The Birdbath Garden: Then and Now

Here's the second second of my "waiting on spring" posts called The Garden: Then and Now. The first one featured the Deck Garden, this one is all about the Birdbath Garden. The birdbath garden originated with a little copper birdbath we were given years ago. It was designed to hook onto a deck railing on the back porch but we never got around to installing it (I'm sure that's never happened to anyone else before!) The birdbath stayed with us until we moved to this house. I forget exactly where the pallets came from but I used a roughly hewn 4x4 that was a part of one of the pallets to hold up the birdbath. I used a small container of wood stain to make it look like cedar and there we had our birdbath ready to go.

The Birdbath Garden Then (April and June):

The highlight of April in the birdbath garden was the irises. The salvias bloom well every May and this picture was taken just about their time in the garden.

I like this picture because you can really see the nice green lawn. It doesn't look this way year round. Spring is the highlight of a fescue lawn's season. Once summer hits crabgrass begins to creep into the lawn and the fescue that I loved in the spring begins to brown. Each year I reduce a little bit of the lawn with gardens to replace them. I really do enjoy having a lawn but I also enjoy the gardens, one day I'll find the right balance.

Many people now advocate the reduction of lawn areas to help the environment which is fine but I think a small lawn can be taken care of almost completely without any negative environmental side effects if you treat your landscape right. Use organic fertilizers, leave grass clippings on the lawn, if your lawn is small consider a reel mower, mow your grass high, don't water an established lawn, overseed in the fall with fescues - spring for heat loving grasses, and only mow when you need to! I can't believe it but every summer I see people on their mowers when it hasn't rained in two weeks! WHY? I guess it's just habit. Fescues go dormant in the summertime and you really don't need to bother them by watering then mowing. They'll come back in the fall and the spring.

Here's a picture from June of the newest section of the birdbath garden. 'Powis Castle' Artemisia is in the center of the photo. It grew fast and large and eventually covered an area about 5 feet across.

This picture is a little messier and also from June. On the right are coreopsis hiding underneath the iris foliage. This photo is kind of an intermediate shot of the garden. It peaks in May and then again in late summer. That probably means I need to find a few more plants to add interest to the mid summer garden.

The Birdbath Garden now.

The red twig dogwood is pretty much all the color in this garden. The Bird's Nest Spruce behind it does offer a little bit of green but I think I'll need to move them this spring to a better location. They were completely engulfed by the artemisia.

The picture from the yard end of the garden shows a couple little artemisias I made from cuttings in the summer, a ninebark, and a witch hazel that isn't old enough to bloom. Behind them all is a 'Purple Homestead' verbena that hopefully made it through our wet winter. Wet and verbena are two words that haven't gone well together in my garden. As long as one survives I'll be happy, many more can be made from a single plant.

In the next photo you can see the work that needs done to make the garden presentable for spring.

It won't take long to clean up, it's just a matter of getting to it. With a nice looking weekend in our future I'm hopeful that a lot can be accomplished! I'm looking forward to the warm air of spring, how about you?