grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Digging

I was outside by 7:30 this morning. It was kinda chilly, but for me, perfect weather for digging. This is a fairly low traffic time on my street so I didn't have too many gawkers. The first thing Mr. W said is "WOW YOU REALLY DUG FAR AWAY FROM THE HOUSE!" What do you think? Is the bed too wide?I probably should have waited until later today to take these pictures but I was just so proud of myself I had to snap a few to post. The one below is the side of the house that leads to my backyard. I was surprised how much sun this area gets. I have no idea how many hours of sun per day equals "Sun" versus "Part Shade" but when I went back out to observe the sun at noon, it was still fully shining on this side garden. I'll keep checking that throughout the day and do some research on what constitutes Part Shade. I had always considered this entire front garden Part Shade but maybe sun loving plants would survive here on the corner.

I'm planning to move all the hosta over to the new Good Neighbor garden. They look really crappy this year but I think it's because I let these beds get so weedy all summer. Is it okay to transplant these hosta now, or should I wait until next spring?

Speaking of the Good Neighbor garden, one of the morning glory ladies scared the crap outta me while I was digging today. She was out gardening early too and I guess she heard me and came over to say hello. Did I mention I'm not social AT ALL? I mean I can do it, and I'm pretty darn friendly thanks to being raised in the south, but I'm a total Introvert. Anyway, she was pretty darn impressed with my newest gardening project, especially when I told her I was planning to plant some things on the side of the house for them to enjoy from their windows. She had noticed the Hibiscus that volunteered right under their morning glory vine and since she seemed to like it so much, I told her to dig it up and take it. I just don't care for them. The fact that it couldn't determine whether it was a weed or not is a total turnoff.
Goals for this week:
  1. Finish removing sod from new beds (get out there before I'm fully awake and have a chance to talk myself out of it.)
  2. Remove everything in kitchen garden except tomatoes. Try to find a place to compost it.
  3. Transplant sod from front yard to the spot where the kitchen garden is currently.


  1. Good job! I don't think the beds are too wide. Most gardeners don't make their foundation beds wide enough. You'll be happy to have the wider beds so you can layer in the plants, tall in the back, shorter in the front, of course.

    Are you planning to remove those shrubs? Even I might hire someone to do that for me...

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  2. I think they look really good and if they're larger than you want later it is really easy to grow grass.

  3. carol - i was NOT planning to remove the shrubs at this time. i was thinking that all you pros told me they'd be a nice backdrop for the foundation beds. Do you think I should take them out? i'll be honest, i hate most of them. But, I don't know what i'd put there if i removed them.

    heather - thanks!

  4. Hey Gina,

    Now that the shrubs look like overcrowded lollipops, I'd consider having them removed entirely.

    What would you replace them with? Oh, let's see - rhododendrons, azaleas, or hollies would be nice for a beginning. Even the low growing Japanese yews that only get to 4 feet tall.

    The bed you formed looks nice and the width , which I cannot determine, should be at least 5 feet wide.

  5. I agree with Carolyn Gail. If you can manage it, I'd remove those shrubs. But before you do, you might find out if your local garden center has a garden designer who could help you with a new plan for a minimal cost.

    And removing the shrubs isn't going to be an easy task. You want to have someone get the roots out, too. Otherwise you will have trouble replanting that area. That's a big step, so just think about it for awhile, get some quotes and then decide.

  6. fickle gardeners! i thought you guys said these could stay? ugh! im so confused. from what i have heard, getting stuff like this removed is pretty costly and i just don't think i can swing it. plus, i want a patio!! jeez now im wondering if i should have just left it as is.

  7. I have an irrational dislike for shrubbery. Once I wanted some gone so I a chain to the back of my truck, and looped the other end around the base of the shrub. Then I took off. it worked!

    The beds look good. It's going to be lovely. Are you going to plant your smoke tree in the front?

  8. wrenna, i dont like them either but i cant spend a million dollars getting rid of them at this point.

    i wonder if Mr. W would let me hook them to his SUV and yank them out? NEVER!

    man i dont know what to do now...

  9. The shrubs will look good by the end of next summer so, if it were me, I'd leave them in. They will be a nice dark green backdrop. As Carol says, they will be difficult to get out properly and it may really turn you off to the whole front flower beds idea. You could try putting in only annuals next year and see how you like the shrubs. If you really hate them and can find someone to help you, then take them out. I've learned not to yank something out until I've lived with it for a while.

