Saturday, May 16, 2009

How to Make a Townhome Garden

Advice specifically for Seattle townhome gardens, but useful for small gardens everywhere, especially in USDA Zone 8.

1 Plant a tree. If your garden is small, plant the tree in the corner farthest from the building. If your garden is not so small, plant 2 or 3 trees along the property line away from the building.

2 Pave a small area near the door. 10 feet by 10 feet is good. Decide whether to call it a patio, terrace or ‘my fabulous garden room.’

3 Make planting beds in a U around the paved area. Buy lots of compost in bags from a big hardware store. Pile the compost 2 feet deep.

4 Choose 6 to 9 shrubs to distribute evenly around the U. Choose 7 to 18 perennials. Figure out how many plants will have to grow in sun, & in shade. Choose from the appropriate plant lists. Remember that bulbs & grasses are perennials. Consider using Clematis to climb shrubs. Don’t use too much of the same thing.

5 Plant the shrubs in the compost, halfway between the property line (fence) & the paved area. Plant perennials close to the edge of the paving, between shrubs.

6 Cover open ground with mulch. Buy shredded bark. Let fallen leaves be mulch. Always mulch around new planting. Do not put mulch more than 2 inches deep.

Design for a Townhome Garden

ACE = Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
ARB = Arbutus unedo 'Compacta' (Compact Strawberry Tree)
HYD = Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)
R1 = Rhododendron occidentale (Western Azalea)
Perennials & Groundcovers
DIC = Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
GER = Geranium phaeum (Mourning Widow)
IRI = Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)
NAR = Narcissus jonquilla (Jonquil)
POL = Polystichum setiferum (Soft Shield Fern)

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