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Old 05-21-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
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Flowerpink New terrace garden project

I've mentioned before in a few other posts about how I'm beginning to renovate an existing terraced garden bed. The bed has four tiers. The style was originally in the traditional English cottage garden, mostly English roses and cottage garden perennials. Since my tastes have changed significantly over the past few years I'm revamping it into mostly native plants, forbs and grasses.

I began this project last fall with the removal of some roses and daylilies. This spring we began in earnest and removed more roses and almost all the remaining daylilies. Only one rose remains and it will stay for the time being as it is heartbreakingly beautiful when it blooms and is incredibly healthy, and a focal point for the garden. One stand of orienpet lily 'Black Beauty' remains, again so beautiful and the butterflies and hummingbirds love it. Out went all the non-native salvias, especially heinous was 'Black and Blue' that spread by stolens and reminds me very much of obedient plant that way. It's way too aggressive and I'm still pulling out fat white roots as I work the soil. The hummers love it but I don't so out it went.

Last fall we put in little bluestem, penstemon digitalis and blue-eyed grass in place of some of the things we took out. All fared well over the winter and the penstemon and blue-eyed grass bloomed well. Over the past weekend we removed the last of the daylilies except three along the path that will be relocated, and added about half of the 70 or so new plants I planned for these terraces. We then mulched with the chopped leaves that have been composting in piles in the woods since last fall.

The nice thing about the terraces is that there is a transition from dry and sunny to moist and partly shaded so I can use many types of plants. For example on the top tiers I'm using plants like Agastache foeniculum, Allium cernuum, Dalea purpurea, Echinacea purpurea, Liatris spicata, Phlox pilosa, Phlox paniculata, Penstemon calycosus, Ruellia humilis, Salvia azurea and Symphotrichum laeve etc along with the grasses Schizachyrium scoparium, Sorghastrum nutans and Sporobolus heterolepsis, and on the bottom tiers I'm using Eupatorium maculatum, Geranium maculatum, Lobelia siphilitica, Phlox divaricata, Sedum ternatum, Porteranthus stipulatus, Stylophorum diiphyllum and Zizia aurea etc.

To keep the garden from looking too bleak I'm leaving in the Pennisetum 'Hameln' until the new grasses take over. It takes grasses a long time to develop. I was lucky to get gallon sized little bluestem last year at a local native plant sale and they have done quite well. The little baby Indiangrass however are going to take a few years to show their stuff. I even had to put bamboo stakes near them so I don't accidentally weed them out or step on them.

I purposely am not planting any yellow composites because my pocket prairie around the corner has plenty of them and I wanted a cooler look with pinks, purples and whites along with the grasses. I really want the grasses to be the stars so I'm adding quite a few. I avoided switchgrass though because it can be aggressive.

Of the natives that are established already is a mature Baptisia australis that is a shrub-like anchor at the back of the second tier, several purple coneflowers, an orange coneflower (I'll probably move this to another garden), mouse-eared coreopsis (will also probably move) and 3 little bluestems. These help the garden from looking too bare as we revamp.

I have just started to document the progress with photos so I don't have a complete record but here are some photos starting in 2009 when we first expanded the terraces, then a shot of the English cottage garden look in full bloom, then the garden this past April, and now as of this past weekend.

The expanded terraces in 2009.
New terrace garden project-terrace-garden-bones.jpg

The original garden in late June 2009.
New terrace garden project-terrace-garden.jpg

The terraces in April 2012.
New terrace garden project-terrace-bed-april-30.jpg

Baptisia australis, a focal point.
New terrace garden project-baptisia.jpg

Teasing Georgia, a stunning English rose that I'm reluctant to remove. It resides on the third tier.
New terrace garden project-teasing-georgia.jpg

More to come!
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:39 AM   #2
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Here a few photos taken of the work we did over the weekend. About 35 plants were put in and mulched with chopped leaves.

