Spring garden assessments…

The springtime assessment of the gardens is late this year. Because of the harsh and long winter, I did loose a few things (helped by rabbits). Most garden beds are doing well, but not all.

Above is the front yard. The spring flowers are all purple – iris, allium, grape hyacinths. They mix well with the blues of the bachelor buttons and the forget-me-nots. And with the green house with the purple trim and flower boxes as a backdrop makes this art director very happy.

The window boxes on the house are planted with mostly coleus and drippy variegated creeping Charlie. I’m told the creeping Charlie is great for planters and baskets – but to NOT let it touch the ground!

We stained the deck and it’s looking good. There are four dwarf pear trees that make up this diamond-shaped espalier.
the two on the right have been there for about nine years – they don’t flower and fruit, but have nice healthy dense green leaves. Th e furthest left tree is fruiting. I’ll get about 8 pears off that one. The second from left? The bare spot? It is full-stop dead. Rabbits chewed the heck out of the stem and lower branches. And then the extreme cold hit for a few weeks. I’ll have to replace it.
The Harry Potter garden was slapped together quickly as Sally Cunningham, the local TV garden guru did her Sunday morning TV segment in the garden live on this past Sunday. Everything looked okay, but I have some re-arranging and redesigning to do here before tours start coming through.

The checkerboard of concrete pavers and grass came through the winter okay. I did have to reseed the few squares in the back.
The potager garden looks just alright. We’ll not be doing any vegetables here anymore. There’s too much shade. There was not shade here when I built it. Lesson – don’t plant a tree to the east and west of your vegetable garden. I stole some hostas of contrasting colors and contrasting coral bells (heuchera) that were in other parts of the garden. It’s a quickie design thing that should fill in the spaces until I can figure out what I really want to do here. The dwarf apple trees forming teh knee-high espaliered fence around the potager was eaten severely by rabbits, but did not die. Though they ate many of the branches I was forcing along the guy wires. So I feel like I’m starting from scratch on at least one of these trees.
Rock garden came through winter unscathed. New white hosta in the foreground I bought at the Master Gardener’s Plant Sale a couple weeks ago. It came from a friend’s garden (thanks Craig!).
The patio garden looks good. Though the Dutchman’s Pipe vine is coming back really really slow (vine furthest to the left). Second climber is honeysuckle, third post had a clematis (you can see its first flower). the last pole has the five-leaf akebia vine which has done fine there for seven years.
The channel of violets is screaming!
The heuchera (coral bells) surrounding my homemade coral bell copper fountain is VERY content. The colors are great this year and I’m not able to edit, knowing how large (or small) some of them are.
The biggest scare was the black cane bamboo. It started the season dead. No green whatsoever. But it is now springing up new shoots from the ground, so it will have some green in it. It was just everything above ground over winter that died.
The hypertufa planters I made with sedums and succulents all came though winter fine. The little pine tree iin the top one has been there for three years!
The only vegetables we’ll do this year. Tomatoes in planters.
This window planter, built into the slate countertop around the grill that I made has been a problem for years. We keep trying different plants here – firecracker vine, morning glories, mandevilla – nothong works. We’re trying a black eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata) this year.
The small succulent frame is doing just alright. I’ll have to add more to make it look better.
All the window boxes were filled up with colorful and coordinated annuals.
The large succulent frame is doing VERY good. Just about every single succulent and sedum is well-rooted and many have shots/pips/babies what ever you call them. My only problem is the frame has to be lifted onto a cleat I have on the house to hang it. But the thing is so heavy I can’t get it done! I may have to get three other strong friends to help lift it up there.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “Spring garden assessments…

  1. Got back from the Royal Botanical Garden – they too are doing a head scratch about what lived and what died. Massive trees – same varieties, planted at the same time – feet apart – two different outcomes. My bamboo too got whacked, but is starting to improve – considering how bad a winter it was, looks like you've made it through in pretty good shape & have enough holes for some excellent acquisition opportunities.


  2. Wow, loads of great texture and pops of color! I would love for you to share it at the Home Sweet Garden Party! See the post here —->>>http://creativecountrymom.blogspot.com/2014/06/home-sweet-garden-party-610.html


  3. your garden is a plethora of so many things. i love every nook and cranny. i am thinking of doing an espalier on the back of my garage since it backs up into some garden areas. where did you get your supplies for the espalier?


  4. Anonymous

    Looking good Jim. Glad so much made it through the winter.


  5. YEs – dead plants provide more options! My greatest disappointment is the one dead espalier tree. I have to get that replaced before tour season starts.


  6. I'd like to share on your site – but not quite sure how to do that. You've got a great and vaired collection of gardens on there.


  7. The supplies themselves are from Home Depot – wire, wire clamps, and large eye screws mostly. Good luck with yours Marmee!


  8. Thanks Donna. Hope yours fared even better.


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