Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shade Garden, Part 1

Today, I worked on the back yard all day. It's a really shady area that last year I couldn't even walk through because it was so overgrown. After a year of cleaning up, it's finally ready to start landscaping!

I still need to do some cleanup, but since spring is here and certain plants must be put into the ground right now, I decided to go ahead and start on a section of what will hopefully one day become my shade garden.

Here's how it looked early this morning.

Here's how it looked this evening.

Closer, before...

And closer, after.

Of course the pavers will go into the ground eventually. These bricks all came from the two old chimneys in the house. Unfortunately there isn't even nearly enough, so I will either have to find matching ones, or wait until we do the second story of the house and rip out the rest of the bricks. Either way, this project will be on hold for a while. I just laid them out to get a feel for how many I'll need.

I do want to mention that the entire idea came from Annette and Brett's gorgeous place out in California, which you can see on Annette's blog-- News from Aspen Meadows and Brett's blog
Pop's Compost. Of course my place is a far cry from theirs, but their hard work has really paid off and it gives me hope that one day my own little farm will look like a little piece of heaven on earth (just like theirs).

You can't see it yet, but I planted over 30 plants in here--Hostas, Lily of the Valley, Caladium, Ferns, and Bleeding Hearts. I can't wait until everything starts blooming!

What looks like gray brush in the back is actually some sort of shrubbery--I need to find out what kind it is, but since it does so well here I decided not to rip it out. I'll just clean it up a bit more, and of course expand on what I've already done.

Future plans include a full walkway through the entire yard, from the house, steps down a hill, then on back to the horse area. I will have a retaining wall using old cinder blocks from the fallen hog shed on one side of the steps and a rock hill garden on the other side where it slopes more gently. Then off to the north, will be little stepping stones leading up to where my chicken coop will eventually be.

For now, it's just one tiny step at a time, even if it is tiny Sophie steps on unset pavers....

One small step for dogkind, one giant leap for this old farm,



Grey Horse Matters said...

I think your shade garden is going to be beautiful. Love the idea of using the old chimney bricks too. One of my favorite ground covers is Lily of the Valley and they really do spread fast. I can't plant them around our trees because they are poisonous to horses but I do have some in the front yard where they aren't allowed.

Annette said...

Oh, Jessie, this is so much fun to watch! There is nothing like used brick for a walkway. And there's nothing wrong with taking your time. We've been working on our place, bit by bit, for 9 years. You must periodically re-post how this area is looking. I'm mighty interested!! (and thanks for the compliment on our place!)

Lisa said...

It is going to be beautiful and the pavers will add so much to the garden. I love my shade garden and have several of the plants you've mentioned. I can't wait to see more!

Brett said...

I love your ideas for a shade garden. Of all the building materials I've used over the years, real used bricks are by far my favorite. Even when Annette and I go out of state or the country, and come across used bricks in a house or building, I am real tempted to take one or two. When I was in my thirties, I too tore down old chimneys and salvaged the used bricks. At our house now, I've probably laid over 2000 used bricks; and that doesn't include the 2500 pavers in the barn aisle. Keep up the good work and come visit us. It sounds like your ideas are very similar to ours.

Jessie McCandless said...

Thank you, all. I'm really excited about getting this area done now. For the first time I have a real plan for it that makes sense with the rest of the place. Brett, I love the look of the old chimney bricks--the burnt edges and chips. I never realized how much character it adds. I think I'll be like you now and picking up old, used bricks wherever I go! LOL I can't wait to visit you and Annette sometime and see your beautiful place. Hopefully sooner rather than later :)