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Old 05-29-2015, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,187 posts, read 3,829,929 times
Reputation: 6365

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I was taking another look at your layout and had some thoughts - now remember they are JUST thoughts - and I am trying to be helpful, OK? The layout you posted with the pavers looks awfully long and skinny - at least from the over head perspective. I would maybe consider a more oval shaped bed - or perhaps kidney shaped, and not quite so big for starters.

The white May Breeze flowers in your pots are beautiful - but they are phlox - typically a spring bloomer - and after they bloom they will be done until next spring. Also - phlox spread a great deal. You might consider putting it around the base of that tree in the background with the white fencing near the bag of mulch. (?) Underneath the trees in your front yard - you can create little pops of color in the spring by planting some bulbs this fall - tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinth, etc., or maybe plant some Hostas in the shade of those trees. They are also Perennial and will do nicely for years to come.

Check out your local library and get a book or two on perennials and get a feel for what appeals to you, what goes together, and it will also give you tips to help you. Here's a link to a site I've used on BHG's site as well: Plant Encyclopedia Search Results. Lots of pretty useful info on here as well as some examples of various garden plans (and cooking stuff, and other stuff too if you join - it's free!)

I actually typed in your zip code so it would pull up plants in your grow zone (you're welcome ). I also check out sites like Monrovia.com and Proven Winners.com just to research what's out there and to get some ideas of the plants I might like to shop for. If you use Pinterest - you can also find practically anything to give you ideas for garden designs or little additions to make your space more attractive.

So anyhow - just wanted to share, not trying to be bossy - I promise!!! Once you catch the gardening bug it seems to just take you over. I'm certainly no expert but I do have fun with it and hope you will too. At my age it's one of the safest ways to get down and dirty!!
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Old 05-29-2015, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,735 posts, read 13,649,319 times
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Default a bit of progress!!

I'm back!! I swear I am getting behind on my "real" work (you know, summer teaching, the work that is PAYING for all this! ) because it is SO much more fun to be out there in the yard.

A bit of progress today ...



I'm doing what I guess would be called a "modified lasagna," a method I found online on one of my myriad searches. Cardboard on the bottom, mulch on top -- at the point in the picture I had only started adding mulch (that was about 1 bag -- I bought a ton, or it felt like that much!). I put the potted plants there temporarily just to see if they will look OK there while the cardboard/mulch does its magic over the next few months. (Can you tell the pots are new, LOL? Yeah, the tags will come off, I swear! The plants aren't actually IN them yet -- I am going to try to do that tomorrow.)

I did about half the bed this afternoon (after picking up part of my huge online Home Depot order -- I could only fit about 25 bags in my SUV -- they are BIG! Will have to make 2-3 more trips to get everything on that order. (Must say the HD guys have been GREAT. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by CFoulke View Post
Hi Karen.....wow..that is gonna be a HUGE bed, and it will take some time to get it full of stuff!!! Looks like you have gotten a LOT of great advice and info here - and I know you keep saying you're a newbie - I speak from experience when I say that it is extremely easy to get in the middle of a project, get totally overwhelmed - and panic, and just start sticking stuff anywhere to get it planted.
Candace, remember, I am the one who didn't even put up PICTURES in my house for the first 2 years because I kept thinking, "What if I change my mind? Maybe that doesn't go there ... maybe it should go in that other place ... no wait, that won't work either ..." AAGGGGHHH. It got so overwhelming trying to make those decisions that I just gave up and left the walls blank. Well, I FINALLY got around to putting some pictures up in the last couple of months, and I love them! What a dope I was for waiting!

So I am trying to do a bit of lawn stuff every day (even if it's just research some days) so it's not QUITE so overwhelming. I keep telling myself that NOTHING is irreversible ... I can always change things up later if they don't work the first time.

BTW, I looked at your garden photos -- love them!! Especially those ground cover flowers (not sure if that's what they were but most were low to the ground and just beautiful).

Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Your plants in the ground in August will not fare well I fear. Planting is a very stressful time and doing it while trying to deal with heat, humidity etc is asking an awful lot. Wait till it cools off. Statistically, planting in fall yields better results than spring. Fall planting allows some root development and acclimation before winter and even in "dormant" months roots are being developed. And by spring plants are more developed and ready to deal with summer extremes.

And remember this. No matter when you plant you should REMOVE ALL BLOOMS. What You say. I BOUGHT THEM FOR THE BLOOMS.

You want new plants to put energy and growth into new roots not blooms and then seed. hard to do but I always remove all blooms (except flowering shrubs) on perennials and if I'm a bit patient I am very well rewarded.
NK, I think I will take your advice and plant in September. And I never would have thought to remove blooms! You are right, I will cry and say to them "I am so sorry, I bought you for your beautiful blooms, but I know this is the right things to do!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunnydee View Post
I think you are doing great. The one thing I've learned after making literally dozens of flower beds is to make gentle curves rather than sharp angles. It helps with mowing the adjacent lawn, trimming, trying to maintain the edge, and it usually looks better. Also have the tall plants in the middle, then the medium height ones, and along the edge the shortest. Also don't be stingy with the mulch. I'm anxious to see the final result and sure it'll be lovely.
Thank you! Some mulch in today, as you can see above ... I will finish that bed tomorrow. Today was gorgeous, low 80s and very little humidity, lots of sun -- tomorrow it's going to be hotter (I hate heat) so I may need to get out really early (ugh).

Quote:
Originally Posted by CFoulke View Post
I was taking another look at your layout and had some thoughts - now remember they are JUST thoughts - and I am trying to be helpful, OK? The layout you posted with the pavers looks awfully long and skinny - at least from the over head perspective. I would maybe consider a more oval shaped bed - or perhaps kidney shaped, and not quite so big for starters.

The white May Breeze flowers in your pots are beautiful - but they are phlox - typically a spring bloomer - and after they bloom they will be done until next spring. Also - phlox spread a great deal. You might consider putting it around the base of that tree in the background with the white fencing near the bag of mulch. (?) Underneath the trees in your front yard - you can create little pops of color in the spring by planting some bulbs this fall - tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinth, etc., or maybe plant some Hostas in the shade of those trees. They are also Perennial and will do nicely for years to come.
We had HUGE thunderstorms yesterday and some of the blooms came off, even though I moved all the flowers to right outside my garage, figuring they'd have SOME shelter. Those little white flowers I guess are not totally hardy. (Oh, and BTW -- the link you posted to the perennials.com site was one I had "printed" to a .pdf file so I can keep the info on my computer! Great minds think alike.

Your suggestion about moving the May Breeze to near the tree is a good one EXCEPT that that tree will be coming out, probably within the next 2 years. I live near a tiny airport, and the FAA has ruled that some of our trees are too tall, and that is one of them. Honestly I am OK with that one leaving -- it is way too big and I don't like it being that close to the house (well, it's probably 20 feet away, although it looks closer). So I'm not planting anything near either tree in the front yard -- I have to wait through the long and agonizing process of figuring out what I have to allow (long and sad story, although I am trying to be optimistic that it will turn out OK, given that I bought this house for the lot and especially for all the TREES in my back yard!!).

I had also just looked at the Proven Winners site, since several of the plants I just bought (from HD and another local source) were that brand. Lots of great info ... but I can just browse on those sites for HOURS and HOURS!!

Oh, and BTW -- I am THINKING about making the bed into TWO beds (as I was originally going to), but paving a little area in front of the light -- I have an outdoor garden bench that I could put there, facing the yard. I think that would look nice, no? Something kind of like this (from familyhandyman.com) -- I LOVE that path too -- someday after the front-yard trees are gone I would like to plant more flower beds around the perimeter and have a meandering path through them:



OK, that's all for now ... I REALLY have to go do some teaching prep!! Darn work for interfering with my gardening fun!
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Old 05-29-2015, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,187 posts, read 3,829,929 times
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Yay....progress is good!!!! I like the idea of splitting the beds into two and adding the bench - while you probably wouldn't actually want to sit under your light pole - you could "dress it up" seasonally - add some mums and pumpkins in the fall, maybe some pine boughs and a big red bow or something rustically New England in winter, sit an old watering can full of pansies in bloom on it during the spring, etc. - the ideas are endless.

