Diversity in garden design and the variations of plant combinations is like attending a grand family event such as a wedding. The short cousins, the tall uncle, the aunt with the hair on her chin and all the new young couples beginning their own emotional adventures. There are so many different types of people that make up our unique family dynamics. In our gardens we have these similar possibilities. How much fun do you want to have each time you walk around your property? Which family members will you be excited to see and who will you wish to avoid. Every property has the ability to be a special event every day of the year. Before I go into what I feel we need to address prior to March 20,2011 I would like to mention the passing of a friend.
Anita Dougherty, wife to Jim Dougherty and Mother to Lindsey (15) and Carley (11) Dougherty passed away this past Thursday February 24, 2011. Anita was 46 years old and lived a positive life that truly impacted her community and the world around her. I mention this today because her life seemed to have demonstrated what I look to accomplish all the time in my garden restoration and design. A commitment to maintaining and developing my client’s gardens. Anita was a 4th grade teacher. People spoke of her as someone who took pride in helping others learn. I didn’t know Anita as well as some of our other friends in the community but she continually demonstrated a commitment to her family and friends, even as her body couldn’t beat the cancer she battled. This year I will plant and prune, and as I do I will try to impact the community and world around me as she would have.
I am writing today about families. Planting families of different plants around our properties. From shade to full sun we have the ability to enrich the soil and bring a plethora of life onto our plots of land. Plants need room to grow. People need air to breath. If this doesn’t lead to greater health I don’t know what does. I know I am rambling and not leading anyone in any specific direction but I have written so much over this past year and I realize that for anyone to truly understand my message they will need to read all of what I have written. This site, my writing and photography, needs to educate on a grand scale. People, and I am not talking only of gardeners but all people who desire to reach out into the world and make a positive contribution must consider the environment they are surrounded by. From surface to sky the elements around us are speaking. The question is do we all hear them and then what are they trying to say. I SAY, they are asking us to contribute more via planting.
Trees, shrubs, flowers and everything in between, it is our duty to be active participants in the continued growth and development of our property, our community, our town, city, state, country, continent and world. We must not let life pass by and rely on others to do the work. If this is how we choose to be we are delaying progress and future possibilities. I keep finding my way back to how much we all need to do. I find that this is because I feel as though to many people are not focusing their efforts, every day, on the overall betterment of everyone, me included. I think it more than I do it. I know what I needed to do to improve my habits and I began the process when I started this website. Shouting out loud not just for everyone to hear but for me to, to reflect upon what I am missing and doing wrong. I have put into motion a series of events that will change the way I contribute to my family, my community and all the world around me. I look forward to reviewing my life in the future and stating how I made a difference and was able to give more than I took. For now I can only say I am on the path. I have so much to do and so much to demonstrate it is somewhat overwhelming, but my spirit is not swayed.
I have gotten severely distracted while writing this article yet I remain committed to gardens and the family of plants that need to be put into the ground. In the shade, under our trees or sheltered by evergreens and structures, even though protected from the sun these plants need to be watered. What plants you ask? The many varieties of ferns include, Adiantum pedatum Maidenhair Fern has very delicate finely textured foliage, it spreads slowly and prefers moisture, Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern will grow in moist areas but also can take fairly dry soil, Athyrium goeringianum (niponicum) ‘Pictum’ Japanese Painted Fern has gently arching blue/green fronds with silver and maroon coloring, Dryopteris erthrosora Autumn Fern with it’s young fronds are a beautiful bronzy red turning to glossy green, Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas Fern has dark green leathery looking fronds, this is a nice evergreen ground-cover, Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern presents with dark green erect fronds which are tall and graceful. This fern likes a moist area. There are other options available but these are some of the most reliable plants to begin with.
Other plants that can flourish in the mixed shade/sun environment are Creeping Jenny which is a low-growing, spreading plant that features outstanding, rounded, golden-yellow leaves that light up the garden floor. A dependable groundcover that grows where other plants might fail. Useful as a groundcover, between stepping stones or in containers. Grows well in sun or shade and prefers well-drained soil. Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ with silvery leaves and veined foliage. Excellent plant and pictured here in its first year – it will get thicker with age. Helleborus more commonly know as hellebores most popular varieties for garden use are undoubtedly H. orientalis and its colorful hybrids (H. × hybridus). They flower in early spring, around the period of Lent, and are often known as Lenten hellebores, oriental hellebores, or Lenten roses. They are excellent for bringing early colour to shady herbaceous borders and areas between deciduous shrubs and under trees.
This should be a good start without making everyone too crazy. Make a choice and just go for it. March is almost upon us. Don’t think. Know where you want to dig, the rest is simple. One plant at a time.