Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Potters House Gets a New Garden Bed

Last summer during Woodlanders, landscape designer Lee Zieke of Willowglen Nursery, was kind enough to walk us around Shake Rag and offer some landscaping improvement suggestions. One of our biggest questions was what to do with the Potters House area, barren since regrading to improve drainage. We wanted to add landscaping but knew that for an 1800's building with moisture issues, foundation plantings were not an option. Lee pointed out that you don't necessarily have to plant right next to a building to soften its look. You can place your plantings a ways away and achieve the same effect. A garden bed alongside the boardwalk with its rustic railing seemed the perfect solution.

Thanks to a grant from the Uplands Garden Club and the hard work of Uplands Garden Club members Harriet Ridnour, Janet Huebner, Sue Okas  and Sharon Stauffer, the Potters House finally will have the landscaping we've been missing.

The new bed was created using a somewhat scaled down Lasagna Garden method...MUCH easier than digging, especially in the rocky clay soil around the Potters House.

  • The shape of the bed was defined with a hose and holes were dug for the limited number of plants that were to be installed initially (more plants to be added later). Here are Harriet and Janet fighting through all the rocks in the ground...mostly with a pick axe. It was HARD work!

  • A goodly layer of at least six pages of dampened newspapers was put down and then hosed down until quite wet. Actually looks kind of cool, sort of like a mosaic...but not exactly durable.

  • Next came a layer of leaves and a sprinkling of compost to help the leaves break down.

  • And finally, Sue helps to apply a few inches of mulch, which made it look finished but more importantly will keep the leaves from blowing away. 

So what's a project like this without a before and after:


And an even nicer view below. The bed makes the boardwalk look like it finally belongs in the landscape. And it's only going to get better. Right now there are only a couple of viburnum bushes, a few young Russian Sage, and a couple of hardy geraniums. We'll be adding some Happy Returns day lilies and perhaps more geraniums...but AFTER the worms get into all the layers of organic matter and soften up the ground for us!  

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