Garden description: After 27 years of creating gardens on my NJ suburban property I was eager to see what I could create in my Wilmington row house back yard 16′ wide by 40′ deep that had nothing more than weedy grass. Starting six years ago with dozens of divided pieces of plants from my NJ garden I started building my backyard oasis. To the lilies, iris, peonies, astilbe, penstemon, heuchera, yarrow, phlox, hosta, coneflower, tradescantia, cactus, grasses and herbs I brought with me, I added fence climbers such as honeysuckles, clematis, and jasmine. Trees and shrubs were placed strategically to create some privacy and future shade. And then I added my favorite – several varieties of hydrangeas. Now six years later a large variety of plants clustered along the curved gravel walk gives us many months of blooms. A fig tree, raspberry plants, and some vegetables and herbs squeezed in here and there add to the benefits and pleasure from my garden.
Who are the gardeners? My husband Ed and I both work in the garden. I am the planner and designer, although we usually choose plants together. We share in the labor of planting and maintenance but there’s a difference. It’s fun and a joy for me, not so much for Ed!
Why do you garden? I don’t know how NOT to garden! Raised on a farm in a large family, growing fruits and vegetables was essential. But my mother went beyond the essential to the beautiful, adding flowers wherever she could. She was my teacher and model as I learned the process of working the soil, nurturing plants, and creating a palette of colors and textures. Gardening enriches my life. And I have learned from neighbors and passersby that my garden also enriches their lives! It has been a joy to share what I love with others.
How has gardening impacted you during this time? I have been sustained by the reliability of plants. Throughout the months of uncertainty I could count on my flowers to return and bloom again. Even a small garden has added variety to a life that was limited by the pandemic. When I feel confined, working in my garden opens up the world.
What do you have in your garden? In addition to all the plants listed above, my garden features spring bulbs and annuals, shrubs such as Nandina, Pyrocarpus, Perovskia, Caryopteris, and Bloomerang Lilac. Several specialty trees purchased at the Rare Plant Auction have been great additions: Acer Triflorum; Chocolate Fountain Albizia; Nootka “Green Arrow” Cyprus. The cyprus has been the perfect skinny tree for our skinny space.
Do you have any problems with disease or pests? If so, how are you dealing with this problem? We have few problems with pests. Squirrels like to dig in the beds but don’t do any real damage. In a small garden the insect pests we have can be managed with hand removal.