Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Secret Garden

One week ago...

"Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation. It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which a man gives his heart."
                                   - Karel Capek


The secret garden that I've been working on is slowly coming along.  The newest bed, way in the far corner is pretty much finished and has been planted with raspberries in front and sunflowers in back.  I laid out landscape cloth on the new paths, lined them with stones and have most of them covered with shredded bark (known around here as "monkey fur"). 

I moved the birdbath about four feet to the right and ringed it with river rock.  This required a lot of heavy lifting and my muscles felt it that night.  The goldfinches, though, seem content with the relocation and have restaked their claim to it: it's a very well-used birdy bathtub!

I'm still in the process of constructing this screen of branches to shade the eastern side of the newest bed.  These are all branches of cottonwood, manzanita and oak that I've carried over from various parts of the property.  I fit them together like puzzle pieces and then wire them all together.  They cast enough of a shadow to dull the heat of the morning sun but let in enough light to keep the plants happy.  I suppose some might think they look sort of untidy, but (not surprisingly) they suit the look of the garden just fine.  And they're free!

This part is still under construction.  Bruce needs to set the second post of the new gate and then I can put down the monkey fur and finish wiring up the reed shade cloth to the fence.  The gate received a small ding on the top from some crazy guy bearded guy driving a Kubota tractor, so can be considered officially broken in.  It now matches everything else around here.

Here is a view of the gate ding (and the rest of this lower area) from outside the garden.

Moving to the opposite end of the garden (at the top of the incline, closest to the house), here is the beginning of the new gate there.  This is the first pole that Bruce set towards evening as it was getting dark.  By morning light, we discovered that it had quite a bend to it -- such a bend, in fact, that the gate wouldn't fit.  So Bruce and his trusty Kubota yanked it out like a long tooth.  Then Bruce hunkered down in the dirt and chipped out all of that set concrete.  This looked like great fun!  I'll say it again: this man is a saint (despite his propensity for dinging brand new gates).

And here is the newly hung gate (note the nice, straight post to the right).  I set large quartz rocks to right of the gate and have begun lining the drainage ditch along the drive with shale (living in an area that has enough rock to start a quarry has its pluses).  The branch screen on the fence is the first one that I built last summer.

Here is a closeup of the rocks with Max helping to show just how large they are.  I love setting stones, but wrestling with the really big ones takes not only effort, but also patience.  It's sort of akin to moving a sofa around the living room to see where it looks best.  Except with a large rock, it's harder and quite a bit dirtier.

And that's where we'll end today's tour.  I'm letting a lot of things slide around the house because I'm having so much fun out there.  Oh, well!

On July 2nd I'm going to leave Frogpond for ten days to visit my cousin in Germany and my brother and his family in Austria. I'm very excited and happy to be seeing all of them (of course), but am also looking forward to seeing lovely European gardens and lots of old stone. 

Did I mention that I'm happy?

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