    You've done a very good job on the layout and digging of the new beds. Keep it up.

    Oh yes, I'm also an introvert too. Guess our neighbors think I'm unfriendly....

  10. I understand that it can't all be done at one once, believe you me! I can support leaving those shrubs for now and planting in front of them. But I'd stick with annuals, bulbs, and perennials in front of the shrubs, not more shrubs. Then later you can decide if you want to remove them.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  11. I agree with Carol that your beds are not too wide and you probably should remove the shrubs. I have to respectfully disagree with Carolyn Gail. I work on the Helpline at the extension office. We have been told to tell homeowners to never, ever plant azaleas and rhododendrons along their foundations. It's too sunny for them. They are understory plants and need shade. The concrete of the foundation will essentially "lime" the soil skewing the Ph of the soil. Azaleas and rhodos LOVE acidic soil so lime is the last thing you would want added to the soil.

  12. Gina, I think you did a wonderful job! There's a really nice curve to that bed, and it's full and generous. Lots of work, but it will pay off once you get it planted and can enjoy the beautiful garden that will go there. :)

    I think those shrubs would be a nice backdrop to the plantings in front. What kind of shrubs are they? I'm assuming yews by the way they are pruned--is that right? If they are yews and you really don't like them the way they are now but want to experiment, you may be able to do some rejuvenation pruning and get them to look more like you want them to. Google "pruning yew" and check out the links that mention rejuvenation. If worse comes to worse and you still don't like them after the experiment, you can take them out (and they'll be smaller at that point from the pruning.) Have fun!

  13. Oops, forgot to say that if your house faces east and you have morning sun until 1 or 2 there, that garden will be like back yard garden. I've found that I can do plants that take "part sun" there with no problem. Some of the "full sun" plants like lavender don't get enough sun there to bloom as fully, while others like 'May Night' salvia do just fine.

  14. And, I have to respectfully disagree with you, Old Roses. I guess experience is the best teacher. I know what the experts say, but they're not always correct. Azaleas and Rhodos can take a lot more sun than most folks think they can.

    I have planted many Rhodos and Azaleas along foundations for many years without a problem. The secret is to prepare the soil with an acidic amendment. As for being too sunny for the foundation, that depends on what exposure you have.

    I have a rhodo and azalea planted in full western sun and they do well. As long as the soil is acidic and it gets ample water , it's happy.

    Gina, not to confuse you but I had suggested to leave the shrubs before you had them lollipopped. It will take some time before they reclaim their natural form so if you're willing to wait, then just leave them along.

  15. hi alyssa - thanks for the suggestions. i think i will leave them through next year and see how they look. i really do not like the shrubs before or after edward scissorhands got hold of them but they are mature and they do cover up the foundation nicely.

    carol - thanks again. i definately won't plant more shrubs around these. i'll stick with flowers until i decide if they get the boot or not.

    oldroses - thanks for the suggestions. i did not know that about azaleas along the foundation. i'm from tennessee and in older neighborhoods it seems like almost every house has nothing but azaleas planted along their foundation. is that because of the zone difference you think? i belive my area of tennesse was zone 7.

    blackswamp girl - thanks for the suggestions. According to previous comments I believe i have yews and junipers planted there now. They came with the house. If I could "rejuvinate" them all, i'd be happy! I'll do some research on that. I was thinking I had read that I couldnt do that with the yews but I'll do some more looking. My house is actually west facing and because there are so many trees on my street, it seems like that area only gets a few hours of sun per day.

    carolyn - as I was saying to oldroses, being from the south, I'm use to seeing nothing but azaleas planted along the foundation. I don't know if it's different with different zones or what. my house is west facing and doenst get that much sun. in fact, i had thought of azaleas for this area before because it is mostly shade. ps the more you talk about my "lollipopped shrubs" the more I feel sorry for them. Like a poodle who got a fancy haircut against their will and people are making fun of it right and left ;) I remember oldroses saying she's a master gardner and I know that you are a landscape designer. i think this entire conversation is facinating and it makes me think of the whole "street smarts" versus "book smarts". Oldroses - have you planted azaleas in these areas that have failed? lord knows I don't need to spend a bunch of money removing shrubs only to kill the new ones.