|Our gardens two months after moving into our new house. The borders consisted of a few newly planted shrubs and raked leaves.|
In the midst of all that was going on, I was also simmering with excitement about planning a garden of my very own. My mind was overloaded thinking through all of the garden design principles I had learned through my reading in the preceding years. What kind of borders would be best in this situation? Could I afford enough fencing to hem in the entire perimeter of the house, or would I choose to use plant material instead? What kind of garden path(s) would give a coherence to our small lot?
|Our house when we purchased it in the summertime of 2007...|
|Our house just a few months later with the first borders laid out with fallen leaves. You can see the beginning of the Shade Path, Cherry Corner and the Front Walk.|
Raking leaves into borders and paths in the fall is a great way for that new gardeners to make decisions about their garden without needing to dig. I have actually used it to help explain garden design ideas to my friends at their homes as well. It is a great way to show a friend or client what shape their new paths and borders might take. And if you find that you need to plan a wider path, fix an angle that is too acute, or need to widen a border, simply move a few more leaves around with the rake.
And for those who are truly motivated, laying leaves onto your lawn can be the first step in actually constructing a new garden bed. Follow it up with edging the borders, then layering cardboard or newspaper and more leaves on top of the others. Wet it all down, especially if you are having a dry, windy fall. This layering of organic material, widely known as "lasagna gardening," is actually a better choice for the soil structure in the new garden than is digging up or tilling an entire area and unearthing new weed seeds in the process.
|Leaves laid on top of the grass around the front of the house. A few small evergreen shrubs and mums are dotted around the perimeter. We mowed and raked the leaves away after deciding on our borders in 2007. Most of these garden areas would not actually be edged in for six to eighteen months. You can also see photos of this Cherry Corner gardens in 2011.|
|This is the first design in 2007 of the Shade Path Garden done in leaves, a few perennials and perimeter arbor vitae. See photos of the Shade Path Garden in 2011.|
|This grassy hill in our backyard now has a tapestry of ground covers, a row of various flowers and a fence to keep the children from rolling into the road. In 2007, you can see the first few baby bushes tucked in and the leaves marking the turf that will be eliminated. See great photos of this area and also my curb areas in Foliage Day in July 2012.|
|The fallen leaves in the large curb strip at the front of our property in 2008, now known as the Front Woodland. Here is a beautiful photo of the Front Woodland curb garden in July 2012.|
Now this curb area has its own garden name, the Front Woodland. It was a great garden design decision because it really extends the feeling that we occupy this area and encloses the sidewalk. We walk down here as a part of our garden walk-through now. Our neighbors also love walking here and feeling that they are in a garden, not just looking in from the outside.
Read more about Gilmore Gardens by viewing our map, which links to all of my succession planting articles. Succession planting is the art (or the goal) of keeping my garden blooming from March through November in Pennsylvania zone 5.