Jun 5, 2018

Mulching and The Start of Seeing the Gardens Fill in

The weather has been really wet lately, I swear the month of May had more rain than sun. It makes it really hard to finish the patio and porch projects when staining/painting is involved. I swear this week we've had rain every night.

Between storms I've been able to mulch and weed however. So the giant mulch pile in the driveway has dwindled down significantly and the beds are looking good. The black mulch really makes all the plants and flowers pop.

One thing I'm taking note of during all this mulching are the gaps in my plantings from the big project last fall. Most things came back, some very strongly like the hostas, day lilies and astilbe- you'd never think those had been split... and the rhubarb came up in the new spot and the old spot!) Some plants will need a couple of years to catch up - like the anenomes, hydrangea, sedums and echinachea will expand to full size in time. The new stuff needs time to take root before spreading out - last year we added black eye susans and more echinachea.

However, some things didn't fair so well and didn't come back. While the white-purple irises all survived, only two dark purple did and none of the pink (darn!). It's a much thinner showing than I expected, though the gladiolas are sprouting and they will help fill things in for the summer. And hopefully next spring the irises will fill out a bit more (I just wish with more colors ... maybe I'll have to add in more variation in the fall?). My primrose came back but it was tiny, sickly and not blooming. Two out of three lavender plants are toast from the winter weather. The original butterfly weed I planted last fall didn't come back, but I added two more from seed this year (started indoors) as well as two apricot blanket flowers from seed to help fill things in where the lavender was. If those take it will help fill in a couple of the gaps. I also have planted my dahlia bulbs and some annual seeds as a temporary filler in some of the other gaps I'm not sure what to do with yet long term... will the plants fill in?  There's a much bigger gap than I expected between the irises and the delphinium, then between the delphinium and the hydrangea. Will the hydrangea fill out the gap? Will the gladiolas?

I know these things take time and I need to see how things go this summer and take the mature size of the plant into account before I do much more. But its still fun to think about... more short echinacea plants in the front row? More black eyed susans by the fence? What about next to the tree? Could I squeeze in something new?

Already in my plans for this fall's plant list are more tulips - they were a riot of color in the early spring and I know that more bulbs will be spectacular. And I want to try more ranunculus bulbs too...I only had ONE ranunculus bloom, but something ate the flower buds off the other ones that sprouted, so I'm wondering if it's worth adding a few more next year and trying again. It might have been the chewy puppy, or it might have been a critter that is not yet afraid of the puppy... either way next year having a big hound dog next spring should take care of that.

And the garden paths have been weeded too! It's such a pain, but I'm glad it's done. I do it with a child's sand rake, hunched over by hand. It's very effective though and uproots everything that's made its home in the pebbles. We still need to trim back around the fence (grass and weeds with the weed whacker), but it's big progress. The garden is looking good as the plants take off (full June garden update coming in a couple weeks).

The forecast is for rain on and off still this week, but hopefully soon enough we'll get a stretch of sunshine that coincides with some time to do some staining and painting.

Lastly, my new honeysuckle on the obelisk is blooming! It smells AMAZING.

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