I’ve never worked harder in my garden than I have these past two weeks. I’m outside every free moment I get; heat and humidity and endless downpours be damned.
It’s exhausting but I love it.
Ideally I would’ve kept up with things on a semi-regular basis but you know; family, kids, vacations and life tend to get in the way.
I’m nowhere near done but thought I’d share some of the results with you today as a means for you to help me keep going. The majority of the work so far has been weed pulling and I guess I should be thankful for all the rain; it makes weed removal that much easier when the soil isn’t bone dry.
So here are some pics for your viewing pleasure. Some of the photo quality isn’t where I like it, but I couldn’t wait for the right lighting to take many of these. That’s not the purpose any way.
I’d like to think I’ll be able to take some killer photos as we head into September when this garden is popping with awesomeness and early fall color.
At least I can dream. It keeps me going.
Not only have I meticulously cleaned out the bed that runs along the front of my home, I’ve also done the same with the walkway. Every freakin weed was pulled by hand and I vow to now control them through a natural weed spray I’ve concocted.
A big part of the front bed clean-up was cleaning up the six Catmint (Nepeta) plants. I trimmed them all back aggressively and they’ve all bounced back within no time.
Here is an example of one pre-haircut.
It’s embarrassing to admit it and I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve always been bad with maintaining a deer prevention strategy. Call it lazy or call it giving up too easily, there’s still no excuse for the lack of effort.
Well no more. I’m regularly spraying and experimenting with different options. This has allowed for blooms on the Sedum ‘Matrona’ for the first time in years.
And the Hydrangea ‘Lady in Red’ has been allowed to round into form without nibbles up and down the front of the shrub.
Now I remember why I planted it in the first place. That leaf color is fantastic.
One negative discovered here. While the deer had been pruning this Redtwig Dogwood back regularly all spring.
It has also been hit by the dreaded Dogwood Sawfly Larvae. They’ve nibbled the leaves quite a bit and my only means of addressing it so far has been to allow the pounding rain to wash them off the shrub. Ugh.
Don’t laugh, but while this section of the front garden takes care of itself these days since there is little room for weed growth, the addition of the black wrought iron post thingy really adds to its overall appeal. Right? Please tell me I’m right.
One other thing with this section of garden while I’m at it. It’s loaded with Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ that quickly bloomed like mad but then wore down quickly. I cut them all down to the ground and within a week or so, they are all on their way back.
While I love the large river stones under the basketball hoop here, I think I’m enjoying the lack of weed worry here more than anything else.
This looks like a simple patch of Sweet Flag but you have no idea what it took to clean these up. They weren’t visible from all the weeds that had inundated their surroundings. I wish I had taken the before pic.
I shared with you on a prior post how I had moved these white coneflowers to this spot. I still like it. They were meant to be here.
The Joe Pye Weed in this section are smaller than in season’s past because you guessed it: f’n deer. They’ve stayed away for the time being (don’t get lazy John, don’t get lazy John) and they’ll look even better as the Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ come to life behind them.
You wouldn’t know it, but the JPW and ML were surrounded by the weed that has become the bane of my existence these days: Japanese Stilt Grass. I pulled it by hand for a good two hours in this area alone.
But more on that weed in a future post. I need to dive into this one in detail.
Moving to the backyard.
Hours of weed clearance and relocating of plants that didn’t work here and we ended up with a good amount of open earth. Me no like open earth.
If you look closely enough, you can see that I divided a bunch of Bee Balm and added the new divisions here. They should fill in rather quickly with a sweet pop of color and critter activity. Best part of all: the new plants cost nothing.
I freed up a lot of available plant real estate along the front of this section as well and I’m still in the process of determining what to add here.
Side note: I dug out a section of the lawn to fit in large pavers for a fire pit (Photos to come once completed). All of the large stones in the photo above were found during that dig. That sums up our soil perfectly. It’s why it doesn’t drain well.
I’m really annoyed that I again, didn’t take a before photo with the section of garden below because it was fugly. Look back on my original garden tour video here to see just how bad it had become.
Again, the main culprit here was the Japanese Stilt Grass. As was the out of control Hardy Ageratum (which many of you warned me about).
A good four hours was spent here just to be able to again reveal the Lady’s Mantle and other assorted perennials and shrubs. Now we fill in all of the gaps.
A true before shot below. Also taken over by the JSG, as I now like to call it.
Hours of pulling and yanking (which is relatively easy with JSG by the way) and we end up with this.
Even more of a blank canvas to work with which is exciting and overwhelming.
Because I have enough newly designated blank slates to contend with still. Like this one that I’ve only now begun to fill.
More to come.