Here’s some fun before & afters to look at. I won’t bore you with words- as they say, ” A picture’s worth…”
For the past year I’ve been working on a really wonderful project. It’s a beautiful spot right on a cliff above the ocean. The weather is pretty extreme, so plant selection has been tricky, to say the least! I’m doing a fairly good job at taking lots of pictures, which is not always my strong point. Here’s just a little taste…
Just after planting(with some rare sun!):
6 months After:
More on this project in the future!
Yes, I know one can buy ladybugs, lacewings, earthworms and the like from hundreds of different catalogues and websites, but seeing a tub of them in the store got me to thinking.
I was standing in line at my local Ace Hardware store, looking at the display near the register of ladybugs and earthworms, and thought, “Have we come to this? Our soil is so dead that we have to buy worms and put them in the ground?? Right after that, I thought that even if your soil wasn’t void of all life, if you were starting a compost pile that tub of worms just might come in handy…
After listening to my ranty ramblings, my husband had a little fun with me and I found this in my compost bin!
But seriously, when we use pesticides to kill garden pests, the good guys go away too! When I dig in my garden, in which I don’t ever use pesticides, I’m constantly trying to not decapitate (which end is the head??) all the worms that turn up. I’m always reminded of that movie, Seven Years in Tibet, where they relocate each and every worm discovered during a construction project. I’m afraid I’m not that patient or diligent and once in a while I think I get one. (and no, it’s not true that each piece can continue to live- if you chop a worm in half, it dies)
So, if your soil could use some life, go ahead and purchase a tub or two of worms at our friendly, local hardware store, but make sure you don’t use anything in your garden that could kill them- and if you’re lucky enough to have lots of worms in residence, yay for you…. just watch that shovel!
Most of my work is for private homes, though a small percentage of my clients are small businesses. I rarely do large large commercial designs, but a couple of years ago I designed the plantings for a large apartment complex in Silicon Valley. The property manager already had his construction crew and he wanted me to draw up a design and planting plan for all the non-paved areas. I also was hired as creative consultant to supervise the installation of it all. It was a new level of landscape design for me. I almost turned the job down because, “I don’t do that.” But there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years- if I feel like something is over my head or out of my league, and my first impulse is to say no… I don’t. I think on it and get others’ opinions. I’m glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and said yes to this one.
This is a bridge separating the two parking lots. I had them terrace the slopes on both sides and build the arbor above. I chose Wisteria and Lonicera (Honeysuckle) to climb on the arbor and planted the terraces with a variety of shrubs- including Loropetalum, Lantana, Cistus, Rosemary and Salvia. All work horses of the plant world- chosen for there good behavior!
A long shot:
…a little closer:
…and a close up of the other side:
Here’s proof that I don’t make others do all the labor! I actually really love building small walls, paths, patios, etc. myself. This was a fun project for an intimate courtyard right off a master bedroom. I had fun tucking tiny Sedums into the nooks. One side of the fence surrounding this garden is glass, allowing for a breathtaking view of the ocean.
Once the plants grow in, I think this will look quite nice!
Every late May/early June I have a garden party to share with my friends and family the abundance of blooms in my garden. It’s so floriferous at that time of year that if would be just plain selfish of me not to share! I recently came across some pictures from last year’s bash- where we served the best mint juleps ever!- and thought I would belatedly share with y’all.
Here’s the delightful Josie, sniffing the Italian parsley:
Judy and Leslie enjoy a chat amongst the heady blooms of Rosas ‘Buff Beauty’, ‘Lilian Austin’ and ‘Tamora’:
Taking a break from the crowd,
in the midst of clouds of Nicotiana mutabilis and Penstemon ‘Garnet’ (among others!).
If they sit still enough, a hummingbird is bound to come by!
Peeking out from the bed of roses is Rosa ‘Fantin Latour’,
bordered by peppermint scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosa), already-bloomed Bearded Iris and Nepeta fasanii ‘Six Hills Giant’.
They look like they’re enjoying the aromatherapy…
It was a perfect day
to wear a hat,
talk with friends,
sip a mint julep,
smell the flowers
and relax in the garden!