Saturday, May 14, 2011

“The Fairy Cove”

Last month I showed you a sneak peek of our side garden where we’ve been hard at work transforming a once-barren landscape into a charming shade garden.  And like our lower garden, the “English Garden”, this one’s going to have a silly name, too.  “The Fairy Cove”—a place for fairies to frolic in the shade of hostas and delicate butterflies to perch lightly on a liriope blossom.

This is the site of our fairy cove.  Here’s what we were working with in the side yard before we began the big fence project


Last summer, in an attempt to control the liriope explosion in the mailbox bed, I moved a bunch of liriope to the side yard and made a little border for a future planting bed.  But that’s as far as I got.  All work in this part of the yard has always been on hold because I didn’t want to landscape before we rebuild the deck.  Seeing as how we have been here three years now, with no progress on the deck rebuild, I figured I would go ahead and landscape and worry about the deck later.  So, here we were with some liriope and a bunch of dead leaves.  We tried to plant grass over here once before, but lack of soil preparation and lack of water eventually led to the untimely death of our puny grass.  Undeterred, I trudged on with my plans.  I began putting in hostas and other shade plants in the planting beds.  (Thanks Donna for the beautiful hostas!)  The flower beds were coming along, but there was still a bare expanse of mud and leaves ripe for a weed invasion come summer.  And once the fence was up, the little gate called out for a pathway along the edge of the flower bed.  I began searching for inspiration.  Here are some of the ideas I found for my shady “fairy cove”:

91746068garden path

garden-stairs 4612679183_1ddc72dc97_b

So, my mother, eager to help us with our dream garden, began bringing rocks from her yard and dropping them in the area. 


The rocks just kept on coming until Mama decided we probably had enough to start setting them. 


So, while my brother and father worked on the fence, Mama worked on the rock path.  Slowly digging out the hill and setting each step…


“Shopping” the rock collection for the perfect fit in the puzzle…


Leveling, filling and tamping the hard clay…


And adding rounder rocks to define the edge of the flower bed. 

Moving and digging and resetting, over and over again.


Eleven steps and two flat sections were cut into the muddy hill, until at last, we reached the top! 


To help control the mud and erosion, we added creeping plants and moss to fill in between the rocks.  We dug it up from a friend’s yard and pinned it into the clay with floral pins.  That way rainwater can’t wash it away while it’s trying to set roots in the soil.  So far, this method seems to be working, none of it has moved or died.


And over a month after we started, the pathway is finally complete!  In that time the hostas and liriope have leafed out into a beautiful and lush border.


   The pathway begins beyond the fence gate and travels up the hill…


Bordered with rocks, liriope, and assorted hostas…


Until it turns the corner around the chimney.


Then the pathway merges into our front flower bed and transitions into stepping stones…


Which take you right up to the front porch. 


Now we have a clear path around the house to the backyard, free of muddy shoes!  Our future plans for this area include planting grass (properly this time) which will hopefully fill in the rest of the mud to prevent further erosion and muddy messes!

It’s come a long way.  Here’s your parting glance of the transformation:

IMG_4915  IMG_5275

Thanks for stopping by.  Come back soon for more updates from around the yard as we finish sprucing for Summer!



Andrea said...

Wow. That's beautiful!!

Donna Myers said...

Your visions & your Mama's gifted abilities never cease to amaze me. (Not to mention the unrelentless energy!) I love your new Fairy Cove pathway, and proud my Hostas could be a small part of this dream for you. They are lovely, as well as the entire project! Now get us something else...