New owners and gardens, was Composts

Jane McGary
Sun, 23 May 2010 13:25:10 PDT
Rodger wrote about leaving one's garden,
What I can imagine is wifey turning to hubby and saying, "dear, why don't you
>bring in the backhoe and level all that mess so we can have a nice 
>paddock for
>the horses?" [PS: I am not implying that Jane's place is a mess of any sort.]

It is a worse mess than it was, because I already partially leveled 
the rock garden thinking it would be a liability in selling the 
place. I intend to recommend either total leveling of the remaining 
disrocked berms, or using them for a fruit orchard as the area is 
well protected from quick morning thaw in winter. There is, however, 
a great deal of space elsewhere for a paddock, barn, greenhouses, or 
whatever else anybody would want in addition to a garden, the 
property being 10 acres. Around here, that probably means a Christmas 
tree farm -- groan.

I don't really expect the garden to stay the same but it would be 
nice if some of the trees could be preserved, as they are not only 
beautiful but valuable. However, even this element of a garden always 
changes. A few days ago a large Laburnum x watereri 'Vossii' keeled 
over in a storm, in full bloom. Its roots are still in the ground but 
as soon as it finishes flowering and I get over a dire case of viral 
bronchitis, I will saw it up and haul it off. It wouldn't have fallen 
had it not become crowded by adjacent trees and started leaning 
toward the light. I've taken out several trees in recent years to 
alleviate crowding or just because they were not as successful as 
some of the others.

On the other hand having the trees grow up lets one learn how to grow 
bulbs under them! I spread a lot of discarded bulb potting soil under 
a large red oak (Quercus rubra) a couple of years ago, then mulched 
it, and it's delightful to see what actually can come up and thrive 
in deciduous shade with a heavy leaf drop in autumn. I took a lot of 
little Arum tubers of various species and planted them on a steep 
slope in the shade of this tree, and most of them seem to be 
flourishing there, as one sometimes sees them in nature.

Rodger complained about people buying houses and cutting down the big 
rhododendrons. I confess that that's part of my plan for my new 
house: it has every kind of cheap rhododendron/azalea you can 
imagine, especially those awful magenta Kurume azaleas that infest 
Portland. Goodbye Hardy Hybrids, hello Rhododendron yakusimanum! And 
does anybody want a whole row of little ball-shaped boxwoods? You dig 
the little stinkers.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

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