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Garden journal entry


May 16, 2010. Our garden is reasonably diverse - it features sunny and shady borders, a rock garden, a couple of water gardens, a vegetable garden, and something that might charitably be called a wildflower garden. But it did not, until recently, include a woodland garden. I've not bothered to look up the definition of a woodland garden, but in my mind it's distinct from a shady garden in the fact that the shade is cast by a canopy of trees that are very much part of the garden itself. Our first shade garden was shady courtesy only of its position in a northern nook of our house. Since then, other garden areas have become shadier as hedges have grown up, and large ornamental trees started to make their presence felt across ever larger swaths of garden. But none of those areas feels remotely like a woodland. Well, it finally occurred to me that our back yard island garden was starting to have elements of a very small-scale woodland: its canopy is low, composed mainly by a redbud and a crab apple, with supporting roles from a chaste tree and a Tatarian maple. But together, those trees cast enough shade that many of the original plants, placed when the trees were saplings, had faded away, their place taken by a messy mix of self-seeding perennials. When finally the Maximillian sunflower that had always taken center stage failed to make its appearance this spring, the wide open space presented itself as an opportunity to do something new. So last week, the miniature woodland garden was born. Its first inhabitants include our 'Metallic Blue Lady' strain hybrid hellebore, which was getting lost in its original location; a couple of trilliums acquired at the Morris Arboretum sale, along with named varieties of Acorus gramineus and mondo grass; and several of the arisaemas and pinellias that have been coming up in our seedling nursery area, whose identities I haven't managed to keep straight. It's still early in the season, and I don't know how the concept will hold up as everything fills out through summer. But it's fun to experiment, and I like being able to talk about 'our woodland garden', even if the woodland is postage-stamp size.

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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