Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

A Steep Woodland Garden

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Hillside Garden, Woodland Garden, Stephanie Jensen
Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Hillside Garden, Woodland Garden, Stephanie Jensen

You can tell from the mud who planted in the precarious parts :^)

Hello fellow readers,

I’ve had the privilege the last few years to work with Stephanie of Denville, NJ who moved from the west coast. She bought a cute cottage in a lake community with views overlooking a magnificent forest that’s reminiscent of scenery on the Appalachian trail. The dilemma, the steepness of the slope for those like Stephanie who wish to ponder amongst the trees. That’s where a colleague and brave installer Robert of Sierra Landscape Management came in, with heavy equipment and his iconic can-do attitude to build a flight of meandering garden steps and walls using boulders from the woods. I’m glad I missed the first dramatic day when his machine slid precariously down the cliff causing a photo moment for neighbors who watched from above. Fifty years of debris from previous owners’ house renovations were uncovered plus old bicycles and tires. One of Robert’s workers found a Snoopy pencil dated my year of birth. I didn’t fess up (smile).

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Hillside Garden, Woodland Garden, Sierra Landscape Management

Robert of Sierra Landscape Management came in with his iconic can-do attitude to build a flight of meandering garden steps.

After Robert dug in the woodland shrubs including Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) and Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora), Stephanie and I planned the perennials and planting day was Labor Day while her folks were visiting from Oregon. Stephanie climbed the cliff of clethra to dig in the Wild Ginger (Asarum) while I “answered back” the vignette of ginger, planting in the safe zone to the left of the shed. The Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) will grow 3-5 feet and went along the garden edges and below the spruces by the neighbor to help screen the wheels of their RV. Around the gravel patio we dug in the largest species of Hellebores (Helleborus argutifolius) with evergreen holly-like leaves that will bloom pale yellowish-green in late winter along with Marginal Shield Fern (Dryopteris marginalis) with blue-green fronds. A favorite fern in the lineup is ‘Lady in Red’ Lady Fern (Athyrium angustum forma rubellum) with burgundy red stems. Then there’s the native Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemummuticum) which grows two to three feet with blueish green leaves that thrives in extreme conditions including slopes in sun or shade. It’s a pollinator magnet and tolerates draught. To create a foot-tall carpet of violet-blue spring blooms we planted Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’) that hummingbirds and butterflies will love.

Mary Stone, Garden Dilemmas, Ask Mary Stone,Gardening tips, Garden Blogs, Stone Associates Landscape Design, Garden Blog, Hillside Garden, Steep Woodland Garden

“We’ve been gardening together for years.”

Goat gardening, I called it; planting the steep slope of Stephanie’s woodland garden leading down to the lower echelons of wilderness. What I loved most was witnessing her a mom Cec guiding from above what goes where and passing the plants to her daughter. “We’ve got system going.” And they did, Cec rolling the pots of choice on their sides to her daughter downhill. Her dad Phil ready to intervene should anyone topple. “We’ve been gardening together for years.” The scene made me think of my dear momma and our gardening days together. Just goes to show digging in the dirt is hereditary. Garden dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary
  1. Robert Reply

    Always a pleasure. I would say the slide more controlled than the stories suggest.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      I’m sure it was Robert. You always manage such things well. Still glad I missed the moment as I would have panicked!

  2. Suzi Stovall Reply

    This is beautiful..There is nothing better than a well landscaped and loved garden. It looks serene and so nice to supply Bees and Butterflies and birds with such a lovely area to live in.
    Suzi

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Hello Suzi, I appreicate your comment when this column was posted. Stephanie is one of my favorite clients. What a gardener! Meeting her folks on installation day a special treat. I’d love you to follow my weekly column by signing up to receive an email alert of each new post (one a week). The sign up (and I never share emails) is on the bottom of the home page http://askmarystone.com/
      Thanks so much! Mary

  3. Joanne Roth Reply

    Shade gardening is my very favorite form of gardening, and I love the plants that you have planted in and around the gardens. Especially, Phlox divaricata. You might also find some variegated Solomon’s Seal too. Congratulations Steph, on your wonderful garden of Eden, and quiet place. There is nothing better. I have known Steph, since she was a schoolgirl, in England, and friend and classmate of my daughter’s. Her mom and dad, are friends and wonderful people. Thanks Cec, for sending this link. It is great.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Hello Joanne, Thanks for reading the column. Stephanie is one of my favorite clients. Meeting her folks on installation day a special treat! Love your idea of variegated Solomon Seal. Sadly, deer often like Polygonatum too.

      You sound like a great gardener! I’d love you to follow my weekly column by signing up to receive email alerts of each new post (one a week). The sign up (and I never share emails) is on the bottom of the home page http://askmarystone.com/ Thanks so much! Mary

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