Nice Driveway

Thank you for joining my garden in the making.

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 in the Spring of 2009.

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. This picture also shows the very beginning of the bed – dirt. Those boards in the dirt are actually covering fence post holes for a trellis that my favorite contractor (aka husband) built 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 was 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.'

Here 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 between the Arborvitaes. The soil is on the dry side, well drained and I think of this area of my garden as my "mini prairie." The Sunflowers made a fun screen that Summer of 2010.

Dutchman's pipe vine is growing along the trellis rather slowly. I think the soil is a bit drier than it prefers but it is making progress. I've been planting annual vines as well. In the late Summer of 2010 I added a clematis, 'Comtesse de Bouchard' thinking it would be pretty weaving in and out of the dutchman's pipe. Moonflower also bloomed along the trellis in the Summer of 2010. Helenium and Indian grass are great fall focals. I was surprised the Indian grass bloomed its first year planted.

Here is the drive in the Summer of 2010. The bed has filled in nicely. Now we have a nice privacy buffer instead of a barren strip of grass.

But that's not all, this bed attracts many pollinators and each day I have the time to look, I am rewarded.

Here is the drive in the Summer of 2011. Some changes that were made in 2011 include putting a backing on the beautiful trellis. It just wasn't private enough during the winter months. The Ninebark 'Coppertina' succumbed to mildew. I tried to treat it organically and then remembered why I planted a shrub in the first place – it was supposed to be low maintenance. I ripped it out. Weirdly, it produced a seedling offspring that has none of the 'Coppertina' color on its leaves but is doing very well and is mildew free. Added were a Low Grow Sumac, Ratibida Coneflower, Blanket Flower and a few bulbs. I had planned to extend the bed in 2011 but it just didn't happen.

The Coneflowers are growing taller. They really are striking in the morning light.

Poppies graced the Spring of 2011 for the first time. The Meadow Night Sage and Achillea Coronation Gold complimented one another as planned. Liatris also bloomed for the first time. Lastly Ratibida adds another interesting cone form.

Purple Hyacinth Bean grew annually along the trellis in the Summer of 2011. A beautiful vine visited by the hummingbirds and migrating Monarchs. It will be encouraged to grow again next year.

Plant List for the Nice Driveway
by Common Name:


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