Oct 4, 2017

Gardens and The Big Yard Project

My big plan for fall was to execute the whole garden bed redo plan - make the border garden beds prettier and more visually interesting (layering plants by height instead of haphazard segments of like next to like in a row) and also moving plants that need different conditions. I wrote up the entire plan here in more detail.

The garden project took a couple of days - it was a lot of work. I knew this going in so I knew I needed to make sure that we did it strategically to prevent plants dying from shock and being left out too long. Anything that was dug up had to have somewhere to go next. We reviewed the layout plan and came up with an ordered transplant list. It wasn’t as hard as I thought thanks to new beds being opened up and lots of blank spaces.

Grass was dug up. New beds were created . Plants were moved all over the place. The asparagus was a beast to transplant and took both of us. Some plants like astilbe, hosts, anemones, etc. were split up to spread out. I also planted the new black eyed susans and echinacea that were the reward for all the hard work. And it WAS a lot of work. Here’s the diagram of where everything is now, labeled:

A couple of things are different in this layout. Behind the driveway gate in the backyard along the fence, I ended up transplanting a peony and astilbe here because there was no mint left in the raspberry bramble to transplant! It was all gone. On the right side on the backyard next to the patio I also rearranged a few things because it looked better in person.

I also found a lot of bulbs from tulips, daffodils, and gladiolas that were carefully moved and rearranged to fit the new layout as well as adding in a few more tulip bulbs this year in clusters to maximize their visual impact (they were on sale and I figured planting them when the beds were dug up was the best time anyway).

And all that beautiful mulching I did in the spring? You would never know I spent all that time on it now. It’s a mess again… but that’s the way it goes! I know I could mulch again before winter but honestly I think it’s going to have to wait until spring. I did have enough spare mulch to make sure everything is protected, it’s just ugly now. And the plants of course look terrible too since transplanting is really hard on everything. Lots of smushed leaves, dead branches I had to trim off (after I took the pictures so I could share what is where). Honestly if this had been my first time transplanting perennials I would have thought a lot of things were dead.

The asparagus is very happy in its new location next to the blackberry bush. It can grow tall here and look lovely.

This is where the asparagus used to be. The 2 new echinachea will be the right size/height for this spot. You can see how much damage the asparagus did to the quince behind it - there are no leaves left! I have to give it a big trim this winter to bring it back to health. We won't have a lot of blooms next year but I have to do damage control. The sweet autumn sedum on the right was damaged by us during the asparagus uprooting (it was a monster).

Along the fence starts with the rosebush and moves back...

 The irises broke up into many more than I had originally imagined, so I was able to not only have some here in their designated spot, but also in a couple other places along the fence. I paired them with gladiola bulbs because the spiky leaves blend well together and are a welcome addition to vary the overall interest and texture in the garden.

The shade garden looks TERRIBLE right now (even worse than the other areas), but next spring it should really take off. From past experience all the shade loving plants in here are easy transplants and will come back in full force.

I made a little strawberry bed along the garage and edged it with spare wood to help protect it from the kids. I might run it all the way back along the garage later, but for now this is a good experiment to see if the strawberries like it over here.

I am SO glad it's done. Now we’re in the watering phase. Mike’s watering the lawn and I’m watering the garden beds daily (or even twice a day when I can swing it). This is the part where everything depends on watering the plants thoroughly and deeply so the root systems recover and get strong for the winter ahead.

It will take a couple of years for the split plants to fill back in and for the transplanted things to hopefully flourish in their new locations. Next year I’ll fill bare spots back in with dahlias bulbs again, but hopefully by the following summer I’ll have a good idea of how things will look (and the answer is hopefully much better!) and can update our plans accordingly. I can’t wait until next spring to watch this all come alive. Like the mailbox garden a couple of years ago, I really can’t enjoy the fruits of our labor for months.

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