Garden of The White Dove
Dougald introduced me to the book about the art of a Chinese garden, and it gives me a new perspective for fine tuning my hosta garden. Somewhere around fall of 2011, I started converting a strip of land we purchased from the best neighbor ever who lives behind us. We called the strip "Back40" and I think in 2011, with the picture shown here, it began to flow inexorably toward the shape it is in today. Only, it became a walled garden recently, when we added the final "brick in the wall", the lattice shade screen, to complete the enclosing of my hosta garden.
We buy the Back40 and put up the fences, then begin clearing it in summer 2010.
Throw this one in, to demonstrate what a difference the privacy fence will make when it goes up. Totally different experience!
Finally cleared. View from the loft of the newly roofed Teahouse. Neighbors are fine, but I like a private garden.
My DH cleared this 25 foot wide x 100 foot long strip of old azaleas, seedling scrub trees, briars which shoot up 30 feet to reach the first tree limbs before clambering further to the tree tops. He dug out the bushel size briar corms too. Then you notice in the November 2011 photo, the ground is covered with pecan tree leaves. The chainlink fence is in place, but definitely raw looking with now jasmine covering it, the 40+ plants only being dug in earlier in 2011 if I recall.
Note the multi-trunked camellia sasanqua, evergreen and shaped like an African plains tree, rounded over umbrella like and it provided shade for the old potted fern baskets I dropped at its base. Over the winter they took root there, and that is where the ferns naturalized, with me tearing away the baskets as they deteriorated.
There is the beginning of the Moon Walk pathway visible, the red foot-square cement pavers, which I laid to accommodate my boy maltese Moon Pie who did not like to get his feet wet--but he followed me like a shadow all his life.
I'm studying the area at this period of time. How can I create "long views" and surprises hidden around the next bend, to layer features that will entice the full garden experience to linger, to make the small space a piece of fine wrought jewelry with great detail but not crowded. That is what I'm enjoying about the Chinese Garden Art book....they have been masters of this art for thousands of years. The artists who painted the Chinese scrolls turned out to be the master gardeners of their era. Garden design is an art form, and so is gardening an art form. No reason a garden should not be as lovely as a painting. Just think about Claude Monet and how he created his gardens at Giverny so he could paint them. I wonder sometimes if Monet knew about the Chinese concept of garden artistry.
I regret losing all my photos prior to 2013, except for those safely (for the time being) available on Flickr. Only a few are there, however. The raw parcel of land we began with was not much to brag about so I did not upload many photos.
In Sept 2012 I am laying mulch over most of the Back40. I made a BIG MISTAKE putting down the synthetic fabric beneath it. Who knew....I'm removing it as I get a chance these days. It is gruesome stuff.
Then in Nov 2012 a year later. This was a significant year hosta-wise, because I exceeded 200 hosta in this first year. Who knew it would grab me like that? So now I am creating a sanctuary (supposedly) for their dormancy. Plain DIRT in a pot is not too attractive, and if 200 don't look good, can you fast forward to 500? Well, plainly stated, I did not know beans about that being a problem. If I had, it would not have made a difference. I'd still have gone full speed ahead.
In 2013 spring I was happy to see the hosta return en masse, had some which developed a funny look early in spring, thought it was a virus, and promptly ditched them. Now I realize it could have been cold damage, you know. I tossed three of my gorgeous pots of Guacamole, Fried Bananas, and Fried Green Tomatos. Start over. Learn from it..
This is May 2013 with naturalized ferns beneath the sasanqua, hosta emerged and growing under the pre-summer kind sun
In August 2013 I'm using umbrellas and every bit of shade I can find to keep things happy. I'm too timid about exposing the fragrant ones to afternoon sun. Live and learn.
I begin an experimental raised bed along the driveway for some hosta which need to be in the ground to prosper.
We take down the rotten pine stump which was quite tall in spring 2014
I use the tree round sections as plant stands
In July 2014 we get Hagan Fence to build my lattice shade screen, effectively creating a completely walled garden
From inside a sense of enclosure but not confinement
...and that's the way my garden grows.