Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making a 50 year old Botanical Garden

We, all, have our motivations for gardening.  Maybe it's for cut flowers, maybe it's for landscaping, maybe it's to be outside.....   There are probably a variety of reasons, in most cases.  In my case, it is a deep seeded sentiment.  My intention is to make a 50 year old botanical garden.....sounds...haughty?  Let me explain.

I'll be 39 this month (and I am still getting carded :).   And I intend to live to my late 80's but that isn't why..

To give you a background, I grew up a foster child.  I lived in many states (FL, GA, LA, MS, AL) as a kid and moved more times than you believe.  I went to six different high schools in three years (skipped a grade, didn't drop out as that implies).   As an adult, the moves didn't stop and were not always for good reasons.  For instance, I was attending law school in New Orleans in 2005.  Hurricane Katrina struck. My family and I were trapped downtown (across from the Superdome) for six days until a Black Hawk helicopter air lifted us out.  That is how I came to Alabama.

When people ask me what my hometown was, I have no reply.  I was ever the nomad.  

All that being said, I never had a place to call "Home", until now.  I never intend to leave my gardens.  Thus, the gardens have a strong emotional response that illicits "This is my place on Earth." As a matter of fact, I intend on being buried here.  There is a cemetery next door.  So my projects are very, very long term in nature and infrastructure oriented.  I suppose my point it, when doing garden designs or plantings consider the time frame you will be seeing it.  For me, it's forever.

I don't mean to be "heavy" but it's best to understand your motivations and enjoy your gardens, accordingly. Is this an ambitious concept?  Absolutely.  But, it's the journey that makes it fun!

The property...

If you haven't followed the blog, this is a 15 acres property on the coastal region of Alabama.  It is shaped like a large rectangle with a creek  dividing the property line on one of the long ends.  There are six acres in the front of the house and nine in the back.  I have never visited the back (which I find extremely ironic) and understand that it has a swamp...which I have never seen.  Most of the gardening I do spans about five acres, thus far.  

The property used to be used as an illegal dump site.  I still can't dig a hole without running into debris.  You have no idea how much work it took, to get rid of the eye sores...abandoned house trailers, car was  a feat all it's own.   That is how I fell into gardening.  I married my husband only a couple of years ago, and in true woman fashion..I made the house/property my own....and that started with removing eye sores.

Below are some of the long term concepts in the works

These are junipers that are trellised.  The intention is to make a "wall" and perhaps statues in between.

The property is on a two lane highway which one day will probably be expanded and I bear that in mind, when it comes to trees, because part of the property will probably be condemned one day.

Irrigation systems are put into place before I plant further and make it impossible to do.

Weeping willow, planted far enough away to be safe from imminent domain.

Front field.  You can't see it but there is a spigot.  This is where my peacock is going.... Below are two pictures of the peacock that ARE NOT mine.....yet!

I want to mimic this peacock above that is at the Dallas Arboretum.

Irrigation trenches through the front field.  The driveway is a quarter mile long and is very curvy with huge oaks over hanging it.

Next door to the "non creekside" is a cemetery and a museum (I volunteer at the museum) and I absolutely love my neighbors....

This is the creek that runs on the otherside of the property.  This particular section is 10 feet deep but most of the creek is shallow.

Spigots under oaks for shade gardens.

The driveway (as mentioned) has oaks over it that I hang lanterns and spanish moss on.

The view from the creek to the driveway...very slopey

This is a pole barn that was in front! of the God as my witness, I will screen it.

This is what you see from the back porch of the house.  The front of the house (and property) is geared toward "visitors" and the back I consider a "personal" garden...given that is nine acres...its a big garden...or at least one day it will be.

Forgive my spelling and syntax.  I am a CPA and it's tax week but I do love the garden walk...


NellJean said...

A particular hometown does not define who you are. Choose one that you like and re-invent yourself with the best pieces of the truth. What matters is who you are from here on.

I figure I have maybe ten years left to 'finish' my garden before I have to stop digging. I am beginning to edit some of it.

NellJean said...

You might find this link helpful in your quest for DIY help.

When My Ship Comes In, I'm going to ask Tara for a consult. I already have the Turf and the Poverty Cycle -- just need the Expert.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

@Nell, yes I have been reading Tara myself. I'm going to look at the link, just off work and really tired

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

@Nell, had some sleep..not enough but I pulled up that's awesome, thanks!

HolleyGarden said...

I think it's smart of you to think long term about your garden. It really does take time to make a beautiful garden, and to let it mature. So, being there forever will only make your garden more beautiful. Plus, you'll get to enjoy it every step of the way. I intend to be here forever, too. It really helps in allowing one to do exactly was they please, instead of worrying about resell.

Janie Jurkiewicz said...

@Holley, I think you and Nell both are like me, in that we have large properties with no intention of moving..could be an assumption on my part, but both look large from what I have seen.