Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gardening… All That’s Required Is Your Time

When it comes to gardening (and to saving the world) I’ve always lived by the philosophy that we have everything we need, already, to do the job… we just need to rearrange things a little to create healthier relationships.

Like this tree! This tree – I’m still not sure what kind it is – was not planted here. Its seed blew in on a wind and seeded itself about six years ago. It grew because it may have gone unnoticed by the previous residents of this home. I think this because if it had been planted then it would have been planted further away from the tall cedar. It would have been silly to plant this tree just one foot away, because in forty years it will be huge.

I decided to give it a new home where it will be happier!

Now, these bushes were planted here… I just don’t like them here. I want to paint a wall mural on the wall behind, this summer, and these bushes will just get in the way.

I decided to give them a new home where they will be happier!

I decided to plant the tree and three bushes close together near the front of my house, to add a little interest to that part of my yard. To do this I had to dig a small garden for them, away from my gas and water lines… good thing I had them marked out last year.
I like curvy things and my gardens are no exception, as you can see from this photo!

Whenever I do any kind of gardening I always try to use everything in useful ways – instead of filling bags to give to the garbage collectors. This photo shows how I used the top layer of grass sod that I dug up while creating my small garden. I turn the sod, roots side up, so that the roots will die and compost and I’m laying them beside the wall of my garage. This will raise the height of soil in this area and help to drain rainwater away from the building.

After I’ve taken the top layer of sod away from my small garden, I dig deeper and turn all the soil over. Obviously, this makes it easier to dig the holes that will soon be filled with tree and bush roots. This ground has remained untouched for at least fifty years and over this time it has packed down tight. When I turn the soil over, I’m loosening it and adding air and the result is that I have too much soil in this small garden. I simply fill up my wheelbarrow with this excess soil and use it in other areas of my garden. Like the photo above. This ‘tree ring’ garden has been created only with excess soils from a few different areas of my garden.

So… by planting one tree and three bushes in my front yard: 1) I’ve created better homes for these plants, 2) I’ve helped to protect my garage from water damage, 3) I’ve created another garden by using excess soil, 4) I’ve had a nice workout and 5) I’ve created absolutely no garbage!!!!

Now it’s time to plant my bushes. Uh-oh! I’ve miscalculated the size of this garden. I wanted to have the three bushes at the front with the one tree in the back but I’ll have to do a little rethinking…

There we go! I think that this will be better than my first plan. Over the years the tree will grow very tall. I planted the bushes close by, thinking that they will fill in the area from the ground to about three feet high – almost like giving the tree a pretty dressing at its base. The birds will love this!!!!

This is a very recent photo and you can see that everything is starting to wake up from winter. If you think like me then you’ll be thinking that the open soil area of this garden could soon be filled with weeds – and I hate weeding. So to finish this garden properly I’ve added a few violets.

Violets will spread out and multiply, eventually filling the open ground. Now, close your eyes and envision this garden in a few more years… the tree has grown taller, it’s surrounded by a thick billowing of bushes with a four inch high carpet of green with white and purple violets. Nice eh?!

I took this photo of my tree ring garden last week and you can see that I’ve done a little planting here, as well. I’ve added a few interesting flowers that like the shade and three different hosta species. These flowers will fill an area ten times larger than what you can see now. In a few more weeks I’ll be filling in a few of the areas that I’ve left open with some other plants and by midsummer this garden will be filled with a lot of life and colour!

I’ve planted lots of small patches of violets throughout a few other areas of my garden. In this space, where I originally moved the three bushes from, I’ve decided to grow a small reservoir of violets. As this patch thickens and grows I’ll be able to – over the years – steal from it to fill in other areas of my garden.

This is a photo of the huge maple tree that is in our backyard. I’ve been adding lots of excess soil to its base to create another flower garden.

Just a few days after filling this area with Day Lilies I’m amazed with how fast they are growing.

This is what it looks like now. By mid July this area will be filled with green leaves and flower stems that have grown to a height of about four feet, topped with bright orange flowers. These are the same flowers that I’ve been using in my guerrilla gardening projects.

Oh! That reminds me… I’ve got to go meet some friends, soon. We’ll be completing the third and final guerrilla gardening project for 2010! I can’t wait to tell you that story…


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