I love rocks and stones in the garden and landscape, so when Gardening Gone Wild announced that the subject of May’s Garden Design Workshop was Stone in the Garden, I thought “what a happy coincidence” that my big spring project involves this very thing.
There were three reasons for adding a new garden with a dry creek bed. One - I’m a gardener and I just don’t know when to quit, two - the location (where the garden is now situated) needed to be re-graded to channel rain water away from the foundation of the house, and three - I wanted to include more rocks and stone in the landscape for continuity. We already have a rock garden and I’ve placed rocks in other garden beds for visual interest.
The first order of business was to re-grade. This involved removing sod and soil. To make the ground fall away from the foundation, I removed soil from the area that is about three to five feet away from the house. Using my trusty rake, I then graded the remaining soil into a gradual slope down and away from the wall.
After re-grading it was time to decide on the overall shape of the garden and the creek bed. As I’m not much for straight lines, and creeks have a way of meandering through a landscape, the edges would undulate and the widths of the garden and the creek bed would vary randomly for a natural effect. The rake was picked up again to outline the shape and the edges.
Impatience got the best of me and even though I only had a basic shape worked out, I couldn’t wait any longer to get some plants and shrubs into the new garden. The first plantings were items that mom and I relocated from other spots - a peony, hydrangea, and spirea.
Then of course, an inevitable trip to the nursery resulted in the purchase and subsequent planting of a silverleaf dogwood, euonymus radicans, yew (taxus media ‘Dark Green Spreader’), heuchera (’Strike it Rich Gold’), and a verbascum hybrid ‘Jackie In Yellow’.
To keep grass and weeds from popping up in the dry creek bed, I lined it with landscape fabric. The rocks and stones will hold it in place.
More perennials and another shrub have gone in - Abbotswood Potentilla, the white flowering variety, a cranesbill (Mourning Widow), and a speedwell (Royal Candles). At the same time that I found those, I also picked up a new hosta called ‘Paul’s Glory’, but that’s another post and another garden!
Although this spring project isn’t quite finished - Mom and I will keep adding to the garden, and I will continue the harvesting of rocks and stones from my numerous sources to fill the dry creek bed, we are very pleased with how it is turning out.
From a practical standpoint, it seems the regrading has worked to reduce the amount of water that seeps into our basement through the old stone foundation. Big rain storm last night and no water this morning! My fingers are crossed that over time as the plantings become established and the shrubs mature, the foliage will also help to keep rain water away from the house foundation.
Oh yah, and one of these days I’ll get around to reseeding the lawn too!