Projects on a Small Scale Over Time

I started gardening in my rectangular, boxed-in fenced backyard only about a decade ago. So what did I naively do first? Well, of course, I dug up 4" sprouts from my mature, landscaped frontyard...nandinas, bridal veil, and the like. Oh yes. How could I forget all the monkey grass I dug up and planted in the back. All this only along the box fenceline, of course! 'Dinas, Veils, and Monkeys. Yeah..."Oh My."

Needless to say, a decade or more later those teensy sprouts are six-feet tall shrubs and the Monkeys still run amuck even though I've yanked, dug, pulled, even smothered them year after year with newspaper or plastic. Oh My, indeed.

Fortunately, I had a kind, master gardener friend tell me soon after in a gentle but firm way several things I MUST do.

Like? Well, for starters, get some perennials going but not just in long, rectangular beds alongside the fences. And get some sort of vistas started. Vistas? Who knew? And, for goodness sakes, don't have the whole yard aka garden open to viewing the minute anyone sees it. Plus, my friend gave me oodles of plants from those she'd raised in the best of soil! Yeaaa Her.

So I gradually learned about soil amendment, got plants and added structures so friends and visitors would only see parts of the garden at a time as they enter it. And VOILA!

After only a decade or so of experimenting I have some hidden walkways, seating arrangements to discover, varied vistas (sorta) available and it is more garden than boxed backyard. Finally.

And over the years, trellises, planters, touches of whimsey and so forth have given my backyard box a facelift. Now, the need is to keep all the plants from being rampant rugrats and become, instead, well behaved children.

But I still do not have an "outside room" that is so popular in our parts. You know. The kitchen, the seating room and so forth for entertaining. I'm thinking I'll spring that on my husband this spring. "but honey, all my friends have them except me." Wah Wah. Maybe!

So would love to have landscaping ideas for that from you. Also, planting suggestions. And some picturesque way of doing large rock on a very small scale. Hope to hear soon! JJ

Friday, January 15, 2010