I have fallen in love with gardening over the last few years. Cottage gardens, with pathways lined with flowers. Pathways that lead you around corners, to discover different “garden rooms” along the way. “Garden rooms” with a place to sit, relax, enjoy a glass of iced tea, and watch the flowers sway in the breeze. Of course to have grandkids and kitties meander through the gardens is the best. Each year, my husband and I have added a bit more to the gardens. This year was the year we tackled my “secret garden” dreams. I want to share with you how we did it.
We had an area beside our current garden, approx. 100 feet by 30 feet, that was just patchy grass. I am not a garden designer by any means!, but this seemed to be the perfect spot to create what I had in my head for a few years haha. We wanted a green hedge (a tall one) to surround the entire garden, so the first thing we did was research different plants. I found inspiration pictures of hedges and gates on Pinterest, and in March we went to a garden centre nearby that specializes in shrubs. I showed the owner my pictures and explained what I had in mind. He was so helpful, and we decided on purchasing privets to create the perfect hedge…oh and of course it had to be fast growing! I am not very patient! Keep in mind when planting any kind of shrub, or perennial, the maturity size. That’s an important factor when determining how many to purchase.
We measured the length and the width of the area, and factoring in the spread of each shrub, purchased 52, our van was full! Our soil is very sandy and therefore easy to dig with a shovel. The plan was to use a shovel, and dig individual holes for each shrub. Well plans changed.
We discovered right away that cement was buried exactly where we wanted the hedge. Time to switch gears and get the tractor with the bucket on it. What was supposed to be a couple hour job turned into quite a few evenings of removing huge cement chunks.
Eventually, a long trench was dug and the shrubs were set in place. Once the shrubs were planted, I really became excited. It was a huge step towards my vision!
I wanted the area beside the potting shed to be a little sitting area, in the middle of the garden. So we created paths on either side of it. To create the paths, we laid down landscape fabric. We added pea gravel on top.
Compost was dumped in piles between the pathways for all the plantings. No edging was used, as I like a very informal cottage garden look. The more the paths melt into the garden beds, the better.
As plants grow and spread, they will spread into the paths. None of the paths are straight, its more interesting if you have to meander.
Once the paths were done, and the beds were filled with compost, it was time to start filling the garden with plants!
For plants, I transplanted alot from our existing garden. I know what grows well in our soil, and free plants are always a good idea! I also started some flowers from seed, with the intent of planting them in the new garden. Of course I also love garden centres, and love any excuse to browse the aisles haha.
Mulch was added to the privets and in the garden beds. As I said before, our soil is very sandy, and anything to help retain moisture, the better.
Gerald surprised me with the gate/arbour I had been eyeing for awhile. Eventually the privets will reach 10 feet in height, and this gate will be the only access to the garden from this side!
Then we found the arbours to match, so they were placed in the garden. One has a purple hyacinth bean growing on it, the other a climbing rose.
I can’t believe how much the garden has filled in over the last couple of months!
At the beginning of August, we added a weeping crabapple tree. I hadn’t planted anything in the garden bed nearest the barn. I was saving that space for an ornamental tree. But once we purchased it and got looking at the space, it made more sense to plant it in the bed after you walk through the second arbour on your way to the barn. It adds one more tall element to hide the flowers beyond. (the flowers that haven’t been planted yet haha)
The bed by the barn is still empty, but that’s ok. I would love some shrubs along the face of the barn (leaning towards limelight hydrangeas) and each year, will add more plants to the garden. Gerald doesn’t know it yet, but I am thinking window boxes on the small barn windows would look darling..haha
The month of August has seen alot of growth in the garden! The transplanted perennials, and those that I started from seed are thriving! We have been very fortunate this year, with rain showers throughout the summer, saving me some watering time. The newly planted shrubs have needed extra water, so we have been staying on top of that.
My dream of creating a secret garden has become reality over the summer! I hope you have enjoyed seeing these pics, as much as I have enjoyed sharing them! I will definitely be sharing more in the future, as things grow and mature, and as we add more!
Thank you so much for joining me here!