Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nice Driveway

Nostrovia or na zdrowie, misinterpreted by some ears as "nice driveway", is a polish cheer to your health. This is how I came to name the bed I created along my driveway. (This is also now, humorously, a toast we frequently use among friends and family.) The driveway area between us and our neighbor is the third area I focused on in creating my garden. This post is a time line of this area of my garden from the very beginning until now. The bird & butterfly garden being the first and the potager (kitchen garden), being the second. Our property actually goes right to the very edge of our neighbor's house, but we left a pathway to be, well, neighborly. From this "before" picture, you might guess as to why I created this bed. It is wide open – hello neighbor, what are we grilling this evening?

You can see our back deck railing in the very foreground of the above picture in the spring of 2009. This picture also shows the very beginning of the bed – dirt. Those boards are actually covering fence post holes for a trellis that my favorite contractor built (once again, amazing husband), to add some privacy between us and our neighbors. My instructions were simply to build a trellis as high as zoning laws would allow. Here's his design:

I'm glad I left it up to him. He did a beautiful job. Here is the bed planted by late summer of 2009.

The vine on the trellis is morning glory 'Heavenly Blue.' In this bed I've planted an arborvitae 'Emerald Green,' and a ninebark 'Coppertina.' Below is the bed in early spring of 2010.

I extended the bed further down the drive and planted a second arborvitae. In the space between the arborvitaes I planted rudbeckia maxima, indian grass and solidago 'fireworks.' They filled in quite nicely their first year. I cannot wait for the indian grass and rudbeckia to grow to their full heights.

I also have liatris, coreopsis varieties, achilia 'Coronation Gold, obedient plant and meadow sage 'May Night' planted in this space. The soil is well drained and I think of this area of my garden as my "mini prairie." The sunflowers are a temporary screen until the arborvitaes grow in. I also have a dutchman's pipe vine growing along the trellis. This will be its third year, and if it doesn't take off I think I will need to move it. The soil may be too dry here. I've been planting annual vines temporarily hoping the dutchman's pipe vine will begin to take over. This year I will plant purple hyacinth bean.

I did add a clematis, 'Comtesse de Bouchard' thinking it would be pretty weaving in and out of the dutchman's pipe. Last year moonflower also did well on the trellis. Helenium and indian grass were great fall focals. I was surprised the indian grass bloomed its first year.

Last summer 2010, above. The bed is filling in nicely. Now we have a nice privacy buffer instead of a barren strip of grass. But that's not all, this bed attracted many pollinators last summer and every day I was able to take time to look, I was rewarded.

This year I will extend the bed further down to the sidewalk and add a third arborvitae. I haven't planned the rest but hope to keep this post updated with my progress. Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making.


  1. I've loved seeing your posts of the transformation of your gardens! Your husband did a beautiful job with the trellis and you did an amazing job with the plantings.

  2. Beautiful job, and a fantastic garden in a relatively small space! You'll love the hyacinth bean vine by the way. I actually prefer annual vines since I can change them out each year if I want to.

  3. Fantastic the trellis!!

  4. What a great trellis and solution for both you and your neighbor! I hope they have thanked you too! Quite the transformation. You have given them and your wildlife a wonderful gift. I am sure you are an inspiration to your neighbors.

  5. Oh Violet Fern! I meant to add . . . Nostrovia!

  6. I remember admiring this beautiful trellis when your favorite contractor installed it; it was delightful to see what has been happening in this part of your garden since. -Jean

  7. Gorgeous...everything looks fabulous and I cannot wait to see exciting..wonderful! Beautiful flower photos..pure eye candy!

  8. Nice driveway, indeed! You have done an excellent job of developing a privacy screen which is a great benefit for you and the pollinators, and I bet your neighbors like it as well! I really like your selection of plants. I have grown purple hyacinth bean, and it is a lovely but very vigorous vine. Good luck in your 2011 garden!

  9. hi tvf, this is a wonderfully inspiring and interesting post. you started with a vision and gradually and skilfully achieved it and in a relatively short time. good on you. cheers, cm


Thank you for joining me in my garden in the making!

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