Sowing A Unique Garden

My friend Ellen said she would like to read an article about my garden. She must be looking for a confession because this poor garden has been sorely mistreated and neglected for the past seven years! It is just this year that I have started to think about it and what it should become in the future.

When we bought the small house (that later became a bigger house) in 1991, I was working four days a week and as I had been waiting my WHOLE life to make a garden, I worked three days every week on it. The yard came with three large oaks, one dying Japanese maple, one white lilac, one forsythia and one daffodil. Across the back of the property was a real tangle of vines and saplings and weeds. I later discovered that there were lychnis coronaria in the mixed plant material serving as the lawn. I love them and encourage them to do as they like.

We removed the back tangle. I made beds with stones found at the bottom of this tangle and with logs cut when a neighbor’s tree fell into our yard during Hurricane Bob. I planted vegetables and flowers. I conferred with the man who lived next door and we planned and gardened together and he watered my things during the week. I went to plant stores and nurseries and bought things I liked and planted them where I thought they would be happy. Some were and some weren’t and died. I was in heaven.

In 2004, we enlarged the house and I became an estate gardener. Before construction, I removed several beds because the addition was done with sips, which require the use of large machines to install the panels. The addition is great but the large machine and the other aspects of construction left the garden needing a lot of reconstruction. Since I had a new job that required a lot of me, it has taken these seven years to clean up the construction debris and begin the rebuilding.I made more of the yard into beds. I had no more logs and the ones I had used had begun to decay so I began to use plates as the edges of my beds. Well, they were free at the home exchange in East Hampton, or very cheap at yard sales, and they work very well. Just stand them on edge and press into the soil and overlap them and they can hold the bed. They also look…interesting. I also added a small pond. And, since I am by nature, an encruster and a junk hound, the garden slowly but surely became encrusted with beds, plates, plants, interesting objects, stone piles and shells.

goodthingsGood things grow in junk.

It is still encrusted. I have added beds and stone paths trying to eliminate large parts of the yard. I hate mowing. The plates are still there. And the assortment of plants is still assorted. I am a plant nerd and so if I find one that looks interesting, I put it in my garden to see how it grows. This garden is not “designed” except in the layout of the beds. I have what gardeners call “onesies twosies.” One of this next to one of those. It’s an interesting garden. A reflection of who I am personally and artistically. I would not recommend it to any of my clients. But I would recommend that they put as much of themselves into their gardens as I have into mine.


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