When I moved here over seventeen years ago, the north side of my house had a brick retaining wall, a Scotch Pine about 20 feet tall, a four foot tall white pine, a pink spirea, and a built in bench and grill. The shade was lovely and the area was always a few degrees cooler than my super sunny southern facing deck. It seemed like a great place to make a garden that would remind me of a Japanese garden.
I began by making small garden beds on all three sides. I added a peony, hostas, a rhododendron, a couple Japanese ferns, and a clematis. It was a nice place to sit in the shade on many mornings and we have even had some cookouts on the grill.
After a couple years the Scotch pine succumbed to sawyer beetles and wilt. It was a quick death and the tree was literally dead in two years. The third year we were planning to remove it and got an unexpected blessing when a windstorm lay it down perfectly and didn't damage a single plant or the house. That bed was extended to include some annuals and I added the hydrangeas on the end. A dogwood tree, brought home from school on Arbor Day over eight years ago, holds a special place in the garden.
The pine grew and became a favorite as mentioned in a previous post. It had to be take out this summer due to its size and surface roots. It provided me with a good deal of mulch for my veggie and flower gardens. Without the big pine, however, the garden has lost its cool shade and that calm feeling is gone, for now anyway.
A new red bud is growing to take its place which will provide that spring blossom feel of a cherry tree. The large heart shaped leaves of a red bud also reminds me of ginkgo trees. Therefore, I feel like I can regain that shady calm garden that I am without at the moment.
The loss of the pine has also inspired me to extend this garden area and add a water feature. I have decided that rather than dig up all the grass, I will use the No-Dig method and lay down sheets of cardboard and such and cover it all with a good layer of mulch. Hopefully, this will make a good foundation for additional plants and pathway to be added between now and next May.
I would love some ideas for my zone 5a or 5b area. Temps can range from lows of -10 degrees F in the winter to some summers seeing temperatures at 100 degrees plus. Luckily there are downspouts that will direct water to this garden when we do have rain and without the shallow rooted pine, the area should not be as dry of a shade as it was.
The video below will give you a tour of the current space. Your ideas are appreciated.