Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inventory in our new garden

First of all, the garden was full of roses, roses, roses. Our predecessor was a rose enthusiast and collected old varieties. But I soon decided to get rid of some of them to make room for a little more lawn and for some other perennials and shrubs I want to have. But some of the roses are indeed beautiful and I'll be trying to learn how to tend them. Here an impression, still blooming late in September (click to enlarge any photo).

Near the patio the garden has a gorgeous stand of zebra grass (Miscanthus zebrinus strictus), which has now formed feathery tassels, something it only does if it feels very happy.

The garden also has remnants of a traditional farmer's garden, bordered by boxwood. My most ambitious first plan is to reinstate and enlarge this by planting a geometrical pattern of low boxwood hedges to enclose flower, herb and vegetable beds. This tradition is still alive in cloister gardens and also in gardens in rural areas of Europe. See links at end of post.

Here are the boxwoods still in the garden. In the background you can see the various compost containers, more on that in another post. Between and behind the boxwoods are many perennials. In the foreground were vegetable beds of wax beans, tomatoes, zucchini, celeriac, peppers, chives, garlic, lovage. Much of this I've already cleared out to plant green manure (lupins) in preparation for enlarging the boxwood enclosure.

One perk of being in a gardening colony is that you're likely to have wonderful gardeners as neighbors. One of my neighbors has gorgeous asters and dahlias right along the border to my garden, and they delight me everyday. The asters especially attract bees and the whole area hums!

Along the borders and in two patches our garden has a wealth of perennials. Since we acquired the garden in the late summer, we won't know exactly what we have until spring. Can't wait. But a few treasures are late bloomers, here are some impressions:

Two other great features of the garden are the row of espalier fruit trees, apples and pears along one border, and the blackberry vines enclosing the perennial bed next to the cottage. Here you see my husband cutting back the blackberries for the winter, and a view of the espalier trees behind my daughter, who is busy planting pillow asters (Aster dumosus).

Here are some links to the kind of geometrical farmer's garden I want to create, albeit on a more modest level.

English knot garden
kitchen garden blog
picture of German Bauerngarten


  1. I love the location! It's great that Margo and Franz (and Martin?) enjoy it, too. Just in time for your retirement, too. Love,

  2. Babara, I like this ready-made garden. It is filled with plants, flowers and roses, Wow!