Planting Guide for Family Garden Plots at Moreau Community Garden

FG - Moreau

I spent time this morning creating a plan for Family Gardening plots with consideration given to bees, butterflies, and plants that work well together.

As you look at it, note that details, such as the heights of plants were included in the plan. This will be relevant when I’m planting and make the job easier as I will reach for the tallest first to plant in the center down to the shortest along the edge without having to read each packet.

The group of bee and butterfly luring flowers were included for maximum delight and to attract pollinators for the vegetables.

Last season, everyone enjoyed the butterflies that came through. swallowtail1

I made certain to include companion plants to repel each crop’s troublesome insect, For example, borage deters tomato hornworms and these two plants will grow side by side. Nasturtiums discourage bean beetles and, as I mentioned yesterday, dill repels squash bugs.

Hope you enjoy seeing this plan. I may tweak it a bit as I haven’t found borage seeds yet. Does anyone know where I can get some?

This weekend I will be turning the soil for the plots that are part of the Family Gardening Program.

It is too soon to plant outdoors some of vegetables and flowers I intend to grow, but a few – like peas, kale and spinach – can be seeded now.

What will you be growing? If you need help knowing what to plant and where, I will be in the garden from 9 to noon this Saturday, May 17th.

From Chaos to Manageable: A Garden where Beauty Reigns

20130806_2717A friend of mine had this incredible English cottage style garden of flowers. Beautiful to look at but so much maintenance that she decided it was time to simplify.

I worked with her to create a beauty-with-brains-not-braun low-maintenance garden. It’s still in process. As of this week, beds have been dismantled, transplanting done, the ground leveled, new plans are drawn and the flower installation will occur in the Spring.

Here is an image of the garden taken this summer for you to enjoy._DSC1452

Select plants removed from their former beds will be re-planted in new locations and other low-maintenance perennials will be added. Our goal is continuous bloom but not a lot of work and this is being accomplished with careful planning, plant selections that are big bloomers but not demanding, long-lasting landscape fabric and a watering system.

Next season, the gardener will be able to pour herself a drink, put her feet up and enjoy the beauty of her garden instead of being concerned with garden work, water and weed control.

Landscape Edging, sigh

I like these cool days. I’m able to get a lot done.

There’s one job that I’ve been putting off all summer.

This is a project that needs doing and will add to the neatness of the exterior, but for which I can only muster modest…ok minimum…. enthusiasm.

On the east side of my old house, I want to put down a landscape edging, fabric and small rocks. It is my hope that this will make this usually weedy area look crisp, tidy and be forever low maintenance.

I’ve been eyeing the edging for months and thinking, “OK, before winter.”

Now the nights are getting colder…and it is time.

To begin, I clear the weeds.

Next step: dig a trench 6 inches deep where the edging will go. It’s sandy soil and this goes quickly.

Place the edging with the side with the bottom lip toward the house.

Back fill but leave a swale for water to run out.

Rake smooth.

That’s as far as I got this afternoon. Tomorrow, I will place the
fabric and use landscape staples every 5 feet to hold it in place.

Tonight, I’ll call the rock man and get a stone delivery arranged for next week. I’ll be ready.

Get project: Cleaning the garage.

Front Yard Complete (Almost) and Beautiful

The photos say it all.

frontofmadison
Before, the area in front of the Limelight hydrangeas needed mowing. I’m not fond of mowing especially in tight spaces.

Now, Double Red Knockout roses have replaced the lawn. No more mowing, continuous blooms of red, a light spicy fragrance and a neat and tidy look.
front2

That’s low maintenance at its best.

What I did was dig three holes and mix cow manure and peat moss into the soil that was removed from the hole. Run water into the hole to soak. Place the roses and return the amended soil mix around the plant and pat it in.

Then I placed a soaker hose to reach the crown of the roses and hydrangeas. Water the plants well. front1

The next step was to cover the grassy soil area with cardboard and then heavy duty landscape fabric. Why cardboard? To smother the grass and weeds and hold moisture in. I have done this before and know it will remain weed free for a decade.

20130831_4335Then I covered the landscape fabric with cedar mulch, which also lasts a long time.

I’m almost done. As the earth and mulch settle over the next couple of weeks, I will tweak the front bricks to be even and cover any bare spots that come through.

Then on to the next project….there’s always a next project, right?

Pleasing Plant Combinations

Designing gardens is all about bringing plants together with an eye toward how the flowers and foliage shape, color and structure work next to another plant.

The following two pairings of perennials look wonderful together.

The first is for full sun – Coneflower and Russian Sage.P1040654

The second is for shade Japanese fern, hosta and European ginger.texture2

These combinations work so nicely because of the various textures, the glossiness of one foliage against another and the play of soft, subtle colors.