Sunday, February 28, 2016

Designing the New Garden

I have had time to clean up the existing garden and to take a good look at it. The garden is a shrub garden on the side (near the top) of a mountain. My soil is clay and sand with lots of different types of quartz and granite. I have lots of trees and I can start a compost area for improving the soil. I have added additional flowering shrubs and perennials to the garden. I also have added a fish pond that my husband and I installed. The bones are good and I have lots of ideas!

In this post, we will take a tour of the garden and I will share some of my plans and ideas for it.
I plan to enlarge the garden and the new garden entrance will now begin at the gate in the upper picture at the top of the hill.

From the gate, a path takes you down hill to a creek area with a bridge. On the left side will be a large shaded bed for hybridizing hellebores. This garden will have a Japanese theme. I will need to add steps to this area due to how steep it is.

 The creek area is really a drain pipe that removes water runoff down the mountain. The creek needs some cleaning out of collected debris but it will look natural when I am done with it.

There are many different types of mosses in the area and I plan to age the creek with moss. At some point the creek will be green and alive as a moss garden. The garden path which will be mulch, now turns and heads towards the woodland fairy garden.

Here is one of the many types of moss that grows around the area and in the garden.
As you leave the creek area you are now at the lower existing garden. I am adding a shaded fairy garden to this section filled with woodland plants like ferns, hellebores, and other shade loving perennials. The large round cement container is a fairy garden. The path in this area is gravel.

Some of the retaining wall in the upper picture will need to be replaced due to rot. I would like to replace it with a material that allows me to plant ferns and other small plants into the wall.

From the woodland garden you now enter the sunny area where I have planted a butterfly perennial garden. I do have several decorative bird feeders, but I do not keep food in them. In this area, we are asked not to feed the birds due to bears and snakes. To the right you can see part of the beautiful mountain view in the garden.

At the end of the gravel path is the new fish pond and a large fountain. The fish pond is kept covered  this time of year with a leaf net. I will be adding a protective wire covering to the pond to protect the fish from bears.

The two large rocks support a stone bench top that I am moving to the fish pond area. The rock bench existed in the garden, but I need some extra help to lift the heavy stone seat. When the bench is in place you can sit and enjoy the fish pond. The pond has a biofalls for keeping the water in good condition.

At the pond area you find the old existing steps that takes you back up the hill to the house. The steps needed some repair due to loose stones. That task was completed early in my garden work.

Next to the steps on the right of the hill is my rose garden. I have planted it with climbers, drift and carpet roses.

That is the new garden and my ideas. When the weather permits, I spend the day working on it and on cold or days with rain, I am inside painting and remodeling. I am really loving where I live and I look forward to sharing my life on the mountain in my blog. I live in Lake Lure, North Carolina, which is one of the most beautiful lakes and areas to live in. If you saw the movie "Dirty Dancing" then you have seen Lake Lure. Stop and check back on my blog for all the beautiful sights, waterfalls, garden shows and other things the area has to offer. If you live in the area, please leave a comment in the comment section on garden shows, garden tours or gardens to visit in the area. I am looking forward to seeing all that North Carolina has to offer.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Moving, Moving Fish and the New Garden

I admit, I have not written for awhile. Life has been very busy with traveling between Indiana and North Carolina, remodeling one house, keeping the other house ready for showings, keeping one large garden neat and trying to install a new garden. Between traveling, LOTS of cleaning and LOTS of painting, the spring, summer and fall flew by. When I look back over the last nine months, I feel that I did not accomplish much until I look at the results and know better. Now to update you on what has happened. The garden is planted and the plants are establishing. Weeding, mulching and additional design work will come this spring. I did move my fish and I thought I would tell you how I did it.
The first job was to dig a new pond, since the new garden did not have a pond. It took several days to dig and with the help of my husband, we got the job done. The new location allows me to see the fish from the house and provides a protected area for them.

After getting the pond dug, I leveled the soil around the pond. I also removed rocks, roots and other items that could damage the new liner.

The liner was installed and I filled the pond with water. I did not installed rock around the pond due to how late it was getting in the year and not having enough time to complete the job. The pond was allowed to sit with the new water for several weeks before the fish were delivered to their new home.

I used an old cooler that was double lined with heavy duty trash bags. This was designed to prevent any possible spills of water during the 8 to 9 hour trip. The fish were moved late in the season and the water temperature had already dropped enough that the fish did not need to be fed anymore. If you move fish when they are active, cut off food to them at least 3 days before the move. This eliminates waste build up in the water. It took three different trip to North Carolina to move all of my fish.

Since we left early in the morning, the fish were captured the evening before. I only took a few fish at a time to protect them during transport. Once the fish arrived to the new pond, I took them straight to the new pond for release and monitoring. The pond was covered with a large net to prevent leaves and other animals from getting into the water.

The fish seem very happy in their new home. I do have some alarms surrounding the garden to keep animals out of the garden and pond.

When the fish were loaded in the cooler, I added a battery operated air stone to provide air during the night and during the journey to their new home. The batteries would be changed out to fresh ones just before we hit the road. I would check on the fish during rest stop breaks along the way. Every fish made it to the pond alive and happy to get out of the cooler.

After the fish were in the pond the pond net was secured for winter. I will continue to check on the fish until I open it back up in the spring. I worried about moving the fish, but found that it was easier then I thought it would be. This spring, I will complete the work on the pond.

Update - All moved in and getting lots of indoor work done. The move took place just before a winter storm hit the mountains. I can't wait for some warmer days to start working in the new garden and I can now get back to writing again!

Happy Gardening!


'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood

Years ago, I purchased a very small tree that was only 6 to 8 inches tall. It was a 'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood. It had beau...