reassembling pieces

We are well into our third summer at our wabi-sabi cottage. Although much of the plantings are still the panicked rush of getting plants into the ground before they shrivel in the heat, continual development and evolution has begun in the more established parts of the gardens.

The side garden was the first bed established, making a new home for the plants that moved with us and the gifts from my in-laws’ farm during our first summer here. The initial hardscape consisted of nothing more than a heap of glacial rocks from the farm. The side garden is on a forty-five degree angle. When we moved in, much of the top soil had already washed down to the vacant lot below our yard. (Luckily, we added that lot to our property last fall well it went to auction, so that previous dirt is still ours.)

This year, I decided to add some concrete retaining stones to more successfully terrace the hill. This effort will be in stages. Heat suggests that the remainder of transplanting be delayed until fall. I am late enough with new plantings, working hard to keep them alive until they go in the ground.

the test site for the new terracing effort: a recent onion harvest left ground open without the need to transplant to make space.

The cast retaining stones come from Lowes, and have been used to create edging, terracing, and a raised bed in the front yard over the past two years. The cap stones are a new find from Home Depot, and are different from those used in the front. These work well with the materials making up the foundation of Benchhenge, some of which are from the same product line. They also speak well to the tone of our concrete walkways, and the great birdbath from our friends’ yard sale last year.

a wider shot reviews the work remaining for the fall when it’s safe to move plants again: most of the various lilies will find new homes in the south lot.

The plan is to alternate the linear retaining stone rows with the organic flowing curves of the glacier rocks, also alternating between wood and pea gravel for mulch. I *really* enjoy the point where they intersect, something that developed as I was working the materials into place. Mixed in with the glacier rocks are sheared-off bits of the stone retaining wall along our driveway and concrete chunks found throughout the property, reflecting the idea behind our efforts with our wabi-sabi cottage: reuse, recycle, make old and broken into beauty once again.

the new feel of the side garden

This summer’s effort yields a great preview of long-term goals: blending hardscape with  established plantings, as well as mixing flowers and herbs and veggies together in landscaping. (I am still working on ideas for aesthetically pleasing caging for squirrel protection.)

a shot from the bottom of the drive showing the depth of layers developing in our side garden.

Daylilies frame out the shot of eggplant and beanstalks growing among coreopsis and scabiosa, seeding out cilantro and various perennial herbs, as well as a row of shishito peppers, my husband’s favorite. All while Saint Francis looks on. Out of the shot, are seed and nectar birdfeeders that bring so much life to our garden.

So many projects are underway in and about our little hobbit house in the historic northeast. The list has been consistently overwhelming, but results are steadily surfacing.

I look forward to them all!

Welcome to the gardens of our wabi-sabi cottage.

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