Spring Projects 2018.

Spring is the season of the big clean-up after winter. Weeks are spent cutting back perennials, dividing, transplanting plants, moving plants, shaping shrubs, edging paths, and weeding, Once the initial cleanup is done, I usually begin a few new garden projects which always puts me behind with the weeding. This year was no different. Below are a few of the new additions to the garden.

I have been admiring a bench on Pinterest and decided to copy it. The two benches are for a transition area that is just down from the pond and leads to a new shade garden behind the house. A landscaping friend put me in touch with a local sawmill and I was able to get these rough milled hemlock timbers which are 6’ x 8”x8” costing me $50.00 a bench. My wife helped me with the fine chiseling of the notches that fit the seat timbers into the legs. I like the simple design for its practicalness and it’s sculptural look. They will just get better with time and will eventually turn grey.

The other project we tacticled was the path that leads from the parking area to the front door. It was made of irregular fieldstones which over the years had heaved from frost and had become very treacherous to walk on. I have a pile of large bluestone treads from a fallen down staircase and decided to use some of them to make the new path.  We added some small stones between the large slabs as a decorative element. There are other hardscape projects I have planned but I am not sure they will get done this year.


Hemlock benches in new transition area.


hemlock benches at the bottom of long perennial border.


New bluestone path with Climbing hydrangea.

One of the spring projects was re laying a new bluestone path.

Planting near door.


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Adding Color to the Mid-Summer Border

Early flowering perennials begin in May and early June and flower intensely until the beginning of July when the late flowering perennials begin and continue into late fall. I find there is often a lull in the border as the early perennials wind down and set seed and the late flowering perennials begin to do there thing. So last year, I planted three plants that add a punch of color to the borders between the two stages.

Allium spaerocephalon– drumstick alliums have a crimson purple bottlebrush flower that spike above the surrounding plants adding a rocket of color and lots of texture. Drumstick alliums are small bulbs that are planted in the fall. The other plant that flowers for a long time is the annual poppy Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s grape.’ The purple- opium poppy reaches a height of 24″-40″ and rises above its pale lettuce- like green foliage. I throw the seeds into the border when the last snow melts- early April in my part of upstate New York. I now want to experiment with a few more colors of poppies and plan to add next year Papaver somniferum -Black Peony and a pale lilac colored poppy. Depending on your color schemes there’s a large variety of poppy colors to chose from. The third plant I added is the Asiatic lily – Landini which is the closest to a black lily available. I planted twenty five bulbs randomly through the border and the rich dark color punctuates the border adding contrast to all the other plantings. The randomness of the three plantings adds a wilder more painterly look to the garden. I am very pleased with the result.


August border

Asiatic lily Landini and Drumstick alliums in July Border

Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s grape’

Mid summer border

Asiatic lily Landini with Salvia amethyst

Lauren’s grape poppy with Betty Corning Clematis

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