Sunday, September 30

A Smooth Backdrop

Some bloggers are very deliberate about the way they choose their subjects, word their text, integrate their photos, and ultimately create each of their posts. I admire the heck out of that, but my own blog is a lot more like my garden--a loosely knit collection of ideas, heavily subject to my whims, with some structure thrown in occasionally for good measure.

In hindsight, I should have taken some "before the fence" pictures for posterity's sake. I have spent so much time aiming around those views, however, that it simply never occurred to me that I might want some now. This picture from June, never posted exactly because I failed to crop out the background, is the best I can do.

In addition to what you see here, my view occasionally included a random assortment of children and neighbors, 2 huge full size trucks, and up to 5 dogs--one of which is always off leash in spite of city regulations, and enjoyed doing his business in my rock garden. (Even though his owners diligently cleaned up after him and he's a sweetheart of a dog, that last fact annoyed me a bit!)

Fast-forward to my current view. The fence effectively removed the clutter beyond my lot line. It provides a much smoother, less distracting backdrop for the garden, and once it's stained in a couple of weeks it will provide some extra color as well.

As far as the color goes, I agree with Craig that gray is underused in gardens, and I've long planned to use a warm gray on the fence. Given my predisposition for contrasts and bright color, this might surprise you a bit... but warm gray will coordinate the fence with the foundation stones and peachy-rust brickwork on the house. Consider also that I'm a practical girl who has learned many things from a 3-year HGTV addiction. Among them, that keeping your big ticket items (couches, carpeting, stockade fencing) a neutral color and using bright pops of color in accessories that you can change out (pillows, vases, annuals, cheap trellising) is a lot easier on your wallet.

And I already have some plans for accessorizing. My wishlist includes a peach tree to espalier, and I am currently drooling over the lovely 'Miss Bateman' clematis thanks to Shirl in the UK. And then, of course, there are the edible peas and fragrant sweetpeas--and the faint hope that I might finally be successful with various squashes if I grow them vertically.

Much of the new fenceline is already spoken for by plants that have been patiently awaiting a planting spot in the yard, however. The espaliered apple wants to be shown off against its flat background, and the 'Himrod White' grapevine was waiting for the fence to be installed so that the exact site of its new arbor could be determined. And the native honeysuckle that I have so admired in Annie's garden really wants to light up this corner of mine.

The more I look at this new fence, the more excited I get! It has all of the feel and promise of a fresh new sketchpad or a blank notebook--and I really have the urge to scribble all over it with plants, so to speak. I may leave some areas blank entirely, however... both in an effort to retain some of that feeling of having the luxury of open space to fill, and to prove that behind that plant material, there is now in fact a smooth backdrop.


Kylee Baumle said...

I can certainly understand your excitement, Kim!

We have about an acre here (bet you could NEVER have guessed that, huh!) and while it's nice to have that much of a canvas to work with, I also admire the urban getaways that I've seen in many backyards. They're so cozy, you know?

You'll love 'Miss Bateman.' I have had that for about three years now and while it's not nearly as vigorous as the old standby, 'Jackmanii,' the white flowers are certainly lovely. For me, it grows much like 'Niobe.'

Our native honeysuckle on the large trellis behind the house is blooming for yet a third time right now, and there is nothing quite like that fragrance to make you swoon!

I can't wait to see what all you're doing when it's all done! Of course, a garden is never done, is it? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Your new fence does make a nice, clean, uncluttered backdrop for your garden. I think a gray stain will look very nice, but would it not just age to gray on its own?

And haven't you changed the header of your blog? The font looks different, and the design too. I like it!

Melissa said...

We've let our fence age gray...

You are right though - it is so very handy to have an unbroken backdrop - you will have so much fun.

meresy_g said...

YOu will have so much fun going vertical! Espalier will be interesting. It is something I've always wanted to try but haven't yet. And is that sweet woodruff under your ferns? Did you ever have problems with it going crazy and choking everything out (see my NIMG post). Also, what is the name of the lime green ornamental grass? I love it.

Annie in Austin said...

Oh the possibilities, Kim! You will have so much fun, and I will rejoice to see the native honeysuckle in your garden, hopefully with a hummingbird sipping nectar from the coral blooms.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Unknown said...

Aha! I now have a serious case of fence-envy, Kim. Such a lovely blank canvas just waiting to be used--maybe next year we'll get a fence up along at least one edge of our property.

I was intrigued by your opening paragraph about how your blog flows. Because flow it does--and I can completely relate to how you write and how you garden. Sometimes I have particular things I want to write about, but other times it's a case of looking at the garden, being tickled by a thought about something, and then just writing to see where I end up.

And hey--it's your blog, and you write it however you wish--we love it (well, I do!) and look forward to your new postings always.

Anonymous said...

