Perennial Flower Bed Gardening (Before) -

Perennial Flower Bed Gardening (Before)

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May 15, 2008

I’ve been writing 4-10 organic articles a month since last October. A small company in Bozeman, Planet Natural, with a big website presence is trying to boost their website visits. One way to do that is to increase the original content on the site thereby ranking higher with search engines. SEO–Search Engine Optimization–is what it is all about.

Since I spend so much time researching and writing about garden planning, soil preparation, attracting beneficial insects and growing organically you’d assume I’d be an organized gardener. But you know what they say abut assuming…

We have a huge, two-tiered bed in the front of our house. I keep adding plant after plant and it never fills up. So, I added what I like to call “the river of rock”. Even after hauling all those rocks from the Yellowstone, it still looks empty. The big bummer about this bed is that as soon as the ash trees on our parkway (or hellstrip as some call it) leaf out, the bed and everything in it will be in shade. My favorite plants grow in the sun.

I think this year might be the year it starts to look decent. The plants that have survived the shade and clayey soil (sandy at the other end) are starting to fill out. I still want to add some more bleeding hearts, hollyhocks and a few other flowers, but the blooms we have are making me happy. These are the “before” pictures. In a couple months I’ll post the “after” shots.

East end of the front bed

The east end of the front bed. For some reason, the tulips in the upper tier are taking a lot longer to bloom than everyone else’s tulips… The currant bush sure came back nicely, though.
west end of the front bed

The west end of the front bed doesn’t look like much, but remember it was snowing last week. By the time summer comes around there will be tall delphiniums, lush ground cover and abundant columbines. I hope.
Anders' geraniums

Anders waits for the geraniums to bloom.

On the side of the house, along the ally, is the one bed that gets full sun. It also is quite exposed and gets buffeted with wind all winter long. And the soil is pretty bad. Last fall my friend Woody brought a bunch of perennials he had divided and we filled the bed up. Many of them survived the winter and I planted some more today. (Henry gave me a gift certificate to the local nursery for Mother’s Day, so I got to go on a little shopping spree.)

Alley bed

This bed is in it’s first year, but if I can keep it watered and somehow get the mulch to stop blowing away, it is going to look great.
Aspen leaves

Our little aspen starts to leaf out.

There is still a lot to be done. I need to add some organic compost around the plants and re-mulch–a lot of the bark shavings I put down in the fall blew away. We need to clean up all the leaves that keep blowing into the driveway and steps, re-stain the fence, get the veggie garden planted and the walkway finished. So much to do, but I can’t help feeling like we’ve gotten a lot done already.

Pick up leaves

Now that I’m in my third trimester I can’t be expected to do too much hard labor, so I hired out the leaf clean up.
Walking the leaves

After the day laborer picks up the leaves he carries them over to the wheel barrow…

…then he dumps them in…

…and gives himself a round of applause for a job well done.

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