I know what you mean about spending hours on those sites!!! I love to do that on a cold winter day especially - when there's a blizzard brewing outside! Years ago before the internet, I always had a Burpee catalog that I would peruse all winter, and plan what I wanted to plant in the spring. Trouble was - then I was living in an apartment and I only had about a 15 foot strip of dirt to work with. What a beat-down!!!

Careful you don't overdo it. Remember to take a break, and be good to yourself!!!
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Old 05-29-2015, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Northern Illinois
2,187 posts, read 3,829,929 times
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Look at this example of a light pole decorated up - I found it on Pinterest:



Isn't that pretty? And just a small bed planted around it - looks like there are some Asiatic Lilies in front, and I'm not sure what's next to it. Just wanted to share!!!! OK...back to work....chop, chop!!!
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Old 06-05-2015, 01:47 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,735 posts, read 13,649,319 times
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Default more progress!!

I'm back!! Slowly but surely making progress ...



Lots of containers at the moment. I just finished the last cardboard/mulch (the bend near the street) so haven't yet "spaced out" the containers. Actually I will likely go buy a few more annuals -- they are inexpensive and pretty!

I really wanted to buy more perennials too, but since I won't be able to plant these until September, it probably makes more sense for me to get them next spring and plant right after our last frost (mid-May) ... right?

I also finished the edging around the tree (after mowing again), and mulched it ... no picture of that yet. I will likely do the same thing with the other tree in the next day or two.

Candace, I loved that photo around the light -- right now I have a hanging basket plus a little wheelbarrow-type accent piece -- will try to take closer-up photos of those and get them up.

More pictures soon ... more advice always appreciated!!
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Old 06-05-2015, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,504 posts, read 46,063,271 times
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Do you have someplace to hold perennials in pots before you plant them? You probably aren't even hot there/ Does it get really hot there? Personally I buy perennials year round and group them on my deck by color, texture and form and then plant them in the fall.

Looks like you are making progress.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Cape Elizabeth
425 posts, read 417,237 times
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Karen, you have a big job! I know because I have been working on my home since 2010 and have done some of the projects you have mentioned, but some of the hard ones I hired a landscaper- like getting up shrubs. But, I saved them, had them move them to other areas, and I am so glad I did. You really need them. But, I had flower beds already, so am way ahead of you.

I like the idea of the flower beds in front of the shrubs. It will save you a ton of work and you will have satisfaction so much quicker, if you just concentrate on making new beds with your perennials. Believe me, you will have tons of work just making a bed. Also, I bought the half moon edger ( I think it was around $40.00 at my local nursery, and it is one of my favorite tools! It makes your garden look so good, and you can do it yourself.

But, here is a quick story about getting up grass. My step sister sent me a picture of her property in VT. She had all those perfect mulch circles around her trees. I wanted one and have a lovely tall evergreen in my side yard. So, I went on Youtube and learned how to do it. So, after making the circle with a rope tied around the tree, and making my circle with my edger, I had to get up all the grass from the edge of the circle to the truck of the tree. Well, it was friggin hard! Hours of work. Any new bed I make, the hardest part, other than hitting rock and roots when trying to plant, is getting up the grass.

So, I totally second no kudzu and say again, keep the shrubs, and start a ways in front of them. Believe me, it is a chore! But, labor of love!

BTW, just got in from a whole day outside, transplanting some anenome that were taking over one of my beds, made a new bed for them, edged that tree again and remulched it.
Good luck!
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:40 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,735 posts, read 13,649,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Do you have someplace to hold perennials in pots before you plant them? You probably aren't even hot there/ Does it get really hot there? Personally I buy perennials year round and group them on my deck by color, texture and form and then plant them in the fall.
I have just plopped the pots in the beds (over the cardboard/mulch) ... figured that would be better than having empty beds. I have a LOT of containers of different sizes/colors/etc. and I bought a lot of annuals too so the beds should be colorful at least.

