When you start a new garden that you will only be able to toil in the soil one or two days a month, special considerations must be made in the maintenance department when choosing the plantings and layout. This set of circumstances was presented to me in December of 2010 when a second home found its way into the Fairegarden empire. Unbridled excitement at having new ground in which to plant was quickly reigned in as the saved newspapers were laid and many many many bags of mulch were applied to create the outline of the front garden. A weekend of work had yielded but a small patch of cultivation ready bed. This was going to take much longer than first anticipated. But there is only one thing to do when confronted with such a truth. Chip, chip away at it.
Slowly the shape of the finished bed was determined, allowing grassy areas for pathways and access to the back, and overflow parking for the many cars of the entire clan, who would meet in the new place on occasion. The decision to go all native was made. The native plantings would be better prepared to handle the near total neglect. They would be chosen for four season attractiveness and interaction with each other, and the pollinators would be pleased. All good. Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’, Panicum ssp., Rudbeckia fulgida and Echinacea ssp. shown above. (A more complete listing will be made in a future post of the plants chosen for the new gardens, but of course that is subject to changes made.)
The work continued with each visit, but there was a thorn in this happy tale. A very large rose of sharon shrub was growing smack dab in the middle of the bed. Oh, we’ll just cut that down and dig it out, thought the garden designer, me. Much cutting with hand saw, then electric saw, then chopping with an axe, then burning, then the heavy black plastic covering under scorching sunshine, then more axe work did not faze the stump. Okay, more thinking cap time was applied.
To the rock yard we went, a most fascinating place for those who are madly in love with stone and rocks of all sizes, shapes and hues. Looking carefully at each pile, with the final resting space envisioned, a selection was made.
Quarried from nearby Madison County, North Carolina, with moss still attached, Rocky spoke to me, “Choose me, choose me!”. Delivery arrangements were set up and the large flat bed truck was soon backed into the driveway, ready to lift up and dump Rocky, named by The Financier*, into place over atop the obstinate rose of sharon stump.
Back and forth the driver went, with the heavy tires running to and fro over the newly planted blue eyed grass just brought over from Fairegarden Tennessee. Not to worry, that is why grasses are a good idea near driveways, they will bounce back after being driven upon. I hope.
Up, up the hydraulics lifted the truck bed, but Rocky stubbornly resisted sliding effortlessly into place. As the peak height was reached, he finally began to move and landed with a thud onto the earth. Weighing in at fourteen hundred pounds, there will be no wiggling him into the exact x marks the spot, about a foot to the left. He is in his final resting place and the garden bed will be extended to accommodate him with cardboard and mulch around his perimeter that extends into the grass.
*On the ride home from the rock yard, after the selection had been paid for and delivery was imminent, I said, “We need to name the rock.” The Financier immediately blurted out, “Rocky.” When my laughter subsided and it was mentioned that that was not the sort of name I had in mind, it seemed Rocky was indeed the perfect name. So it is.