Spring Garden Tour

Lavender on a Stone Wall in Pennsylvania

It has been a while since I've posted pictures of the garden, so today I thought I'd take you on a little tour. The lavender above is growing nicely in two large stone planting beds in front of the house - good drainage! I plan to plant more lavender along the edge with a bit of nepeta as well. I put in two plants of each last year to see how they got on, and it turns out they are both quite happy next to the stone. The front porch looks quite similar to last year since many of those pots overwintered indoors, but the hanging white Bacopa planters are new. They were had for a song because they had dried out at the store and were clearanced out. I babied them and now they are performing as well as ever.

Front Porch Classic Traditional with Black Rockers and White Bacopa Hanging Planter

The Iris are budding and one single bloom has popped open this week. These were here when we moved in and I have been dividing each year to add an identical border to the opposite side of the house/drive. I am about 50% of the way finished. The English Ivy was also here when we moved in and I have grown to love it in this contained space. I especially love the brighter, lime green foliage that emerges in spring. I do not, however, enjoy the weeds emerging in this bed :/

Iris and Ivy Along Stone Wall in Pennsylvania

Three ladders got a coat of paint for climbers along the pillars and there is that pretty catmint!

Nepeta Catmint on Stone Wall in PennsylvaniaDIY Ladders for Climbing Plants on Stucco Pillars Stone House

Front of the House:

This year, I also had our garden certified as a Wildlife Habitat.  I had wanted to do this for years, and when I finally went to do it, the rules had eased up a bit. 
I was a little sad that I didn't have to jump through as many hoops, but still proud that we have loads of wildlife happy with water, shelter and natural food sources!

Certified Wildlife Habitat Lawn Sign Plaque at A Nest for All Seasons

Sowing Seed in Thrift Store Mugs at A Nest for All Seasons
Many many seeds in containers of all sorts are still all over the place...

In Progress...

Plenty of new (to me!) plants are in the garden this year including old fashioned favorites like chamomile (above left) and "parlor maple" (Abutilon) from seed (in metal bucket...that has drainage holes!).

One area I am proud of this year is the new allium bed. Last year, this wall was a mess of poison ivy and housed a mulberry tree that the insurance company told us to chop down. We were happy to oblige as the tree wasn't producing much anymore. I laid out a plan, and with the help of Longfield Gardens, I planted a brand new perennial bed. The stars are DEFINITELY the alliums this year.

While the alliums are shining bright this year, they will be joined by more and more perennial showstoppers as the years go by. Those perennials are small and sleepy this year, but I can see their potential.  Along the base of each clump of allium, I have been putting in various "little bloomers" to help hide the ugly fading leaves on the allium bottoms. Pictured below right is perennial yellow alyssum, and I am also testing out a new Salvia (Blue Marvel)from Darwin Perennials and an annual purple bacopa that is *supposed* to reseed itself. (see far below left)

This bed also has six peony divisions from an old peony I found half hidden in the woods, 2 lilacs and several hydrangea bushes. The goal is for the alliums to "pop" out of mounds of perennials in butter yellow, creamy white, a deep aubergine and little pops of purple.

The Drive

Driveway with Planted Cracks

Perhaps the greatest trial gardening here is the driveway. We could just repave the whole thing, but I think winter driving would become a lot more treacherous. I see those cracks and envision beautiful manicured lines of green, but in practice I do not keep up with them enough.  SO. The plan this year has been to root out anything that grows UP or OUT and leave any *pretty* weeds that stay small and clump. Think veronica :)  So far, it is better than last year, but not good enough.  Will keep working...

On the other hand, the grasses bed (to the right of the driveway) is progressing along nicely. You might remember seeing a photo of it "before" when it was a mass of child sized weeds, including masses of poison ivy. (If you want to see the FULL before post, head on over right HERE).  We had the bed cleared and mulched, leaving only the ornamental grass clumps.

