as long as we're updating: the casa garden

i've just begun putting the casa garden to sleep for the long winter. there are a few small blooms still left on the Agastache 'Apache Sunset'. The common name is 'root beer hyssop' so named because when you brush the foliage, the slightly sweet, sticky smell of root beer is released. i spent much of a weekend digging up all the perennials and re-arranging them, as i now know how they look when more fleshed out than the tiny little plants i put in last spring.

i think it should be a good spring; i hope my favorites will come back up after the winter. the one and only plant that i am positively dying about, hoping they'll survive and bloom, are the Papaver orientalis. i saw some in a friend's garden in seattle two years ago, and fell in love - they have these huge, beautiful, rice-paper thin flowers. that's all i want: oriental poppies.

my columbines did pretty well this year, though, and i'm excited to see how much bigger they get. i've got several varieties planted: Aquliegia canadensis, Aquilegia skinnerii (Tequila Sunrise), and Aquilegia vulgaris (Black Barlow). i need to do a very thorough job cleaning up leaves and debris, though, because some have contracted leaf miners. in order to prevent their reappearance in the spring, all contaminated debris and leaves from the columbines must be removed. i've included a picture - they kind of look like intestines. gross.

other than that, there haven't really been any pest problems. though the local birds did snack quite extensively on the grass seed i put down a few weeks ago. no biggie - the grass hasn't really taken off, and i suspect i will just re-seed it in the spring. there are some precious little grasslings, though - kind of nice to think about new buds and growth even as things are slowing down and going into hibernation for the long, crappy winter. maybe i'll pull up those pictures in february to remind me of what's to come.

the garden's come a long way, though, and i'm proud of the results. the most recent task was to enlarge the perennial bed, and lay down a handsome bluestone border. we also took all the timbers from along the back fence, and made a raised bed at the far end of the garden near the big tree. i hope to put some interesting varieties of ferns and hellebores in that bed - plants that do well in shade. also, i love the unique color combinations and variations of hellebores. if i could afford to have a huge drift of them, i would - but toooooo expensive. maybe i can come up with some other ideas during the winter.

one of the benefits to being a card-carrying member of the somerville garden club is that i get a newsletter every month, with a handy list of tasks to do in the garden. it's nice to have such a climate/region-specific reference, as well as thoughtful articles on plants and horticultural goings-on in the area. you might initially think it a po-dunk operation, but the club has its shit together - the newsletter is well written and well designed, and i get emailed updates of club gatherings and projects. i'm bummed to have missed the november meeting (it was last night, i was hosting the volume vixens meeting here at the casa), but will be able to hit up the wilson square fall cleanup this weekend.

to document our progess, here are some pictures of the garden in the fall of 2004:
short weeds, tall weedshard at workhey fun! japanese knotweed!finally some progress october 2004

and in the fall of 2005, with some help from christina, kate and derek: (please be sure to note our posh bluestone edging, provided gratis by derek)
a view from the patioanother shot - slightly out of focus.

and the hopeful grass:

sleep tight, garden!
i'll be dreaming of you all winter.


sara said...

man, I love poppies. I planted some in a barrel in our rental house that didn't survive the move, but now I've got one again at one end of the garden. hopefully they'll survive my winter too!

Pandora said...

Thanks for the garden update! I really hope I get to see it next year! My columbines haven't been coming back...neither have my lupines. Any idea why?

kathryn said...

hmm. i hope my columbines come back! are lupines biennials or perennials? i think they may need to re-seed in order to re-appear. do you mulch? i'm planning to mulch soon; do you think i should wait until the ground freezes?

Gouda said...

In college, I never had a "perenial" garden. I just had a spot of the farm my landlord let me till for a vegetable garden. At the end of the season, I just let everything die and that was it.

kathryn said...

perennials are great - you get to watch them grow and sleep from season to season. i wish i could have vegetables, but the casa backyard doesn't get enough full sun.