Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Adventures in gardening: the kitchen bed

This Memorial Day weekend I tackled adding color to the bed outside the kitchen window which is the bed with the bird bath. The plants already in the bed include:
  • A couple of gardenia bushes (front) that produce fragile and fragrant blooms in the summer. I haven't done anything to them and despite needing a lot of care they have bloomed each year. My mother-in-law is very jealous.
  • Two bushes that I have no idea what they are (back)
  • A wisteria vine that I had DH cut back because it hasn't bloomed in the two years we've lived here (right). If it doesn't bloom next year I'm ripping it out and replacing it with a Clematis.
  • Some lambs' ear
  • A mum plant
  • Some bearded irises around the bird bath
  • A hosta (will probably be moved because of the sun)

Before photos

The bed gets a lot of afternoon sun so I knew I was safe in getting sun plants. DH had to go to Home Depot for his French drain project so Cameron and I tagged along to look at plants. Home Depot was having a big perennial sale for all the plants that weren't looking so good. 4 for $12! What a deal. The plants were fine, just not as covered in blossoms as you normally see. I focused on picking up plants that will propagate themselves. I've had a lot of luck with primrose in the front bed so I picked up a bunch of those.

I also spotted Yarrow which is similar to primrose in how it spreads. Both Yarrow and primrose spread out with new shoots about 3 feet and grow about 2 feet tall. I recommend primrose in particular if you want to cover a wide area in a garden. It isn't a selfish plant and can co-habitat with many others. DH made me get two Swamp Milkweeds to round out the bed. We probably wouldn't have gotten it if we knew the common name but there was no tag on the plants aside from its Latin name and really who can tell what Asclepias Incarnata is? It really stinks when there is no tag to tell you what to expect from a plant and the type of environment it needs. Apparently even with the "swamp" in it's name, the swamp milkweed should still do well in our bed.

To round out the plant selection I added two Fleabanes. I found out through my research that they can be short-lived perennials. I have to remember to split them in the early Spring so I can keep them growing. It's annoying when a plant is called a perennial when it's really a two year annual. I am attempting to plant mostly perennials to make maintenance easier down the road.

After planting everything I cleaned out the leaves and added some cedar mulch. Why cedar mulch? No reason in particular aside from the fact that it was on sale for 97 cents a bag at Home Depot one weekend. I made DH make two trips to get 40 bags of it. Much cheaper than the normal $2.97 a bag. That's my savings tip of the day: buy whatever mulch is on sale and as much of it as you can carry and store. Mulch really makes a bed look better and is decent at weed suppressing. If you have flooding issues then we have found that pine straw mulch is the best at staying put and not floating away.

After photos

Oh, and for those looking for a bird update I am pleased to report that the 3 baby birds in the next outside our kitchen are doing really well. I can hear them crying for their mom quite a bit during the day. At least I don't have to catch worms and regurgitate them for Cameron. Breastfeeding is a piece of cake in comparison!

Just a few days after hatching
And I thought Cameron is growing quickly! This is probably two weeks after hatching and they already have feathers.


Amanda said...

Nice, if you didn't know cedar mulch is a good insect repellent for your plants also.

Gretchen said...

I love your gardening posts. I too am jealous of your gardenias. I have one that seemed to have died but is now growing again. You must have the perfect climate.