Off the side of our house is a garden bed that has been overgrown since we moved in two years ago. It is the bane of my existence.
The grass has crept in, the soil is poor, and it’s so close to the road that I don’t care to work in it — I don’t particularly like feeling watched by the neighbors or any cars driving by. The most we’ve done to the bed is to remove an overgrown and unsightly Japanese maple shrub and sporadically plant a few perennials — primroses, a couple peonies, a grape hyacinth, columbine, and tansy. Way back when we moved in, I had visions of turning it into a cottage garden. (Truth be told, I still do.) I weeded the whole thing once, but then it rained the weeds came right back.
The other thing that’s kept me from doing much to this garden is this cinderblock planter/raised bed it’s flanked by — it’s built against the side of our house, and we need to replace the skirting behind it soon. I’m apprehensive about planting anything that might get trampled in the process, you know? (I do know that those shrubs have got to go, though.)
But it’s gotten so weedy and out of control that I can’t take it anymore, and I’m going to make it my next project, now that our front yard reno is just about finished. Ideally, I’d lay down a thick layer of cardboard + mulch to kill the weeds and keep them from coming back, but I’m all out of cardboard just about out of wood chips! Who would have thought I’d use them up so fast?
I’d wait until the fall to do it, but I have some perennials I winter sowed that I’d like to plant there — hollyhocks, foxglove, bee balm, and such. So, I guess I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way: by hand and hoe.
Fortunately, the forecast is predicting rain, rain, and even more rain, so the soil should be easy to work this week. And while I’m a tad disappointed to take a break from planting out tomatoes and dahlias (yes, still working on that momentous task…), it’s been nice to have a respite from the daily watering.
But, you know me — I can’t stay still for a minute, so I’ve already made a small start on this project. This side of the bed, closest to our back door, is now mostly cleared of some sort of creeping vine that the previous owners planted here. I even discovered a concrete splash block under the mess! You can see more of the vine inside cinderblock raised bed and off to the right of the picture, where it has surrounded a large concrete pot.
After clearing the soil, I planted a bleeding heart, an orchid primrose (I thought next to the gutter downspout was a good spot, since we get so much rain and this plant grows in boggy areas), poppies, hollyhocks, and a few nasturtiums (not pictured). The peony I planted in this spot last year. Eventually this bed will get a new border of either large rocks or pavers, but for now the priority is clearing the weeds.
Wish me luck — I’m going to need it!