Shiny Rails of Steel

By: Anne Corke

Jun 28 2011

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Category: Gardening

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Aperture:f/3.2
Focal Length:6.567mm
ISO:125
Shutter:1/320 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

Both my boys are railroad enthusiasts. In our basement, the recreation room was taken over long ago by my husband, Gary, for his layout. My son, Jeremy, has had a number of layouts in different scales in the smaller room downstairs. In the summer of 2007, Jeremy decided that he needed a reason to be outside in the summer (other than cutting grass and such mundane chores!), and that a garden railway would be just the thing to get him out in the fresh air! And so, we dug yet another garden around some conveniently placed lilacs and construction began. Jeremy was appointed director of rail operations, I was appointed head gardener!  While Jeremy worked away at trackbed and wiring, I came up with a garden plan and a plant list, with a blue and yellow colour theme. Trains were rolling that fall on the bare layout. In May 2008, we planted the layout. We built a small hill at the sunny east end of the track for three lavendar (which appreciate good drainage). The east end is anchored by a young gingko tree (variety Saratoga) which was planted some years earlier, but we weren’t worried that it would shade the lavendar, given it’s very slow rate of growth. Behind some strategically placed rocks, we planted a row of purple salvia (Caradonna) to act as a screen between the tracks. We used bugleweed to cover the banks of the dry riverbed where a ferocious alligator waits below the bridge to nip your toes! And we used thyme as a groundcover along the south side interplanted with a few geum. In the shade of the lilacs, we planted variegated brunnera. At the west end, the shadiest, we planted one of my favourite shade plants, foamflower. There is also a conveniently located mountain ash tree nearby where we placed our chairs and table for refreshments! We filled in the gaps with a charming orangey heuchera (Marmalade, I think), dwarf daylilies (Pennysworth), lovely sky blue flax, a mauve tradescantia, dwarf bellflowers, purple balloon flowers, lady’s mantle and blue fescue. So far, so good! Here’s how the garden looked in 2008. In my next post, I will write about the successes and the failures, the lessons learned.

Copyright 2011 Anne Corke

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