not perfection: Plans bloom for building garden's design
For the Bellingham Herald
THE FENCE: Dave and Teresa Anderson have been wondering
what to do about the thick junipers growing along a fence
in their backyard. They start out by thinning and shaping.
If they choose to remove the evergreen shrubbery, they may
plant fruit trees, ornamental trees or flowering shrubs in
its place. Pete Kendall Herald photo
The Herald will follow Dave and Teresa Anderson, winners of our
Garden Makeover Contest, over the next four months as they redo
the yard of their Bellingham home.
Teresa Anderson have taken the old adage to heart: Looks can be
To look at
their yard now, it doesn't appear that much has happened in the
past month. "You can't see that we've done anything,"
says Teresa, "but we've spent a lot of time thinking and
brainstorming and looking through books."
progress has been slow because the couple is taking time to make
decisions and mull suggestions from Herald garden columnist George
be difficult to separate the garden from what it is, and see it
for what it could be," says Kaas. He has spent many hours
with the Andersons, throwing ideas at them and acting as their
three distinct areas or "rooms" in the Andersons design,
including an entry way at the front of the yard; a utility room
consisting of the walkway from front to back yard, which will
include fresh herbs and a cutting garden; and a family room area
in the back yard used for entertaining and yard games.
will be essential to connect these areas eventually through
hardscaping of walkways and recurring themes in plant material,
the details take some time to develop correctly. The group is
working together to lay a strong base so everything built atop it
will work properly as a whole.
gardening columnist George Kaas, studying the squared-off
rear lawn with Marine Drive residents Dave and Teresa
Anderson, considers breaking up the grass with low-growing
perennials and shrubs. Pete Kendall Herald photo
When last we
checked in with the Andersons, they were ready to undertake
changes to the front entrance. They have since decided to build a
retaining wall made of the limestone that decorates the front of
their house and two fireplaces inside. It's a beautiful stone,
containing fossilized coral, that will effectively tie the inside
to the outside.
a retaining wall means tracking down a mason to do the work, and
that delayed the work at the front of the house.
these tips and watch your foliage flourish.
the area for possible hazards (power lines, broken limbs
after a storm, etc.) and take appropriate actions to avert
injury or accident.
sharp, well-maintained tools. A dull blade can result in a
jagged cut, causing injury to the tree or shrub. A clean
cutting edge is also a necessity. Using a solution of 1/2
cup bleach and 1 gallon water, rub shears lightly with a
clean steel-wool pad. For some diseased trees, you may
want to clean the blade after each cut.
safety goggles to protect eyes from sawdust and other
stand under the branch you are cutting.
your time in deciding which branches need to be lopped — there's no turning back once the cut occurs.
limbs smooth to the main branch; they'll heal more quickly
when cut just above the branch collar.
overpruning, which can stunt growth.
weren't ready to start on the front and I was freaking,"
Teresa says with a laugh. "George said, 'Don't worry, we'll
just start on the back.'"
Bellingham couple turned their attention to the rear, tackling and
taming the overgrown cypress trees that screen their back yard
from their neighbors. Dave and Teresa's first thought had been to
remove the sprawling trees, but Kaas pointed out the important
role they play in keeping erosion to a minimum. Their property
sets atop a steep cliff and their neighbors have dealt with
significant erosion in the past years.
limbed the trees and thinned them out substantially at the bottom,
the sculpted trunks and curved branches become attention-grabbing
architectural elements and open up the area for more plantings.
Dave have also begun to remove a dense mass of junipers on the
west side of the back yard that were functioning as a visual wall.
Once they've been removed, the space will open up and allow a
throng of flowering cherry to take center stage, creating interest
with height, color and form, and increasing flow and movement
through this area of the yard.
lawn area is important for summer games, such as croquet. Kaas
plans to have the Andersons leave much of the lawn untouched. The
edging between the lawn and the planting bed will pick up from the
slope where the junipers were and sweep around to the east,
opening up an expanse of land for a garden plot.
cleared this patch for the fruits and vegetables, but Teresa's
concerned they might face an uphill battle. "That's highly
experimental," she laughs, describing the scrap of land and
the abundant deer and bunny tracks they've spied surrounding it.
"We might have a little competition."
Sledge is a Bellingham freelance writer.