I said at the beginning of the week that I’m declaring the start of July as the end of phase 1 of landscaping. We all know that the end of one thing is the start of something else, so it is also the beginning of… you guessed it… phase 2.
Yes, I still have things to finish up from phase 1, but let’s not get technical here.
For phase 2, I’m going to use the same technique that I did in phase 1. Walk out the front door and start with the first thing I see. Except this time instead of turning right, I’m going to turn left. Earth-shattering strategy, I know.
So what will I find when I turn left? Something that looks a little like this. (Our roof is not as green IRL as it appears in this photo).
From a distance it may not look that bad, but in reality it’s an overgrown jungle of spirea and ferns. I’m a variety is the spice of life kind of woman, so I need a little more diversity in my garden. I’ll be digging out a decent number of the plants. They will not go to waste though. (Remember the massive turnaround garden that needs plants?)
However, gardening here is never as simple as just weeding, pruning and transplanting. Take these rocks for example (and yet another plastic plant pot that escaped the earlier purge).
Every single existing flower garden on the property is edged in rocks like this. I’m sure it looked lovely at one point. However, over the years, the rocks have sunk just far enough into the ground to become a complete hazard for the lawnmower. Plus, they’re not doing anything to keep the weeds or grass out of the garden. I would rather edge the garden every year with a spade and be able to get the lawnmower right up to the edge of the plants than deal with these rocks.
Rocks–specifically moving rocks–has been the major theme of landscaping this year. Wiley and I will spend some more quality time, moving loads and loads of rocks back to the pile behind the barn.
Let’s see. What else is there about this garden? Follow me down this garden path and let’s find out.
Note to self: Add weeding and remove broken patio slabs to the to-do list. Oh, and fill in the pit at the end of the path.
Oh look. Another plastic plant pot.
This pit is the spot where the wood stove chimney came out of the basement. We’ve removed the wood stove, patched the hole in the wall and tarred the foundation. Now I need to deal with the pit. It’s about 3 feet deep and is usually home to frogs or, when I was taking the picture above, a camera shy garter snake. Perhaps this is a place to dispose of some of the rocks. Provided of course I rescue any creatures first.
If I follow this garden around the corner of the house to the north side, I’ll find more rocks (what else?) and more patio slabs from where the old oil tank used to be. If I follow it around to the back side, things get really wild.
The back gardens will likely be phase 3. No ETA for that yet, though.
Do you have any advice for plants that will add some diversity to my spirea and ferns? Or tips for transplanting? I tend to stick them in the ground and water the heck out of them. What’s edging your gardens? Anyone else have any “special” features in your gardens, like a pit?
OMG what a project. It is exhausting!
One of my favourite perennial plants is the hosta. It grows all summer and constantly looks its best. It makes a great edge that the lawnmower can simply follow. Its one flaw is that it can be attacked by slugs. Perhaps you could try one out and if it is not bitten buy several more. There are many varieties so you can just feature these plants in your garden and it looks great. I also love sedums.
Another piece of advice … try to only plant native-to-the-area plants.
If you go to a web site like Sheridan Nurseries they have plans that you can follow depending on how much sun the site gets. I find these helpful and if you follow one you will at least know what your long term plan is even if you can’t afford to buy every thing this year.
Thanks for the advice. I love hostas and have a few around the property that appear to be thriving. I’m hoping to be able to split some of them so that every garden can have some.
Hi Julia! ……. If you are planning to get rid of any of your ferns, I wouldn’t mind taking one or two off your hands! J ………. Let me know, Nola. I too, have been landscaping in my yard …. Phewwwf, just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! …….. it takes time J
I’m happy to share my plants. I’ll save some for you when I start digging.
I agree with the above post that hostas are really great for no fuss landscaping. I know that they prefer a lot of shade but I have grown them in full sun before. And there are SO MANY varieties! My mom even has a couple “mini hostas” they are a fraction of the size of a traditional plant.
I would never claim to have a green thumb myself and your method of transplanting is pretty much exactly how I do it! 😉
Some hostas are actually in the plastic plant pots that were left by the previous owners, so I already have a head start in that area fortunately… provided I plant them in the ground finally!
I love the look of bleeding hearts with ferns. Some other easy things are hostas, white loostrife (not the dangerous one), astilbe, Jacob’s ladder (can get some cool leaf variations too)…..also, lady’s mantle is nice and easy. If you have lots of sun, plant a butterfly garden with Echinacea, black eyed susans, butterfly weed etc. And Peonies are my favourite! Another super easy thing, that seems to grow everywhere, is columbine. I can give you some seeds from mine in the fall…..and possibly some loostrife if you want some. Sweet Woodruff is a great ground cover.
Thanks for the advice and the offer of seeds. I’ll definitely take whatever you can give me.
Here is an edging idea I really like: http://alternative-energy-gardning.blogspot.ca/2013/04/brick-garden-border.html (I hope the misspelling of “gardning” in the blog title was intentional!) I’m hoping to do this, maybe with just the flat bricks and not the ones that are sticking up along one side, along one of my garden edges.
Some low-fuss plants I love are echinacea, phlox (for the fall), peonies, daisies, sedum and cosmos, just as a couple of ideas. I really love ferns, and I think it will be lovely to put some of your ferns in different places. This year I took to the idea of planting perennial seeds. It’s way cheaper, and you can grow a bunch of babies of one kind of plant and put them in multiple gardens. Even if you only choose a couple of kinds each year, it’s a great way to keep adding to the garden for next to nothing. I grew mine in milk jugs, like this: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/snow-starter-sow-your-seeds-in-the-snow-166330
Your gardens have so much potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how they come along. They’re going to be beautiful!
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I am totally on board with the perennials. I can’t justify spending money every year on plants that will die just a few months later.