Fences frame the garden

A rustic fence creates a landscaped vegetable garden

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Fences frame the garden

Arrayed like sunbeams, saplings form a gate. A bevy of birdhouses cap fence posts.

Maggie MacLaren

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Vi Kono of Redmond, Washington, started by framing a space with fences, then composing a garden within it. "I can see the vegetable plot from my kitchen," she explains. "The fence gives structure to the garden and gives me something to look at during the time of year when there's the least to see."

The rustic fence is composed mostly of bitter cherry saplings joined with wood screws. Three varieties of espaliered apples form a living fence along the south side. Fence-top birdhouses, as well as an arbor and gates made of unpeeled logs and twigs, convey the feeling that Hobbits inhabit the garden.

Inside the fence, assorted vegetables - carrots and garlic, Swiss chard and lettuce, squash and tomatoes - share informal, curved beds with dahlias, delphiniums, lavatera, perennial linaria, and a few annuals like cosmos and marigolds. Edible-pod 'Sugar Snap' peas and pole beans clamber up twiggy trellises, while a hop vine and porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) grow up opposite sides of an arbor that runs along one side of the garden.

At planting time, every vegetable and flower seedling gets a sprinkling of controlled-release fertilizer. To maintain soil fertility, Kono digs in vast quantities of compost each year, supplemented with cow manure every third year.

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