Personal Gardening (Part 3)
So my last personal gardening post was from May 13th. Time kind of slipped away from me while I was working on some big projects for our backyard! Where I left off, I had planted two "The Generous Gardener" bare root roses in front of the newly repaired and painted pergola. I thought that was going to be more or less all I did for this year. After all, that was quite a large project itself! The prolonged "stay at home" order by Governor Wolf meant more time at home than I was originally expecting due to COVID - so of course, more time for projects in the yard!
After getting the new garden beds here done, my wife asked me to plant her an herb garden and she wanted it to be "somewhere convenient."
I decided I wanted to put the herb garden in front of the windows to our laundry room. At one point before we moved in, it was a garden bed. But it was neglected for years. I didn't really do too much to it except plant some salvia and phlox toward the right side. (There was SO much slate everywhere else in the existing part of the garden bed that I couldn't dig down anywhere).
I can't believe it, but I actually found a "before" picture of this section. I had planted the salvia and the phlox to the right in front of the wall and added a fresh layer of mulch last year just to do SOMETHING. But I thought it was so dumb to have this small strip of grass between the bed and the sidewalk, so I knew I wanted to do more with this area.
I wound up digging up the grass, I put a weed barrier down (I left the salvia and phlox in place because they seemed to be doing well where they were). I knew I didn't want to dig in this mess with all of the rock and all of the soil amendments that would most likely be needed. I've always liked the look of terra-cotta pots - nice and simple, bright orange/red, and fairly inexpensive. I decided to get several in various sizes to put herbs in and to put flowers in some to add additional color.
Around and in front of the stairs to the basement was grass too! I thought it was so dumb (it's as narrow as 4" at spots). I decided I wanted to make this mulch too so it all looks consistent and then a mower or weed whacker wouldn't be needed on this side of the sidewalk.
I didn't think the pots looked right sitting on top of the mulch, so I wound up slightly burying each one and liked the look much better. I added a couple rocks here and there between the pots, then mulched the whole bed.
I really like how it turned out. I am (once I find a good source) going to line the edge of the bed (along the sidewalk) with stones. If you notice, there's slate right in front of the steps. When I was planning on running stone the whole length of the garden bed, I thought, "Well what about the steps? You'd have to step OVER stones to go down the steps." So the slate was my solution to not having a "tripping hazard" once I do add the stone border. The stone will run from the edge of the bed to the slate, and then from the other side of the slate to the other edge of the bed.
At this point, my wife was saying, "Haven't you done enough this year?" (Translation, "Haven't you spent enough money on the yard this year?") My response, "Well we just cleaned up this garden bed and made it look nice, we made the pergola look nice and added those new beds in front of it, now this corner (the last existing garden bed in the backyard that was there when we moved in) looks even worse. I need to do this section this year too." "Okay."
Seriously, this is what it looked like. The "Before" picture for this next area.
We were here for last spring/summer and these hibiscus bushes did look very pretty in bloom. The bush on the left routinely has birds nesting. And apart from that, I decided that I didn't want to change EVERYTHING in the yard, so I figured I would leave these in place. But the weeds and ivy had to go.
This section is between the fence, the house, the pergola, and the sidewalk to the back hallway door. It gets a lot of shade. This is (again like the laundry room window garden bed was) a small garden bed with a small section of "grass." However, because of the shade, it was never really grass - mostly dirt and moss with a couple patches of weeds and a little bit of grass here and there. Not just that, but there's a gate to our side yard here and anytime it rains, you have to walk through mud to use the gate.
Because of all of those reasons, I decided to make this section one big bed with slate stepping stones going from the sidewalk out the gate (and to extend the garden bed outside of the gate to be in line with the existing one already out there).
Here, I have the path laid and mulched and I'm starting to work at weeding around the hibiscus bushes. It was raining the entire day I wanted to work on this section. My wife said, "It looks like you won't be able to garden today." So of course, I took that as a challenge and set up this tent. Rain free gardening all day!
Done weeding and mulching, but I felt like it needed something else.
Definition between the garden bed and the stepping stone path; that helped but it still needed a little something else.
So I added this adorable guy that I found at 4 Seasons Garden Center in Breinigsville. I knew the hibiscus bushes would get quite large and full as the season progressed, so I didn't want to add any additional plants.
The pathway continued out the gate (ending at the edge of what was the existing garden bed on that side of the house) - I just continued it from where it was to the edge of the garage.
I cleaned up the existing garden bed on the outside of the fence (it originally stopped about 2' before the gate; I extended it past the gate to the edge of the garage wall). I added this bird bath (also from 4 Seasons). I didn't add any additional plants because this corner has an existing hibiscus bush that gets quite large with a spirea that grows in it. It fills up the space quite nicely once in season.
What's that mulch bed to the left of the sidewalk heading to the other gate? The start of "Personal Gardening (Part 4)!"