I was very eager to get some kind of garden in place as soon as possible as the plants had been in pots for over a year. Early spring showed lots of promise and once the ground thawed I was back creating Lilac Hill. I wanted to showcase plants along the driveway as the area already had a lovely stone retaining wall as a starting point. I decided to continue a curved bed from where I planted my daisy collection in fall of 2018.
The area would be the perfect spot for a rose garden. After all the edging was done the new ground was amended with compost made from eggshells, tea leaves, and coffee grounds, the plants were planted in sea soil made locally. By the summer the plants were gorgeous having taken to the new bed. By this time I had been gardening for 20 years so I shouldn’t have been surprised to come out one June morning to find the deer had eaten every rose bloom and half of one of the bushes! This is deer country and there is no way to keep them out of the garden. The roses were dug up and put into big pots on the sundeck, bye bye rose garden! I had to make a new plan.
In the summer of 2019 I really worked hard to get the back garden established using the hazel nut tree as the starting point. It took days to remove all the debris from around the tree, I even uncovered two big rocks in the undergrowth.
The area around the nut tree gets part shade in the morning then full sun in the afternoon. It was the perfect spot for various azaleas, viburnum, and a lungwort, I outlined the bed with rocks and logs. My garden was starting to take shape.
In May of 2019 out front by the big rhododendron and apple tree I started to clear the area for another bed. I found buried under weeds an old rose bush, she got propped up and for whatever reason the deer don’t bother with it, I think its too big. This is a tricky bed because there is a wide range of conditions in a small area and its the last area to get the sun. The plants for this garden would have primarily dark or bright green foliage and include many heucheras, ligularia, eupatorium purpereum, (Joe-Pye weed), astilbe, ferns, bleeding heart, daylilies and weigela.
Spring through to summer was very rewarding, the plants liked their new beds, yes the deer still came through but I learned what they eat and don’t eat. As the plants grew the beds filled out, I was thrilled and wanted more, more gardens and more plants!
I soon noticed in front of the nut tree the weeds were starting to grow back, the more weeds I pulled the faster they grew. I started designing a new bed: In front of the tree was going to be a horseshoe-shaped gravel path edged in boxwoods. Big rocks would then be used to outline a teardrop shaped bed that would be seen from the house. The bed would hold all my full sun plants. I especially focused on creating a peony bed as I learned deer don’t eat peonies.
This was the hardest ground yet, I knew the garden would be a ways off from planting, it took weeks to break the ground. Each time I dug up a rock it was used to edge the bed it was fun, hard work. This project would take me right through to fall 2019. It also led to define the border along the right side of the garden, overall by the end of 2019 I had a garden.
The final project for 2019 was to create a lilac garden along the driveway where I had the roses earlier. Perfect for a garden named Lilac Hill! Both of my other gardens were small and I was limited to plant size, not anymore, now I could grow massive lilacs. It was also an opportunity to start a new collection of lilacs! I really love my garden and I hope you enjoyed seeing the transformation that happened in 2019.