You always do a great job with your posts and there is an obvious flow! I like the fence and know that you will gain much from having the sense of enclosure, and the actual enclosure, that the fence provides. It is a blank slate and I can't wait to see the ongoing evolution of the garden! Possibilities abound!

Unknown said...

Kylee, you have a fragrant native honeysuckle? I need info, please... I had thought that the good-smelling ones were all imports! I would definitely scrap some more of that "clean space" for a fragrant native honeysuckle. :) (And I forgot until your comment that I also want a 'Niobe' clematis. And/or a 'Graveyte Beauty')

pam/digging, yes, it would age to gray on its own. But maybe not the shade of grey I have in mind! lol. (And good catch on the blog header--I don't quite love it yet, but I'm experimenting to figure out what I want to do with it.)

Me, I actually thought of you while I wrote part of this post... in terms of your "mingled opposites" quote on your profile. :)

meresy_g, I giggled when I read your NIMG post yesterday (although I haven't had time to comment yet) and saw the Sweet Woodruff there! Yes, this is SW and it has been here for three years now. It's in the corner, bordered by brick and fence except for a 2-ft opening that I've been diligent about policing. It will probably escape the fence but that's okay... it can go about a foot one way until it hits my neighbor's driveway (and she wouldn't care--she's thinking about just mulching that anyway so she doesn't have to mow) and then it can fight with my LOTV all along the 3ft wide, house-long strip I own on the north side of my home. I'm good with that!

Oh, and that lovely grass is hakonechloa 'All Gold.' I got it on clearance late in the summer and it's really starting to bounce back--it was a little ratty when I picked it up. I like how it picks up the yellow tinge to the Scaly Buckler Fern leaves.

Annie, SSSSHHHH... I've been trying not to jinx my hopes by mentioning the hummers quite yet. (Although I swear I saw one leaving my canna lilies a couple of weeks ago--very exciting!) *grin*

Jodi, I'm so unbelievably tickled when anyone simply reads my blog... to have compliments on top of that, and from people whose writings I similarly enjoy, frankly makes me blush. Thank you. :)

I was smiling and nodding through the whole second paragraph, by the way. The "tickled by a thought" phenomenon really does send me running for the camera a lot of times! And then sometimes I am struck by a thought as I look back through pictures I have taken over the past few weeks, etc...

layanee, thanks! I wish that the flow was a bit more concise sometimes, but... well, what are you going to do, right? I plan to have a lot of fun with this planting--and "stealing" some inspiration from blogs like yours, too!

Shirley said...

Hi again, Kim

Great post :-D

Your fence completely changes your outlook and the way your plants are sited in your garden. It has removed the background clutter as you say. I see why you are so thrilled with it as you now have a completely new perspective for your whole garden.

A neutral colour is an excellent choice for your fence and you’re plants will get a lift once more. You are going to have great fun experimenting with contrasts in colour now!

I like the idea of a grey stain :-D I also agree that you should allow some of the fence to be seen without climbers to give a balance of space. What fun – I envy you your new challenge :-D

Shirley said...

Sorry, Kim

I forgot to say - thanks for the link to Miss Bateman :-D

Anonymous said...

I love the division between your yard and the neighbors that your fence allows. Our garden abuts 6 of our neighbor's yards and our next door neighbor's fence, grade changes, and native plants offer some visual separation, but I sympathize with the noise factor. Our neighbor's fence has aged to gray and I love the gray background it gives my hanging baskets and veggie garden. I just wish I didn't have the wrong side of the poorly constructed fence on my side, lol. I'm interested in what, if anything, you plan to give the sweet peas to climb up. I've been thinking about sweet peas along the fence in the spring but don't know if I need to give them twine or the like to climb.

Silly Goose said...

It'll be fun to see how your garden evolves now that you have a fence as a backdrop. Such wonderful possibilities! (Can you see my eyebrows wiggle playfully?)

verobirdie said...

I'm eager to see what you'll make with that fence. I'm sure you'll enjoy your garden even more now.

EAL said...

I like your new masthead! The fence is cool too--I like wood fences. This still looks like a huge open space to me. I often long for that much space.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I look forward to future posts about the espaliered peach. What a treat that would be to harvest your own peaches! Gardeners in Chicago proper might be able to do 1 on a sunny south wall, but that's something that is just out of reach for us here in the Land Beyond O'Hare.

lisa said...

LOVE the fence Kim!! I really enjoy the idea of YOU with a blank canvas...can't wait to see what you do with it!

Unknown said...

Pahh.. if they organised writings go pick up a book or a thesis. Blogs are a personal diary each as individual as the person behind them. And well don't look to most gardeners to be clinically exact or organised. So go for it.

Anonymous said...

The fence makes a huge difference. and i agree... grey is good!

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