Creating the New Red Maple Tree Pocket Garden- Part I

Creating the New Red Maple Tree Pocket Garden- Part I

Yesterday I showed the planting of the Japanese red maple tree (Emperor) that started the idea for another pocket garden to the left side of the garage. Today some photos of how it starts to come together. I start first with the shape for the garden space. When planning either a new area or an expansion of another, you often have to take in consideration what is already in that space… existing trees, amount of light, people traffic, views from various sight lines, etc. When I pull into my driveway and then turn to face the front of the garage, I can see directly the maple tree, so this new garden space became a curved one at a  right angle to the driveway rather than a straight line one running parallel to the driveway and visible basically only if you drove out that way. So here we go.


This is what it looked like before the maple was planted. Out of view to the right of the boxed in garden is the entrance is the parking spaces in front of the garage.

For many summers I just put a bench, a pot of flowers and the container water garden to the right of the bench. Pleasant enough, but needing some work.

Here everything is removed and the maple is planted leaving a space to begin planning. I basically decided on a curve that pretty much follows where the dirt is now…..just adding a bit more cube that what exists now. The new area will be separate from mulched the maple tree….enough so the lawn mower can get around easily in a single pass.

KBJ helping direct the truck driver because he was having to maneuver the truck sharply to the right to dump the dirt and couldn’t see.

Success and no tree damage! I am sharing the dump truck photos for all my guy readers who always seem to love these things. This was a really nice truck. The last three loads we got were in a very, very old truck and the tires were quite flat with the amount of dirt in the back! The dirt was terrific, but the guy retired from dirt and only does mulch, so he gave us this company’s name.

We again got a 50/50 mixture of top soil and compost. All planting is directly in these new berms or raised beds. Nice soil, the kind I was used to where I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

Checking to see if all of it came out, and then off he went until the next load. It is really so nice when they are able to dump in the area you are working. It is hard enough to shovel it and rake it as it is without having to transport it by wheelbarrow from another place, although I have done a lot of that over the years when the garden space was inaccessible.

The soil was actually dry enough to work, but barely, as we waited a couple of weeks to get soil because of all the rain. The wheelbarrow is evidence of how much!

I took that time to head to various sources for plants, all of which were at least 50% off regular price and I managed to get a lot of bargains. I had a basic idea of what plants I needed, but formed the infill from what I found on sale.

The area is pretty shady, although in the front it gets afternoon sun. I have micro climates not just around the property, but sometimes even within the same garden space. In the forefront are variegated azaleas. I was so happy to find these because when you garden in the woods and everything looks like broccoli you really need some relief from all “just green”. These were lovely and full and will bloom red in the spring. I also decided on two varieties of host.


We hadn’t even finished raking out all the dirt into place, but we were dying to see how it might look, so we put a few of the plants in place. This actually is a good idea. It is much easier to make adjustments earlier rather than later, especially if you are tired of moving dirt around!

We were liking how it was starting to look.

We raked out the front a bit more. Where the chunk of 8×8 wood is, is where we decided that we would get a couple of railroad ties because after the rain, some soil washed down. Also, it would look better and tie in to what is going on in other areas…..I will show you those in another post.

You can see how the sun peaks through, and it does most of the afternoon in that spot, moving forward to the point where the 8×8 is, so that helped me decide where to place the plants, as well as the number of plants that I had to work with.

But that was it for the day…..rain and ran out of time and energy anyway. KBJ was leaving for NC for the remainder weekend as well.

Before I reveal how this looks finished up, tomorrow I will first show you the “expansion” of the neighboring garden…..the raised box in front of the tree shown in the first photo above. I need to do that because they both relate to one another and it will help you see how and why we envisioned the creation of the area by the new red maple. Plus, most of the garden photos of the finished maple tree area show the expanded box garden, and then there would be no surprises! Hope you will come back tomorrow and thanks for reading today! Laters, charisse


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