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Old 06-12-2018, 03:01 PM
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,719 posts, read 11,734,498 times
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Hi, all. Three years ago I started gardening (ha!) for the first time ever. (I wrote a thread about it here: flower beds ... yes, FINALLY ... but questions questions questions!! .)

My heuchera bed is doing well, although it wasn't supposed to BE a heuchera-only bed ... nothing else has survived! I currently have maybe a dozen heucheras (different varieties) and I love, love, love them, but I wish I could find other things to add to that bed as it looks pretty wimpy. (Only about 1/4 of it has anything in it any more -- the end with the heucheras!)

My OTHER bed was a tulip bed. I bought and planted maybe 100, but few came up; this year, the 3rd year of what are SUPPOSED to be perennials, literally ONE came up. I wish I had taken a picture, it looked so pathetic. That one disappeared in the last week or so -- I think a squirrel had a snack.

Anyway, I want to totally re-do that tulip bed. Right now, as noted above, it's empty. I am fine with just PREPARING it this year for some planting next year, but HOW should I prepare it? Should I till it? Weed it, then cover it with landscape fabric and mulch? What?

HELP!! Oh, I'm in zone 5, southwestern New Hampshire. Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:13 PM
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You could weed it and till it. You could have the soil tested to see if it's acid or alkaline and therefore bad for anything you tried to grow there and you can amend it. You could figure out if it drains well or is a swamp and what kind of light it has - if you haven't already done all those things. Definitely don't put down landscape fabric and mulch since you'd have to wade through the mulch and cut holes in the fabric to plant.

You could find a garden center or nursery near you and tell them only one thing survived and based on that, they could maybe suggest some complementary things that would live in similar conditions.

And since it's not that late in the season, you can fill the bed up with some inexpensive annuals so it looks lovely while you make your plan for next year. Some you don't even need to plant; just intersperse the pots and some roots will grow through the holes and the plant will sprawl out of the pots and hide them. You could have a place for annuals each year since not all gardening has to be permanent.

I had a bed of everything under the sun: various bulb plants, milkweed, every other weed you can think of and when I started to clear it out I found rosebushes hidden and deprived of sun so I'm trying to make a little rose garden bed and am feeling my way long the same as you are.
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