Privacy from the Traffic to the Secret City

I like to plant perennials and woody ornamentals in the fall for two reasons: one, I finally have the time to do it, and two, they benefit from the cooler temperatures and the rainy days.  Today, I am planting a privacy screen between our house and the noisy road we live on.  While it's still a country road, the traffic is such that we cannot simply tune it out. There are cars every few minutes, and they are going way too fast.   We've determined there is a secret city over the ridge and all these cars are in a terrible hurry to get there.

My privacy planting is mirroring one that I already planted on the other side of the walk way.... Nine bark - those are the tall burgundy shrubs (Physocarpus), sedums (Autumn Joy and Madrona), some ornanmental grasses, some fall pink asters, and some heuchera or coral bells (Purple Petticoats).  Underneath, I will stash a bunch of pale Pink Emperor tulips and a few white daffodils.  I love keeping color combinations harmonious season to season and this creates a nice range of pinks, deep reds and maroons.  The grasses fill in to give it a naturalistic look and it only takes about two years for everything to grow up enough to become an 8 foot screen. I will stick in a few kale and chard plants come spring for the mandatory (in my mind) edible component.  In an effort to practice Gardening Without Guilt, I grow very practical plantings that will always accomplish a few of my gardening goals -- easy maintenace (it's okay if there a few weeds in there since it all looks like it belongs), habitat for wildlife (the birds and pollinators love these groupings of plants), beauty (to my eye at least) and harmony with some lovely edible plants (in this case it will be chard, kale and a few herbs).  The closer to the house we plant edibles, the more we will eat them and tend to them.  And by using plants for a privacy screen, we are not seeing the cost of and avoiding the aesthetic impact of a tall fence.

Pokey and Rosy

My plan is to add a few wheelbarrow loads of our compost, made from donkey manure (thanks to Pokey and Rosy, above), kitchen scraps, and garden debris.  Then I will work it all into the soil which was tilled up several weeks ago (and,no, I have not kept up with the weeding in the meantime).  The planting holes should be a couple of times bigger than the root ball of the plant, that way the soil can be loosened and worked up to create a welcoming home for newly spreading roots.  I don't add any fertilizer when planting in the fall because it encourages tender new growth that will not fare well in our frigid winters.

I like these types of plantings for the simple pleasure they provide as they grow up and the effect they have of anchoring the house into its place, making it more of a home and sheltering it from all those cars speeding off to their secret city.  I'll post a picture when I am finished.