Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iceburg (1958) Floribunda Rose in the Oak Tree Garden

Molineaux David Austin Rose in the Front Border

Molineaux was the first rose I ever planted back in 2002. The color (that cannot be captured in a photograph) and the fragrance were so beautiful that it inspired me to plant roses throughout my garden.

Old Blush (1752) China Rose in the Front Border

Baby Faraux (1924) Polyantha Rose outside the Children's Garden

Delphinium in front of the Bird Garden

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ladybug (Coccinellidae) Pupai

It seems like we've had a greater number of ladybugs in the garden this year. The children have had fun watching the metamorphosis from larva to pupai (pictured) to adults.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to Protect the Vegetable Garden from the Groundhog, Part 2: Adding Chicken Wire and Gates to an Open Post and Rail Fence

When originally conceived, the Children's Garden was going to be a place to grow creative things with the children, like a tee pee made of vines, which we did the first year, and other beds planted and maintained by the children. Thus, the original fencing around the garden was a post and rail fence with three open entryways without gates, which you can see here. The only part of the garden remaining from that original conception is my older daughter's flower garden in the upper left hand corner. Over time, the children's interest in growing vegetables increased, so we replaced the short raised beds with extra-tall raised beds, which you can see and read about here. The extra-tall raised beds improved our vegetable production significantly, but as a result, we also attracted more pests, particularly those hungry, no-good rabbits and groundhogs.

At the end of last year, after seeing some of my hard-earned vegetables stolen before we could enjoy them, I resolved to improve the situation for this year. The first step, early this season, was asking my husband to create a chicken wire cover for one of the raised vegetable beds, which you can see and read about here. That has worked great, but it unfortunately does not work for tall vegetables, such as tomatoes.
Thus, the second step, completed last month, was asking my husband to pest-proof the fence around the Children's Garden. We thought of replacing the open post and rail fence, but after considering the expense, decided to work with what we had. We covered the post and rail fence with chicken wire and added built-to-fit gates to the former openings. Below are some of the "after" pictures.
On the left hand side, you can see some of the asparagus and grape vines that had to be removed from the fence to install the chicken wire. On the bottom, the chicken wire rests on the ground approximately 6+ inches to discourage any attempts to dig under the fence.
In the middle, you can see the simple wooden gate built to fit the space between the two posts. It is built with the same one by two's left-over from building the chicken wire raised bed cover. Because I wanted to keep pests from crawling under the gate, it is actually resting on the ground. Instead of hinges, it has long, easy, on-and-off ties on the top and bottom attached to each of the side posts.
On the right hand side, the chicken wire runs from post to post, covering the rails, just like on the left hand side.
This enclosure was repeated on the left and top sides of the garden. The right side of the garden is enclosed by a proper fence.
While it is still early in the season, we have not yet had any break-ins.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Front Yard Gardening Design Challenge: Five Ideas for the Downward Sloping Front Yard Garden

This month's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop at Gardening Gone Wild is on Front Yards. This was one of the topics last year, and given what a common design challenge it is, they've decided to revisit it. Last year, I posted the saga of how I've continued to change my front yard garden from something that was once unremarkably suburban to a series of mixed borders. You can read that prior post here. For this year's workshop, I thought I'd share some hard-earned lessons on a particular design challenge that I've faced, but is not usually addressed in gardening books or magazines: the downward sloping front yard garden.
If I tell you that I live on a hill, then you probably imagine a house on the top of a hill. If you don't have a flat front yard, it's more likely that you have an upward sloping one. But what if you have a downward sloping one? How can you make it as beautiful and as inviting as any other? Here are some of the design elements that have worked for me:
1. Add a street-level garden to beautify your neighborhood and add some privacy. While I can appreciate a beautifully manicured lawn, it just doesn't provide the same effect when you live on a downward slope. I have a small section of lawn between the street and a mixed border, which is the top of a garden that extends down the slope to the driveway, called Goldberry Hill.
2. Add a staircase to your front door. An important element for all front yard gardens is to be welcoming to visitors. One of the best ways to do that is to make it an easy and obvious way to get to your front door. When you live on a downward slope, the best way to do this is to add a staircase. We have a bluestone staircase, which I love: it is weather-proof and will last forever, it is not slippery when wet, and it aesthetically blends in with the garden. There are plantings on either side of the staircase.
3. In the limited flat space in front of your home, add deep beds. From the street, or as you walk down the staircase, it is these deep beds that you and your visitors will see. Even if you live on a downward slope, your builder had to level out some space for your home. This is your opportunity to garden like everyone else.
4. Extend the deep beds in front of your home up the slope, where possible. At the far end of my home, there used to be a large, overgrown evergreen that dominated the landscape and made it difficult to get to the backyard. In that space, we added an oval-shaped garden, called the Egg Garden. Because it is at the far end and unobstructed by the driveway, it has grown each year, such that it has now started to extend up the slope. You can read a longer post about the creation of the Egg Garden here.
5. On the part of the slope that faces the house and is invisible from the street, add private beds. The best thing about having your house on the downward part of the slope is that it can feel more private. I can sit in my living room and look out onto the garden on the slope, called Goldberry Hill, instead of just looking directly at the houses across the street.
Related posts: Heirloom Gardener's Four-Year Makeover of Her Front Garden and The Egg Garden in June: Replacing the Overgrown Evergreen in the Front Corner of Our Home with a Mixed Bed

Gardening Gone Wild's Picture This Photo Contest for June: Roses

Submit your entries by June 22 here. Now which of my rose photos are my favorites?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tausendschon (1906) or Thousand Beauties Rambler Rose on the Fort in the Walled Garden

On the side of the fort in the Walled Garden, I have a clematis, Fragrant Spring, and a rose, Tausendschon, growing together on a trellis. The clematis blooms a couple of weeks before the rose, which you can see here.
Related post: How to Build a Children's Playhouse (the Fort)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mayflower (2001) David Austin English Rose in the Hydrangea Border

Gardenia (1899) Rambler Rose on the Arbor to the Walled Garden

Rosa Virginiana in the Bird Garden

Hansa (1905) Rugosa Rose in the Front Border

Excellenz von Schubert (1909) Polyanthus Rose in the Front Border

A Different Garden Tour of Philadelphia Gardens from The New York Times

As a follow-up to my posts about visiting gardens in Philadelphia over Memorial Day weekend, I was intrigued to see Judith Dobrzynski's article in The New York Times about her own Philadelphia garden tour. In her article "Philadelphia's Gardens of Delight" from June 5th, she visited four gardens, including two I recently visited, Chanticleer and Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore. She also visited Jenkins Arboretum (featuring azaleas and rhododendrons that I have not yet visited) and Bartram's Garden (which I have visited, but is unfortunately in a very rough part of town). Ms. Dobrzynski needs to add Morris Arboretum and Linden Hill Nursery to her next visit.

For the full article, including slide show, click here. She concludes: "An overview of gardens open to the public in the Philadelphia area is at http://www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org/."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - June 2009: Roses and Much, Much More (New Jersey, Zone 6b)

Check out all of the bloom day posts from around the world over at May Dreams Garden.

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