Half Way There

This is the third garden preview of the six on our tour.

AN ORGANIC GARDEN PLAYGROUND FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

passman“If you are looking for a great kid-friendly, pet-friendly, all organic garden, this backyard is the place to be. Take a look at the book of “before” pictures and then glance at the landscape – everything you see grows without the use of chemicals and began with some 200 plants owners brought from their previous home. They designed the whole back lot with a dedication to organic methods and that dedication now allows their granddaughters to safely play, explore and learn. Oh, and the fairies also love it here.

The owners have a long, narrow lot bordered by woods and a creek on the eastern edge. At the far end of the yard is an inviting weeping willow, but take your time getting there; you don’t want to miss other fascinating garden features.

Once the grandkids came along, the garden grew to include treasured spaces like an outdoor classroom for playing school, a little spot for sipping tea next to the sandbox and swing, a marshmallow roasting pit and tiny fairy gardens.

It’s easy taking time to discover hidden wonders when walking on chigger-free cedar pathways. Head down the main path and first up is the small pond encircled by stones and some of the more than twelve varieties of ornamental grasses; including maiden grasses, panicums and fountain grasses. Liriope, a variegated willow, and a ninebark tree fill in among the grasses. Water lilies float in the pond and in the middle is a stunning thalia.

Continue down the path to find the cozy fire pit, also surrounded by tall grasses and some of the twenty herbs to be found around the grounds. Next are the raised vegetable gardens where the kids can feel free to forage for snacks or ingredients to create all manner of potions and teas. The paver patio next to the garden is a perfect spot to sit and watch kids in the sandbox, the swing, or running around that gorgeous weeping willow.

Heading back toward the house, take the “hidden” path along the fence and pass through a garden shaded by three large pines. Bleeding hearts, ligularias, hostas, daylilies, coral bells, and St. John’s Wort thrive under the trees. Take a peek in the wheelbarrow for wee sprites in the fairy garden.

It just might take another circuit through the gardens to take in all the grasses, shrubs, herbs, and perennials. The owners planted about a dozen trees, including a seven-son, flowering dogwoods, a redbud and a buckeye. There are more than a dozen hydrangea varieties, and the tree peonies are especially eye-catching. Many of the perennials attract birds and butterflies, but it is not just the pollinators that visit; the owners have seen blue herons, coyotes, fox, turkey and owls.

They still move and tweak those original plants and continues to add to the collection; amending the soil with compost, using newspaper for weed barriers, and never feeling compelled to tackle any garden issue with a chemical spray.

Tip: Let kids design their own garden spots and keep these areas free from pesticides.”

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