Archive for the ‘Mulch’ Category

Wordless Wednesday

Revamp of a overgrown bed with mulch, new plants and a wood border.


Mulch Time!

Me and hubby have been busy this past weekend doing some edging of flower beds by hand with a flat garden spade and a half-moon edger.  I slowly cut along the outer edge of each bed with the half-moon edging tool and he followed behind me digging out the turf and soil until we had a deep trench.  This trench was crucial for not only aesthetic purposes but keeping the mulch from washing out into the grass during a heavy downpour.  And nothing is going to waste either because we’ve used the good pieces of sod to fill in bare spots in the lawn.  Fortunately we got a good rainfall after doing this piecework which helped settle them in.  We’ve completed all of the backyard beds except for one and we still have 3 out front to do as well.  I’m in the process of mulching the beds too.  Don’t you just love how great everything looks with a layer of mulch.  It’s like the icing on the cake. Things are starting to fill in nicely, especially with all the rain we’ve been getting lately.  The only thing that is making this spring a bit hard on me is my seasonal allergies which have been at their worse this season with the fluctuation of the temperatures from cool to warm and the pollen.  Needless to say I’m keeping stock in antihistimines which makes me feel a bit groggy at times. Might have to look at getting an over the counter allergy medicine instead.  I hope everyone has a nice weekend in or out of the garden.  🙂

I am going to need more compost…

Sometimes I forget how many garden beds I have in my yard.  Plus the majority of them are quite large ranging from 20′ long and 5′-15′ in depth.  I knew going into this fall project that I would need more than one load of that wonderful rich compost, but now after completing more of my back garden beds I realize that I will probably need at least two more loads before it’s all said & done.  As you can see in the picture to the left I really put a dent in the pile and the funny part is I’m not even done with the back yard let alone the front garden beds. Luckily my son & his girlfriend were here yesterday and gave me a hand.  My son loaded up the wheelbarrow while his girlfriend helped me spread it out.  Here is what I’ve completed so far in the garden and I’m pleased with the results:

This is part of my new garden bed that I added in May of this year.  I gave this bed a really good layer of the rich organic matter, since my natural soil is a heavy clay.  Everything has done pretty well here this year. The Purple Fountain Grass (along the fence)  is really stealing the show at the moment.  I like the way the wind catches the plumes & gives the garden some life.  Susie from Digging in the dirt asked me to post a picture of my Blackeyed Susan vine.  It has really started to cover the TV Antenna trellis.   I ordered seed for the white variety for next year.  The white post in the lower right corner is the frame to my swing.  It’s a nice place to sit & look at the garden after the sun goes down. 

In this picture you can see the entire corner of this new bed.  Some plants that have really done well here are the Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ (to the left), the purple Angelina (in the front), and the Purple Fountain Grass.  I also have some spring blooming plants & bulbs such as Daffodils, Crocosmia, Alliums and Candytuff plant here too.  I still need to clean up the edge of this bed & mow.  The Clematis on the trellis & Periwinkle in the hanging pots give the shed wall some interest.  I’m considering painting the shed a warm shade of tan to match the siding on my house.  It may help blend it in with the garden too. 

This last shot shows the part of the new bed that runs along the fence and connects with the existing Hydrangea bed.  The Forever & Ever Hydrangeas are not happy here and will be moved into a partial shade area this fall.  The ‘Black Adder’ Hyssop & ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana seem to be perfectly content in this hot & dry area of the garden.  I also will plant some daylillies & Liatris here to replace the Hydrangeas.  I think the mixture of orange & purple will be a vibrant accent next year.  Well this is what I’ve completed so far, I still have 2 more beds in the back to complete and 5 to complete up front.  Wish me luck!  🙂

Black Gold!

Yesterday I went to my local Composting Facility to get either some fine mulch or compost. After looking at the samples they displayed, I decided on the compost because it will act as both a mulch for the garden as well as a soil amendment. I will probably need another load to be able to be able to top dress all of my flower beds this fall. Doesn’t this stuff look fantastic? I can’t wait to start distributing this throughout the garden. My plants are going to be so happy with all this rich organic material. This is a great way to purchase compost or mulch in bulk for a reasonable price. They turn the huge piles with a bulldozer and dump a load in your truck or trailer with one single scoop. Here is the information I found from vppsa:

“The facility has a staff of eight personnel who process over 30,000 tons of vegetative yard waste annually.The Compost Facility receives brush, leaves, grass and other vegetative material from city and county vehicles, residents, and commercial customers. The materials are separated by type and then processed into our compost & mulch products. During the decomposition process, leaves and grass are continuously aerated and monitored for temperature. Larger materials are ground into mulch using the facility’s grinder. Once ground, this material is then cured in large static piles for a minimum of three months. During this time the material will reach temperatures of over 180°F, effectively removing pathogens, weed seeds, insects and residual insect larvae.”

