The big dig

The North Garden Star Wall Project has officially begun! (The wall, 100 years old this month, will be restored this winter.) Yesterday Team Rockette dug and hauled hundreds of pounds of perennials out of the two beds along the North Star wall and southeast side and heeled them in the vegetable bed (readied by Team Deadhead on Tuesday) for the winter. They also unceremoniously pitched all of the annuals along with moldy-old Phlox paniculata ‘David’ (it may be mildew resistant for awhile but for us, no longer) and anything infested with goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), which over the last few years has insidiously reentered the North Garden in a number of places.

As hard as the work was yesterday – we all needed restorative naps afterwards – I kept thinking about how much easier it was, psychically at least, to do a major renovation project now as opposed to spring. As hard as it is to cut back or take out late season flowers that the bees and butterflies are still working, I find it much more difficult to move or destroy anything with fresh growth full of the season’s potential. And fall weather is much more reliably cooperative too. The ground is still warm so plants’ roots can take hold easily and there’s plenty of rain in the forecast. As much as we’d like to be able to get back into the North Garden with Team Florabunda, today’s rain is helping yesterday’s transplants settle into to their temporary home. The timing for that is also perfect. As long as you’re careful to not plant wherever you’d want to sow the early crops next spring (and we were careful) a vegetable garden makes a brilliant holding bed for anyone that doesn’t have space for a dedicated nursery bed.

We still have to get the roses (Ballerina) and hydrangeas (Limelight) out and sundry back row denizens but we’re nearly there thanks to the Rockettes – and the Tuesday Deadheads – (we could not have done this without them) and we’re right on schedule despite the rain. Stay tuned for progress reports and maybe even a discussion about all of the ideas being floated about potential design tweaks. (If the garden is going to be under the mayhem of construction, why not think about making a change or two? – Always preserving the family’s intentions, of course.)

Are you starting a big project now too? Do you prefer to do the work in spring or fall?

 

 

4 thoughts on “The big dig

  1. I presume the wall is under the ivy. What needs restoring about it? Is it crumbly?

    I’m doing a lot of work this fall, including some cutting back I would normally reserve for the spring and such for the much lauded seed heads and winter interest as this upcoming spring won’t be allowing me any time to do it then. Which, considering how much weeding of grass in the beds will be done is probably a good thing.

    Susan, you presume correctly – the wall is under the climbing hydrangea actually and it has become a bit precariously leany over the years… Now you’ve got me curious – what’s upcoming for you this spring???! (Dare I guess there might be a new branchlet on your family tree?) -kris

  2. Hi Kris, Glad to hear about the progress, you reassure me it is not to late to move plants. I enlarged a shrub border a few years ago and …guess what it needs??? Yup, enlarging again! I had this question what time is better fall or spring and like you, I do not want to damage new spring growth so here I go in the next week or so!

    Marianne, It’s a fine time to move things around – particularly things that bloom early on in the season. They should have a good few weeks – and then all winter – to settle in. Happy planting! -kris

  3. I like to do as much as I can in the fall as spring can be so unreliable early on. I went on a buying spree in late Sept. and got some fabulous deals on perennials(half price!). I’m going to be checking out the shrubs and trees over the next week. I’ll be planting(and mulching) for the next two-three weeks. Great time to be outside!

    Carolyn, You’re right – it feels really good again (aside from all this rain) to be outside! Good luck finding good deals! -kris

  4. The fall is so much nicer without the pressures of spring chores. How exciting that you will have a new wall. Is there a new edging in store for the north garden as per HD? Just wondering if her suggestions were heard by the landscape crew.

    Layanee, Good question! We’ve got a committee meeting coming up so I guess we’ll see soon what suggestions – and whose – are still open for discussion. -kris

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