Serenity Garden

I began the garden in 2011. This part of the backyard had changed over the years with the removal of several pine trees and the construction of a swimming pool. Crab orchard stone stacked retaining wall and paving stones defined a walking path and sitting area, with steps down for a grade change. The elevation and slope of the area changed. I constructed a circular paved walking area with a central planting island and a site for a bench in 2011.

When our electrician Jay Norton installed landscape lighting, he christened the area the Serenity Garden. Plantings over the years have included perennials, podocarpus, osmanthus, aucuba , hydrangea, azaleas, and hostas.

My son Evan and I placed a large cast concrete urn on a short pedestal in the center of the circular planting bed. We have used various types of flowering and non-flowering plantings in the urn. Maples, pines, and an old, heirloom pear tree have provided partial shade to plant material in the garden.

Heirloom Pear tree before removal

This year the pear tree was in decline and the trunk had split; our tree surgeon removed it. Mary and I discussed some planning of the new garden and our son Will donated spare time to remove old bedding perennials, dead shrubs, plant new shrubs and prepare the new planting bed. He planted new shrubs: podocarpus, aucuba, camellias and osmanthus. Mary and I have removed some scraggly liriope. We are planting mondo grass to reduce the brown color that dominates from the use of pine mulch groundcover. Along the way Will moved a large azalea and relocated landscape lighting wiring that interfered with new shrub planting. Mary has ordered replacement landscape lighting as needed, and Evan and Will have installed them.

I have started referring to the project as Will Green’s Garden. I located a book in our collection, The Gardens of Williamsburg, for him to take home to enjoy.

Before
Will Green plants violas.
Will planted violas, thirty ‘Baby Jade’ dwarf boxwoods and three dozen pre-chilled red tulip bulbs.
Planting finished and boxwoods trimmed.
Mary admires the garden redo.
Camellia
Camellia
Fallen bloom was too pretty still to toss into compost pile.

As of April 21, 2021, the Serenity Garden tulips have not emerged. These were pre-chilled bulbs that were planted very late. It was a risk, but “you win some and you lose some” in gardening. The Terrace Garden tulips were planted in the fall, however, and bloomed well around three weeks ago.

Mary with granddaughter Charlotte in the Terrace Garden

The azaleas and snapdragons have added color lately to the Serenity Garden.

Michael Green

April 21, 2021

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