The last of the garden spaces to be completed is sitting out at the south end of the garden. A narrow East-West strip of grass with a significant North-South swale along its Western edge. It is bordered by hedges on its North and South sides. It has a rickety, homemade wattle fence along its West side. It is home to one River Birch tree and a bunch of weedy ‘grass’.
You can appreciate the swale best in the top photo, but the bare patches in the grass on the lower photo basically mark the high ground. The swale section is about 20′ deep to the top of the level ground and 33′ along the wattle fence. Its a good size space for a garden, though not really enough to include a big sitting space or feature and I don’t honestly think we need one here. Whatever visions I’ve had for this space have always included loads of shrubs and possibly another small tree.
This space has had this exact same lay out (or lack thereof) for 3 years now. The birch tree and wattle fence went in the fall before the hedges. I haven’t been able to come up with a proper inspiration for it yet- despite many, many attempts. Nothing has ever felt right. Nothing inspired or excited me. Just a load of half-baked, lukewarm ideas.
But alas! Princess Eugenie went and got married and gave me all the inspiration I never knew I needed:
(all images from Express.co.uk)
Obviously, it is well timed what with it actually being Fall and these incredible floral displays being so fall-oriented. You see, whenever I sit down to type, my desk overlooks the garden, and Autumn is never as exhilarating or interesting as I’d like it to be. Focusing on a Fall display for this space would break up the garden’s timeline and make this space both unique and special. It also gives it a clear identity and mission.
Why it will work:
- This idea relies on tree and shrub foliage heavily, which is exactly what I wanted the bulk of the bed to be comprised of.
- The wattle fence makes this a particularly double-sided bed as no hedge will ever obscure the view from the driveway or hillside. This will allow me to use another statement tree and place the tall perennials in the middle of the bed for maximum impact on both sides.
- The area in question is easily visible from the main windows of our living spaces, this plan will allow us to soak in the Fall display from nearly everywhere while the rest of the garden is fading back.
Why I’m excited:
- The color story is distinctly autumnal while still being romantic, interesting, bold, and joyful. I’ve struggled mightily with a color-story for this space and this is it. Love at first sight.
- This ‘smaller’ space will allow me to experiment with things that are a challenge for me, such as roses (which will need to be swaddled in mid-summer to keep the Rose Chafer Beetles away) and statement Dahlias (not too many to make digging them up a burden). They will be localized for easier tending and just a few of these will make a massive impact, making the extra work worth it.
- The inspiration photos are staged in a way that is very translatable to our space, the ideas started flowing the literal instant I saw them.
The plan will be to get together a plant list along with sources. I know I can’t get everything I will need from my local nurseries so I’ll have to research online resources. I’ll need to make a landscaping plan and figure out how to tackle the steeper side of the swale be it with rocks or stairs or something else. We will have to decide if we want to sod the level area or try re-seeding it after the weeds are cut off. This also means another appointment with the sod cutter and all the back-breaking labor it will entail.
The project will be a big one, bu tt feels quite good to finally have a plan for this space. It means we can move forward, get it done next year (hopefully), and then work towards possibly hosting an Open Garden visit!
I would love to hear your ideas or plant suggestions if something pops to mind- many minds are better than one!