Today we’re in Cincinnati, Ohio, visiting with Erin Houlihan.
This garden has developed over 34 years in a very small urban lot. It has evolved from challenges, and it is very unique. I have no grass and tend it all organically.
The backyard has been challenged by the large pin oaks in back, which provide more shade each year, and a silver maple (Acer saccharinum, Zones 3–9) volunteer from my childhood home. The maple is now 32 years old, and its shallow roots make it very inhospitable to most plants.
The front and side yards had lawn that was mostly weeds. New stone walks have now replaced it. The side yard had large white pines that declined, and they were removed last year. I started a meadow there this year, since I am running out of sun in the back. I put in lots of natives and some anchors from the back that needed sun. I will continue to work on the meadow.
Through the years, I have lost many plants by drainage, nature, and general learning experiences.
A stone walk winds through the garden, leading you on to explore.
As the pin oaks (Quercus palustris, Zones 4–9) grow, they make this garden increasingly shaded. Learning to change the plantings to adapt to the light levels is something most gardeners have to deal with in a maturing garden.
Another stone path leads through a bit of shade, with views of a sunnier part of the garden ahead.
A beautiful lilac (looks like Syringa pubescens ‘Miss Kim’, Zones 4–8, or a similar cultivar) trained as a standard makes a dramatic feature.
No one misses the weedy front lawn if this is what it has been replaced with!
A statue holding a container of orange pansies (Viola × wittrockiana, annual) adds a pop of color.
I love garden paths like this, with a half-obscured view, hinting at what you will find ahead.
Continue down that path, and you find the pond, complete with blooming water lily (Nymphaea sp.) and tall lotus (Nelumbo nucifera, Zones 4–9) leaves.
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