A message from Pat!
I've included all the ideas that have come up in the past few weeks (or at least all the ones I remember!), and I'm sure there will be others emerging as people get their minds around thinking plants, thinking design. Penny, could you send this out to the gardening group? To all of you: feel free to edit it, or add to it...whatever. It's a first draft.
A re-examination of Napier Square Greenway: the beginnings of a five-year plan (with ideas from Karen Thirkell, Pat Davitt, Penny Street, Ann Daskal, Janet Harper — May 19th, 2010)
[Suggested To-Do List/Time Frame at End]
Karen's first take: that it could be livened up with the addition of more purple-leaved plants in addition to the Ravenswings we already have; memo to Pat: remember to plant the purple Ninebark somewhere nice!!! And more variegated plants: sedges, euonymus and such like.
We agreed: Take out the three self-seeded elms, including the big one on the Sweet Cherubim side; ask the City to remove it and replace it with a more interesting and smaller tree — one with flowers in spring, interesting bark, and/or interesting colour in fall….plus, we would have more light in that area. (Gord Kristjansen — Pat's upstairs neighbour and a landscaper) says he'll take out the two smaller ones, in June — his contribution.) News flash (Sunday, May 23): there may be another one, that looks more like a shrub, on the Drive O side by the alley. We'll try to get an identity check on that one!
Move the climbing rose to one of the screens on the Sweet C side (probably the one overlooking the parking lot); take down the dead clematis and replace with a goodly-sized new one. Make better use of all those screens for vines and climbers; prune the evergreen Clematis armandii on the Drive Organics side (get it out of the tree and get more light on that side).
Previously, we'd thought to install a berm (a mound of soil) on the Drive O side in the middle bed, which is situated on a layer of hardpan. With a deeper layer of soil on top, we will be able to do more creative planting in that area. This could be the major re-do for this year, since we don't want to bite off more than we can chew, eh?
Then maybe next year: on the south/Sweet C side, leave a path at the back along the wall (about three feet wide) for access to the back of the bed. Build up another berm with a curved front; line irregularly with stones to anchor the front edge, sword ferns along the curve on top and bright green hostas (we already have them) below the ferns, on the lower level. (Would give that bed some shape.)
Prune the existing lonicera (Honeysuckle) on the Sweet C alley-side; Pat to contact Aidan re: more interesting honeysuckles (flowering, with scent — there was a spectacular one on the garden tour two years ago).
Out of Pat's garden: Astrantia major alba and rosa (Masterwort); more epimediums (Barrenwort) if needed; hostas. Also some bluebell bulbs. Out of Karen's garden: Baby Tears (good, pretty and invasive ground cover to go around the poster/poles).
From the City: pieces of concrete to install as paths and surrounds as access for poster/poles (x four), which then can be surrounded by the Baby Tears. We might be able to get this done sooner (this year) rather than later; we'll ask for help from the City; otherwise there's always LawnBoy, with its tons of free concrete pieces.
When we get to adding/buying more plants, think hellebores, and lots of spring bulbs, particularly daffodils and the little species tulips, both of which naturalize; we have to remember this in the fall when the bulbs become available (September). If we can get the Drive O side built up with a berm, it will be more straightforward to add bulbs and other decorations.
To-Do List/Suggested Time Line
1. Prepare for and install the berm on the Drive O side. With that in place, we can do the planting without having to worry about digging them all up when the soil comes. This will give us space to plant bulbs (permanently) in the fall, and to design proper plantings of small shrubs and perennial plants in that space. What fun!
2. Removing Elms: Gord figures he and his crew can do that in June, when they get less busy with landscaping-for-pay.
3. Move the climbing rose; clean off the dead clematis from the Sweet C-side screen; prune the C. armandii heavily (can be done now; it's finished blooming)
4. Prune the honeysuckle into shape; find out better varieties from Aidan (Pat)
5. Bluebell bulbs could be planted in the raised bed along Drive O, and in the front beds on both sides… Whaddya think?
6. Approach Erin about getting concrete pieces from the City and having them delivered; or going to Lawnboy and getting them there; install around poster/poles; can be done this summer.
7. Buy annual flowers in vast multitudes to cheer up the place. No point in buying new purple perennials now, until we have beds installed and a plan for what we want and especially where we're going to put them
8. Enough already!