I'm off to Minneapolis for the Fling but figured I would squeeze another post in as I sit here in the airport. This particular post has been on the backburner for a while so I thought it best to get it out there before my computer & mind gets flooded by the sights and experiences of the Fling.
A long time WIP at our house has been all of the ornamental borders. This has been an on again/off again project as there are numerous areas, some of them quite large, and all needed a LOT of attention. The main problem, of course, was that the ornamental areas were never a priority - the veg garden came first as that was something I had been dreaming about for over 2 decades.
So each year, I would complete one or two beds, and the rest were left for next year. Then the following year, I would start on another bed...and the first two would go to pot, what with 2 small kids running around and the veg beds to build, fill, mulch and take care of...you get the idea.
Well, this year things are different. Firstly, the kids are older and can pretty much do their own thing for a good chunk of the day without my needing to "entertain" them. Secondly - and this was the biggest factor - my husband finally had the time to pitch in and help - up until now, it had been a solo effort. This not only gets things done quicker but it also helps with the procrastination factor - we each egged the other one on when they didn't "feel" like working on it.
We finally finished one of the “islands” as I call them – areas that are surrounded by grass - a few weeks ago. There are 3 such islands in our front yard - a large one on the east & west side of the yard and a smaller one on the far west side, only a few feet from the properly line.
Unfortunately – as is often the case – I completely forgot to take photos until after we were done the edging. I do, however, have photos of this bed from 2011 when I took a whole series of "before photos" as I was planning on getting all the beds done that year...yeah, that was wishful thinking!
The first bed to be completed and the subject of this post is the large west island. It is somewhat kidney shaped and approximately 12' wide x 35' long (3.6M x 10.6M). A big pile of rocks that inexplicably cut the bed in half was removed as was the plastic edging. Weeds were pulled and the shrubs were pruned. The biggest challenge was edging and dealing with the encroachment of grass. We also decided to expand a couple of areas so that we could more easily mow around the bed.
North end of bed (west side):
Plants on this end that were kept include an Amur maple, lilies and a peony.
|North end of bed (west side) in 2011|
|North end of bed (west side) after edging & grass removal|
|North end of bed (west side) after weeding/pruning/mulching|
North end of bed (east side):
North end of bed (east side) in 2011
|North end of bed (east side) after edging & grass removal|
North end of bed after weeding/mulching/pruning
South end of bed:
Plants on this end include a weigela, a bridalwreath spirea (not 100% sure about that one) and a juniper.
|South end of bed in 2011|
|South end of bed after edging|
|This shrub easily tops 10' tall|
|After trimming out a lot of the old wood|
Now, I'm not a plant expert as many of you know and this particular shrub has me stumped. I've taken a series of photos of the foliage and berries to see if someone can identify it for me:
This shrub also self-seeds rather easily as I have a couple of them that sprang up in other areas of the garden. In fact, the photos above are from one of the volunteers as the one in the bed we finished is looking rather straggly.
And that’s all we are doing in this bed right now. Yes, I know that it’s just begging for a few additions – bulbs, perennials, perhaps another small evergreen – and there are also a couple of plants that need moving (the lilies & peony). But this year is about the tidy up and keeping ahead of the weeds as they spring up through the mulch. The first year always has the most upkeep on that score, so I would rather keep things simple. As I pull them up through the summer, the weeds will get weaker and/or die and I’ll be left with a clean(er) slate next year, at which point the fun starts – adding to the bed.
We have also been tackling one of the large backyard beds (the worst of the bunch) since early May and I made a rather unexpected discovery a couple of weeks ago:
The cut-back must have done them a world of good - I still can't believe I would have missed this show, regardless of how dense the shrubbery was.
And in other blooming news, the Peggy's Delight zinnia which I spoke about in my last update post has started to bloom:
The blooms come in various colours, so you never know what you will get - I love that! I'll be thanking Tammy personally at the Fling in a few hours. But now, I have a plane to catch....