The Side Slope: Mission Accomplished
This is a large area (almost 450 square feet) and it consists mostly of backfilled soil from the construction of the retaining wall. Even before the soil was disturbed by construction, it was loamy sand with little organic matter (a soil test returned a value of .5%) and little ability to retain moisture. Before I could put in plants in this area, I needed to add organic matter, a time-consuming process. I added 1.5 cubic feet of compost and composted cow manure to each 6 cubic feet of soil, a process that took 45 – 90 minutes for each 6 square feet of soil surface.
I began working on this planting in early June, with a goal of finishing by the end of August. By late June, I had amended the soil in a 3-4 foot swath along the top of the slope and put in a row of plants. For the next two months, I continued to amend the soil in six-square-foot sections, first working my way down the wide end of the wedge-shaped slope, from top to bottom, then along the top of the remaining unworked area, then alternating vertical swaths from top to bottom with horizontal swaths from wide end to narrow end.
|By the beginning of August, as the remaining wedge left to be amended got smaller and smaller, I could see the end in sight and began to visit nurseries to buy plants.|
I developed a planting design for the Side Slope during the winter and continued to refine it as I prepared the soil and began to install plants. I tied this garden area to the Back Slope that occupies the other side of the long stairway up from the driveway by repeating several of the plants that grow there. These include green hostas (probably H. ventricosa or H. fortunei), Siberian irises, tradescantia, balloon flowers, and daylilies. Below is the composition of the final Side Slope planting:
With the Side Slope now planted, I have finished creating my Entry Garden, the plantings that guide a visitor up the stairs from the driveway to the entrance level of my house and then along the walkway to the front door. These plantings include three flower beds around the front door (the Blues Border, Porch Border, and Patio Border) that were created last year and the new Side Slope and the old Back Slope that flank the stairs up from the garden.
I’m giving myself a few days break from major garden projects. Then, next week, I will begin work on the Fragrant Garden at the front of the house outside my bedroom window.