A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Entry Garden Disaster

As you may recall, in June I was very excited to be creating my first new garden in almost a decade. It was supposed to be an "Entry Garden". It was supposed to make a statement along the lines of: "Welcome to my house, I'm a gardener, can you tell?". I dug out a large crescent from my driveway, along my walk, to my doorstep. I inserted a rosebush, a few perennials I had collected from other gardens and whole lot of annual seeds. It wasn't terribly impressive when I finished:

But I wasn't concerned. The rosebush was going to grow and spread, the perennials were going to get huge and all those seeds were going to sprout and practically crowd everything else out. I knew it would take a while. After a month it still didn't look like much:

I spread the seedlings out so they would have plenty of room to grow, but after six weeks, the effect was definitely low-impact:

The two month mark looked a bit more hopeful:

Three months went by. September 1. Definitely underwhelming.

Even the asters blooming two weeks later was no help:

My garden was a dud! In full view of the entire neighborhood, no less. No hiding this disaster in the backyard. Oh, I know what you're thinking. "It's shady, you dumbass". Only early in the morning. I take my camera with me when I dump my coffee grounds in the composter after breakfast. I make a tour of my gardens and take pictures. My front yard gets sun all afternoon. If you'll bear with me, you'll see what it looks like in the afternoon.

This is my week to take time off from work to plant all my bulbs. I'm also enlarging all my beds. All of the annuals except the bachelor buttons and marigolds were ripped out, the bed enlarged and almost 100 bulbs were planted. Snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, tulips and lilies. Also my Phlomis tuberosa and a Grosso lavender from my herb bed at Davidson Mill Pond Park. The Provence lavender didn't make it. It got shaded out. I'll just order one in the spring. I also have my eye on a white lavender. I'll also be adding poppies in the spring. This is what it looks like right now:

It's kind of weedy. I'm leaving it that way to help hold the soil. It sits on a slope. The ends are squared off temporarily. In the spring, I will finish extending it around the sidewalk (top of the picture) and then dig out a circle at the bottom for a rosebush.

I'm leaning towards Terese Bugnet. I want a rose that blooms all summer. I know Kasmira has been please with hers. I would welcome her comments on this rose and if she thinks it could be trained as a pillar rose.

Now I just have to wait for spring. In the meantime, I have to somehow keep the squirrels from digging up all my bulbs. I'm sure my neighbors are quite relieved that they no longer have to look at my scraggly excuse for a garden. Or are they horrified that it is getting bigger?


At 11:02 PM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

Oh no - I'm having a flashback to the nineties! I made a long entry garden too, a swath along the inside of the drive and the curved sidewalk. The garden did become wonderful, but not that first year. My brother-in-law saw it in early summer, and sympathetically inquired whether we'd been having sewer problems.

Wait 'til next year, OldRoses!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous A said...

The basic design looks good, but it just didn't fill out for some reason....
Oh, could you please explain about Green Thumb Sunday?

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Beautiful gardens take time. I'm sure it will look better and better as time passes.

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Kasmira said...

I don't know much about training roses, but I think you could train Terese as a pillar rose. Be sure to buy a very tall support. My Terese is at least 8 feet tall (even after whacking it back to less than 3 feet in early spring). The canes are pretty flexible so I think you could tie it up. In fact, I would recommend that you tie it up because flexible can also equal floppy and you wouldn't want those very thorny canes to brush against people who walked up to your house!

My Terese didn't bloom as long this year, but I think that was because I didn't fertilize enough. It is mostly pest free. No aphids. Sometimes a shoot will wither and die for no reason I can detect, but I never miss it after I trim it out.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Annie, that is too funny! I actually DID have sewer problems. Just not this year.

A, Green Thumb Sunday is a meme started by a blogger. If you click on the word "join", it takes you to the page explaining what it is and how to join. Or you can just click here.

Karen, I agree. It usually takes about three years for a garden to really settle in and look good.

Kasmira, thanks for the great info. The rose sellers never tell you the good stuff like that!

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Leslie said...

Well, the year we had sewer problems and I had to pot up everything (daylilies, miniature roses, geraniums, lavender) for a week so it could be redone and then put all the plants back we ended up with everything doing better than ever. I don't really want to think about why...

At 6:48 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

Good things take time! I have a hedge I planted about three years ago that is struggling to look like a hedge. I figure that lots of compost, regular watering and a lot of hope does the trick!

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Colleen said...

I love what you said about not being able to hide it in the backyard...I put an island bed in my front yard a few weeks ago, kidney-shaped, with plants meant to attract finches (coneflowers, rudbeckia, viburnums, etc) and all I kept thinking was....what if this really, really looks terrible? My other mistakes I can hide, but not this one! So far, it's not looking too bad, but I think it needs to be bigger.

I'm sure yours will look beautiful!

At 12:49 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Leslie, you were fortunate. When I had sewer problems, they dug up my entire front yard!

Tim, thanks for the encouragement.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Colleen, even if your garden doesn't turn out the way you envision, the finches will be a real asset. I just love their songs, don't you?

At 5:19 AM, Blogger Charles Prendergast said...

I completely feel your pain! My garden was a horrible mess for about two years after I moved in... weeds... bare patches on the lawn... you name it! The thing that really made a difference was when I finally got around to laying some new turf. All the effort I put into the borders and stuff didn't make a difference because all people were seeing was the lawn! Anyway - look forward to seeing how things have progressed since you wrote this


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