Friday, June 18, 2010

Rock Garden Rennovation & More

Blogging and studio work ground to a near halt this Spring when my focus moved outdoors.  My rock garden has been a work in progress since our initial residence began 24 years ago.  Seven adult birch trees created a mass of surface roots with pretty much just the trunks in view from our windows.  Leafing and subsequent aphid infestation resided higher up, contributing to a sticky thin lawn with an abundance of leaves to rake in the Fall.  A few years ago, when the European Bird Chokecherry seedling grew to admirable size, we hired licensed arborist's to remove the birch and let the stumps rot naturally to avoid destroying existing perennials in that space.  The Chokecherry, even post pruning, created a need to eliminate a large rock garden along the adjacent fence line where sun loving perennials, bushes and lawn were struggling to thrive in the shade.  We recycled that rock to border the dog pen fence and used the rest for this garden.

This Spring the stumps disintegrated enough to chop out the remaining trunks just below plant level.  Alas, I could rework some of the rock border and tier it for additional soil since not much was growing but weeds up to this point.  After several hot 8 hour days of major physical exertion (those boulders are heavy and awkward to say the least),  I mixed in three large bags of enriched garden soil to the improved areas.  Ahhhhh...  Plants can grow well here.

Nine Siberian Iris located on the lower tier needed dividing.  Primed for less maintenance and more visual interest, I replaced the Iris with six Goldflame Spirea which I adore for their ever changing foliage colors and small pink flower clusters.  Although small now, they will mature to 3-4' tall.  Several neighbors were pleased to adopt my Iris into their landscaping.  Win Win for all.  Our Alaska State flower is the perennial Forget-Me-Not, which is a low maintenance spreading re-seeder,  and delicately sweet in appearance.  As a Master Gardener, I shock some purists when I tell them I use silk flowers to fulfill my instant color demands.  I remove them when other plants have matured during the growing season but I must have color NOW.  Life is short!

The bottom section of this brick bed is home to perennial Asiatic and Stargazer lilies and Blue Himalayan Poppy.  Experimenting with colorful annuals each year allows me to determine what colors look and grow best in this location.  This year giant yellow marigolds, mixed straw flowers and cosmos are thriving and should look spectacular in another month.  The upper level on the inside gated area houses my Primrose garden.
My Primrose Garden is showing off last years first season survivors -- minus the lime green Creeping Jenny and Carmine Cosmos I just added this Spring.  A new Primrose enthusiast, I will have to add new varieties and colors to this successful section of my shaded side of the house.
The dog pen serves as an unlikely but useful area for my 'veggie container garden'.  Southern sun exposure, close to the back door within easy reach and high enough to keep the dogs out of it, I've had growing success the past few years trying my hand at something other than flowers.  Here you see chives that wintered over, sugar snap peas, zucchini, red cabbage and cauliflower.  Early Girl tomatoes are being tried for my first time in Topsy Turvy containers.  I have blossoms!  I'm experimenting more each year on combining flowers, herbs and edibles in beds and containers in hopes of making the most of existing growing areas without creating an entirely new vegetable garden.  So far so good.
and More...


  1. What are those blue blue flowers? They look like poppies?? Cozy place Judy. Carol

  2. Hi Carol - the blue flowers are Himalayan Blue Poppies (Meconopsis Betonicifolia). Google it for loads of info. and photos. I'm sure it would grow well in Idaho too. The blue is such a lovely addition to the garden. My poppy is only 2 summers old - it will grow fuller. Thanks for visiting and your kind words. Judy

  3. Thanks. Just got back in town from a hot Alabama. I'm going to find those poppies!