Perennial Garden at Great Escape Farms

This post, Perennial Garden at Great Escape Farms, shows the progress on my perennial garden design and implementation.  It was done over a few weekends and is planted into a sheet mulched garden bed.  I have over 100 perennial plants in the ground in their permanent locations and then I have annuals planted in between to fill space until the perennials get larger.

Click on the image below, titled “Perennial Garden” to watch the video.

My original design was what I thought was a keyhole design. As I researched further I found out that there are a few folks on the Internet that call this design a keyhole design, but I believe they are mistaken. You can check out my previous post titled Permaculture Keyhole Garden Design to see what a keyhole garden design really is.

The garden area has been sheet mulched and will be awesome soil in a six months to a year.  You can get the details on this project by visiting the post titled “My Sheet Mulching Project on the Farm“.  Because the ground was just sheet mulched and is not prime for plants yet, for each plant I put in the ground, I dug the hole a little deeper and added potting soil prior to putting the plant in.  This will allow the plant enough of a head start to get roots established, and by the time the sheet mulch is broken down, the plants will be quite established and will really take off.

Path Layout

Perennial Garden Layout

Perennial Garden Layout

The picture titled “Perennial Garden Layout” shows the path design for the garden area.  The main path coming into the garden from the gate starts out at 6-foot because that is how wide the gate is.  The path then goes down to four foot wide for half the garden and then three foot wide for the rest of the garden.  This wider path allows for wheel barrows and other tools to access the garden.  The side paths are 30 inches wide in the front and 20 inches wide in the back.  The 20 inches wide in the back was done so I had enough room in the back of the garden for the back planting area.

The paths have been permanently laid out so that only the paths get compacted and the planting beds never have foot traffic, so they will be light and fluffy soil.  The plants roots love light fluffy soil and it allows for good water penetration into the soil as well.

Not shown in this picture, but you can see it in the video above titled Perennial Garden, there is a four foot long by 8 foot high arbor going over the area by the gate right when you enter the garden area.  This will be used for vining plants.  Right now I’m trying ground bean there.  That may change in the future.  I’m looking for a vine that is edible or produced edible fruit and looks nice.

Plant Layout

Perennial Garden Plants

Perennial Garden Plants

The plant layout shown in the picture titled “Perennial Garden Plants”, shows the layout of the plants.  I tried to place plants based on size, with the smaller plants toward the fence and main path and the larger plants toward the center of the beds for maximum sunlight.  The one noted exception is to the west side where I have designated tall shrubs or dwarf trees to be planted.  This was done to provide some relief from the scorching afternoon and evening sun on the smaller plants.  The trees and shrubs are OK with all day sun, but most perennial plants like a little break from all day sun.

The color coded circles designate 1, 2, or 3 foot of growing room.  This growing room is designated on the space the plant will take in a few years when they are mature.  Some, like the strawberries, are spreaders and will take however much space you give them.  I will keep them in their designated spaces and when they spread beyond that, I will pluck out the parts of the plants that have spread out side of their designated space and plant them somewhere else.  Kind of like perennial plant propagation 🙂  The trees and shrubs that have the 7 pointed stars are allotted seven foot each.  Some of the trees will grow a little larger than that, but I will keep them trimmed back.

Each of the perennial plants has a small stake in front of it with a label.  The label provides the common name, Latin name, and year it was planted.  I did this so I don’t have to bring a map with me when I walk into the garden area to know what is what.  I don’t have a picture of this, but it is shown in the video above titled “Perennial Garden”.

Because the perennial plants are small and there is a lot of room in between them right now, I planted a lot of annuals this year.  I printed out the Perennial Garden Plants map from above and hand wrote where I put the annuals.  I don’t want to take time to put them in the computer because they will die out after this season.  Next year, the perennials will be larger, so I will plant fewer annuals.

The back third of the garden that doesn’t show anything planted is being reserved for next year.  It’s not that I couldn’t come up with something to plant there.  It is more that I have not finished sheet mulching the back third and will not get to complete the sheet mulch until the fall of this year.

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