Sunday, May 13, 2012

imagining a garden

We spent a lot of time this week thinking about the landscape/gardens/habitat around and inside tin box this week. We laid out some of our coral rock (the bounty from our septic tank installation) to give us an idea of the broad outlines of the raised planters we want to build on the south side of the house. Holly started sketching the front in perspective to help visualize the relationship between plantings, stone and ground. We visited a neighbor with a terrific vegetable and fruit garden, and started to fantasize about what we could grow with our abundant sunshine and rainfall. We thought about what kinds of plants we can grow above a septic drainage field, and which ones we can't. And then Faichild Tropical Botanic Garden hosted their annual flowering tree sale...

It's not a coincidence that the Fairchild flowering tree sale is scheduled the day before Mother's Day. And what better way to celebrate than to walk away with a trunk load of fragrant shrubs and vines (decisions about trees are a little too serious to improvise at such an event). The brunfelsia is a low-growing, dense shrub with white and lavender flowers that are most fragrant in the evening. It might be perfect at the shady end of our patio, facing the park across the street, which is also our best sunset view.
The aristolochia is a big Brazilian vine that we might train up past the door to the patio, where it will get plenty of sun and start to break up the expanse of that tall end of the house. The vine produces mammoth flowers (up to 12" long!) that look like vases hanging in the air.
We got two sclerochitons, which are bushes from southern Africa whose love of moderate shade and tendency to spread broadly (about six feet across) will work perfectly on the north side of the family room. The light blue flowers look great against the silver wall finish on the shady (north) side of the house, and the shrub should grow to about the same height as the window sill across the long wall of the family room, which will draw blue and green hues into the room and frame the view of the back yard.

We also picked up some other awesome looking things, including dragon fruit, a cactus that acts like a vine and which will colonize the sides of the coral planting bed, and produce big pink fruit. This is going to be fun.

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