So what happened in 2012 while I wasn’t posting…
Here is Stiggy stepping out into her early spring garden. When the winter rains came, the grass quickly took over all the spaces we’d cleared the summer before. Hopefully this next year we’ll have the money to install the decomposed granite I want so this won’t happen again.
Despite the unwanted grass, I pressed on and we had a beautiful, flowery spring-summer garden in the lower yard. The lawn and most of the plants were installed in summer and fall 2011 so were well filled in. The Gaura, which you can see below, was especially wonderful.
In the upper garden, while the shrubs I planted in fall 2011 were filling in, I cleared the blackberry thicket (again – having resprouted) and this time planted a new tree. Native to the west coast and growing to 50 feet high and wide, it is an Acer macrophyllum or Big Leaf Maple.
Since May, when I planted it and it wouldn’t stay in the ground without supports, it has grown almost three feet. Note – I removed the supports as soon as the tree could securely hold itself upright. That’s best for the tree and will help it develop a strong, healthy trunk and root system. After showing some pretty yellow fall color, it is now dormant for its first winter and looking like little more than two long twigs.
The next big change came in early August in the form of garden ownership. The yard was firmly Stiggy’s world before but it is now Zelda’s (and poor Stiggy was very sulky about it at first but has since learned to share).
Now what is the worst thing a person can add to a garden – other than concrete slab? A young dog, even one with doe eyes like this one.
But luckily, she hasn’t caused very much destruction. I bought a couple sets of long thin bamboo poles and cut them into fours to make barriers to put around the planting beds and keep her out. Despite the poles not being connected to each other and easily being spaced far enough for her to push through, I’ve yelled at her enough times when she’s gone near them to let her know that she’s not allowed in there. (She’ll still go in when my back is turned occasionally and then when she’s found out, she’ll slink out and sulk slowly to me and lay down to say she’s sorry)
Despite her, I have replaced the front wildflower bed with more perennials and not lost a single plant. Then with fall came a new series of flowers, again in the lower garden.
Also, these wonderful native flowers have reseeded and the babies are thriving despite being laid on a couple times.
So for the first full year for my lower garden, I think things have gone well enough (especially for a gardener with a bad back and not enough time to enjoy the garden)