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The Screening Test

Foundation planting at Hayefield with Helianthus 'Lemon Queen' and Vernonia

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

One of the biggest challenges of creating a new garden on a relatively flat, featureless field has been figuring out how to break up the view a bit. Partly, I wanted to create some privacy from the roads that border two sides of my lot. I also wanted to add some screening within the garden, so the whole thing wasn’t visible from one spot, and to create some sheltered sitting areas as well. I needed to find a way to screen the area under the raised porch, too, so the junk-storage space underneath wasn’t visible.

My previous garden was very small, so it wasn’t a big deal to invest in some special trellises and screens, or to have Mom build them. This place is so much larger, though, that even buying enough lumber for Mom-made structures really isn’t an option. Sizeable shrubs and trees are pretty much out of the budget too. So I’ve turned to another option: perennials that are eye-high or taller.

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Name That Garden

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

We all know the “right” way to choose plants for our gardens: figure out how much sun and shade we have, how fertile the soil is, what the drainage is like, what hardiness zone we’re in, which flower and foliage traits we want, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s all excellent advice, of course, but I know I’m not the only one who quite often ignores all that and chooses plants purely on impulse. Sometimes it’s just because of a really cool flower, or terrific leaf variegation. And sometimes, I buy a plant just because of its name.

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Got Rocks?

Boulder field at Ringing Rocks May 8 08

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Have you ever noticed that other gardeners always have more difficulties than you do? You mention that you have deer/rabbits/voles/Japanese beetles/shade/whatever, and then you hear how the other person has the same problem but much, much worse than you could ever imagine. I’ve noticed that it’s the same with rocks: You grumble about hitting a few rocks when digging a fencepost or trying to plant, and invariably, someone else has more/bigger/harder rocks in their garden. Well, whenever I hear someone complain about rocks in the garden, I have to think that they don’t realize how bad it could be! Continue reading Got Rocks?