Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The expression Brazilian bower was encountered in a long ago forgotten article about creating an elevated green space in Manhattan. Those two words border on meaningless here but they certainly sound impressive. This shaded space adjacent to the garden by the road is being transformed into a woodland planting. I think of it as my Brazilian bower but those words are never spoken out loud. Sumac leaves create a tropical appearance that more than offsets their impenetrable tangle of roots just below the soil surface. We are removing unwanted grass growth by smothering. Large flat stones are being placed both to increase soil moisture and to suggest the appearance of a broken stone ledge. Bags of collected hardwood leaves provide raw material to create woodland soil and create the desired appearance.
These pink Trout lilies are native to the western United States. They are far more suitable garden subjects than our native yellow flowered plants. These flower and multiply while our native specie spends years trying to reach a deep depth in the soil before flowering. The appearance of these bulbs helps one understand their early name Dog-tooth violet.
Carefully mixed woodland soil was placed in front of the ledge stone to provide several inches of root free planting space. After the bulb clusters were placed, a thick layer of screened leaves completed the planting.
This trip back up the hill found me admiring my work while driving. We have found some success growing native plants in our shade garden. Its elevated construction results in arid soil. We hope that this ground level placement near flat stones will result in more moisture in the soil. Deep leaf cover also retains moisture. We hope to fill this shaded area with lush growth of native woodland plants.