Overall view of the terraces from the deck.
New terrace garden project-terraces-may-20.jpg

New top tier plantings.
New terrace garden project-top-terrace-new-plantings.jpg

View from the bottom looking up.
New terrace garden project-mid-tier-path.jpg

Lower tiers. The swamp milkweed will stay.
New terrace garden project-lower-tiers-terrace.jpg

Rain garden, the plants on the right half of the photo are royal fern, Christmas fern, columbine, green and gold, michigan lily and wild phlox. On the left are Louisiana iris, Siberian iris and ligularia that will be removed.
New terrace garden project-rain-garden.jpg
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:14 AM   #3
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That's a real beauty there Linrose~!!
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:02 PM   #4
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Thanks hava! I'm still coming to terms with my change in aesthetic from that blousy lush English cottage garden style to drifts of waving grasses and colorful forbs that attract birds and butterflies and other pollinators. I'm still clinging to my favorite romantic plants of my past (roses and lilies mostly) which are hard to give up but I also have an incredible emotional attachment to my native plants whenever I see wildlife enjoying what I've planted for them.

I guess you could say I'm still in transition, just like this garden! But now I look at plants from a whole different perspective. I just can't plant enough native shrubs, forbs and grasses and I'm still making more lists! I'm going up to Lexington in a couple of weeks and I already have a long list for when I visit Shooting Star Nursery. I know it sounds crazy to want more since I already bought around 100 plants this spring already but, well, you know.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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I sure do, but I've reached maximum capacity and then some a looooong time ago.
Not saying I quit or anything. I continually bring things home (Can't help myself) which sets off a tremendous chain of events....
either removal or many, many moves.

I can't be doing that this year....I decided to let the garden club tour the yard and must keep my focus on weeding and trimming,
NOT moving and planting so they end up looking droopy, and tattered, in need of removal.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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Yikes! The stress of having a garden club come in and critique my gardens would send me on a three-day bender! My friend down the street is a landscaper and she has been tending one woman's gardens for about 7 years and she finally decided to put her name up for a garden tour. I think she just wore herself out before that weekend and she had just come off of breast cancer surgery and treatment. I did go on the tour out of respect for her and complimented her highly then told her to take it easy for a week or so. Of course she didn't, given her Type A personality.

When does your tour take place?
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:16 PM   #7
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Linrose, your terrace project sounds amazing! I still can't believe how huge and beautiful your baptisia is. I have 2 smaller ones...nothing like yours. I've also recently discovered the joys of native grasses & I think your plan to incorporate them will make your terraces just stunning in the end! I enjoyed all the pictures you posted too. I know what you mean about adding more new plants even though you've already bought plenty. I am in the same boat myself!
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:19 PM   #8
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linrose,

I'm so glad to see you are making such progress on your latest project.

I think I will like the new garden much better...daylillies just don't do it for me. I'm sure you will love seeing the various critters that are drawn to it as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
...I also have an incredible emotional attachment to my native plants whenever I see wildlife enjoying what I've planted for them.

I guess you could say I'm still in transition, just like this garden!
I love how you expressed these two thoughts.
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Old 05-21-2012, 03:53 PM   #9
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Thanks guys! I like to think of this project, and really any project, as a journey. All gardeners know there is never an end point, no real final destination. Just hopes and goals and the strength and drive to carry them out.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linrose View Post
Yikes! The stress of having a garden club come in and critique my gardens would send me on a three-day bender! My friend down the street is a landscaper and she has been tending one woman's gardens for about 7 years and she finally decided to put her name up for a garden tour. I think she just wore herself out before that weekend and she had just come off of breast cancer surgery and treatment. I did go on the tour out of respect for her and complimented her highly then told her to take it easy for a week or so. Of course she didn't, given her Type A personality.

When does your tour take place?
July 13th-14th
I'll skip the bender but I have been spending an awful lot of time weeding, dividing and replacing lost plants for I'd say on the average of about 3-4 hours a day. About all the ole bod can handle these days. The very reason I haven't been spending much time posting photos.
Between that, researching cameras and trips my plate has been "real" full.

I just found a test online to see if I fit under the class A personality. Yes indeed, I'm right up there. I'm not much of a talker but I'm certainly a go get em done kind of gal. Always on the go go go go go I've always enjoyed a bit of a good challenge in whatever it is I do but I find myself to be too much of a perfectionist.
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