Rethinking a Peter Rabbit Garden...X-post

lavender_lass(4b)November 4, 2013

So, I've finally got all the plants on the porch into the garden beds...but my kitchen garden is a mess! Two years with husband getting sick, year long illness, and recovery have taken a toll on my garden. I'm so glad he's finally getting better, but I have a lot of work to do! :)

So, my mom has helped me keep the front gardens looking good, but the fairy garden is going to need some major work this spring...too many weeds. The roses are still there, but we'll be able to see them a lot more (hopefully) this year.

The kitchen garden is an overgrown mess...but still slightly charming, in its own way. I still like the overall layout of the half that 's finished (or was) but still working on the part closer to the road. So, I'm revisiting my idea for a Peter Rabbit garden.

We have a lot of new nieces and nephews and they're getting to the age that they want to play in the garden. They love visiting the fairy garden (looking for fairies) and seeing all the roses and herbs. I'm hoping a Peter Rabbit garden will get them equally excited about veggies! LOL

So, here's a picture from Nickelodeon, of Mr. McGregor's garden...or their interpretation of it. I'd like to use some of the beds and add a few bunny birdbaths (they have the cutest ones at Lowe's) and incorporate the arbor for seating. I'll never keep the deer out completely, but I plan to add a 3' fence to slow them down a bit. At least they won't be able to eat through the garden, but will have to stop and go over the fence. I'm hoping this will be a great help to my raspberries and blackberries. Right now, I've left them in the overgrown weeds, so the deer haven't bothered them...yet.

Any thoughts? I always appreciate and enjoy your advice and great ideas! From Lavender's Garden

And my arbor, that turned out to be too big to move, but should look good in the space. From Lavender's Garden

The fence would be between the arbor and the horses! LOL

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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Long time no see. Glad your hubby's on the mend!
I think after a 2 year break, I might start all over! LOL Let those horses eat everything down in the area you want as a garden to start!
I don't think a 3' fence will keep deer out! don't they need at least 8' with the fence at an \ / fence?
Gotta go! More later! Nancy

1 Like    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:59AM
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Oh, it won't keep them out...just make them lift their heads before munching again! LOL I need something to plant the berries against, then I can put mints and bee balm in front of them. I might even have a 4' fence, in some areas. I don't want to block the view and I don't mind the deer...for the most part.

They are very well behaved and stay on the paths (usually) but having the berries out in the open is just not working. My roses do well against the house or taller shrubs. The deer don't eat from behind and the herbs and flowers, in front of the roses, usually keep the deer from coming at them that way. I'm hoping the fence will do the same for the berries.

It's been a rough couple of years, but I was amazed at how much is still growing in the weeds! It's like an old, abandoned garden that just needs a little work to bounce back. Almost "Secret Garden" in a way...but if I had the wall, I wouldn't have the deer problem :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 2:27PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Ah! The wall!
My DH grew up in Scotland with a 1 acre kitchen garden and a trout stream!
The garden was surrounded by a stone fence! So beautiful! Nancy

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 9:27PM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

It sure sounds like a fun idea! There is nothing quite as lovely as sharing your love of gardening with the little ones and encouraging them from the beginning.
If you have deer problems then the shorter fence will not slow them down at all. They hop right over it. I live in deer (and moose) country for years. When we put in our vegetable garden here in MN last year (finally!) we purchased those cheap fence posts that are sold at most big box stores usually under $2.00 each. We used the 6 foot high cattle panels for the fencing. Trust me it was effective but ugly. However, I took cedar stain and stained all the posts and the pretty little gate my husband made and used some interesting hardware. The difference in appearance was unreal! It went from ho hum to real sharp. I haven't done it yet but plan on doing special little art pieces for the posts, still not sure exactly what I want.
I have done similar (utility) fencing on other properties then decorated it to look like something else entirely. My favorite was around a very large garden that over time I covered with twigs and branches. It had the look I was going for but totally utilitarian in function.
You could do the same type of thing with your Peter Rabbit garden. If you trick the eyes by making them focus on what you want them to, they do not see the rest of the fence. It also gives you time to make it look like you want with stone or whatever look you want. You could use the fence as walls for planting over with vines, brambles, decorative or artistic pieces, fairy hiding spots or what ever your heart desires.
When your life is full and busy as it sounds like yours is, it might be worthwhile to look at what you want to create as more of a concept plan that you can adapt and change as you need to rather then a detailed plan.
I think the 'magic' of the garden for the children is having you in it with them exploring and enjoying it.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 7:59PM
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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

I was reading a great blog that was posted in the Cottage Garden forum (window box help). I started going through it and came across this post and thought of your project. This is a different twist on twig fencing! Quite lovely!

Here is a link that might be useful: Twig Fence post from DS blog

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:38PM
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Such a beautiful place!!! I think tall fences are lovely, because there are a plethora of wonderful vine plants that are so hardy and will LOVE your cattle panels. Wisteria, grape, clematis, arctic kiwi, hops, climbing hydrangea, honeysuckle, climbing roses, all good vines that are super hardy, most up to zone 3.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:00PM
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Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions!

It seems we are going to be moving! Not right away, but soon enough I'm not going to be adding any more fences. We have thought about it quite a bit and think it would be better to find a place with less acreage (still have the horses) but not as much to maintain.

Although my husband is feeling better, it could be some time before he is able to do all the work he used to do. In the's a LOT for one person (me) to keep up, especially in the winter.

The exciting part is looking for new garden spaces (I mean house! LOL) over the next several months. I will be planting a few veggies this summer, but no major restructuring of the gardens. Thanks again for the ideas...I'm sure they'll be useful with the new gardens, too :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:14AM
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Jennifer_Ruth(Z 10, Sunset Z 23)

Gardeners, I love the ideas I'm reading here!

Lavender Lass, I don't know anything about your property or situation, but we went through a similar time when my husband had cancer. (He's doing well now, I am thankful to say.) I'm disabled, and it was all I could do to keep up with the watering. In fact, I couldn't, and we lost a lot of plants.

Rather than move, we've simplified the gardens we have. We let the balcony garden go because it was so hard to water. (We do still have one bright pink geranium out there, which seems to put up with extreme neglect quite well!) There were a couple of other areas that were hard to get the hose to, so we stopped using those areas.

We're also working on re-designing the layout to group plants with similar water requirements together. (We garden in large pots--rental house with terrible soil--so it isn't as hard to move plants as it might be.) With the roses in one area and the drought-tolerant plants in another, there's less work and we use less water.

We're still working on rearranging the food garden. Right now we have fruit trees, veggies, and berry bushes in three parts of the yard. Once they're more consolidated, they'll be easier to care for.

It seems like such an obvious thing, but storing away the pots whose contents have died has made so much room for the things we've decided to keep. When they were still scattered around the yard, they took up space in my brain as well as the yard! And the space we've gained makes it easier to access the plants, so it's easier to keep them weeded.

And one more thought for you or anyone facing the decision of whether to move to a smaller place: you could consider offering gardening space in exchange for help with the garden. There are plenty of frustrated apartment dwellers out there who would love to do that.

I hope this helps. And I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 7:44PM
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