I have been away from my writing space for ages! Alas, it seems everyone struggles with time management at some point in their life, and for the past year or so, that was me! I do have a reasonable excuse though, as I was taking an online course to get my diploma in copywriting, which took up a lot of my time (in an already busy schedule). But that’s no excuse to neglect this blog! So, like the Spring, I have returned. However, even as I type this, there are flurries blustering outside my window…
Regardless of the current weather, the vernal equinox is next week, and I thought it might be appropriate to share some ideas I’ve been brewing over this past winter for my garden, as I work on my latest writing: a descriptive analysis of the Allegheny Arsenal disaster of September 17, 1862.
I am truly lucky to have a couple of places where I can naturally create a garden, as well as cultivating others in pots. But I do have a lot of shade to consider, not only from the large (and small) trees on our property and our neighbor’s, but also the shade created by the angle of our house. And with the shifting nature of sunlight from Spring to Fall, this means we want to grow plants that are tolerant of sun and shade, and generally not too picky.
Starting at the garden in the front of our house, we have 3 large-ish yew trees. Under 2 of them we have soil where when we arrived, there are daffodils and tulip bulbs already planted. I have no intention of getting rid of those, just adding to them! I purchased some more tulips, some snow drops and Spanish blue bells 2 years ago, but due to the warm winter we had last year, they sprouted but were killed off in a late frost. Last year we purchased cat mint, to attract bees and butterflies and to add some color to our front garden. These really did well and I think I’ll purchase some more to round out where the garden turns to the side of the house and goes up to our rose bush arbor. They come back every year and just look and smell fantastic.
Our back garden is a shade garden. There are huge ash trees that tower over our house as well as an oak tree where previous owners built a wall and added some soil. In the back portion we put ostrich ferns, and they have done wonderfully. They love the shade and if you keep them moist, they’re happy and spread easily. I plan to add a couple more ferns and then just let them grow out. In front of the oak there are a couple hostas and some spring daffodils and tulips. In addition to that, I’d like to add some more small hostas in the front, then some wild geraniums (native to PA! I’ll have to do another blog post on planting native plants. I learned a lot from the Master Gardener program at Penn State) in between and in the back some tall astilbes. Voila! A shady yet colorful garden.
Next spring, I have 1 more garden I’d like to create. We have a decorative fence that runs along a wall on the other side of our house. In between is just grass/weeds that need to be mowed. I was thinking we could till and break up the current soil and plants, add some top soil, compost and fertilizer, and create a whole other garden! Like most of our property, we need plants that can deal with partial/full sun to full shade. For most of the summer a dogwood extends over about half of this area. As summer turns to fall, the shade envelopes most of it for at least the main part of the day. Again I’m aiming to showcase some beautiful native plants, like foamflower, aster and lobelia.
I have aims to also start some herbs in containers this year, for decanting tinctures and oils. I’m putting them in pots because not only do some grow too quickly, but most require full sun. That way, I can move the pots as the Earth turns thru the seasons.