Planting Day

Natalie and I have been working on her mother’s new garden about a mile from our house. We started when she first bought the house with a few shrubs and conifers after Betty had a raised berm and rock-filled dry stream built in the front yard. Those early plantings, now in their third growing season, are looking very nice.Native Shrubs Ready for Planting

Earlier this spring, Natalie and Betty worked up a plan to add many more plants to the front garden, and a layer of taller small trees to the back of the border in the back yard garden. They placed an order with Plantas Nativa in Bellingham, who delivered a truckload of plants a few days ago.

Today we spent the better part of the day placing and planting everything. The photo shows just a small part of what we started with — Shining Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium), Kinnickinick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Salal (Gaultheria shalon), and Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum). We also planted a couple dozen Sword Ferns (Polystichum munitum) and maybe a dozen Low Oregon Grape (Mahonia nervosa) in the front garden. By lunchtime we were finished with the front and pronounced it good. It will take a little time for the plants to establish and start to fill out, but the end result should be a relatively low maintenance, mostly native garden that is a joy to behold both from the street and from Betty’s large living room window.

After lunch we worked on the back yard, which called for planting a few much larger specimens. Natalie had ordered four good-sized Vine Maples and one Serviceberry to form the backbone of the east property line, on the back side of a raised berm. These substantial specimens were balled and burlaped and were as heavy as I could lift. We used a garden cart to get them roughly in position. We also planted more Shining Oregon Grape, a few Ceanothus ‘Victoria’, a Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii), and a Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) in the back. The berm already had a couple of dwarf conifers, a couple of Indian Plum, and a wide mix of perennials. Like the front, it will take some time to get established, but it’s going to look very nice.

We think most of the major planting is now done. But being gardeners we know that there will always be new plants to covet and holes to fill. At least we shouldn’t have to wrestle many more large specimens into position as the places for them are now essentially full. Although the weather forecasters had called for rain, we had a glorious blue-sky sunny day to work outside. Hopefully some rain will come in the next few days to reduce the amount of watering required for the new plantings.

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