Crowning a New Garden

After the first several weeks of deep cleaning, unpacking, triaging repair projects, hanging drapes, and changing billing addresses, I allowed myself to venture outside into the garden at our new home.

It was an exciting day, every new flower had been warming the setting for my arrival- Week to week, a slow quaint fireworks display opened from a seemingly blank slate. First came some crocus and the dainty tet-a-tet daffodils, larger jonquils, even weeds like lawn daisys, rock cress, chick weed and a powerful flush of common dandelions, Taraxacum officinale had lured me. Being in the yard to weed meant getting to know each of these sets of plant friends while meeting neighbors.

I had been caring for other’s landscapes and gardens for over a decade but now I had my own first home. When the neighbor’s Magnolia soulangiana buds swelled full of color and reached out for our bedroom window I knew to go out to start hearing and feeling the garden’s spirit or genius loci.

It was the cleared side garden that spoke. The soil was smothered in rock ground cover and compacted clay. The small patio had been lost in weeds, the rose garden cut back harshly and neglected. I would apply permaculture principals and hours and hours of hard labor.

I started to envision zone 1, for all close to the house design and planting. The yard called for some mid sized structure to balance out the concrete block retaining wall. I would gather the unnecessary block boarders for a higher purpose- an herb spiral.

This would crown the new garden with a vertical planting element. At a meter high and two meters wide it would anchor the side yard and provide me with layers of planting space near the kitchen for a lifestyle change, bye bye fast food lifestyle. The rock could be raked away and repurposed as block footing. The spiral twisted in my mind spinning its opening to the south.
Herb spirals are designed to maximize space usage and to create a planting structure for diverse plant types. The top drains quickly and gets lots of sun, shading the back. There and to the bottom more water and shade loving plants can grow.

At a couple of hours a day I raised the blocks to mini walls and honed in on the curve, emulating a shell and its golden ratio. I hope to plant soon; my research continues.

Also sent to be published at






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s