Friday, September 28, 2012

Old Logs and Tree Stumps in the Garden

Hens and chicks in a tree stump log. Many types of suculents thrive in Edmonton, Alberta.
When gardening conditions are not great.....

My ramshackle front yard urban garden sits north of the house. The earth is partly shaded and cold and stays frozen until late spring. The soil is hard with clay and robbed of moisture by birch and spruce tree roots. Edmonton residents have a vibrant and determined gardening spirit, perhaps because we face such horticultural challenges as those in my front yard garden. 

Make the most of what you have.....

For easy gardening, find plants that thrive in the exact conditions they must grow in. This is trial and error, but it helps to observe what neighbours have been able to grow under similar conditions. Soil, sun and moisture....all factors to consider when selecting plants.

Hostas for shade. Spot the bunny sheltering from the rain?
This year, I planted succulents and sedums in the partly shaded dry clay soil. Silver Mound (Artemesia), Pink Moss Phlox and Siberian Iris also survive here. Hostas and Lamium return each year in the deep shade areas of the garden. Cranesbill grows, too, but it does 'take over' by freely reseeding.  

The succulents seem happy in an old broken clay pot, dug into the ground so only the rim shows. This clay pot didn't survive the Alberta winters - it cracked and fell apart. But the pot rim has been re-purposed and buried in the ground to make a mini garden within the garden. Potting soil replaces the clay soil within the rim. 

Succulents planted in broken clay pot buried in the ground.

When the ground is inhospitable and annual flowers struggle to grow, put out a few potted plants, above or buried into the ground, for bursts of colour and interest. Chose hardy plants and use tricks to conserve water.  Wave petunias grow well in pots, but do need some sun.  Although impatiens are extremely frost sensitive, I cannot resist growing these shade tolerant flowers in pots. They have gorgeous colour and rapid growth. Because they grow in the shade, they do not require daily watering, but they do love moist soil, so water regularly.

Impatiens -great for shade, but frost tender.

Marigold flowers in an old tree stump. 
Experiment. A marigold was plopped into the centre of an old log and 'hens and chicks' went into another. These are little surprises in the garden that only I notice....and that is part of the pleasure. 

 Hypertufa is strong, durable and light. I made these containers 10 years ago. Sedums are perfect in hypertufa because they are shallow rooted, hardy and grow in poor soil.

Make it YOUR garden.......

I don't have a stunningly beautiful front garden, far from it, but I like it. Over the years it has evolved.  Now it is cluttered with old tree trunks, broken clay pots, hypertufa planters and pots of  pretty flowers. 

North facing low maintenance Edmonton garden

Impatiens in deep shade, and wave petunias in the pot that gets some sunshine

1 comment:

Ela said...

That is pretty :)