Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Gardeners know that a single plant in a field of grass means much less that a collection of plants of different texture and color arranged to enclose a space, or highlight an area with color, or both. That's what gardens are, places that inviting enough for one to sit in or walk through them. Gardens are designed experiences.

My backyard garden is less formal than the frontyard. I have an idea -- not quite a plan -- for it, but this idea has not excited me enough to carry it out. So, in some ways, as I've worked quite hard on the frontyard garden, I've done a little here and there in the backyard, waiting, I think for some insight or understanding on how to lay out the garden. The puzzle pieces are not fitting together.

I've experimented with a few small shrubs, planting them in certain areas that starts the process of breaking the plane of grass, thinking that some freer, more natural form would work better in the backyard around the backdoor patio, but I cannot say that I have wholeheartedly decided to make these somewhat random plantings connect to each other and to the space.

In the middle of all this is an almond bush that was given to me a couple of years ago by a work colleague. It is blooming right now, covered in the pink white blossoms one might see on a cherry tree. But it is alone, a bit bigger than when I first planted it. If one looks several feet past it, he or she would see a massively tall birch tree, and behind it, numerous tall pines, firs and a poplar or two.

The almond bush is lost, then, out of context with what I would imagine would be a relaxed, informal garden closer to the house, dwarfed by the large field of grass, the vegetable garden and the very large trees at the edges of my good sized backyard.

I look around a little more and notice that the hostas that I've been planting at the edge and underneath the large maple tree next to the house are all coming up nicely, along with some wood fern, the false forget-me-nots, and various heuchra or coral bells, the bleeding heart, and few other bulps and early spring plants.

One of my mock oranges is doing quite well, while the other is slow in putting on leaves. Franklin the dog used it often this winter as his first target outside of the house. Perhaps this is the result. A newly planted viburnum is doing well next to them. And then two small shrubby rose of sharons, and then the solo almond bush.

Two victoria regina roses are growing vigerously, and I look forward to their blooming. The japanese anemones and standard dasies are also coming along, but I need to weed them. This is my state of mind as I walk on my morning inspection with the dog.


Rob said...

I've been walking through my back yard gardens for a couple weeks now trying to figure out exactly what I want to do this year. So far it hasn't quite come to me. Maybe its just too hot.

Don said...

Yes, it's too hot for the season. We have predicted afternoon or evening showers and perhaps that will cool us off a bit and make the ground soft enough to weed.