This scrap of paper has been the blueprint for the backyard for months and months and months. All my little notations, all the numbers and all the backbone plantings spaced with carefully calculated circles. It feels like I’ve been staring at it forever.
Now that most everything has been planted, here come the details…so read along at the risk of being bored to tears, because OMG I have ONLY wanted this for so very, VERY long!!!
The apple tree (September Ruby) in the top left hand corner, that had always been in the plan. As was the Evan’s cherry (tree-form) beside it. Evan’s cherry is a nice, sour cherry, and as a small tree, would fit quite nicely into that space. And then I thought I would put a Crimson Passion cherry (shrub) beside that.
And that is the point where I realized that working at a garden centre does influence planting decisions, luckily for me.
Crimson Passion is the sweetest of the sour cherries, which would have been a good choice if I was strictly planting for fruit consumption. However, after sampling a Nanking cherry, I realized that although smaller, the fruit is tender and sweet. The cherries also have a very pretty way of growing along the branches, among the leaves. The shrub itself is also a better contrast to the Evan’s cherry, since it has smaller, more crinkly and almost lime coloured leaves. Fall colour also comes into consideration, because the Evan’s cherry will be a very pretty peachy-orange, while the Nanking will be yellow.
Along the back fence, I debated planting lilacs or saskatoons; but only for a moment. Saskatoons, of course, won, because I am (quite obviously now) obsessed with having a whole bunch of fruit producing shrubs. The other benefits to planting Saskatoon bushes is that a) they attract birds; b) they can grow in sun or shade; c) they will grow large enough to create a visual screen; d) they have a nice fall colour; e) fresh fruit for eating or jam making.
In front of the saskatoons, also feeding my fruit obsession, are the gooseberry bushes. I love gooseberries so much, I doubt there will be any left to make jam.
There is some pretty to the plan, though. I did throw in a Ghost Weigela because I love the deep red trumpet shaped blooms, but also because the foliage would balance the Nanking. Three roses (red, yellow, and white), two hydrangea, two Tor spirea, and a potentilla got planted. The perennial portion includes daylily, daisy, geranium and coral bells (Latin later, I promise!) to cover the basics. (Almost predictable, but I do love the traditional pairings. I can’t help it.)
And that was as far as I got, really. The west side of the yard needed some inspiration. We wanted to keep a natural look, with some evergreens, but I was still a little lost. “Natural” for the prairies includes cedar, spruce, juniper, saskatoons, dogwood, grasses, wild roses, and willow.
Dogwood have bright red branches that look great against the snow in winter, so that was the start. It was planted in the far corner. A transition was needed in the area from the saskatoons, which ended up being a low growing juniper (Savin), followed by an upright juniper (Moonglow). I was trying to find a way to incorporate a cedar, but ultimately chose the upright juniper because of its blue-grey foliage. On the west fence, I chose a purple leaf rose and two Dwarf Garland spirea. (I love white blooming spirea, and the fact that they are spring bloomers just helps out the bees). There will be another low evergreen planted close to the spireas, but the main planting in that area will be a Ponderosa pine. Yes, it will be huge and yes, that is being taken into consideration…but I love the somewhat scraggly look with the beautiful flakey brown bark.
The rest of that area will be a butterfly garden, with grasses, milkweed and sage, cone flower, salvia and irises. Those will have to wait until spring, but I’m happy to have more planting to look forward to. And I haven’t even gotten into the details of the tulips in the raised bed! As I told my co-worker: I can’t wait for spring!