Friday, March 26, 2010

longer days, more gardening adventures part 2

With eastern exposure, the planting bed across the driveway gets almost as much sun as the bed on the west side of the house. This planting bed sits between my neighbor’s fence and my asphalt drive and is only about 2’ wide. When I first moved in, it was nothing but Bermuda grass and I soon found out why. The soil is full of rocks. Every time I plant something new, I feel like I’m gardening in a rock quarry. On the bright side, the soil drains very easily.

Nevertheless I’ve removed most of the Bermuda (worst gardening chore ever) and amended the soil with soil conditioner. On the left is my recently transplanted butterfly bush, which I cut back to about 18” in height. The other 5 shrubs you see are Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus), a plant very near to my heart, which hasn’t quite leafed out yet. Between the Rose of Sharon groupings are several Hollyhocks (from the Hollyhock House!) that have over-wintered.

Beneath the shrubs are several sedum varieties as well as mint (Mentha). This aromatic herb (non-native) spreads quickly by way of underground rhizomes and I like to caution people that it should be planted in a contained/ well-maintained area. In the right corner of the bed are coral-blooming Canna Lilies. But after this past winter, I’m not holding my breath to see if the Cannas will make an appearance this summer (they can be borderline in zone 6b).

On the right edge of the photo, you can see the outstretched branches of a Mulberry tree (Morus), which has little to no landscape value. However, because this volunteer (which is actually rooted on my neighbor’s property) started growing in a fan-shape on my side of the fence, I’ve elected to train it as a ‘living fence’; to create a vertical screen between the two properties. Nothing against my neighbor, but I don’t prefer to see into her living room from mine.

The main goal of this bed is to increase my gardening space as well as improve the aesthetics of the space. Also, I’m not sure how much longer my neighbor’s fence will hold up, so I wanted to get some plants going ASAP. On one hand, it may have been more prudent to plant a row of Arborvitae or another evergreen, vertical screen. However, all of these plants were free to me, and will provide much more seasonal interest than a green wall.

And like the last blog post, this photo is not much to look at right now; but hopefully by this summer, there will be tons of beautiful blooms!

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