So many possibilities! A blank canvas after a loss is both exciting and upsetting, I agree. I wonder if you can do without the kind of shade the big oak would have created, and instead use some big, wildlife-friendly shrubs that are more like small trees, such as some of the bigger Viburnums. See this post: http://awaytogarden.com/think-fall-yes-fall” class=”bbcode_url”> http://awaytogarden.com/think-fall-yes-fall Viburnums are the delight of many birds, and have multiple seasons of interest for the gardener, too. In small trees, one of my favorites is the Stewartia, with its summer flowers and hot fall color, plus year-round beauty in its bark. It is slow-growing, but have a read: http://awaytogarden.com/hot-plant-stewartia-an-ideal-small-tree Kate is so right: your dry-ish conditions and the wall and so on conjure images of an herb garden, but if you make more shade with some trees that wouldn’t mix so well with herbs. Like I said, so many possibilities…
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.