Counting my blessings….

I was thinking yesterday about a comment someone made about how lucky I was to have a nice hubby to take my ideas and turn them into reality. Over the last year my husband (the non-gardener) has created or adapted several things for me to use in my gardening endeavors. So in spite of his lack of gardening interest he encourages me. Sometimes we need to count our blessings. Here are a few of the nice things I have to thank my DH for building, adapting and financing for me:

I have a couple of ready made rain barrels that I purchased from a mail order supplier several years ago. They were expensive to purchase and after receiving them my DH stated that he could probably make me something similar. About a year ago we found these plastic barrels at a army surplus store for about $15.00 a piece. So my husband created me four more rain barrels for the price of one of my ready made barrels. The link shows step by step directions and the resources we used to create these additions to my garden.

Earlier this summer I was looking for a way to get all the chunks & non decomposed bits out of my compost. I searched the Internet and found directions to make this compost sifter. My husband put this together with mostly scrap lumber we had on hand. I just had to purchase some galvanized screws/nails as well as the hard cloth. The long handles are attached to sit astride the wheel barrel and then you just shift it back & forth to sift the compost. It works great!

The latest addition to my garden is this trailer that we purchased when we got our stimulus check earlier this summer. My husband built the three-sided box and floor out of plywood. This handy thing is going to get me tons of mulch/compost from our city Recycling Center. The leaves and branches that are put on the curb by the city are collected & turned into a wonderful mulch & the best black gold you’ve ever seen. My trailer will now hold a truck load of it. I will be putting this baby to good use soon. So I guess I am a very lucky to have a wonderful husband who makes my gardening dreams & endeavors come true. I’m counting my blessings!

The Benefits of Mulch

I have been a big supporter of mulch for the past 20 years. It has many benefits to the garden. Mulch acts as a weed control for the garden, it helps retain moisture in the soil, adds another source of organic material that will decompose in the garden and last but not least it completes the picture. Let’s face it, a garden that is mulched looks pretty and finished. When I was growing up I noticed my grandmother didn’t use mulch in her flower beds or vegetable gardens. I asked her about this years later and she said it kept things from reseeding in the garden. She grows mostly annuals every year and relies on the reseeding to help keep her flower beds thriving with volunteer plants. Now I have to admit she is right about it eliminating the reseeding. But there are a numerous amount of plants and weeds if you let them reseed freely in the garden they would take over the garden completely. So cutting down on the reseeding isn’t a con to mulching in my book. Normally I get my mulch from the city recycling facility. They collect leaves and other garden debris every year from the curb and turn this into mulch and compost which they turn around and sell back to the public for a fair price. I have found over the years that they have the best mulch and compost that money can buy. And believe me I have tried other sources such as companies that deliver as well as the stuff you can buy in bags at your local garden centers. Unfortunately if that stuff hasn’t had time to really age and decompose properly you end up with tons of weed seeds and large chunks of bark that I don’t find appealing in the landscape. The only drawback to getting the stuff I want from the city is that you have to pick it up yourself and unload it yourself which isn’t always an option. This year to save ourselves some work we ordered 2 cubic yards of mulch from a local company that also delivers. It was decent looking but two weeks later I noticed numerous weeds had sprouted in my garden beds. We decided this year that we will invest in a trailer that we can take to the city to pickup the mulch/or compost. This way I can park the trailer in the backyard and unload into a wheelbarrow what I intend to put down at the moment. Therefore I can take my time mulching or putting compost in all the beds instead of racing to get it done. Because if you put the pile in the grass, the grass dies and if you put it in the driveway it leaves a brown stain on the concrete. So the trailer will eliminate both of these problems. But today I will be mulching my new bed with bags of mulch I purchased from our local garden center. So in the 1st picture you will see the bed partially done and in the second picture the mulching is completed. What a difference! Also I replaced the trellis I had mounted on the shed (it was plastic and falling apart) with a new wooden one that compliments the hanging planters. I also mounted my TV antennae turned trellis on to rebar stakes driven into the ground and planted some Blackeye Susan vine seeds around the base. Hopefully they should germinate in 7-10 days and grow quickly. All in all it was a productive day in the garden.

Even the richest soil, if left uncultivated will produce the rankest weeds. ~Leonardo da Vinci