Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Step by step
In between the seasonal garden variety activities of dead-heading, staking, and weeding, larger landscaping tasks loom. Laying the French drain along the back and sides of the house necessitated removal and (months and months later) the reconstruction of a stone retaining wall along the front. We had the adjacent front steps and driveway retaining walls rebuilt several years ago.
With all that stonework finished, an opportunity is now presented to rethink the plantings around the front steps. At present, narrow beds of white-flowering periwinkle Vinca minor "Alba" line the front walk. Short alliums--yellow Allium moly "Jeannine" and pink Allium osttrowskianum--are planted throughout.
Pink-flowering Thymus serpyllum Coccineus happily rings the dry, infertile areas edging the wall.
In order to postpone serious decision-making until the summer heat passes, I have followed the cheap-and-dirty route of softwood cuttings. I clipped lengths of the nearby periwinkle, dusted the trimmed stems with a rooting hormone, and slipped each cutting deep into a hole. Lots of rain recently may just give these slips a chance of survival.
These little sprigs of green don't quite look like a ground cover, but they're better than a drab expanse of mulch or a patch of mud. And in the time that they buy me, I can start to build up the beds flanking the front stairs, step by step. The first step is periwinkle . . . then what? I'll be treading slowly!