Thursday, April 4, 2013

A bed in the front yard


Spring is emerging cautiously here. It's a relief to see spring being cautious for a change. Often it's as heedless as an irresponsible teenager and gets burned as a result.

I am still cleaning up, and while be for a couple more weeks, so here's one of three more archived posts.

From May, 2010. The bed at the corner of the yard started off with leftover compost. We're still working on improving the lawn. If you were grass growing on machinery-tamped dirt with a pH of 4 you wouldn't be happy either.


Like this spring the pace of progress in this front bed has been cautious and slow. The somewhat straggly rose bush to the right is 'Blush Noisette', recently moved from the east side of the house.


I've added a few things for spring interest, like Marsh phlox, spiderwort 'Zwanenburg Blue', rugosas, and foxglove.



April 2012


The bed has become a repository for daylilies that don't fit in east of the house, such as 'Red Volunteer'.

June 2012


I've always wanted a Vitex tree and thought its blue-violet flowers would look well against the house. There are also a lot of Bidens in this young bed because they are a great filler and have seeded themselves around. One day Bidens will be around my gardens, rather than in them, but for now I will take what I can get. Many birds love to forage in and around this bed and fly to it for cover: throngs of overwintering White-Throated and Song Sparrows, our resident Chipping and Field Sparrows, Cardinals, Goldfinches and Carolina Wrens.





Btw, the horse blanket is handing on the railing to dry after
I washed it, not because it had been on a horse's back recently.


Prince has progressed to walking and doing a little bit of trot work under saddle. What he'd really like to do is buck and run madly, but he's not ready for that yet.


23 comments:

  1. Really wonderful pictures, we are longing for spring here in Sweden, the sun is shining but its still cold.
    /Malena

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  2. I see you also have a bit of a problem lawn with the Bermudagrass. I also have a problem with the grass, my border collie use it as a race track. Your borders look lovely. Until now we have over here in Western Europe very cold weather with temperatures around zero, very extreme for April. Yes, muddy horse blankets overhere too, my next door horses need them still with the cold wind and at the moment they hang over the railing, is not it funny.

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  3. Yes, spring made a big mistake here. it wanted rain but not 3" all at one time with strong winds and hail. I couldn't bring myself to go out in the garden to look at the damage. Everything was in full bloom. But on to nicer things. The bed you created looks better and better every year and I am drooling over the foxgloves. How I adore those plants. I guess they like a pH of 4 and not 8. I planted two this year but they have done nothing as yet. You certainly have a lovely property.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! The pH in the amended beds is closer to 6. We have acidic soil here anyway, around 5, but the dirt we have to have trucked in for the yard is ridiculously acidic!

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  4. Hi sweetbay....this bed is really getting full and I think it's really pretty! Our property was once a farm, and although we've tried, I doubt we will ever have nice lawn....the area is just too big. I had Bidens come up on their own. At first I thought "Oh how wonderful...they are so pretty!!" But then they started taking over, so I had to pull them out.

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  5. The vitex tree is beautiful. What a gorgeous shape and light frothy look. Now I want one of those!

    I can't imagine mowing with a reel mower. You must be the fittest person in NC : )

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  6. I love vitex. I ruined one a few years ago by cutting it back severely. Even though everyone recommends this, I will never do that again. It never recovered and looks awful now. And have you ever tried to dig one up? They aren't going anywhere!

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    1. Nope, and it doesn't sound like I should ever try. lol Thanks for the heads up!

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  7. A pH of 4? Ouch! That bed looks amazing so whatever you did, it worked! I'm always digging up daylilies and stuffing them in somewhere new. Such easygoing plants. :o)

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    1. I know, I was surprised when I had the soil tested! It was hauled in as fill so is different from the native soil here, which still has a low pH, around 5.

      The beds are heavily amended and have a more generally garden friendly pH of around 6.

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  8. I feel your pain with the lawn. We have Bermuda also and it is a love/hate relationship. We need some lawn for the dogs and kids to play. We have reel mower too. Not that I've used it but my husband seems to get a good workout with it. Your beds look very lush and happy. I have debated about getting a Vitex. Do you find lots of butterflies on it?

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    Replies
    1. Both butterflies and bees love Vitex!

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  9. Hi, love spiderwort in my garden too. Although it closes its flowers when it's on full sun, but at afternoon slowly open.
    Our spring is late as in all Europe, snow smelts day by day.
    My seedlings want to go to the greenhouse, but is too cold for them.
    I'm glad Prince is better, has some progress.
    Have a nice weekend!

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  10. I think that spring is so late this year that we will probably just go directly to summer! I have always admired vitex. Yours is lovely!

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  11. Poor Prince has been a long time recovering. Not being able to buck and run must've been hard for him.
    I like your Vitex tree. Very pretty purple plumes!

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  12. That soil is very acid.

    I'm sure it's better that spring builds gently rather than wham. One day at a time with Prince.

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  13. I use a reel mower too, but not on bermuda grass which is considered a pest here and is impossible to get rid of. Your roses and foxgloves are lovely, as always.

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    1. A lot of people consider it to be a pest here too, but I'm just east and south enough to be where the soil is sandy (it's sandy from here to the coast) and bermuda grass is just much easier than other other grasses. I hate it when it invades my flower beds, but it's an excellent summer pasture for horses.

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  14. ooh, I see why you wanted the vitex tree ~ love, love, lovely.
    Also you hit the nail on the head with your description of spring. Tho it's not acting reckless here this year, it's barely made an appearance. A couple warm days here & there then back to winter.
    btw, I use a reel mower too! I love it, I never have to worry about disturbing the neighbors & I dig that it's another way to go "green." My yard is small tho so my hat's off to you because your grass area is a lot larger.

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  15. I love your analogy of a heedless spring to a teenager Sweetbay. I like cautious springs the best. Speaking of which we had temps rise into the 70's yesterday! The snow is just about gone here on our hillside. I saw my first white throated sparrow two days ago . . . I so enjoy their song. How fun to have so many hiding out in your garden. Best healing to beautiful Prince.

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  16. I'm glad to hear that Prince is doing better. Your garden is so lush and green, Sweetbay--all your hard work has paid off with such a beautiful scene. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one having trouble getting the garden clean-up done. Last week I finally raked off a thick layer of oak leaves in one bed and discovered some sickly looking hyacinths. Now that they can finally breathe, they are blooming their heads off:)

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  17. It amazes me every time I look at the size of your beautiful garden. I can barely keep up with mine, I don't know how on earth you do it.

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  18. I think of you each time I walk around my side yard, I FINALLY have some rugosas blooming!!! I have missed them. I would like to add a vitex somewhere in my yard... my sunlight is fleeting in many spots of the yard and where there is sun, I don't have water and the soil is so hard. Your gardens are so lush and beautiful.

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