It’s February, and you know what that means?
Well, sort of. I mean, not really. At all. The backyard is basically a giant ice patch, and there’s not a hint of anything green as far as the eye can see.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love in February: Valentine’s Day (which was always a family holiday when I was growing up, second only to Christmas), my birthday (Balloons! CAKE!!), ordering new honeybees (bzzzzzz) and the first hints of spring as the days lengthen.
But it’s often cold, murky, grey, and more than a little gloomy. So naturally I’ve been buoying my spirits by planning gardening projects for warmer months. After all, I get to start some seedlings in about a month, and they’ll need somewhere to go! I’ll also be shoring up the herb garden, moving things around and working on a more permanent fence and path, now that I know I like it where the garden is. But THAT’s another post, for another day. ;)
I recently rediscovered the notes I took last summer during a class on medieval cloister gardens (I’ll add the link when I find that, too). It was a really inspiring lecture, replete with a vivid slideshow and heaps of Latin names for historical plantings. Obviously, I was smitten. Even now, just thinking about it, I get a little glow of that late July warmth. Pair that with my trip earlier to the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, and I’ve been obsessively Pinning ever since…
So I pulled out some notebooks and started sketching. We’ve got a few good sections of relatively flat space around the house, and one, just up from the garage, is about 20’x30′. Can we say AMBITIOUS? But the more I’ve worked on this, the more I’m really keen to give it a go.
Here are the top three sketches:
The leftmost sketch is one I did last year, and really liked, until I did the other two earlier this week. I envision it being laid out like a cloister garden, with a heavy dash of potager-style planting. Basically, it’ll be a very pretty vegetable garden, with flowers and companion plantings scattered throughout. It will definitely take me several years to really get the thing sorted, but I’m guessing I can do the basic layout and at least the outside borders this year. The different sketches play with tiers of different heights, but I’m not sure how complicated I want to get with that.
Here are the absolutes:
- the paths are roughly 2′ wide. That might get fudged a little one way or the other, but I won’t know until I lay everything out.
- The back wall of the garden, at the tops of the sketches, will be a tall grape trellis. My father-in-law is giving me his vines, so I need a place to put them. There will be banks of hyssop and lavender below those, and possibly a pair of turf benches flanking the gateway out to the field.
- The front wall, at the bottom of the sketches, will be predominantly cutting flowers. That side of the garden faces the road, and I’d love for the 4-7 cars that drive by every day to see something beautiful.
- The front gate will have an arbor over it, with either climbing roses, or runner beans, or something. Maybe topped with bird houses. We’ll see.
- A quince tree in the center of the garden. I’m pretty sure I can get a hardy variety that will grow here, and I’d love to not have to catch them during the single week a year they’re available in stores.
- places for ALL the raspberries, because I love them so. Also, places for strawberries, asparagus, and corn, because I either have those already outgrowing their current spaces, or will definitely plant them again.
So, WHICH DO YOU LIKE BEST?!
Help me interwebs, you’re my only hope…