Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Top of the Drive

I am pleased to see this spot at the top of the driveway finally come together. For the first time since I "designed" (a loose term) this view, it looks just right.

As you come up the driveway, you are greeted by a stately paperbark maple, and you see the little stone wall I built to mark where the parking area pavers edge the gravel garden. To the right is the walkway to the back yard, anchored by that asymmetrical blue spruce. It was supposed to be a dwarf mounded conifer, but it isn't. I actually pruned off about a quarter this spring to get this size and shape. I like it now.

To the left is a metal arbor and gate leading into the gravel seating area. I planted a male kiwi vine to cover it, and it's taken a while to start arching over the arbor. Finally, it's doing that. I'm still waiting for the pink coloration on the tips of the leaves. That takes a few years to show. But I do like this view now.

Fragrant creeping thyme has grown around the stepping stone at the entrance and is spreading into the gravel. And those are big, glossy, full inkberry hollies bordering the gravel area. They provide dense screening and a sense of privacy from the rest of the yard as you enter.

What I'm really pleased about at the top of the driveway is that the creeping phlox 'Fort Hill' has finally shown up. I had a hard time over the past three years getting it to take. I planted a line of them to drape over the wall and they disappeared. I bought more and replanted, and they still did nothing for a couple years.

This spring they are wonderful. They're finally colorful and spreading all along the wall. They aren't draping over the edge of the stones yet, but they promise to.

What you don't see in this area is the smokebush, which is at the top of the wall in the middle. It's still a cut-back stump right now, allowing the low creeping phlox and daffodils to take the stage. Later in summer there will be a large shrubby smokebush there, but by then the daffodils and the phlox will have gone by.

A few years ago I stuck a broken stem of sedum into the crack between some stones in the wall, and now it spills out abundantly, growing, apparently, on just grains of sand in the wall.

It has taken a while, and I got discouraged about ever having a nice spring view at the top of the drive, but now, finally, it looks great.


  1. That first photo looks like a magazine cover! So enjoyed your creation. My eye moves through it so nicely and there are many nice details that make you look twice to enjoy even more.