Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Story of 2008's New Flower Bed, Part 1

I neglected to take a picture of the messy room upstairs that I had agreed to get organized last winter in order to get Larry to agree to help create a larger flower bed in the front yard.  I told him it would show that I can keep up with a larger bed and the house, too.  Well, spring came, and the room did not get finished, and I told Larry that even though I hadn't done what I said I was going to do, I really, really wanted to have a larger area to plant some large growing annuals.  One of the reasons he was dragging his feet was because he doesn't like the look of flower beds in winter.  When he saw how determined I was, and agreed with me that he's never been sorry when we created another bed, he relented.

This first photo was taken 5/3.  I may have had this pic in my fire hydrant post.

This pic was taken 5/28. This amsonia was planted the same day as one in the east bed in case one of them didn't make it, and both did.  Speaking of that, in each of my flower beds, is at least one kind of flower that is also in at least one other bed.  Not all flowers are in more than one bed, though.

Spring weather arrived late, and then, it rained a lot, so we didn't get the work stared as soon as I wanted to.  While waiting, I read part of the book, Lasagna Gardening, but when I saw that it was a long process best started in the fall, I wished we had known for sure that we were going to do this, and done it then.  

Larry knew someone who wanted to go in with us to rent a sod cutter, so we chose to do that rather than the lasagna method.  We had not had any experience with one before.  It turned out to be awkward and difficult to use.  Plus the slope of our yard, and frequency of needing to turn around added to the difficulty.  (She ended up changing her mind and not having her sod cut after all when she saw how much Larry was struggling.)

Here are a couple pictures from 6/1, as we were getting ready to work.

Hey, what color is that fire hydrant?

I helped roll the sod, and we did not consider how heavy those rolls were going to be.  That was hard work!

I asked several neighbors if they wanted the sod, and a couple did, but didn't have a way or the time to come get it.  Larry was done in, and did not have the strength to move the sod.  Another neighbor, a state patrolman who used to work for a sod farm was going for a walk while I was out working. When I asked him if he wanted it, he went right to work.  He put it in his truck, "Bessie" and went home to put it in the area he had recently taken the zoysia grass out of.  He also took the clumps of sod I dug out by hand, but decided not to stick around for me to finish the ones still in the next photo, also from 6/1.

It rained the night after the sod was cut, and off and on for a few days, so we weren't able to work the land right away.  On 6/3, you can see the blue tarps I kept putting on the area whenever it rained.  I didn't think to use them the first night, so it took awhile for the soil to dry enough to work.

6/3, closer:

6/3, closer still.  I love those pretty blue flowers on that amsonia!  I like the orange hawkweed, too, and keep it from spreading too far.

On 6/4, it's raining again.  Well, I guess it's good for the rest of the flowers.  This pic was taken from the side yard, near the east edge of the house.  The butterfly bush in the foreground is a purple bloomer, and the butterflies and bees love it.

I took to poking holes with my garden spade, and later on with my garden weasel, hoping the soil underneath would dry out.  This was taken 6/6.

Finally, on 6/7, Larry used our Mantis tiller, and incorporated Canadian peat moss, which is the kind they replenish, compost from our pile, and some bags of manure, which some say aren't that great to use, but I didn't have access to the real stuff at the time, and wanted to have more organic matter there.  We won't need to till again now that it has been loosened, and good organic matter added to it.  It got dark before I was finished planting for the day, and I just had to take some pics anyway.

I took more pics 6/8.  We looked at different kinds of fence, but decided on this easy to put up ourself one, which came in sections.  I liked some others better, but was more into instant gratification.  I cut back the amsonia, which was finished blooming, and planted it in the corner. I later dug it out and gave it away, because I decided it would get too big for the area.

The celosias in the front didn't grow as tall as I thought they would, and I found other plants I wanted to put there, so I dug them out and put them in pots.

I put way too many pics in the file on this bed throughout the season, so I have split them into more than one post, and still have lots, and ended up writing way more than I had planned. Maybe next time I won't be as wordy, but I am not able to make any promises.


  1. It turned out nice. Removing sod is a very tough job. I'm hoping we can remove a good amount from our front yard this summer. I love that you already have a wagon full of plants ready to put in the ground. That's how I work too!

  2. What a bunch of hard work-well worth it. Your neighbor was a lucky guy to get all that sod. Love that he named his truck:)

  3. Susan ... it has come along so nicely ! .. I'm with Tina on the humour of the truck being named too !
    You have inspired me to really start planing my renovations for the garden .. pen to paper and down to work !

