The Patient Gardener in the UK usually picks one area of her garden to focus on with a series of monthly photos which she calls "End of the month View." This way she can see what's working, what she likes and what needs attention. I have been working on the sloping garden around the Tea House for the last couple of years and I think I am just about finished. These photos suggest that a little filling in and tweaking is needed but not much more.
The view towards the Tea House from the deck at the end of April, 2016.
The view a month later: 31 May, 2016
Stepping off the deck makes it a bit easier to decipher what's happening. It may not be completely obvious to you but three small trees and a large shrub are all caged to protect them from the rabbit family who's living in the garden. Or maybe it's the squirrels or chipmunks who are eating everything in sight. The cages stay on until the two tours of our garden scheduled for this month occur.
The big thing I've been working on in this view is the "river" of Iris cristata flowing down the hill. The lower plants are the straight species and the ones at the top of the hill are the variety 'Navy Blue Gem' from Joe Pye Weed's Garden. They have smaller leaves that look better longer and an incredibly intense deep blue-violet flower. I just need to spread them around a bit more and next Spring the river should be a blue torrent.
Walking around the slope (going right from the photo above) the main feature here is the 'Golden Shadows' Dogwood tree. Its leaves have been getting brown edges and I think it may be in too much late afternoon sun. Right under the Dogwood is the stump from the Spruce tree we took out a couple of years ago. It was mostly dead but still may have provided some needed shade. The Dogwood is big enough it has to stay in place, so I will do a bit more research to discover if the problem might be something else.
Looking more closely you can see that this side of the berm is mainly ferns with a smattering of Martagon lily 'Mrs. R. O. Backhouse.' Their flower color is similar to the Tea House color so I will see if I like this idea when they bloom.
The little green plant amidst all the caramel Heuchera is an obvata Peony seedling that has bronze leaves when it first emerges. It's planted across the path from a double-flowered Trillium grandiflorum. Far Reaches Farm has a similar planting on either side of a path shown on their website. I was really smitten with it and so added this seedling when I discovered it in the garden. It's only a year old, as is the Trillium, so they should mature at a similar rate.
I took this photo standing at the top of the berm next to the back corner of the Tea House. This view looks slightly left and shows the pair of 'Sparkling Diamond' Hellebores at the top of the hill, backed with a Korean maple and a small Hemlock.
Turning slightly to the right shows the rest of this big curving bed. Eventually I'd like to have very little bare ground other than a path to let me in this area to weed or prune. I have left bare ground under both of the dwarf Ginkgo trees as their branches just about touch the ground and you can't see their beautiful shape if there is ground cover in the way.
The Maidenhair ferns are my big success in this bed and my favorite part of it. These huge clumps are only two or three years old and were grown from small plants I culled from other parts of the garden. I am thrilled at how solidly they've filled in.
This view is taken from the top of the steps at the front corner of the Tea House. You can just see the steps in the second photo at the top. These last two photos were taken at the end of the day on Memorial Day when the light was much softer and low than in the other images.
Looking back towards the deck where the first two photos were taken. The Tea House berm could not be planted for the ten years that Mark was building it. I anticipated it would be the last garden area to design. But then we built the driveway wall last summer. In order to do that we turned the moss garden into a holding bed for the driveway plants that were in the way. When that project was finished we decided the moss bed was too labor intensive to remain as it was. Currently is is mostly mulch with my new batch of Geranium phaeum plants. Though I did a drawing of that area and we had a plan, we've changed our minds a bit, so that may become the focus of my EoMV one of these days.