Dan and I have often tried to remember just how the idea of this garden came up. Dan was concerned with the large mound of debris that was the reminder of previous owners using this area as a fire pile. I thought it made a natural place for flowers that would be visible from the house, especially from my kitchen window. Regardless of how it started in our minds the project did take shape very quickly once we took the first steps.
The first step was to try to define the garden area and seperate it from what was the old driveway that serviced the machine shed and other building that had long since been removed. We used some salvage railroad ties given to us by a friend to make a perimeter for the garden.
We knew that since the mound of soil was mostly trash from previous owners burning in this spot that we needed to bring in lots of black dirt to produce a garden that would support flowers, Since our budget was severly restricted we started out with a small amount of dirt to fill up the areas as best we could. We did not have enough ties to create a full garden so we used a pile of limestone rocks that came out of the vegetable garden area, you can see these behid the flower garden.
The picture above shows the east end of the garden with the new plants. We planted several Arborvitaes (evergreen trees) thinking they would make a nice winter plant iin this area. Unfortunately we learned quickly that this fast growing tree looked out of place in a flower garden and we transplanted them before they got too big. Dan also wants me to point out the buildings you see in these images. You will see that the old shop building and the machine shed are as they were when we purchased the property.
I was a little reluctant to show this view of the garden but Dan convinced me that showing the rough lawn area that we were working with made a great contrast to the beauty of the new garden. We had so much work to do on this north lawn area to make it look presentable. This also shows the limestone border we used to seperate the garden from the lawn.
This garden took shape in the spring of 1992 and in the spring of 1993 we ordered several truck loads of black dirt to continue working on the garden and north lawn area. Since none of the plantings had been too established we were able to work around them and transplant some of them as we raised the bed several more inches. You can see Dan working on the dirt pile while I took a break to take this picture. We didn't keep track of our time but there was a lot of dirt for us to move to get the garden in the condition that would support more plantings.
We should also point out that in these images you can see that Dan had been busy tearing down 70 feet of the machine shed leaving a large concrete floor exposed. And believe it or not, there are two rows of Hybrid Poplar trees defining the north property line, but they were only 8" hight twigs at this point so don't show up at all. The other project that we worked on in 1993 was the rock garden in the center of the north lawn. Dan was using a back hoe that one of our neighbors loaned him for removing some of the concrete floor from the machine shed and used this to retrieve several large boulders from the neighbors rock pile. We did not take any pictures of this rock garden as we were constructing it but it will show up in the 1994 garden project images that follow.
In the spring of 1994 we started work on the house project but took time later on to work on the rock walks that connect the gardens and drive area. We used a lot of the soil from the house foundation area to fill in more of the mostly rock lawn area and used the left over river rock from the foundation to make these rock walks. We decided to define the walks using landscape timbers but later removed them since they warped so badly and were a pain to mow around.
In this final image you can see the rock garden constructed in 1993 as well as see how quickly the Hybrid Poplars started to show some growth. Of course at this stage they looked more like bushes than trees, but less than 10 years after they were plated they are over 40 foot tall and look very much like a tree. The small green clumps you see between the poplars and the garden areas are the spruce trees we planted in a 70' radius arc. Now 10 years later most of these trees are well over 10 foot tall, some of them are closer to 15 foot tall. In this picture we have a single row of them started, we later added a second row.
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