The Fern Walk’s edgeworthia, a deciduous shrub, holds dangling, fragrant blossoms all winter long, on its always-3-pronged branching trunk. Someday the tiny ferns will mature to a size that will help visitors understand why this mossy walkway was named The Fern Walk! Many of the small plants here (not ferns) were rescued from drier areas in the gardens, and will have a stronger presence next year on this moisture-retentive hillside . The original idea was to have mostly ferns in the various beds along The Fern Walk, but Mother Nature made it clear this is a wonderful area for nurturing rescued plants.

Fern Walk 2007

A look back, to 2007, years before The Fern Walk was even an idea. The Fern Walk was built in winter 2014/spring 2015, as were these other borders I have shared with you today. The East Border, along the fence at the back edge of the back gardens, had some shrubs already in place, but not many.

But… back to the one-year anniversary.  Looking around my gardens, I am astounded by how much detail has changed.  Just having a clear idea of a design and a dream began a domino effect of projects, and I have loved every minute of the work involved.  I now think of this as a multi-year plan, because I am already dreaming of additional improvements.  Dreaming, planning, and research are some of the best gardening entertainments.

I do wish each of you could be here to share some cake and punch with me, in celebration of this significant anniversary in the life of my gardens.

Party On!


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This entry was posted on September 8, 2015 by in My Woodland Garden.
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Woodland shade gardening with a purpose - pleasure, creativity, rainwater collection!



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