Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the Forest

Is there any tree with a more evocative name than incense cedar?
Our cedars grew and grew--now they're like big green umbrellas--very shady underneath and not much moisture gets through. So one summer (the summer of the Carpal Tunnel) I decided to remove the unhappy lawn grass trying to grow beneath them and make a forest garden instead.  It didn't help my hands any to be swinging the pick and ripping up sod--but the change was worthwhile.

With the grass a distant memory, I mixed in lots of compost and topsoil, raided my stash of landscape boulders and then transplanted the shade lovers flourishing beneath the pin oak slated for removal.
The sweet woodruff and Japanese anenomes approve of their new home.

And I had an excuse to go shopping (whoo-hoo!) for more shade-loving plants. I experimented with an azalea,
some assorted hostas, astilbe, columbine (of course) and a Russian violet. I've been warned about the spreading tendencies of this violet, but so far she's playing nice and staying put!
I didn't know it would have such dark leaves when I bought it, but now I like the way it contrasts with the soft greens.

It's not all shade here.  There are dianthus along the sunny edge.
They'll be followed by daylilies, volunteer hollyhocks and snapdragons when the weather warms a bit more.

And the hardy groundcover in the dry, hot corner that gets wheelbarrows, wagons and bikes cutting through some foot traffic is spreading so well that soon some will get promoted to beautifying Lilypad Pond.
The flowers are like small jewels--I guess I should dig out the tag to find out what this beauty is called.

More trees are joining the forest crew--last year a seedling Japanese maple and a dawn redwood

found their way here via Pooh's garden in Oregon.  The dawn redwood only looks dead, it's actually deciduous and will soon sprout lovely new green leaves.  (Metasequoia glyptostroboides has been a family favorite since my sweetie's grandfather was one of the first gardeners to obtain one when these living fossils were first imported from China.) I'm thrilled to finally have one of my own.

I may have neglected to mention that our forest is only six feet by ten feet, but size isn't as important as the wonderful feel that this small area now adds to our cottage.

Linking up to My Romantic Home's show and tell--stop by for more treasures to enjoy.


  1. I have that violet all over my front garden, just growing wild. It's gorgeous, but be careful, it will sprout up EVERYWHERE!!!!

  2. Love the woodruff and anemone combo.. it reminded me that I have anemone under my cedars and I haven't seen it?? I must go look once the rain stops:)

  3. A woodland garden is very romantic!! Yours is so lovely. I just picked up the British version at Country Living at Barnes and Noble and they did a whole spread on woodland gardens! Wow! Just gorgeous!
    Have a great weekend!

  4. What a lovely peaceful space you've created - it must bring you great joy to see how well everything is growing. Your little forest is truly a special place.