Changing from symetrical to free-form design?

diannelmtOctober 11, 2013

I have a large garden across the road from my house. It is about 40'x60' fenced with french gothic picket fencing. Inside the fence is six, 16'x16' "raised" beds (not all are technically raised soil, but rather just a bed framed by 2"x10"s. Several of the beds are decorative, containing roses, ornamental grasses and Arborvitae. One true raised bed is an herb garden. One is a vegetable garden and the last is a tired old knot garden that only contains sheared boxwoods in the shape of an X (nothing planted in the negative space to make it a true knot garden anymore).

These gardens were put into place by the previous property owner. Everything is mature and healthy and I don't want to lose the existing plants. The place was glorious at one time, but is still impressive and I'd like to maintain that.

My problem is that since we've lived here, we have had several floods. This garden in question ends up under several feet of water. The bed frames have floated away, smashing to pieces against trees. We've restored them and anchored them into the ground (or so we thought) at least three times. Now we're flooding again and I'm dreading the cleanup and restoration process yet again. I can't keep doing this.

I would really like to get rid of those square wooden box style bed frames, and do something more free form and permanent. Flood proof if possible, no mulch to wash away, Perhaps winding grass paths through one large garden rather than six individual "beds". I need help with ideas? Thanks!

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emmarene

You need to make a list of your favorite plants. Is there any one thing you really long for?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 10:10PM
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nandina(8b)

Need a bit of help understanding this situation. ...."bed frames have floated away, smashing to pieces against trees."

Does this mean the flood water level rises above the fence height?
At mean high flood is the water moving quietly or at the speed of the stream causing the problem?

What would be your thoughts about removing the wooden bed enclosures, leaving present plantings in place and letting the flood waters shape all into 'free-form'?

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 7:57PM
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agardenstateof_mind

You may wish to consult a list of rain garden plants suitable for your area - these are tolerant of periodic flooding and are usually native to the region so fit well with the surrounding woods and require little maintenance, fertilizer, watering (once established).

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 11:10AM
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lavender_lass(4b)

What a beautiful garden...even now, after the flooding. I just saved it to my file :)

That being said, why is it flooding, now? You say the garden was glorious at one time...is the flooding a new problem? How did the previous owners deal with it?

If you want to change the style of your garden, you need to think about your entry access, if you want seating, what you want to plant....and if anything will still be raised. I think you could change it to a winding grass path, but the knot garden or the pergola might have to go. Do you want to create a more romantic rose/herb garden? Do you want a cottage style? Do you want to keep some of the formality and add some seating and just take out the timbers?

I'd add an arch, keep the pergola, probably take out a bit of the knot garden and bring in more shrub and climbing roses...and add some seating! Maybe a bench or two in the smaller blue areas and a table with a few chairs in the bigger one, on the left. The arch and paths are in lavender...just an idea :) From Lavender's Garden

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 4:23PM
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