This was my view from the back of the house our first Spring of 2008. The fence marks our property line. This is the fourth area of the garden I focused on.
I wanted to create a sort of hedgerow along the entire fence line. The first tree I planted was a blue spruce in the Fall of 2008.
I also planted two shrubs: a Cardinal Dogwood and an Oakleaf Hydrangea 'Alice' in the Spring of 2009. Here they are in the Fall of 2009 wrapped in chicken wire to deter rabbits over the winter, barely visible.
In 2009 I also got rid of a patch of grass next to the house between the deck and fence that was just not worth mowing. I added a trellis and Prairie Rose.
On Arbor Day, 2010, I planted a second tree, a Serviceberry, Amelanchier Laevis.
Later that Spring of 2010 things really began to happen. We lopped off the top half of a neighboring Box Elder that was leaning precariously over our house. I kept all the wood.
I began making a large bed along the entire fence line by laying down newspapers and the chipped wood/mulch.
By the end of the season I had completed the new bed, incorporating the Serviceberry and ending all the way to the shed. I decided it was more than a hedgerow, it would be the Woodland Edge.
In the Spring of 2011 I had to do some back tracking as we decided to add a screened in porch to replace the existing deck. Before demo began, all the plants I had planted around the deck were moved and dispersed throughout the new larger bed and other areas of the garden. The Prairie Rose was protected so it could continue to grow along the fence where it was. You can see how much it has grown looking through the interior of the porch in the third picture down.
I ordered, by mail, quite a few native plants for the new Woodland Edge to also arrive Spring of 2011. It was a busy Spring, but now we have this beautiful screened in porch with a view of the gardens, especially the Woodland Edge. I hope to sit here and observe and write about the garden.
Just as we finished the main construction of the porch, our neighbors decided to cut down the remainder of the Box Elder. This left us feeling a bit naked even though the Cardinal Dogwood is now taller than I. It should really fill in with the extra sun, but we needed a quick fix and added a bamboo screen. This was also an opportunity to plant another evergreen, year round screen. I chose a Fernspray Cypress though not native. It will mature to a height of 8-10' and spread 4', perfect for this spot. I also built another trellis which will support native Clematis Virginiana. Though not as private now, I like how this area cleaned up.
The Woodland Edge is beginning to take shape over the Summer of 2010. The Cardinal Dogwood really took off. Alice, the Oakleaf Hydrangea has been moved twice to accommodate the tree cutting, then porch construction. Maybe left alone, she too, will take off next year. A Witchhazel is one of the plants moved from the old deck area further out into the bed. Trees and shrubs planted in the new Woodland Edge Spring of 2011 include a Red Maple, Pagoda Dogwood, two Spicebush, three Winterberry cultivars and an Azalea.
Instead of a chain link fence, we how have a green border along our property. Virginia Creeper and Wild Grapes are encouraged to devour the fence. The Box Elder lives on in nursery logs and ornamental tree stumps. Ferns unfurl. Grasses and perennials catch the wind. The Woodland Edge is alive. Just to prove it a family of chipmunks moved in under the shed.
|Clockwise from upper left: Ostrich Fern, Flowering Raspberry, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger|
I look forward to Spring 2012 to see how bulbs I planted in the Fall turn up. The bamboo screen is really growing on me and I plan to extend it along most of the fence line in 2012.
Plant List for the Woodland Edge
by Common Name:
Witchhazel, Common (our native Hammamelis virginiana)