Sunday, August 23, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

Zuni 82109

Zuni is still blooming.  The photo above was taken on August 21, 2009.  I posted about this wonderful Crepe Myrtle on July 16, 2009.  At that time, the Zuni had been blooming a couple of weeks.

The kids first week of school when well and it is nice to be back in a routine.

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Wildlife 036

Wildlife 041

Butterflies abound in Helen’s Haven.

Still in a waiting mode for the upcoming tours and photo shoots.  This is an interesting place to be.  There really isn’t a whole lot I can do except deadhead and mow.  I like being in this place.  It’s calming and comforting to know all that can be done is done.  That’s not to say I would like to do more, but any effort in that direction will be lost in September.  As such, I might as well save the time, money, and effort and just enjoy the garden as she is.

As I mowed, I began to wonder if there were as many blades of nut sedge as there were fescue.  It has been a bad year for weeds.  As a happier aside, as I mowed the back turf area,  I was thankful for doing some  extra effort last fall by  fixing a wrong.

When I designed Helen’s Haven, gardens of Europe were my main inspiration.  Having lived in London for 3 years, and traveling extensively throughout Europe and the rest of the world, the gardens of Europe always spoke to me.  I knew the back gardens, in particular, were going to be  long linear beds with gardens on either side.

January 20, 2009 SNOW DAY 039

January 20, 2009

It also made for a great soccer field for the kids.

A mistake I made with the design was I over designed it.  I took the main view and widened it at the opposite end to have the turf area appear to be the same width  from one end to the other.  This worked out fine except that every time I mowed, I ended up with an uneven mow pattern resulting in a wedge pattern at one end.  I decided I needed to make both ends the same width.

For a couple of years, I knew I needed to do this; but the thought of the effort to pop the boxwood and replant them in the corrected line stopped me.  I wasn’t up to the task.  Even though it would give me better mow efficiency and keep me from getting frustrated with the design, I didn’t feel it was worth it.  Then I decided that if I was to correct the wedge of one side (west side) , then I might as well  pop the entire east side, reduce the turf area (making the center turf area narrower) then it might be worth the effort.  That is what I did last fall.

Most of the popped box made the transplant.  Because I was narrowing the lines by three feet,  I had some box left over.  These were nursed over the winter to use as replacements for lost box.

Amazingly, they did well; a little stunted, but will look great next year.  They need more time to fill in.  I’ll wait.  I’m very happy with the extra 3 feet and the even-ness of the design.  I can start mowing at one end and mow in a continuous loop – no corrections needed.   I was also left with more area for planting flowers.  This was good.

August 23, 2009

August 23, 2009

Satisfied in last falls effort and doing what I can to make the garden welcoming in the fall, here is some of the fun I had this week:

  • Mowed
  • Added a Screech owl box
  • Deadheaded
  • Photographed nature in the garden
  • Prepared for my talk to the Wake County Herb Society on creating backyard wildlife habitats
  • Worked on the design of the booth for a client coming to Garden Writers in September
  • Worked on several writing assignments

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Plenty of rain, temperatures in the 80s, but muggy made the mosquitoes happy.  This, in turn, made the soft-bodied insect eating birds and bats happy.  This is what we call a win – win.

Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

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7 Comments »

  1. Sounds like a very relaxing, pleasant week in the garden. What we all work for!

  2. Les said

    I know just how you feel about design flaws. The slightest misalignment or skewed bed line drives me crazy, but only in my own work. I don’t normally notice other’s errors.

  3. Yep Carol, it was a relaxing week in the garden. You are so right, it is what we work for, the pleasure of being in the garden. H.

  4. I agree Les, I’m not likely to notice it in others; but I do my own. Having said that, my flaw was only noticeable when I mowed. That was enough! But then to reduce the lawn size and gain bed size, now that was a bonus!. H.

  5. tina said

    Your soccer field sure is a nice place. I felt like I was in England. BTW, most interesting you lived in London!

  6. Ah, yes, getting back into the routine and enjoying the garden – I can’t think of a better way to spend a week. I like the look of your lawn setting off the beds on either side. Nut sedge doesn’t spoil the image at all.

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