[personal profile] tellezara
Hi guys! I found this comm via [site community profile] dw_news and hope you might be able to advise me.

We moved house last October. The back garden is enclosed and doesn't get a huge amount of sun. It is mostly paved with some raised beds, so we've planted some shade loving greenery. In the centre is a very sad token patch of lawn (with bald patches) measuring about 2 x 1.5m. We want to dig this out and turn it into a Zen garden - I was going to put down weed mat with sleepers on the sides and fill with white gravel. But now my husband quite likes the idea of having a small tree in the centre of this. I'm a bit iffy about this due to the small space but I don't know enough about gardening to have a proper justification for my unease.

1) Are there any good tree types for a shaded garden, that don't grow large but don't require the daily upkeep of bonsai?

2) Is 2x1.5m enough space for tree roots without them going under and distorting the paving if I plant the tree in the ground??

3) How can I have a tree but still keep the weed mat down?

Thanks for any advice you can give!


Jun. 3rd, 2009 08:35 am
fatoudust: a single condor flying over the grand canyon, wings spread, radio tags visible, in evening sunlight (Default)
[personal profile] fatoudust
So, hi! I signed up for this group when I was still just a little lost openID, wandering in the aether without an icon to my name.

And then I forgot about it. So I remembered, and I'm back, and I'm excited to talk about the vagaries of gardening, because, lo, I need the help, y'all.

I'm in the high desert of Arizona. That puts me mostly in zone 6, because while we do get the hot weather, we're mountainous. I'm at about 6000 feet, and that's the lowest I've been in recent history. It was about 7000 when we were in NM. So we get very dramatic swings of day/night temperature. And of course, no water. We get about 17 inches average over the year, mostly concentrated in the monsoon months of late summer.

And we just built a new house. It's in a new development, piñon and juniper. Our lot was cleared for the septic tank, so we're fighting off tumbleweeds (which are nasty sharp when mature, I'm just tellin' ya.) and other seriously brutal weeds. There are natural grasses and wildflowers in the neighboring lots, but we're picking & choosing because of fire danger.

The house is passive solar, with a sunroom that has a solar floor (thicker than usual slab to serve as thermal mass) and is the most comfortable room in the house all year round. The large windows with overhangs mean we get winter but not summer sun. So the room works as a fabulous winter greenhouse, but the sun completely does not enter it during summer so we need to figure out something else for those plants then.

So! All that is to say, I have two interests. One is landscaping and the other is food gardening. We had a great winter salad garden in the sunroom, but our outdoor forays have been less successful due to various critters who deeply appreciate our provision of provisions for them. The greens are still growing in the sunroom with indirect light, though. They seem unkillable.

Outside we have the grapevine on its second year; looks like it's going to bear this year. And then there's plans for the raised bed: we intend to do tomatoes and potatoes and a Native American traditional Three Sisters garden, which is corn, beans & squash. We were told we couldn't start until June because of frost danger, so we've got an extremely short growing season. And we'll be gone for part of it.

As far as the decoratives go, we have two flowerbeds containing Russian sage and assorted bulbs. Oh, and we planted organic garlic in the flowerbeds. Hee. It's a bulb. They're doing great; rabbits ate the rest of the bulbs, pretty much.

And I've got a sack of wild bird trees from the Arbor Day Foundation that need to go in the ground.


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