Around the Garden – October 27th

Summer was frustrating at times. Working on my clay hillside was like drilling in concrete in the heat and drought of mid to late summer. Then, in October, we had torrential rains which exposed weak soil areas due to subdivision utility work.

The “Little” project of relocating daylilies to the clay hillside turned out to be an enormous project involving almost ten tons of stone and four pallets of landscape block. But erosion of the bank has stopped and we now have a unique terraced hillside which at this writing is about 85% complete.

Just completed – hiding the railroad tie retaining wall behind a tight-woven lattice.

The hill from above with three terraces and six different kinds of rock.

Another project of more limited dimensions lies on the horizon. A new home was built on the left side of our house and our new neighbor joined his new fence with ours creating a shady alcove. I erected a wrought iron fence from his wooden entrance to the side of our house where a shade garden will be built.

The location of my proposed shade garden – the new home for my hostas and azaleas. This will be a late Fall project with sod removal and an eight inch soil build-up.
The other end of the proposed shade garden.

The hosta garden in the front of our house will be relocated to this shady spot after I remove the sod and build up the surface about eight inches with a good organic soil and mulch. A few native azaleas will serve as a backdrop.

My Fall-blooming azaleas serve as a color-line between my fledgling Kimberly Ferns at the bottom and my massive Elephant Ears at the top.


The last of my roses add a touch of color to October.

hs Fall, I have to harvest dozens of Queen Ann Ferns (Kimberly Ferns) which survived last winter and move the second year “fernlings” onto my back screened- in porch to protect them from frost and colder temperatures. Last summer my three parent ferns sent out dozens of runners which I was certain would not survive winter – but they did. The Kimberly Fern is a beautiful upright plant without the mess of a Boston Fern. It loves sunlight and will clean the air indoors during winter.

The layered effect of Jasmine, Elephant Ears, lavender azaleas, and Kimberly Ferns.

I also completed a Sweet Olive border along my right side. They will eventually be trimmed to the six foot height of my privacy fence and allowed to spread laterally. The start and end of the Olive row is framed by a “Copper-Top” Viburnum.

Sweet Olive border and a copper-top viburnum in the foreground.

I built a trellis to hide my utility meters in the front of the house and planted several Clematis and a Carolina Jasmine to fill the trellis. The Jasmine took over and presented me with a great show of white blossoms on top of the trellis in early September. The Elephant Ears in front of the trellis were almost overpowering as two groups survived last winter and produced three-foot leaves. Everyone wants a bulb! I have to heavily mulch them before the ground freezes to make sure they return for their third year next summer.

An Elephant Ear bloom among the Kimberly Ferns on the “forest” floor.

My mums along the front sidewalk also will be mulched after the first or second frost. They returned after last winter and bloomed from May to October. I didn’t trim them as I should have this summer as they were resplendant with their yellow blossoms all summer and they are now two foot across and just as high.

The mums have bloomed all summer and this will be their second winter.

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