Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mulching, Planting, and More Mulching (And More Planting)

Humidity has returned this week, putting an end (so far) to our English summer. That doesn't mean work in the garden has stopped, however. Especially since we now have more to plant than ever!

Last week I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The right place was one of the big garden centers. The right time was arriving after they marked down a bunch of boxwood and privet to $1 each. Granted, the boxwood are little tiny babies. But for $1 each who could resist? I bought 19. And two more snowball viburnum. And four privet. On top of that we brought in two yards of mulch to begin mulching all of the beds we've weeded. We have a bad habit of weeding, moving on to something else before we mulch, and then having to weed again. Needless to say this isn't a very efficient use of time.

Taking a break from redesigning the south end of the garden, I began to tackle the Shade and White Gardens.

It's hard to believe the Hydrangea Border is already beginning to show it's end of summer colors.
Many blooms are still vibrant, but many more are fading to green. The Hydrangea Border runs along the north side of the house, and is usually the first thing visitors see upon entering the garden. I still need to edge and mulch here.

Two shades of fading pink.

Ferns grow wonderfully in the Hydrangea Border. It's high time for the hosta to be divided. Many divisions will be relocated to the large bed out front. The rest will fill in some areas of the Shade Garden. 

My upright elephant ear has done great this summer. It's hard to imagine it was just an orange-sized tuber a few years ago. This planter sort of marks the entrance to the garden. The sunflower was planted by a squirrel with a green thumb.
The instant gratification that comes with mulching beds is amazing. I still need to get some sort of brick or stone edging for the Peony Border, White, and Shade Gardens, but that will not be happening this year.


Now for new plantings. Where the Hydrangea Border meets the Shade Garden I planted seven of the little boxwood. See? They are tiny! However, I will always want them pretty low in this spot. I'm planning on doing the same curve on the opposite side, creating a bit of a low entrance to the path through the Shade Garden. All of the ferns in the garden have done great with this mild summer. On the right between the boxwood and the ferns are four little clearance Jacob's Ladders.

Taking no risk for rabbits or the lift of a stray dog's leg, I've used this milk crate as a protective cage over my Empress Wu hosta.

Considering that she was about the size of the little hostas popping up around her (from seeds dropped by some established plants) she has done pretty well. I can't wait until she is a giant!

The White Garden continues to slowly come together. The white columbines have all dropped seeds that have sprouted. Being that they are around many other columbines, however, I'm not counting on them being true to color. The little white hydrangea need to be relocated, perhaps to mark the "entrance". The low, concrete bowl planters full of white impatiens are glorious, and the white flowered hosta are just about to bloom.
This little hydrangea paniculata needs to be moved. The pee gee hydrangeas like sun, which I didn't know. Our six year old Limelight out front is 8 feet tall! This guy has been in his semi-shady spot for almost three years. He is somehow going to be incorporated into the changing south section of the gartden.

In his place will be the two $1 snowball viburnum. Once they join their older sibling at the top of the photo the three of them should make a nice screen behind the bench.

$3 Korean spice viburnum? Don't mind if I do! The decades old shrub we have out front always blooms around my birthday, and just a few branches full of the flower clusters fill the room with their scent. This one has been planted where the Peony Border meets the White Garden.

Looking back to the entrance. The section with no mulch on the right is where we had stacked wood long enough for the grass to die off and will be filled in with bulbs and hostas. The grass path gets rather narrow, but I do want to keep it. I still need to mulch the rest of the White Garden while it's weeded!
Earlier in the summer I found about ten Japanese Painted Ferns for $1.50 each.

I planted them in sort of a wave in front of the Itoh peony that replaced the poor tree peony killed over the winter. They have been joined by some foxglove and random leftover impatiens. There really still is a lot of work to do, and I know fall is a ways off, but I'm feeling the pressure to get everyone in the ground. After everything I accomplished last weekend I'm beginning to think it can be done.


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