Friday, June 7, 2013

Making My Garden a Private Retreat

Ugly But Functional
Chicken Wire Fencing
We expanded our garden this year and enclosed it with a t-post/chicken wire fence.  We had the t-posts and fencing on hand so there were no new costs associated with the expansion.  We used green spray paint to cover the white t-post tops and this worked to make the t-posts nearly invisible.  However, the chicken wire, while not really visible from a distance, is worn out from prior use and is just plain ugly.  It does it's job, but I hate the way it looks.

So I decided to plant edible, flower, and vining plants all the way around the garden in order to hide the unsightly chicken wire, increase the productivity of our 3-acre parcel, and create within the garden a tiny, private retreat for all who there labor.

There is heavy sod in the enlarged garden area, and we are gradually hacking away at it, removing it, bit by bit.  The fence is long.  Removing the sod and getting everything planted and established will be a slow process.  Right now it looks a bit ragged - but we'll conquer it eventually.

Here's what we've accomplished so far:

My Baby "America" Rose
I received two, fragrant, climbing, Star Roses for Mother's Day.

Rose #1 is "America."  It has a strong, spicy fragrance which greets me even before I reach the garden, grows 10-12 feet high, 6-8 feet wide and blooms throughout the summer and into the fall.
A Mature "America" Rose

<<<  Here's is what it looked like during today's heavy rains.

I found this pic on the Home Depot website and am looking forward to the day when my little rose looks like this.>>>>
A Mature "Don Juan" Rose

Rose #2 is "Don Juan."  It has a strong, traditional rose scent, grows 12-14 feet high, 6-8 feet wide, and blooms throughout the summer.

<<<<While it was looking great yesterday, the heavy rains have taken a toll on my little Don Juan rose.  Here's what the flowers should look like once it gets established.

"Jefferson" Filbert Seedling
Hazelnut/Filbert Hedge from
Food Skills for Self-Sufficiency
Three filbert trees were purchased from Edible Landscaping in Virginia.  One tree is on back order, one disappeared off the front porch while waiting to be planted, and one went into the ground yesterday, just in time for today's rain.  Once mature, they should form a nice, 10-12 foot hedge in front of the fence.

Newly-Planted Passion
Flower Vine
Mature Passion Flower
Image From:
All in One Discount Nursery
Also from Edible Landscaping, the Passion Flower Vine (which can be invasive) will be grown in a large pot to keep it from spreading outside its designated area.   It can spread 20-30 feet in a single season and has lovely, fragrant flowers.  The leaves can be used in tea as a sleep aid/stress reliever and supposedly the fruit can be juiced and tastes something like Hawaiian Punch.

Newly Planted
Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Mature Black-Eyed Susan
Two, Black-Eyed Susan vines were purchased from a local nursery for $4 each.  I split each pot into two plantings, so four vines were planted in front of four separate fence posts.   Right now they look quite frail and feeble, but they should cover the fence with happy little blooms by mid-summer.

Last, but not least, is Rose Canina, otherwise known as Dog Rose.  Here's the description from the Edible Landscaping website:
Dog Rose in Bloom
A perfectly lovely rose in its simple charm. Scented, delicate, apple blossom-pink single flowers. Tall 6-8' gracefully arching shrub with healthy blue-green foliage. Nearly thornless. Showy display of scarlet hips dresses up the shrub for summer and fall. The best tasting rose hip for winter use.
Itsy Bitsy Rose Canina Plant
And from the Herbs 2000 website:
The fruits or hips of the dog rose enclose an assortment of vitamins and added essential nourishments. For instance, the hips of Rosa canina enclose rich amounts of vitamin C. In addition, the fruits also contain different amounts of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and K. The other ingredients contained in the dog rose fruits are tannins, flavonoids, vanillin, polyphenols, carotenoids and essential oil.

So those are the foundation plantings for one long side of the fence - the side most visible from the house.  I will fill it in will plants that I am rooting (Rose of Sharon, Butterfly Bush, Variegated Euonymus, Burning Bush, Lilac, etc.) and with divisions from the yard (Liriope, Daylily, and Iris). I will continue to post pictures as our "living fence" progresses.  Hopefully, the entrance to my garden will someday look like this:

“....she liked... the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in 
no one knew where she was.
 It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place." 
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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