CAN YOU JOIN ME ON A BRIEF TOUR TODAY? I certainly hope so, because I’d love to show you the work I’m accomplishing in the Rose Garden (above). I’d also like you to smell the earliest of the April flowers. Grab your coat and a hat (it’s surprisingly-nippy here) and follow me outside:
In the Rose Garden, 320 boxwoods (most of these achieved from cuttings) and 190 yews are putting out lush, new growth. I’ll wait until May to have these hedges professionally trimmed.
To insure weed-free beds during summer, in spring I lay a one-inch thickness of newspaper between the shrubs. Then I top the newspaper with about two inches of shredded leaves. If you hate weeding-work as much as I do, consider this newspaper mulching-routine for your own garden. It really works.
Let’s leave the Rose Garden for now, and head north, up the gentle path that leads to a grove of white pines. I built this staircase back in 2006, with help from my friend Herminio. We used a hand-truck to carry the blue-stone slabs up the hill.
I suppose my garden is a testament to what determination — not money — can accomplish. In fact, all of my gardens were created on a shoe-string budget. And a very skinny shoe-string at that.
An arched opening in the pines permits a view of the headless statue beyond. (Yes, one of the urns that flank the statue is off kilter. I’m on that.)
Turning right past the statue, we come face-to-face with the Kitchen Garden. I built this “living supermarket” back in 2007. It is extremely easy to maintain.
My October-planted hardneck garlic is growing with gusto in one of the hemlock-framed beds. If you have garlic in your garden, be sure to feed it now. More details in my garlic sowing and growing guide.Making a very late appearance in the Kitchen Garden is a patch of rhubarb. I say “late appearance” because in previous years, I’ve harvested the stalks in mid-April! Well, it’s been a very cold spring.
Just north of the Kitchen Garden is the Woodland Garden. Happily, the fish who dwell in a small pond there are all swimming vigorously again, after their semi-comatose winter rest. I’ll start feeding the fish when pond temperature reaches 50 degrees. In the meantime, a smorgasbord of algae will sustain them.
Brrr. It’s even colder now than when we started our tour. And freezing rain is expected. Shall we head back to the house? There, a roaring fire and a glass of wine await us.
And not just any old wine, either. It’s a Sancerre from France.
Because you deserve the best.
We’re standing near the headless statue now, looking back at the house and its many rooftops. The long wing on the right is the Music Room that we are currently restoring.
Shall we make our descent via the Serpentine Garden? There, we’ll find a number of fascinating plants.
And these Russell hybrid lupines that I achieved through winter-sowing efforts. I love the plant’s elegant blue, pink, white, and yellow spires that appear in May.
Can you smell the heavenly perfume? It’s coming from the dozens and dozens of hyacinths now in bloom in the Serpentine Garden. Pictured above is Hyacinthus ‘Blue Jacket’ in the foreground, with ‘Pink Pearl’ behind.
Before we head inside, please note this year’s winter-sowing project — 18 gallon-size milk and water jugs. In January, I planted these miniature greenhouses with perennial and hardy annual seeds. So far, the coreopsis, hyssop, lettuce, spinach, bachelor buttons and Evening Primrose have sprouted. My other winter-sown seeds — including tomatoes — will germinate when warmer weather arrives.
And speaking of chilly — is your garden a little behind-schedule this month, too? You can let me know by leaving a comment.
Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly newsletter.