The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

Spring in to . . . Summer

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We are well in to Spring now, finally!! By now most of us have cleaned up the garden,  put in some annuals, started our veggie gardens, and maybe even trimmed a bush or two.  If you haven’t had enough fun yet, you can now work on designs for that spot you’ve been eyeing since last Fall.

There’s more to designing your garden than deciding on what plants you want. Design includes pattern, color, and texture. Design can problem solve a trouble spot, like a dry area, a wet area, a “nothing ever grows there, because the dog won’t stop peeing there” area.

Here are photos of a friend’s front yard for whom I prepared a simple design last month.

BEFORE:  This garden has a slope and it had no functional drainage for water pouring out the downspouts. Slope + rain + no drainage = one big muddy mess. One side of the garden is sunny, the other not. Here’s what I came up with to solve these issues.

AFTER: The slope was graded and a dry stack wall was added. Flexible drain pipe was connected to the downspouts, buried under the new garden, with the end coming out through the new sod in front of the garden bed.  My friend wanted a minimalist type of garden, which for her meant not a garden full of flowers. Instead, we put in a Weeping Cherry at the sun/part shade end of the garden and 3 Dappled Willows at the sunny end of the garden. The Weeping Cherry blooms are pink in the Spring and the Dappled Willow leaves are pink and white in the summer. We put in Boxwoods, creating a nice contrast with the white brick. Finally we did add some perennials. Spring blooming phlox under the Weeping Cherry and soft silvery green Lambs Ear, which will bloom a fuzzy lavender in the heat of the summer. Over time, she will add annuals, but for now this is enough color for her.  The mulch is a little too light for my taste, but my friend chose cedar mulch because she is putting in cedar window boxes, which will be a soft contrast to the white brick and green Boxwoods.

THIS IS THE WEEPING CHERRY

Okay, maybe some times it is about the flowers, because these are so pretty.  These are the creeping phlox whose color matches the weeping willow beautifully.

I will update photos for you so you can watch this garden grow. To see the plat of the designs and additional photos, check out the R and J Landscape Design page attached to this blog.

Here is a photo of the spring flowering native Redbud tree at my cousin’s home. This is a garden I designed several years ago. My beautiful Cousin, Marti, put in creeping phlox about four years ago to match the bloom on her Redbud. I think the phlox around my friend’s Weeping Cherry will fill in just as nicely over the next couple of years.

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Just look at that!! It gives you all the good feels every single Spring. Garden Design Rocks!!!

Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

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