Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring gardening in the perennial beds

This has been a really interesting experiment combining the flower and vegetable beds but I am sold on it! Not only is it a better use of the space but it has all the walkers that come down my street keeping tabs on the progress. Although I do intensive planting in the back yard, in the front I am allowing more space as I am trying to establish perennials. I am also trying not to purchase too many plants but grow them from seed or cuttings and so far, so good on most things. The cabbage is way too close as the plants got much bigger than I expected-1 ft spacing with plants around them is WAY too close but they are self mulching this way and will soon be harvested. The variegated chard is a color punch next to the greens in the beds. The calediums and coleus are both giving nice color to the shady areas and are good next to the hostas.  Some of the begonias have red leaves too which is a pretty punch of color in the shade. I added the red leafed lettuce there too for show and for our table.

We planted some of the wildflowers in the bed under the tree but they get a bit too much shade so when they are done blooming they are moving to the sunny bed. I already moved a plumbago clumping to the sunny bed and added a few marigolds that self-seeded alternating with parsley along the border.  The geraniums wintered pretty well and are showing off nicely in the middle of the sunny bed. George is able to see the zinnias and sunflowers from his office window now that they are tall enough. The blue salvia is doing so much better than the white one that we are a little over on the blue plants. 

We are using natural colored mulch and have put in 20 bags so far. I think 5 or 6 more bags will do the trick. I am sure the garden guys at the big box just smile each time I leave with another 6 bags of the stuff. The mulch we used before was soil colored and too hard to identify when I needed to cultivate. We did add massive amounts of compost and organic garden soil to the beds this year and I am delighted we did that. Plants really are growing well in the mix. The organic soil is reputed to have too much nitrogen and the compost too little so the mix must be just right. 

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