  4. My goodness ya'll did do a lot of work, that's what it takes to make a beautiful flower garden like you have. Getting up sod is the WORST part of gardening to me. Once it's done though, ahhh! I love the fence. As far as naming vehicles, we live in the south, everyone names there vehicles here, especially men and their trucks!

  5. Ah, much better. Grass is highly overrated. :)

    Hmm, why does he not like the way flowers look in winter? Is there something specific?

  6. You promised to do WHAT?! in exchange for help in the garden? You should be promising things like back rubs and yummy desserts....

    Nell ;)

  7. Thanks for sharing your photo story. Heidi seems as interested as us :). Nice work.

  8. It was so nice to look at your hard work making that extension to your garden, Sue. I'm glad you were able to show photos to describe it and show the progress as it went on. It turn out really nice, and added quite a lot of space for you. It's bigger than my garden on the corner of my driveway. I'm thinking I'd like to extend mine, too. Lot's of work, getting that sod out...I spent hours upon hours about 8 years ago, in pouring rain, digging sod with a shovel. The rain helped me be able to get it out more easily. It was still a LOT of work. I dug out the entire side of our house where the grass wasn't doing very well in some areas and just because I wanted to add more garden space. It's got a path there now and so much shade that there aren't any blooms, but it's still a place I have for shade plants and annuals.
    I've been planning to stop over here for days...I'm glad you came to see me;) I'll be back tomorrow to read a little more. Jan

  9. Thanks for the comments. For the beds on the east side of the house, we tilled through the sod, and pulled out chunks to put on the compost pile. That was hard work, too, but we didn't do as much at a time, as it was done over a period of several years.

    GardenJoy4Me, I forgot to mention that I drew out several plans to choose from, but couldn't find them when I went to plant. LOL

    Catherine, That wheelbarrow had plants growing in it. I had others on the porch and dining room table waiting to go in, though.

    Tina, We hadn't even thought trough about what we were going to do with the sod, so it was good for us that he took it.

    Darla, Do you have names for your vehicle(s)? If so, what? :o)

    Sweet Bay, It's the brown he doesn't like, especially the dirt. I myself am not a fan of grass, either. At least he's the mower, though.

    LOL Jean. My Husband is a Monk fan. He loves order, especially if it's someone else's things. It wasn't his help so much that was the issue, but the fact that I would have a bigger bed to keep up with.

    Iowa Gardening Woman, Isn't this up and down with the thermometer a bit strange? Yesterday's high was 60, and right now, it's 8 degrees, and we have an inch of new snow from today.

    Heidi did a great job understanding the boundary of the new bed. She did dig a little dirt out near the sidewalk when she wanted attention when our grandson was over.

    Jan, I also forgot to mention there was a place by the curb where the weeds were taking over, that Larry offered to till, and I put some plants there in June, too. I was thrilled to get this size of a bed, but I would love to plant the other side of the sidewalk, too. I'm trying to remember if you have pics of any of your whole beds. I'll have to check. I hope you get your get your area expanded.

  10. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and the nice comment. You have a very nice blog and garden going on as well. Is that Rose campion that I spotted by your walkway. You don't see those too often around here. I got mine from my grandmother and didn't even know what it was for the longest time. It's so nice to meet new garden bloggers, I have learned so much that way.

  11. What a lot of work you put into this... what a wonderful, helpful husband you have! Now, I really need to ask this question... why did the fellow want to take out his zoysia grass?? (I'd really like to know the answer because one of my next-door-neighbors just planted it last year!)

  12. Oh, there you are, Machelle! I answered your question on one of my other posts, because I remembered reading it in my email, but couldn't find it when I went to my blog.

    I don't think there is any rose campion in these pics. I used to have some in my beds by the curb, but they died back. Their seeds got planted when we spread compost in the veggie garden, and I moved a couple to the new bed, but if my memory is correct, they didn't make it. I still have some back in the veggie garden that don't seem to want to bloom.

    How's that for an answer? Not so clear. LOL Now, I'm wondering what it was you saw that might be the rose campion.

    Hi Shady, He's not consistently helpful, but I'm glad he doesn't want to do the actual gardening. I'm not good at sharing, at least with this size of a yard. He does put in requests for certain plants in he pots, though.

    The neighbor didn't like the short season of green of the zoysia grass, and the brown color when dormant. I don't remember if its spreading was a factor.


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