Getting out the weeds for planting a woodland garden
I'm so excited to be setting forth on a new project! Along my backyard is a huge thicket area with some nice trees, some thicket, grasses, weeds, etc. This used to be the edge of a farmfield and the area is about 40' deep. Well, I do not own this property but the owners have given me permission to garden it. This included permission to remove anything I wanted. We cleaned up, removing only the thickets, thorny items and/or smallish trees that were killed/mamed by wild grapevines or had terrible form. The area still looks very wild, but now the eye can enter back IN to the area and relax on the beautiful bark of the trees...it doesn't look like an overgrown thicket anymore, although I left the last 15-20' as it was.
This area has tall decidious trees, the types are unusual to me, as I can't identify any of them...yet. Even so, I know there must be a good amount of sun that gets in the area because there's a lot of goldenrod and tall grasses and wild thorny raspberries that grow in there...this is what I want to get rid of so that I can have more of a woodland garden with ferns, hostas, etc. However, I plan to "garden" only the first 20' back and then leave the last 20' to grow as it always has with its grasses, etc.. Do you think this will work?
My question is...what will be the best way to clear the land of the current "weeds". I'm not much for chemical use, and I'm patient. I'm thinking of laying down clear plastic all over the area and letting the weeds/grasses sprout and burn under the plastic. Do you think that would work? I thought I could leave this all summer....or I could leave it 3-4 weeks, then til the soil and put the plastic back down again to get more of the perennial weeds. Finally, in the early fall, I figure I could plant the garden with spring blooming bulbs, some ground covers, a few nice shrugs, ferns, hostas, etc...
What do you think of my "plan"? I'd be open to any criticisms or suggestions if you think I'm overlooking anything.
My ultimate goal is to have a fully planted area with plantings that are so full and happy that they naturally keep a lot of the weeds down, but it really isn't an area that I want to "weed", as I already have enough of that!
I hope this wasn't too long...Thank you!