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Saturday, January 7, 2017


I have tried perennial beds of flowers in small groups, perennial beds of flowers in larger groups, and annuals grown from seeds under lights.  I'm trying something new.

I have 6 flower beds.  The oldest one had perennials that have mostly died out.  The 2nd was for annuals.  The 3rd was perennials that have never grown well.  The 4th, 5th, and 6th are newly edged areas where there used to be a ridge.

The soil in the last 3 is dismal.  Rocky, gravelly, clay, 1/2 sunny.  One got Spring bulbs and daylilies and annuals throughout this first year for them.  One got scatterred seeds of wildflowers and nothing much bloomed.  One was left unplanted because I intended to transplant an invasive purple lychimastia there and never got around to it.

That's one reason I bought a trailerload of compost 2 days ago.  The worms will bring the compost down into the soil, and nutrients will leach down from above.  I am spreading compost around o the new and old beds whenever it isn't too cold out.

So I ordered a packet 500 sq ft of perennial and annual wildflower seedss for the large bed that do well in poor soil.  I have some existing plants the same as in that mix to transplant.  The compost will help.

The second smallest bed gets no help.  If the Lychimatia doesn't survive transplanting there, good riddance and I will try something else (I already thought I had killed them once).  I'm giving them a last chance where I can mow around to control invasive spreading.

The 3rd bed is the Spring bulb and daylilly bed.  It is about 400 sq ft and I will cover that in 2" of compost and then 2" of shredded woodchips leftover from a tree I had removed.  THe bulbs will appreciate the nutrients from the compost as it leaches down to the roots over Winter, and the woodchips will supress weeds and won't bother the Spring bulbs.

That leaves the older 3 beds.

There isn't much left of the oldest 75'x8' perennial bed I planted and added to over the past 20 years.  It needs a whole new start.  I'm going for a cottage garden!  That is one that has a LOT of various self-sowing annuals and some long-lived perennials.  From organized patches of matching flowers, I am going to randomness.  Sometimes you just need to change things.

The 2nd oldest flower bed is becoming a tomato bed next year.  Tomato soil diseases accumulate and fresh soil is good every few years.  I dumped 16 buckets of compost there 2 days ago.  Over Winter, worms and rain will leach and move the compost into the existing soil.

The 3rd oldest flower bed needs the most care.  The original perennials never grew well and grass took over several years ago.  I'm covering it with 2" of compost and a layer of that brown paper that is used to pack stuff from Amazon.  I plan to make that an astilbe bed.  There are a few astilbe flowers there and the like the conditions.  I found a reputable seller that offerred bright red astilbes in bulk at a good price.  Something like 45 seedlings to full the 60 sq ft space (18" spacing).  I love Astilbes!

Come Spring, I'll cut X's in the paper cover to plant the Astilbes.  The paper should decompose in Summer.

Lastly, I took advantage of the 55 degree weather to pull up all my soaker hose.  They were slowly getting buried by pant debris.  They broke in pieces.  Well, it was cheap stuff.  Next year, I will buy better.  Drip irrigation really DOES water the yard better.  I just need to get better quality drip hoses.

Always looking forward to Spring for new and better flowers and supports.


Megan said...

All sounds very promising Mark.

Sydney, Australia

Mariodacat said...

Your yard iis going to be a "thing of beauty" when all done. i love cottage gardens and took a wild stab at it when we lived in our house.