July 18, 2012
Time to Trim the Terrace Garden
Along the side of my house overlooking the farm, I had a rather large stone terrace constructed with formal hedged gardens. These gardens were planted several years ago and they are filling in very nicely. For one part of the terrace, I chose to edge the gardens with contrasting evergreen shrubs – teucrium, boxwood, and golden barberry. To provide interest, these shrubs are sheared to different heights, creating a step effect. I was rather surprised lately with how overgrown these gardens had become, but that’s what happens with the prolonged high temperatures we’ve been experiencing. Having formal gardens, like these, requires extra maintenance, but I think it’s well worth the effort.
1 The side of my house that overlooks the farm has an amazing stone terrace with formal hedged gardens.
2 The square gardens are hedged with contrasting shrubs - teucrium on the outside, followed by boxwood, and golden barberry on the inside. I love the way these three plants look together.
3 However, this is what the gardens looked like just a couple of days ago. The excessive heat caused a rapid, out of control growth spurt.
4 This variety of teucrium has purple spike flowers which are a great pollen source for bees.
5 I wanted to wait until the flowers were somewhat faded, allowing a good stretch of time for the bees to gather all of that pollen, before trimming things back.
6 Ryan started the pruning process by trimming back all of the spent allium flowers from this border.
7 These are Gladiator allium, which were spectacular earlier in the summer. Each huge flower head was a globe-like cluster of hundreds of tiny, lilac purple flowers. When the purple fades, the seed heads turn whitish before drying to brown.
8 I look forward to seeing these perennial allium emerge again next spring. Allium flowers, like these, look great in dried arrangements.
9 I love how dramatic allium look in the garden and I told Ryan to keep this cluster until they, too, turn brown.
10 This tall plant is a Formosa lily, one of several that were planted in the spring. Native to Taiwan, this lily bears 8 or more 10-inch-long, beautifully scented pristine white trumpets from late August through early October. I can't wait!
11 I have some rue growing in these gardens, as well. Rue is a strongly scented evergreen herb that is very bitter-tasting. The oil in its leaves can cause skin blistering and Ryan is very cautious when trimming it back not to get any on his skin.
12 Ryan then began shearing the long shoots of the golden barberry.
13 Meanwhile, Wilmer set up stakes and string to make a guide for even trimming of the teucrium.
14 The string in place
15 Ryan trimmed off the tops.
16 And Wilmer tackled the sides.
17 The teucrium neatly trimmed - The lower part of the stone terrace is outside the kitchen and I have plenty of culinary herbs planted in these gardens.
18 A triangle of variegated sage and thyme
19 Tender chives
20 Fuzzy green sage
21 Two more varieties of thyme
22 Gorgeous spiky rosemary
23 And a triangle of oregano
24 The lower terrace gardens all nicely trimmed
25 And the upper gardens all nicely trimmed.
26 Vivaldi found a place in the shade.