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!!!

The Yard Cleanup

Unless it snows, winter can be very ugly! Then spring starts sprouting, and I get to work trying to make it lovely again!! The entire yard is cleaned up and here’s a few shots of the final cleanup.

The rose garden and northeast yard are full of leaves, maple tree limbs, and all of Sadie’s bones that she chewed on all winter fill the space.

I’ve trimmed the fall growth from the roses and the frozen tips. I’ve had two new roses to add to the garden and last fall I reseeded some of the perennials in that flower garden. I’m going to pull up a lot of the flat rock to use as borders somewhere else.

I worked one entire day and got all of the debris out of the yard and cleaned up. I was plum tuckered at the end of the day.

One of two roses have been planted. It looks like its blooming but that’s some red leaves and the label to remind me which one it is.
The second rose is a climber and red, it’s name is Don Juan. The other rose is a garden rose called Queen Elizabeth and is pink and white.
I also have lupine in that bed and it’s looking good but after frost the last two nights it may not look that good by the end of the day.
I moved the primrose from the bell garden to the rose garden for more sun. Maybe they’ll bloom better in this spot.
Leaves and debris are all gone. The Hostas in front of the porch are free of small limbs and leaves.
The hostas are starting to come up and I left some of the wood bark that has been swept from the firewood on the porch. Thought it might be a little more nutrition for them.
The flower bed on the outside of the yard got cleaned up and will be worked up for a new herb garden. I’m going to try my luck at raising them and drying them in the fall. The bed was full of hibiscus which will go to my daughter and went to New Kent County with hubby’s family that just camped out on the farm.
The peony and daylily on the outside got a good cleaning out. I just have one problem with them, they are full of grass and I don’t know how to kill it without killing the flowers. I’ll wait and see if they’re strong enough this year to kill out the grass.

Now on to the main yard bed and the bed around the gazebo!! Things are starting to look really good.

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