Garden Bed Makeover - Page 1

Taking a look and getting started with the work.

 garden needed serious work

It was fall of 2014 and the garden needed serious work. The bed to the left of the front porch was a disaster of overgrowth and needed a good makeover. As you look at it you can more or less see a couple of wegelia, one of which is still trying to blossom well out of time. Beds are often defined by their perennials, if any, and shrubs are the quintessential perennials, lending structure at tall seasons and often blooms at one season or another. There were some ornamental grasses gone crazy, some other perennials that had been overcrowded and others that thought they were kings of the land. Serious moving and cropping had to be done.

similar work along the side beds that meet the corner bed

I had already done some similar work along the side beds that meet the corner bed because I divided some peonies for my daughter at her house and brought some home. They needed a bed and I decided to put them under the den windows. The left-most peony will eventually cover the cable that comes in under the eave and around to the house entry. In the spring I had outlined the beds with a line of brick that connects the patio to the front entrance. At the left of the picture you can see a daylily that can be divided but did very well this year. Most of the perennials will be dug up and either moved or returned with the soil enriched. If necessary they will find themselves in the compost pile.

 an idea of what I plan for the corner bed

As you look at the side bed, you can get an idea of what I plan for the corner bed. This was a complete overgrown disaster by the end of the summer. First I decided what would stay and then got ready for surprises. The procedure was simple and direct: keep what I liked, add any stuff that was wanted, and discard the rest.

 the Siberian iris on the left of the bed

One of the things that got me started was the Siberian iris on the left of the bed. It had been overgrown with grass and was being crowded to the point where flowers were few and far between. I dug it up, cleaned out the grasses, and replanted it in three clumps. Notice the red stick at the back of the bed behind the iris. This is the stem of a peony I transplanted from divisions at my daughter's. Leaving the stem gives me notice that something I want is planted there.

 we call this perennial William and Mary

The plants on the left are perennials my wife has always called William and Mary , although they do not look like any "William and Mary" that a web search shows up for me. One of these days I will set up a garden blog and see who knows what this is called. In the meantime, William and Mary will do. It is one of the first things to bloom in the spring and has a beautiful variegated leaf. It seems to easily spread with seed as well as division. The deer seem to like it just as soon as it blooms but it comes back and blooms again for us. Plants are tough. To its right is a dahlia that seemed to plant itself this year, so I left it although it shows no sign of blooming.

another type of iris

In the right corner is another type of iris that my wife picked up in the spring from a local grower at the Truro Farmers Market. This is one of the great places that have fantastic local food, and plants that give dreams, ideas and inspiration. I highly recommend going to places like this to support local workers and to gather ideas.

To the right of the iris is a clump of perennial violet. I left it there even though it is considered a weed by many people. It is certainly an aggressive ground cover and I did not plant it but it flowers in the spring, it is tough as all get out, and my wife likes it. If it gets in my way when gardening I haul out a handful and compost it. It works for me but be warned it is aggressive and wants to take over the world.