A new year at the Fairegarden means new projects. The first item on the agenda was some tweaking of the knot garden. Click to read the background of it here-The Knot Garden. Last year it was decided after much careful pondering that after the grand display in spring of white viridiflora tulips the quadrants surrounding the center quatrefoil were just plain blah. Bamboo tripods were erected with grapevine woven balls on top to support tall Chinese trumpet lilies and annual vines. Liking the results, more permanent verticals were the next step towards the improved vision. There were already a couple of clay finials holding rebar poles together on either side of the shed. Liking the look, the search was on for more finials for the quads.
They were found online at a very nice shop called Burrd in Melbourne, Australia. The speed with which this order arrived, just before Christmas, was nothing short of astounding, five days from the other side of the earth to southeast Tennessee. Emails were sent to keep us abreast of the status of the order by the charming Simone. I sent them a photo to show the finials placed temporarily along the wall on some shorter bamboo stakes. This was an all around pleasant purchasing experience.
Tulipa ‘Spring Green’ blooming in April 2009 with the grapevine topped tripods in place. They aren’t really tripods, there are four stakes in each. What is the name for that? Anyone? Quadrapod sounds just wrong. Added: Pyramids!!! Thanks, Gittan! More added: Tuteurs!!! , thanks Kathleen and Nell Jean. My vision of tuteur involves crosss pieces, which can be made with some copper wire on hand in the shed. Thanks to you all for sparking an idea to make these poles even better, and having an elegant name for them.
Lilium ‘Lady Alice’ blooming July 2009 with the photographer standing in the same spot as the first photo in this post showing the onion finial, note the butterfly bush flower to the left for perspective. Each quadrant received one bulb each of L. ‘African Queen’, the lady and Asiatic L. ‘Tiger Babies’ last year.
There is a part two to the knot garden project. An irksome ongoing problem of digging devil squirrels burying black walnuts from the neighboring large trees causes unearthed tulip, crocus and iris bulbs in the quadrants, not to mention disruption of the groundover thymes. Grids of rebar and bamboo stakes helped somewhat, but new layers of soil conditioner have covered those deterrents and the many holes and half eaten bulbs found continues to elicit growls, howls and skyward fist shaking towards the criminals sitting and chitting sassily in the nearby nut trees.
Another project completed last year was the installation of a gravel zen garden. Read the story here-Rock My World-A Zen Garden. The pea gravel needs cleaned up, fallen leaves removed and a fresh new raking of the waves, but there has been no digging by either loo seeking felines or the ravaging rodents in the thick layer of stones here.
These thymes thrive in the dry hot summer conditions at the top of the property and should enjoy the gravel mulch added in a thin layer to each section. Our hero The Financier carried the heavy bags of rocks on his shoulder up the paths, changing his moniker to Indentured Servant for the task was done in sub freezing termperatures during the holidays. Thanks, hon! This was a job that had some urgency because crocus and Iris reticulata bulbs are already poking up along the curved edgings. The gravel must be spread before the precious tulip tips appear and would be crushed by little gardener tootsies, no matter how careful the trodding.
All four areas have been mulched. The color of the gravel is shockingly bright and light, but the vision shows the thyme filling in to cover the small rocks over time, or make that over thyme. Moss spores will spread to the stones to soften the look as well. It feels good to check this project off the list. Now, what’s up next?