It typically gets in the 80s in June, high 80s/90s in July and sometimes August, then starts cooling off in September. We typically also have very high humidity in the summer (ugh).

I AM planning to plant my perennials in September (as you suggested), although I still am concerned about not having them in the ground very long before the first frost, which is usually late September.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemycat View Post
I like the idea of the flower beds in front of the shrubs. It will save you a ton of work and you will have satisfaction so much quicker, if you just concentrate on making new beds with your perennials. Believe me, you will have tons of work just making a bed. Also, I bought the half moon edger ( I think it was around $40.00 at my local nursery, and it is one of my favorite tools! It makes your garden look so good, and you can do it yourself.
The problem is that tree in the middle of the yard that is going to be coming out ... its roots (which are visible in some parts of the lawn) make it very hard for me to put beds in certain places, like right in front of the shrubs. So alas, I can have a large (large to me!) bed where I have put the one so far, and another running along the area nearest the street, getting closer to the other tree (the tree that is at the far left of my front yard, looking at my yard from the street). I am still contemplating preparing the second bed ... keep going back and forth with thinking I am being way too ambitious, versus thinking how nice it would be to have even more space to work with next spring/summer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemycat View Post
But, here is a quick story about getting up grass. My step sister sent me a picture of her property in VT. She had all those perfect mulch circles around her trees. I wanted one and have a lovely tall evergreen in my side yard. So, I went on Youtube and learned how to do it. So, after making the circle with a rope tied around the tree, and making my circle with my edger, I had to get up all the grass from the edge of the circle to the truck of the tree. Well, it was friggin hard! Hours of work. Any new bed I make, the hardest part, other than hitting rock and roots when trying to plant, is getting up the grass.
Hmmm ... I just mowed the grass really really low around the trees, then poured the mulch within the circle made by the picket fence edging. Oops!! Sounds like I should have gotten rid of the grass. Ah, well, live and learn. But if I were going to get rid of the grass, I would put cardboard down (as I did with the flower beds).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemycat View Post
So, I totally second no kudzu and say again, keep the shrubs, and start a ways in front of them. Believe me, it is a chore! But, labor of love!
Again, they are in REALLY REALLY REALLY bad shape. I can't emphasize that enough. Even the rhodies (which are blooming) are bent completely over the concrete walkway to my front door -- there is no back support any more, the snow cracked the shrubs almost in two. I really don't know if they will be salvageable, even to be moved (which is what I had thought I would do).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemycat View Post
BTW, just got in from a whole day outside, transplanting some anenome that were taking over one of my beds, made a new bed for them, edged that tree again and remulched it.
Pictures, please!
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
72,961 posts, read 56,182,399 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
I'm back!! Slowly but surely making progress ...

Lots of containers at the moment. I just finished the last cardboard/mulch (the bend near the street)

I really wanted to buy more perennials too,
Definitely stands out! Nice work. Easy conversation starter. I want to do this similar thing myself but then I'm reminded how we really only have 5 months of growing season so whats the point. Plus it's such a hassle to maintain it every year. Just have too much going on with the rest of property.

yeah... get perennials. You will appreciate that big time. No need to keep replacing each year. If you don't have wild animals around, plant some bulbs in there like Tulips and stuff. (another reason why I don't do it)

Make it a plan to have perennials bloom in Early Spring, Summer, and Fall.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Sunny Florida
7,136 posts, read 11,360,334 times
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Good progress so far. I like to get my plants in the ground as quickly as possible, so I plant perennials all year long, but I live in Florida. When I lived in Ohio I put my plants in from mid-May until September, but Idk what it's like to garden in your state. I just figured buy the plants, put them in, water frequently, and let them get acclimated before the winter. It worked in Ohio, but you'll have to see what works for your location. It looks like you are pacing yourself and that's good. Keep posting updates and pictures. It's nice to see anew gardener in action.
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