I don’t know about you, but my flowers have been funky this Spring. They seem to have been arrested by a premature warm spell followed by snow. The azaleas have just started to bloom, but in a manner I’ve never seen. They’re flowering at the ground level. All other buds are still tightly closed. I have three or four azalea bushes in different colors all doing the same thing. Time to start a new garden!

No doubt they’re scared after seeing what Mother Nature did to their tulip and daffodil neighbors. I decided to decorate one azalea plant with a couple rose pillows. Better. I only just pruned the rose bushes so no real blooms expected for quite a while.

I pulled out my dahlia tubers from basement hibernation-considering the prospect of getting them into ground. My belief that the NW corner of CT is behind other parts of CT was confirmed. Those of us in the northwest corner can expect to flirt with frost until May 31! ( We’re in Zone 5b) This was an interesting site, if you want to check your location for first and last frost.

I’m in the middle of researching a design  for the side yard that has been plagued by low light, poor soil, and drainage problems since we moved here. For the moment I’ve concurred that fighting Mother Nature doesn’t work. The yard has rich possibilities for shade gardening. Here’s where we left off last fall. The hill across from the kitchen door got built up to slow water drainage-and start to dry the “lawn.”Garden DesignNext, I’m looking at hardscape. The mason has to be the first in so he doesn’t roll over new topsoil and plantings.  Our first pass a couple years ago was just enough to get back into the house, front deck, side and back stairs. Garden DesignThis used to be the front of the house. You now see it now from the kitchen sliders. We want to close off the yard so as people approach from the driveway, ( to the left), the new garden/sitting area is obscured and if you’re inside, it has more of an enclosed garden feel.

It looks like we need a couple more bamboo panels. Which is sad…as all those existing panels on the hill already have to be scraped and sealed this year. Nothing that looks like lawn will be- it will all revert to either shade plantings or gravel. Notice the cool brick reaching right up to the house at the right side. This would clean up a lot and provide a sitting area.

Garden Design

House approach from the drive. Notice the lighter, compacted soil-when it rains water sits and drowns whatever green grows there.

Next photo is the projected view on the driveway approach. I’m working my way around to see how things look from every angle, and so my husband can be part of the discussion. Garden DesignIs this cool? We have a gravel drive. The panels probably extend farther left, allowing just enough for truck access if need be. That projected stand of lilies will be a large bed of water- loving plants surrounded by gravel. Swamp iris. The entire yard will be beds with gravel and brick walkways. No more crummy grass! To be continued.

Far to go but at least we’ve started looking, reading and talking about it. In the meantime, a friend handed over a fist of wild ramps today (knowing how crazy I am about them) I rushed out and stuck them into moist soil as we’re expecting more rain tonight.

I find that looking at photos helps me more than reading. But, lots to read along the way. You can’t short circuit the fact that you have little control over the light in your space. You have to work with what you have.

Some stuff here you might find helpful:

Shade garden plants

Thirty-three ideas for shade gardens- easy to read!

Soil improvements-Soil and sun light – Factors that dictate plant choices- don’t disregard

I’m tired. Time for music. Prairie Oyster is a country music group from Toronto, Ontario. ( not to be confused with a hangover cure) They were named Country Group or Duo of the year six times by both the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and the Juno Awards. Older video, but love the trailer! Summer’s coming. Canadian Sunrise.

BTW. My gardens are where Paola Pillows begin. See them hereBuy some here…And yes, we wholesale too.


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