Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Garden for Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Family!

In this charming Bolton Hill neighborhood, tall old homes are backed by old gardens, many of which contain layers of garden history. Almost every garden has buried brick and stone, sometimes marble and sometimes old foundations . Digging down into the soil of these gardens we uncover old pathways from times when someone obviously adored their garden.

Just as the older homes are being upgraded and renovated in keeping with the historic style of the area, these gardens also are slowly being renewed, and at times septic issues have disrupted their original appearance as these were addressed.

This garden was designed to attract bees and butterflies and to create a welcoming outdoor space in which the family could enjoy the seasons. The homeowners also wanted more vertical interest, in terms of raised beds.

We suggested a terrace bed on one side, raised bed on the other, and two handmade locust trellises up which fragrant perennials could climb. We also suggested including native plants as well as the more classic butterfly, bee and bird perennials.

In this photo blog, we take you on a journey through this garden!
The two locust trellises create long lasting ladders for a native jessamine and a golden flame honeysuckle to grow up. Locust is an extremely hard wood that is very decay resistant, typically used to make fence posts. These locust branches were sustainably harvested locally! Two terraces are created to bring vertical interest without making the patio feel too closed in as it would if there was only a single, taller garden wall along this edge.
BEFORE: The garden view looking out from the porch. These old bricks were reused in the new patio.
AFTER: View from the porch. The "hardscaping" (patio and walls) create the "skeletal structure" of the garden. The new patio successfully drains all the water safely to the back alley.
BEFORE: View from the back gate towards the house. The garden lacked definition.

AFTER: View from the gate. Walls are PA fieldstone and additional stones are creatively placed in the garden beds to appear as if they naturally cropped up in those areas. This garden allowed for the use of both shade and sun perennials as it transitions from deep shade by the gate to almost full sun by the porch. Shady areas, in particular are wonderful areas for native plants, including, trillium, wild ginger, may apple, native sedum, and more. There are also many beautiful sun loving natives, including many whose names are familiar to nursery goers, such as liatris, lobelia, butterfly weeds, joe pye weed, creeping phlox, and many more, they are just the native varieties not the cultivars.

Close up of one of the locust trellises. This one has a golden flame honeysuckle that will attract the bees and hummingbirds in addition to its fragrance.

BEFORE: By the back gate a small space needed to contain trash and other debris.
AFTER: By opening up the space by the back gate a little and defining it with the stone walls, we created a space that can accommodate a couple trash cans as needed.

We included a trellis, with door, under deck in order to provide a storage space that is not visible from the garden, as all the stored items would be at eye level for someone sitting on the patio.

For these homeowners, renewing the garden made all the difference in having a "yard" vs. a "garden", a place for the children to play and the family to enjoy the "extended home". Carefully and creatively designed and installed outdoor spaces can expand "home" and provide a functional, refreshing, and beautiful "garden room"!

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