Yesterday I posted photos of our house and yard as we found them the day we discovered our farm in July 2003. We bought the property based on a 15-minute walkabout that didn’t include stepping foot inside the house. When you know something is right, you just know.
For four years after we bought the place, we continued living “down south.” Twice a year, we’d pack our pickup full of tools and supplies and drive for 18 hours to work on the house.
As you can see from yesterday’s photos, the yard was completely overgrown, and no flower beds were evident. Do other gardeners dream of a clean slate to play with? My imagination was ignited by possibility.
The first summer I dug a small bed at the front of the house so I could move some plants from my Victoria garden.
Dutifully following advice from Jeff and Marilyn Cox, authors of my first garden bible, The Perennial Garden: Color Harmonies Through the Seasons (Rodale Press, 1985), I double-dug the bed. The Coxes’ test of a well-prepared perennial bed is that the gardener can plunge an arm elbow-deep into the soil.
They clearly don’t garden on an ancient, rocky riverbed.
I do. The picture above was taken last month when we hired an excavator to trench out a water line from our new well to the house. It came as no surprise to me whatsoever that our soil consists mainly of rocks. I’ve been digging them out by hand for ten years.
This is only a partial collection of the rocks I upturned in the process of digging the front bed:
I had a surplus of rocks, so I used some to edge the new bed.
I lost a few of the less hardy plants the first winter, but the delphiniums thrived.
I credit the excellent drainage. Gardening on a gravel pit has at least one perk.