Saturday, May 23, 2009

Got Your Ducks in a Row?

Or, as the case may be, Goslings... :-)

As I was driving towards the home of friends, I noticed Papa and Mama queuing across the above field towards the road. I hurriedly turned around to take a photo. By the time I'd positioned my car along the road, Papa and Mama had changed their mind about the direction they were heading, regrouped, and began their return trek across the field.

All this is to say, when you make up your mind to do a special project, don't let anything dissuade you. But DO get your "ducks in a row!" ;-)

The Project!

Last Winter, friends and I were visiting about their spacious side yard. I must mention that this young couple purchased their home a few years ago and immediately began making Major Improvements! Those we notice as we drive by have been wonderful. However, I felt they were in need of a little landscaping -- and so did they. Not only are they a young couple with two little children, ages 5 and nearly 3, who have limited time for outdoor projects, they admitted to knowing nothing about gardening.

Up steps "Shady Gardener" (who loves gardening in the sun, too)! Before they knew it... I'd drawn up plans!

These three photos represent what I originally presented as a possible three-year plan. "Of course," I said, "we can condense this into a two- or one-year plan..."

Little did I know it, but J and S were Quite Ready for action!
:-) (My kind of people!)

So, I presented them with the plans one evening after school (she teaches 4th grade and he is the technology director, both in our local school system) in early April. We mapped out the plot with garden hose. He (J) killed the grass, and after a couple of weeks, we unloaded and spread a big pickup load of nice, composted dirt on part of the garden bed. (Some of the grass hadn't died, and needed a little more persuasion.) He then tilled the entire garden bed Wednesday evening.

One's perspective can be deceiving, so I've included three photos to better show the size of the garden.

I'd made plant recommendations as well as an on-line nursery. The order was made with four plants (2 grasses - Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster' and Miscanthis purpurascens - a butterfly bush "Adonis Blue," and Nepeta - Catmint - 'Walker's Low'). The nursery included a free 'Prairie Fire' daylily with the order. Of course, I'd ordered a little from the same company and received a free daylily of my own - which I donated to the cause.

I dub the entire yesterday, Thursday, May 21, as Terrific Thursday! J picked up 20 forty-pound bags of compost/manure, tilled at least half into the rest of the garden bed... and the rest is now "history!" We planted the entire bed!! At one time, we made a quick foray into town to look at a couple of different bushes (one of which will eventually be planted at the SW corner of the house) and purchase three or four more plants.

This is the adjusted plan. Many of my own plants were easily divided, so I was able to add quite a few from my gardens. (WE know the cost of plants, and that could easily have deterred the completion of the project... or at least forced it into a three-year plan!)

What did we plant? Hold on to your hats!

Grasses: 'Karl Foerster' and 'Miscanthes Purpurscens' (1 each)

Iris: Siberian Iris 'Caesar's Brother' (1)
Bearded Iris - White - cultivar unknown (1)

Nepata, Catmint, 'Walker's Low' (1)

Buddleia, Butterfly Bush, 'Adonis Blue' (1)

Sedum: 'Autumn Joy,' 'Purple Emperor,'Matrona,' and 'Neon Lights' (1 each)

Achillea, Yarrow(1) - yellow blossoms, variety unknown

Liatris spicata (6 plants), also known as Blazing Star or Gayfeather

Phlox, 'David' (1 clump) and unknown variety with lavender blossoms (1)

Coreopsis, 'Moonbeam' threadleaf (2), and bright yellow, newly purchased variety (1). I forgot to note the name.

Gaillardia (1) a newly purchased variety. I forgot to note its name.

Hemerocalis, Daylily, 'Prairie Fire' (2), 'Fragrant Treasure' (1), and an unknown mid-season yellow variety(1).

Penstemon, 'Husker Red' (1 clump)

Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed (1)

Rudbekia, Black-eyed Susan (2 clumps)

Monarda, 'Jacob Cline' (1)

Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower (2 clumps)

Chelone Obliqua, 'Turtle head' (1 clump)

Peony, 'Sarah Bernhardt' (1)

Firetail Amplexicaulis Persicaria (1)

Five-year-old E planted Shasta Daisy seeds, so she owns a section of the garden.

JJ helped to plant Mommy's hydrangea they purchased for Mother's Day!

Can you guess what I've begun for the children?
Look out J!
Now you'll have to make the wire hangers!

Definitely not a shady subject,
Definitely a Sunny Garden with a Sunny Disposition!



RainGardener said...

Well what a great neighbor you are. The plans and list look great. Wanna come be my neighbor for a bit? ;-) I have so many spaces that need spiffed up, filled in and whatever.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

That's so nice of you to volunteer your services in helping your neighbors make a garden! Ducks do like to walk in a row, by the way. In the winter they made a path to my feeder from the creek, just like people do. Duck footprints are cool!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun to be able to draw out a garden space and voila there it is.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

How lucky are they to have a great neighbor like you. It's going to be beautiful and it looks like you planted lots of butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants. Can't wait to see how it looks as it grows.

Gail said...

What fun Shady to help a young family create a sunny border...a fantasy garden come tru for those of us who garden in the shade! gail

Rose said...

How lucky they are to have such a generous gardening neighbor like you! Of course, what gardener can resist the chance to create a new garden:) I'm sure they appreciated your help, and they will enjoy this garden for a long time to come.

Kathleen said...

Oh Shady, that is the sweetest thing ever that you volunteered your time, knowledge and energy to help out your neighbor. I wish I lived next to you! I'm sure it's going to be a beautiful garden by the list of everything you planted. They will appreciate it every year and never forget that wonderful act of kindness.

Sue said...

Isn't it fun to fill spaces? I have a flower patch across the street where I mostly put divisions from my yard.

Rosemary said...

What a wonderful gesture to help with the garden, satisfying for you to put your knowledge to use. Lucky neighbours.
They certainly have a great start with the variety of plants.

Will be interesting in seeing it grow.
Kudos to you!

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

Way to go Shady !!
SUN, what fun to make plans for a large sun garden.
Great pick of plants that should take care of themselves with little maintenance.

Shady Gardener said...

Raingardener, Sure! Just keep working on me! ha. ;-)

Hi Monica, You'd do the same!

Lisa, Nothing like having Great Help! I'm looking forward to see what it looks like now that the weekend is over (and we had a little rain today). We were out of town over the three-day weekend.

Catherine, You and me, both! I'm so excited to see how it grows!!

Gail, You're absolutely right. It was just as much fun as you might imagine! :-)

Hi Rose, It was a privilege to be able to help my friends. And it will be fun to watch their children become interested, too. I received my inspiration as a child.

Hi Kathleen! Just move on over here! :-) You'd do the same thing!

Hi Sue, How wonderful to have an extra bed. You'll have to post about your "nursery!"

Hi Rosemary, I'm excited to watch it grow, too! :-) They even have another couple of projects for the front of the house with which I hope they let me volunteer to step in, again!!

Hi Patsi!! It was fun! Plus, that's the way to garden, isn't it? A minimum maintenance on most plants with special areas that might take extra attention... :-)