building a new garden bed

David and I have gotten pretty efficient about building new gardens. The other day he said “shouldn’t you extend that garden bed so that it fills in this gap between these two beds? The spot was under the row of small pine trees. He hauled up some “Thelma rocks” for me to use in wall-building. (Thelma was a good friend who made hundreds of small concrete paving stones with a set of molds to make a labyrinth. When the weeds made it unfeasible she gave away all the pavers and I hauled them home to use in wall-building.) This is the “before” picture, and a series showing the bed coming into existence:

the pile of Thelma rocks and the "overflow garden" where I throw extra plants.

the pile of Thelma rocks and the weedy “overflow garden” where I throw extra plants.

first I put down newspaper and then rocks, then put hay over the outside on the paper. It will discourage the grass, for a little while!

first I put down newspaper and then rocks, then put hay over the outside on the paper. It will discourage the grass, for a little while!

003 building wall laying paper and mulch

When the rock wall was mostly done and the mulch set, we called it quits for the day. This all took about two hours.

When the rock wall was mostly done and the mulch set, we called it quits for the day. This all took about two hours.

another picture of the mostly finished wall. We left the top part off so we could get the wheelbarrow in to fill the bed.

another picture of the mostly finished wall. We left the top part off so we could get the wheelbarrow in to fill the bed.

relaxing after hard work

relaxing after hard work

Mr Fluff scoots over as soon as he sees an available lap, even a less-than-level one!

Mr Fluff scoots over as soon as he sees an available lap, even a less-than-level one! You would think he had been doing all that work!

The next morning (that is, this morning) I forked the entire compost bin of mostly composted stuff into the new bed, right on the grass. It was three loads altogether.

The next morning (that is, this morning) I forked the entire compost bin of mostly composted stuff into the new bed, right on the grass. It was three loads altogether.

In this picture you can see the newly-laid compost and also the "overflow garden" in the back, under the pine trees.

In this picture you can see the newly-laid compost and also the “overflow garden” in the back, under the pine trees.

Next, David hauled six heaping wheelbarrow loads of old horse manure from the barnyard, and filled up the bed the rest of the way. It's year-old manure, so it doesn't smell like manure but I'd say it is not completely composted yet, so I do not plan to plant anything here until next year.

Next, David hauled six heaping wheelbarrow loads of old horse manure from the barnyard, and filled up the bed the rest of the way. It’s year-old manure, so it doesn’t smell like manure but I’d say it is not completely composted yet, so I do not plan to plant anything here until next year.

Thank you, Casey and Fly!

Thank you, Casey and Fly!

Here is the garden with the manure in place. On our way home today we are stopping for a load of wood shavings from the SLU stables, to put on top of this.

Here is the garden with the manure in place. On our way home today we are stopping for a load of wood shavings from the SLU stables, to put on top of this.

After putting a heavy layer of old wood shavings, this garden can sit for the rest of this year. Next Spring it will be ready for planting.

 

after the rain

Finally, we got some real rain. I managed to put in a bunch of annuals (thank you, Farr’s nursery in Russell!) into a section of the new bed near the tree swallow nest just before the rain. Here it is this morning:new bedNothing perennial there yet–I put an edge to it with a little rock wall, added some new compost, made a few access paths, and put in some “decoration:. All of this work was done under the watchful eye of a baby tree swallow who stuck its adorable head out the birdhouse hole to watch me. This morning we walked around the garden and I took some pictures of what’s happening. back yard panorama June 6This picture shows the mulching we did on the back yard paths, thanks to the mountains of shavings at the SLU stables. In the meditation garden the orange honeysuckle and the white clematis are blooming and climbing:climbing honeysuckleclematis bloomingIn the front yard, plants are packed in with not much room for weeds, which is good. Any open available space is colonized by adenophora, which I’ve given up trying to control.june front yard montageAt the bottom of the front yard violas and ground ivy and columbine make a good ground cover.study in bluesMushrooms are popping up everywhere–we inadvertently knocked over this little meadow mushroom as we walked around the garden this morning:meadow mushroomDavid went to Lowe’s and bought two more metal chairs–one of them is now in the hosta bed down by the potting shed, one of my favorite sitting spots. new chair among hostasI really enjoy all the various colors and textures of the hosta leaves. They are nearly fully unfurled now. Here is a really nice bright lime-colored hosta.lime hostaUnder the pine trees we replaced another cinder-block and stone bench with one of those chairs. The cinder blocks went to put a back edge for this bed. reworked pine tree bedAs you can see, hostas are prominent in this bed as well. It’s heavily mulched because it’s such a dry, sandy spot. The pine trees take up a lot of the moisture available, and the soil is quite thin. But every year I add a lot of compost and mulch, so hopefully the hostas and daylilies can thrive here. I had planted astilbe here but they all gasped and threatened to die, so I gave them to my sister who has better soil conditions for them! In other garden news, the poppies are past their peak, iris and spiderwort are out, and peonies are all budded. poppyimmortalitytradescantiaPeonies will be the next big garden drama. This rain should help them a lot.