See the rest of the BEFORES at Stonecrest HERE

Once the bed was basically empty, I started adding in sun hungry plants that will complement the grasses. The main structure will be from 6 large hydrangeas, but I also found some heather on clearance and snapped up 4. I don't know much about heaths or heathers, but when we were in Scotland last year, the hills were full of them. Even in winter, they were fantastic. I even grabbed a few (seedless) stems to take home in my suitcase. They now hang from the beams in my kitchen and now their namesake has a place in the garden.
Heather at A Nest for All Seasons in the Grasses Bed

This little spot below had an evergreen that died a while back, so a heather and a sedum and some daffodil divisions nicely filled in the spot and reclaimed the little poison ivy patch that had formed there.  The heather will spread wide and the sedum will fill up in a rounded shape, giving structure to this awkward crumbling wall.

Heather and Sedum  at A Nest for All Seasons in the Grasses Bed

The Vegetables

Heirloom Pumpkins Seeded in Perennial Beds

I have planted pumpkins everywhere this year. There are plenty of holes in the landscape while perennials are getting established, so I am taking the opportunity to grow a bumper crop of heirloom pumpkins. Those plants in the background are daffodils splits -- hundreds of them now fill the front edge of the grasses bed and they shall siiiiing next spring!

The actual vegetable garden is down below the driveway on a flat patch of earth. It isn't the most beautiful sight from the back, but I needed to leave the back fence free for the sunlight that comes over the hill each morning. I am experimenting with different trellising ideas, hugelculture, soaker hose arrangement, and hay bale gardening this year. The jury is still out on all of them!

Pennsylvania Potager with Willow Fencing, Bean Teepee, Hugelculture and Hay Bale Gardening

Pennsylvania Potager with Willow Fencing, Bean Teepee, Hugelculture and Hay Bale Gardening

Potatoes from Sam's Club are growing magnificently, but the onions are just so-so. BOTH raspberry plants from Sam's went kaput. I learned my lesson.  I now have my eye on a Glencoe raspberry (it is purple!) and have one golden raspberry already in the ground. You can see on the right photo below that the hay bales are well rotted and lined with soaker hoses. (Find them HERE at Gilmour) You can see how I utilized the hoses with a rainbarrel last year RIGHT HERE. This year, I have plans to leave the rain barrel open, directing almost all of the soaker action to these hay bales. Again, the jury is still out!

Pennsylvania Potager with Willow Fencing, Bean Teepee, Hugelculture and Hay Bale GardeningPennsylvania Potager with Willow Fencing, Bean Teepee, Hugelculture and Hay Bale Gardening

Pennsylvania Potager with Willow Fencing, Bean Teepee, Hugelculture and Hay Bale Gardening

Tulip Tree Foliage at A Nest for All Seasons in the Stonecrest Hollow
Tulip Tree Foliage

The Hollow

Japanese Maple Foliage at A Nest for All Seasons in the Stonecrest Hollow
Japanese Maple Foliage
Arguably the best spot in spring is in the "hollow". Carved out of the side of a mini-mountain, the hollow is full of shade and always feels cool thanks to a small stream running through it. Though some curse the common rhododendron, I am of the school of thought that unless mature plants make you sick to your stomach, you leave them alone. It takes YEARS and years and years to get a nice, large rhododendron, so I love this trio of them down in the hollow, common though they may be.

I also rather like that purple-magenta against the dark red of the Japanese Maple (above). It tames it a bit and the shade here keeps the color a bit muted as well.

Rhododendron Classic Traditional Shade Garden in Pennsylvania

Today, I found a little something in the hollow I had never noticed before. A few letters carved into the rock of the stone seating area - RDF, the date it was built? and a cross. RDF are the original homeowners initials :)

Stonecrest HollowStonecrest Creek

Speaking of common, there are hostas all over the hollow and they are perfectly green 
and INTACT this time of year. I am sure the slugs will get to them, but for now, they are lovely.

Hosta Foliage at A Nest for All Seasons in the Stonecrest Hollow

Another fun little experiment in the hollow is training this wisteria to climb two "junk" trees that are coming from the same root system.  I planted the wisteria right in between the two trunks and I am hoping to have it climb both. If it kills the tree, that would be ok? Jury is out on this idea too. I DID make sure to choose a planting spot for the wisteria that is mowed on a weekly basis to keep it in bounds.

Wisteria Foliage at A Nest for All Seasons in the Stonecrest Hollow

...and the MOST beautiful bit...

...and she is really into curtsying lately :)

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Awesome post. It looks amazing. Great pictures.
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