The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- January 2001

January 11 - morning

I have longed believed that every garden should have a heart, and now, finally, mine does. Last weekend my partner and I planted our allee of bald cypress. Currently, it isn't much to look at, the trees are only six to seven feet tall- but I already love the feeling I get when I pass through the space between them. As they grow their trunks will form the great columns, and their delicate foliage, the roof of my outdoor cathedral.

Believe me, it took a great deal of work to correctly place them in the garden. The effect that I am hoping to achieve is largely dependent on symmetry, and so being off by even a few inches could ruin everything. We measured and re-measured the spaces, laying out the surrounding beds and walkways with string. Then we carefully worked the soil in the planting spaces, and planted the trees. It was exhausting work, but exhilirating too. Now, when I look out my window, I can see the slender trunks of the trees and the shape of the garden to come courtesy of the string.

Obviously, much remains to be done, we are just barely underway, still, it is comforting to have taken the steps that we have. Next up is the extension of our pathways and finishing out our pond. (Look for new photos soon in the images section!)

January 26 - evening

My partner and I have been moving yet another dump truck load of compost into the backyard in preparation for more planting. We will be tilling the compost in tomorrow, if the weather holds up. We have already purchased seven fruit trees and will soon be planting our small orchard of peaches and apples. Iam particularly excited about the apples since I grew up in up-state New York, MacIntosh country. We lived on a hillside that overlooked a former orchard with just a few craggy old trees remaining. I remember going to the commercial orchards to pick baskets of apples every fall. (A favorite trick of mine was to pick a lot of green apples that I knew my mother would use for pies.)

I have been on deadline for several major projects over the course of the past few weeks. However, by mid-February, I will be able to devote much more time to the garden. I can hardly wait to start working on some of the more detailed planting beds- so far we have only planted trees and I am anxious to add the perennials that will soften the geometry of the garden .

So far, my design for the garden is holding up pretty well. I am pleased with the way that the spaces are coming together, a few adjustments and changes have been called for, but not too many. It has been so helpful to work from a plan, I cannot emphasize enough how important, and how helpful, the planning process has been. A garden rule to remember- plant with a plan!

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