I am making progress on the Japanese garden. I have added pea gravel to the dog ramp (which they are not using – yet), poured concrete and added a few plantings, as well as received 4 tons of gravel to use for mulch.
I needed a column to put the Japanese lantern on. To make it, I used a cardboard sonotube with some old corrugated roofing that the cows tore off of the barn windows. I sprayed the roofing with oven spray and dropped it into the sonotube, and around the rebar pounded into the ground for support. Then I mixed the concrete in my wheelbarrow and dropped it in by the shovel full, tapping the outside to release air bubbles, and making sure it was level. The column is 36″ tall and used 4 eighty pound bags of Sakrete. It turned out great!
Next, my husband and I created the forms from plywood for the bases of the bench. I decided on two feet that were large (24 x 12) instead of four of them. It was a little tricky to get them aligned, level and level with each other, but doable. One foot was down slope, but I used gravel to raise it for level. Here they are, ready for my neighbor and his skid loader:
Next, I tried my hand at using part of a Rosemary bush to create a ball topiary. I looked for a section of the Rosemary that had a strong central truck or two, dug it out away from the rest of the plant, and started chopping to reveal the stem. Then I printed out a circle and placed it in the top to follow the shape, taking it out and replacing as I worked around the bush. I was inspired by a video on youtube that I thought was Linda Vater, but of course I can’t find it now. In it, she picks some shrubs on sale and turns them into ball topiaries, first picking out a central stem or two and chopping off the extra branches until she got up to the ball portion, them trimming it up, which is what I did. The bonuses were that the remainder of the rosemary plant is still surviving and looks less bushy, as well as all the limbs I removed came into the house to dry for use as a spice. I will pulverize it in the blender once dry, as I don’t like the texture of dried rosemary in my food.
Once I planted the rosemary, I then planted some elephant ears a friend recently gave me, and a blue hydrangea. Can’t wait to see this area done and what it will look like when mature.