Bell Garden Challenge

I so enjoy my flower gardens but this one has and is my biggest challenge. That being said, I have a good reason which is the huge maple tree beside it that soaks up all of the moisture in and around it. It’s well over 50 years old and it provides a wonderful shade throughout the summer and it’s why my bell garden doesn’t do as well even though it is full of shade loving plants.

For several years I’ve planted columbine seeds with only a few actually surviving and the colors are quite vibrant but there’s not enough.

I add growing medium every spring such as compost, Miracle Gro, and would add more but for losing the plants that do return every year. I’m thinking that this fall I should dig up the growing plants, turn over the soil, add manure, ash, and new compost and turn over again.

The roots of the maple tree are everywhere making it hard to dig in and change. I’ve even thought of just turning it back to lawn grass which grows well here in the shade. All of the existing plants get two hours of sunlight in the morning and four in the afternoon. They’re watered 2-3 times a week. The following photos will show the poor quality of the soil but when I move anything out of the shade of the tree they do better. The following photo of the Lily of the Valley picks up the quality I’m talking about.

I’ve placed rocks from the farm as steppingstones and markers of certain plants in rows. What you are seeing now are the columbine and how sparsely they’ve grown. I would prefer a full bed of them and most of what I have were grown from dropped seeds. They are blown all over the bed and in the spring, I replant their second spring. Some make it while others don’t depending on the weather.

These are bleeding hearts, two types, and this is the first year, after planting three years ago, to bloom. All of the flowers I’ve mentioned and shown are shade lovers. They get some morning and some afternoon sunshine. All bloom at different stages of the season. I will probably have to move the ones on the right and left to give them more room to grow and flourish. This was my plan in the beginning but planted closer to each other than I should have to see if they would even grow.

Behind the bleeding hearts lies the tall phlox which will bloom in June through August. They’re beautiful and drop seed each summer for more bloom the coming year. It has a large cluster (size of my fist) of blooms in a beautiful pink/purple color that makes me smile. They’re very easy to grow and I have them in several places in the yard.

Behind the dinner bell I’ve planted cleome, also known as spider plant, in a beautiful pink and white flower that grows to four feet tall. They have huge blooms and also drop seed for the coming spring. I’m more worried about these than any because two days after planting the chickens got in the yard and before I could find them there, they managed to dig every plant up and scatter. I saved about half of them but it’s still iffy that they make it.

In this photo you can see a small area of the maple tree which is four to five feet wide and the background of the bed covered in daylilies that spread like wildfire!! A friend of mine is visiting today and I hope Carol can advise me on what to do with this bed to make it flourish!!!

Author: ritascountryways2022

I'm just a country girl living life my way on a farm with my husband and our critters. We've been married fifty years and been farming all of that time. We've moved from one family farm to one of our own and then to another family farm that has been in the family through at least six generations. In this day and age we could not have picked a better life!

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