November Garden of the Month – Spotlight Edition
The Gettysburg Garden Club, through the Garden of the Month Committee, is pleased to announce November’s article as a SPOTLIGHT article. SPOTLIGHT focuses on a special, unique property occasionally throughout the year. This SPOTLIGHT is actually on two properties that used similar gardening practices to deal with the difficult landscape they have experienced living in PA. Like a lot of Pennsylvanians, Patricia Jackman of 862 Boyds School Rd and Donna Leach of 900 Boyds School Rd, have to manage with living on a rocky hillside. They have overcome this by creating beautiful gardens using terrace landscaping.
Terraces are created by carving out the sloped land, building a retaining wall, and back filling the wall with luscious topsoil for your gardening needs. Some reasons that Patricia and Donna chose the terrace style of gardening is ease and safety of maintenance, eradicating water and grading problems, and aesthetic appeal. Having a fluffy green lawn was not an option for the gardeners because it was too steep to safely mow the grass without falling down the hill or rolling the mower. They could have just thrown river rock or some other large stones down the hillside but the rocks would wash away and need to be replaced frequently. They could have also planted creeping plants such as creeping juniper, ivy, or vinca but they didn’t want the hassle of having to weed the hillside. The terraces gave them a way to help with the water issues that were left behind after the final grading of their houses. Instead of having water from the underground springs overfilling every time it rained creating standing water that gathered in a swale behind the house, the layers of land allowed them to create drains around the property to move the water from the back to the front without washing away the foundation. The aesthetic appeal of a terraced garden is one that dates back centuries. It creates the illusion of more land, larger house, and allows for a variety of plants.
Before deciding to install a terraced garden, one must consider the financials. Pat contacted several companies to give her drawings and quotes before choosing the right one for her. She had 80ft of shale that had to be jackhammered through, crushed stone and topsoil had to be brought in to raise parts of the property up, and pipes and wires had to be re-run underground. One area of expenses that she could control was the cost of plant material. She advises to never buy plants at full price. Buy spring plants in the summer or fall when they are on clearance or grow your own from seeds. Also pay attention to what plants grow in your area, don’t waste money on a pretty looking plant that needs a different habitat than what you can offer. Pat has a testing area in the back of her yard, if the plant thrives there she will transplant it to the front for all to view. Both Pat and Donna have had successes growing ornamental grasses, burning bush, evergreens, barberries and knock out roses. The main thing to remember when creating a landscape is to work with Mother Nature because in the long run she always wins.
If you would like to nominate your own or someone else’s property for either the SPOTLIGHT
or AWARD of the MONTH, please call Deb Steckler at 717-357-3623, or go to our Yard of the Month nomination form.