Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In between rains

A deluge ended last week and another one is expected to begin late tonight but the weather this past week has been fantastic. I think everyone is hoping that the nasty snow and ice business is behind us. The mornings always start out cold here - a wet cold - uncomfortable enough that I put on a thermal undershirt. Around noon, however, I am shedding that as temperatures have been approaching the upper 50s. It has been beautifully sunny too. 

I have been out in the garden - planting, pruning and building. Although there has been lots of rain, our soil drains so well that it never feels wet or soggy. 

A few weeks ago, I finished this project - an arbor to cover our garbage and recycling bins. Of course, I have an ulterior motive for it - climbing plants! I have planted clematis 'Bill McKenzie' to grow over it and will maybe mix in another clematis or a rose. I still may add doors to this if I can figure out a way to do it.



I also planted Canadian hemlock 'Emerald Fountain' (Tsuga canadensis 'Monler') on one side.


I finally got a row of Arborvitae 'Smaragd' planted on the west side of the house. This is a strip that is only about 6 feet wide. We wanted something to provide some shade in the summer and help cool the house. Do you see the strange limb hanging from the mature arbovitae in the background? That is from the snow storm a few weeks ago.


Less gardening space means finding plants that stay narrow. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Green Arrow' is a recent find.

 

It seems that everything I planted last year needs to be moved. I am constantly questioning where plants should go. It never ends. It is also rose pruning time.


Now it is on to one of my bigger projects - landscaping the hillside in back of the house.  Right now it doesn't look like much but the final vision in my head features terraced beds, steps and maybe even a rock wall at the top. I am desperate for some division and garden rooms. Right now, everything just runs together.


I started digging steps today. This is scary but exciting work. I do not have a knack for this type of thing and I am not precise enough to do it the way a professional would. Just trying to figure out what type of rock to use drives me nuts. I told Michael that maybe I should just hire a professional designer to help me with this and he said I was crazy. So, now I am ready to work and the rains begin again. Fun!



Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

15 comments:

  1. Your trash bins have the most elegant enclosure to hide in. I can just imagine all the vines and blooms showing up on it. Yes, I see that limb sticking out. I hope it rights itself. You have certainly been inspired after being closed in due to weather. I don't blame you for being a little intimidated by digging those steps. That is quite a job. It sure will be nice to have those steps as a garden feature though. Knowing you I know it will be beautiful when you get finished with it. Good luck. I can't wait to see what kind of stone you use.

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  2. Bless you for hiding your trash/recycling cans, I wish my neighbors would! As for your projects and the rain...that's the hardest part of spring for me. Working around the rain...

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  3. That 'Green Arrow' Alaska cedar is a great plant! I have four that I planted when we first moved here 8 years ago, and they've grown really well. They're wonderfully drought-tolerant once established, and they'll handle any future snow and ice well too. I just planted another one this past fall.

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    1. How wide are yours? I read various quotes, from 2 - 5 ft. I am hoping for 2!

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  4. On the bright side, it's so much easier to dig sod when it's damp. Really like your bin enclosure!

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  5. Luv the bin enclosure / clematis trellis ;) And bravo for digging the steps out yourself. Despite the mud, this is a great time to dig and get projects done. Prepare for a soggy March..but then we should get out of our winter dole-drums.

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  6. Great job on the bin arbor, and it will look even better with a clematis or two on it.
    The hedge behind it looks really good too. What is that shrub?

    Garden rooms, good idea. I think they make a garden so much more interesting. Too open lacks all mystery.



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    1. That is an English Laurel hedge that was already here when we moved in. It is a nice hedge but it is immense so it is going to require occassional pruning. I have been amazed at the birds it attracts.

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  7. This weather has been amazing. After the snow and ice, I don't even mind the rain so much. Still, it is nicer to garden when it isn't raining. Sounds like you have exciting plans for your garden this year. Looking forward to seeing it progress!

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  8. It's so much fun to see your garden take shape. I still move things too sometimes although now I'm really out of room. A tree, a deodar, died the other day, and I'm sad/glad. That way I can put something easier there. ~~Dee

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  9. A) Your arbor / trash can enclosure is amazing. Great job!

    B) "Well-drained soil"? What is this magical stuff of which you speak? :D

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  10. Lovely enclosure for the containers. I enjoy seeing more conifers being used in your garden: aren't they great? There is a size color and shape for every occasion.
    Doing hardscape in the back garden must be a mix of excitement and anxiety. Rock selection can be daunting. Marenakos supplies all things stone to the NWFG show. I recommend a trip to their quarry; it's amazing. http://www.marenakos.com/main.html

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  11. I'm glad your snowy weather seems to be ending. I did have a thought about your arbor. What about putting up a roll-up bamboo screen of some type till you figure out how to make a door? Just a thought!

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    1. I had not thought of that Robin. That is a very good idea!

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  12. We went on a search for 'Green Arrow' after our first visit to the Oregon Garden. Thought they looked like a circle of Druids in the conifer garden. They were much harder to find back then. Ours is about ten years old with a 6' wingspan.

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